Media Mashup

In an age of nearly unlimited choices between traditional TV, streaming services, and over-the-top options, there’s never been such a diverse array of family content available. Heading into the new year, there’s an incredible lineup of programming from new and old players, driven in part by the multitude of new streaming services set to go live. There will be new worlds to explore, new characters to meet, and new adventures to have with some old friends. Here’s a look at some highlights of what kids will be watching this year.

He-Man

Masters of the Universe: Revelation and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (Mattel Television/Netflix)

Continuing where the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animated series ended, Masters of the Universe: Revelation will focus on some unresolved storylines from the classic Filmation era, picking up many of the characters’ journeys were they left off decades ago. Kevin Smith (Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot) penned the first episode and serves as showrunner and executive producer, while Rob David, vice president of Mattel Television and author of He-Man: The Eternity War, also serves as executive producer. Eric Carrasco (Supergirl), Tim Sheridan (Reign of the Supermen), Diya Mishra (Magic the Gathering), and Marc Bernardin (Alphas) are on board as writers. The 2D animated series is in production at Powerhouse Animation Studios in Austin, Texas.

The second series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, borrows its title from the ’80s classic but will be a complete reboot presented in 3D CGI animation. The series is said to be a reimagining of the classic tale “with all-new storylines and a fresh take on the iconic characters.”

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is being produced by Mattel Television with Adam Bonnett (Descendants), Christopher Keenan (Justice LeagueBatman Beyond), and Rob David (Masters of the Universe: Revelation, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) serving as executive producers. The series was developed for television by Rob David. Emmy-winning producer and designer Jeff Matsuda (The Batman, TMNT) and Susan Corbin (Voltron) will also produce.  Bryan Q Miller (Arrow, Smallville, Sleepy Hollow) will serve as story editor on the series. Animation services are being provided by House of Cool and CGCG (Trollhunters).

Mira, Royal DetectiveMira, Royal Detective (Disney Junior)

Inspired by the colorful cultures of India, the series follows a young commoner who becomes a royal detective after she solves a mystery and saves the kingdom’s young prince. Each episode contains authentic music, dance, and customs that reflect India’s vibrant heritage.

Mira, Royal Detective is executive produced by Emmy Award-nominee Sascha Paladino (Miles from Tomorrowland), and was developed by Becca Topol (Elena of Avalor), who also serves as story editor. Mira will be voiced by 15-year-old newcomer Leela Ladnier, who joins an entirely South Asian cast featuring Freida Pinto (The Path), Kal Penn (Designated Survivor), Karan Brar (Bunk’d), and others.

Super Dinosaur (Spin Master/Skybound)

Based on Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and Jason Howard’s (Trees) Skybound/Image comic book of the same name, Super Dinosaur follows 10-year-old genius Derek Dynamo and his T. rex best friend Super Dinosaur as they protect the planet against evil. The series is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. Super Dinosaur is supported by a full range of toys from Spin Master that are available exclusively at Amazon in the U.S. and at Toys “R” Us.

Gabby’s Dollhouse (DreamWorks Animation)

Gabby’s Dollhouse is a mixed-media series that unboxes a surprise before jumping into a fantastical animated world full of adorable cat characters that live inside Gabby’s dollhouse. Created and executive produced by Traci Paige Johnson (Blue’s Clues, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) and Jennifer Twomey (Blue’s Clues, Team Umizoomi), the series will debut on Netflix this fall. Spin Master is already working on a full toy line.

Fast & Furious: Spy Racers

Fast & Furious: Spy Racers (Universal/DreamWorks)

Based on Universal’s high-octane franchise, the animated series sees teenager Tony Toretto following in the footsteps of his cousin Dom (played by Vin Diesel in the films) when he and his friends are recruited by a government agency to infiltrate an elite street racing league serving as a front for SH1FT3R — a nefarious criminal organization bent on world domination.

Tim Hedrick (Voltron Legendary Defender) and Bret Haaland (All Hail King Julien) serve as executive producers and showrunners. Diesel, along with Neal H. Moritz and Chris Morgan — who have all served as producers on the live-action Fast & Furious film franchise — are executive producers. An accompanying line of Hot Wheels is on the way.

