I recall that several decades ago - probably at some point in the late 1980s, I came across one of the Degrassi series' on PBS and found it to be an interesting look into a world that I was not yet familiar with. It was a "teen" thing, albeit with a serious tone when compared to what I was used to seeing, I being on the cusp of my own teen years at the time. Distinctly Canadian in its look, it felt like peering into an alternate world, and perhaps that's part of the appeal that's kept the franchise going since 1979. It is an alternate world - one that real kids are living in, and one that grown-ups often become detached from - a mirror reflection of society at the time, with each iteration of Degrassi tackling some tough topics that other series' and networks would be afraid to approach, doing so in a frank, and sometimes unsettling manner. For the latest evolution of the franchise, DEGRASSI: NEXT CLASS has come to Netflix, the first class to truly address what's being called "Generation Z" - the always-connected, social media-obsessed teens that are navigating life in 2016. As a parent, some of the content is terrifying - particularly because we have daughters that are less than a decade from their own teen years, and... things just seem different now, and who knows what they'll be then?
I've long-held the belief that we're living in the greatest time of all for kids and family programming, and this morning at the TCA Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, California, Netflix made an announcement that certainly backs that up. I sat-in on a panel with Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, who revealed that work is underway for 20 more Netflix Original Series in the kids and family realm - from shows for older kids that youngsters might still enjoy, to shows for younger audiences that grownups can love as well. It's all about family. While more details on the new series' will be revealed in the months ahead, Netflix has announced details on the premiere dates of 11 upcoming comedy, drama and kids' series. Take a look...
When it was first revealed that the Netflix would be revisiting the world of ABC's FULL HOUSE, many didn't know how to react to the idea of reuniting with the Tanner family two decades later. Thing is, FULL HOUSE never went away, and new generations have discovered it through endless syndication. Then RIOT FEST made an attempt at getting John Stamos to reunite JESSE & THE RIPPERS - something that ended up happening, albeit with Jimmy Fallon instead. Could the reunion of this fictional FULL HOUSE band have been the real reason why we're getting FULLER HOUSE in 2016? Probably not, but the buzz for the first season debut of the latest Netflix Original Series is exciting. On February 26, the first 13-episode season will become streaming on Netflix, and today comes the first batch of official photos. Take a look.
I was VOLTRON for Halloween once. It was either 1984 or '85 (probably '84), and a full costume wasn't then-available. I had the "role play" set, which included Voltron's signature "Blazing" Sword, along with a helmet that emulated the top of Voltron's head. My mom painted my face black and white to best match the character, and my dad made me a chestplate and armor - crafted from cardboard, and with details done in marker. Problem is, it rained that Halloween, and my armor was ruined. The marker ran into a blurry mess, and the costume became unwearable. Saddened, I switched into an alternate "robot" costume we had at home. Voltron was a big deal for me, and we had the robot lions, their drivers, even the Castle of Lions Playset, which is now very coveted. More than three decades since, I still dig Voltron, and here in my office stands a 1997 Trendmasters reproduction of the die-cast Matchbox Voltron from when I was a kid. My then-future wife bought it for me during our first year together. This week's announcement that DreamWorks Animation will be producing a "reimagining" of VOLTRON as a Netflix Original Series got me started on today's nostalgia trip, but it's just one piece of a bigger announcement that extended the partnership between DreamWorks & Netflix.
Ready to ring in the New Year? Letting the kids stay up to do it with you? According to a recent survey by Netflix, "9 is the new midnight" for families in the U.S., with 48% of parents surveyed stating that they'd ring in the new year by 9 p.m. Keeping the tradition that started last year alive, Netflix wants to help make that famous 10-second countdown as fun (and early) as possible, with exclusive, 2-minute New Year's Eve Countdown episodes of some favorite Netflix Original Series - ALL HAIL KING JULIEN, INSPECTOR GADGET, MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN, PUFFIN ROCK, and two of our favorites, CARE BEARS & COUSINS and PROJECT Mc2. Tonight (12/31/15), members of the Netflix #StreamTeam (myself included) will be sharing our New Year's Adventures on social media. Follow along and get ready to rock into 2016!
I always say that it's a sorta odd thing that we only have one true Netflix profile, despite the availability of Netflix Kids, and the fact that I, as a card-carrying writer in the Netflix #StreamTeam, should certainly have one of my own. Bottom line is that the Netflix AI (artificial intelligence) tends to think that "James" wishes to watch a completely bipolar assortment of family programming... or highlight inappropriate for kids stuff. Fact is, The Rock Daughters still dominate our Netflix profile, and the time has come once more to throw down a few choice picks for mid-October (for kids and grownups alike). Let's go traveling down the rabbit hole and off broadway, cool?