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Thursday, June 16 2016 11:31

Netflix Announces Five New Animated Series for Kids including SKYLANDERS & SPY KIDS

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Stream TeamRemember back in January when I wrote about Netflix "doubling-down" on original content for kids and families? Today comes news that keeps that train rollin', with five new original series being announced, along with word that KONG: KING OF THE APES will be back for a second season in 2017. Among the new programs are SKYLANDERS ACADEMY (bound to be huge and featuring fellow "Rock Father" James Hetfield of METALLICA doing a featured voice!), LLAMA LLAMA, SPIRIT: RIDING FREE, HILDA and SPY KIDS: MISSION CRITICAL. Check out details on all of these new shows below... 

Skylanders Academy, Activision Blizzard Studios - Fall 2016

Animated action-comedy Skylanders Academy follows the heroic adventures of the Skylanders team, a ragtag group of heroes with unique elemental skills who travel the vast Skylands universe, protecting it from evil-doers. They achieve victory by setting aside their egos, learning to trust one another and fighting as one to maintain harmony and balance in the land. Led by showrunner Eric Rogers (Futurama), the series features the voices of Justin Long (Ask Me Anything) as Spyro, Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical, Phineas and Ferb) as Stealth Elf, Jonathan Banks (Breaking BadBetter Call Saul) as Eruptor and Norm MacDonald (Saturday Night Live) as Glumshanks. Additional voice talent includes Susan Sarandon, Daniel Wu, Parker Posey, James Hetfield, Catherine O’Hara, Chris Diamantopoulos and Harland Williams, among others. Netflix members worldwide will learn the “Skylander way” –and enjoy all of the humor and heart in between– starting with 13 episodes this Fall and continuing with a second season in late 2017.

Llama Llama, Genius Brands - 2017

Based on the award-winning and best selling book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney, Llama Llama is an animated show about childhood moments and adventures, as well as the special connections between lead character Llama, his parents, grandparents and best friends. Set to premiere in 2017 to Netflix members worldwide,Llama Llama tells heart-warming tales of life in a safe, friendly town seen through the eyes of Llama as he interacts with the amazing world around him. The series is led by an all-star team of creators including Oscar®-winning director Rob Minkoff (The Lion King), director Saul Blinkoff (Doc McStuffins), showrunner Joe Purdy, legendary art director Ruben Aquino (Frozen, The Lion King, Aladdin, Mulan) and Emmy®-award winning producers Jane Startz and Andy Heyward.

Spirit Riding Free, DreamWorks Animation - 2017

Inspired by the Oscar® nominated film Spirit: Stallion of the CimarronSpirit Riding Freefollows the heartfelt journey of a wild mustang who could not be tamed. A whole new generation will experience all the daring adventures when Spirit meets a girl named Lucky whose courage matches his own. Together they push limits, harness the power of friendship and discover what it means to be free. With their best friends by their side, they explore a world filled with endless rides, magnificent horses and never-ending fun. The series will premiere exclusively on Netflix in 2017 in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the Nordics, Benelux and France.

Kong: King of the Apes, Season 2, 41 Entertainment & Avi Arad Prods. - 2017

In the season one finale, we find our heroes Kong and Lukas falling into a volcano at the hands of their main antagonist, Botila. At the start of season two, the fate of the group will be revealed and viewers will discover a prehistoric underworld where dinosaurs roam the land, pterosaurs soar and giant insects still exist. Will Kong, Lukas and their loyal team manage to save the Earth from Botila’s plans to replace nature with technology? Netflix members worldwide will find out in 2017, with the launch of the series’ second season.

Spy Kids: Mission Critical, The Weinstein Company - 2018

From producer Bob Weinstein comes an animated adventure comedy series based on the beloved family film franchise, Spy Kids. The show follows brother and sister team Juni and Carmen Cortez as they attend Spy Kids Academy, a top secret spy school for kid agents. When a new counter-spy agency threatens the safety of the world, it will be up to junior spies Juni and Carmen to train and lead a team of fellow Spy Kids cadets against the forces of S.W.A.M.P. (Sinister Wrongdoers Against Mankind's Preservation) and their diabolical leader, Golden Brain. The Mission Critical team may not be ready, but they are the only ones to call when grown-up spies can’t do the job! Featuring FM DeMarco of Netflix original series Dragons: Race to the Edge as head writer, Spy Kids: Mission Critical will be available to Netflix members worldwide in 2018.

Hilda, Silvergate - 2018

A production of Silvergate Media, the makers of Octonauts, in collaboration with Mercury Filmworks, Hilda transforms the Eisner-Award nominated graphic novels by Luke Pearson and published by Nobrow into an incredible animated adventure for older kids. The series follows the journey of a fearless blue-haired girl as she travels from her home in a vast magical wilderness full of elves and giants to the bustling city of Trolberg, where she makes new friends and discovers mysterious creatures who are stranger –and sometimes more dangerous– than she ever expected. Netflix members worldwide will be able to joinHilda on her thrills and escapades beginning in 2018.

THE ROCK FATHER is a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, delivering news and features about great streaming content.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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