Marvel’s Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur (Marvel Animation & Family Entertainment)

From producers Laurence Fishburne (Ant-Man and the Wasp) and Helen Sugland’s (black-ish) Cinema Gypsy Productions, and Emmy Award-winner Steve Loter (Kim Possible), this is the tale of a 13-year-old super-genius named Lunella Lafayette and her 10-ton T. rex Devil Dinosaur. After Lunella opens a time vortex that transports Devil Dinosaur to present-day New York City, the pair teams up to protect the Lower East Side. The series will debut this fall on Disney Channel.

Baby Shark (Nickelodeon Animation/Pinkfong)

This spring, Mommy, Daddy, and Baby Shark are swimming to Nick Jr. in an all-new preschool musical series that brings Pinkfong’s global viral hit to life in new ways, and with many new songs that kids can dance to.

Ricky Zoom, PJ Masks, and Peppa Pig (eOne/Hasbro)

Once completed, Hasbro’s surprise acquisition of Entertainment One (eOne) will bring PJ Masks, Peppa Pig, and Ricky Zoom into the same family as the Transformers, My Little Pony, and G.I. Joe. Ricky Zoom got off to a big start on Nick Jr. this fall, and the story of the bright red motorcycle and his adventurous friends — Scootio, Loop, and DJ — is expected to become one of the hottest kids properties in the year ahead.

This summer, kids can look forward to new adventures with Peppa, George, Mummy Pig, and Daddy Pig on Nick Jr., while the PJ Masks are suiting up for their fourth season on Disney Junior. The next batch of superhero adventures with Catboy, Gekko, and Owlette will kick off with a four-part special.

HBO Max Goes Big for Streaming Debut

WarnerMedia’s new streaming platform is ready to battle when it comes to youngsters’ attention with new content from Sesame Workshop, Cartoon Network, and Warner TV. The streaming service will be the exclusive home of fresh episodes of Sesame Street and will debut an animated series based on Gremlins and Ellen DeGeneres’ Little Ellen.

The classic Looney Tunes characters will return for Looney Tunes Cartoons, while Hanna-Barbera icons, including Captain Caveman, Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo, and Jabberjaw, will be back in action for Jellystone. Tooned Out will be a live-action/animated hybrid from Back to the Future producer Robert Zemeckis.

Super Hero Kindergarten

A Trio of Series About Superheroes in School

Genius Brands International and Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment are in production on Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten. Arnold Schwarzenegger will voice lead character Arnold Armstrong — formerly the superhero known as Captain Courage — as he teaches kindergarten.

Meanwhile, PBS has set a summer debut for Hero Elementary, a series about a school for budding superheroes, where kids learn to master their powers while exploring science.

At Netflix, StarBeam will follow the adventures of a second grader with real superpowers and her tech-whiz sidekick.

A New Toy Line Comes to Life

Go! Go! Cory Carson is based on the VTech toy line Go! Go! Smart Wheels. The new series follows animated vehicle Cory Carson as he goes to school, makes new friends, and explores the town with his family. Each episode is only 7 minutes and includes cute stories and colorful animation styles. Kids can watch it now streaming exclusively on Netflix!

What’s Next?

Kids have never had so much choice when it comes to viewing content across traditional and streaming platforms. Here are some of the series currently in the pipeline. Release dates for most series are still TBD.

  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars Final Season (Disney+)
  • Chip ‘n Dale (Disney+)
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron (Hasbro/Netflix)
  • Chuggington (Herschend Family Entertainment)
  • Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous (DreamWorks/Universal Netflix)
  • Emily’s Wonder Lab (Netflix)
  • What-To-Doodles (Netflix)
  • Izzy Bee’s Koala World (Netflix)
  • DreamWorks Go, Dog. Go! (Netflix)
  • The Adventures of Paddington (Nickelodeon)
  • Untitled Star Trek Animated Series (Nickelodeon/ViacomCBS)
  • ThunderCats Roar (Cartoon Network)
  • Monsters at Work (Disney+)
  • Pinkalicious and Peteriffic Season Two (PBS KIDS)
  • Muppets Now (Disney+)
  • Elinor Wonders Why (PBS KIDS)
  • Animaniacs (Hulu)
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts (DreamWorks/Netflix)
  • R.L. Stine’s The Little Shop of Monsters and Rotten School (Splash Entertainment)
  • The Fungies (HBO Max)
  • Tig ‘n Seek (HBO Max)
  • Adventure Time specials (HBO Max)

A version of this story appears in the December/January 2020 issue of our sister publication, the Toy Book.