In my last article, I pointed out that animated programs could change format and episode length like live-action shows on premium channels. I do see animated programing moving towards streaming services already. One subscription service stands up so far beyond the rest that it deserves its own article.
Netflix has various successful original animated shows from Bojack Horseman to Troll Hunters, just to name a few. The visuals of Troll Hunters have the quality of Dreamworks feature animation. I never thought TV animation could have this level of quality. Netflix could be a big innovator because it’s a subscription-based streaming platform.
Cartoons that are aired on television collect their revenue from advertisements and merchandise sales. In short, American cartoons are merely toy advertisements targeted primarily to 6-11 year-old boys. Netflix doesn’t have this drawback (yet). As a subscription platform, Netflix’s original animated shows aren’t bound by the narrative or commercial constraints of TV animation.
Cartoons on Netflix could explore more mature subject matter, touch on taboo topics, and tell long-form serious stories. Devilman Crybaby is a great example of this. It’s extreme even by Anime’s standards and could never have aired on television. What I’m looking for is all the serious storytelling which has been done for decades in Anime but with American animation.
With Netflix, we could see animated TV shows with feature quality CG animation and created for adult audiences. I’ll talk more about the pitfalls and the potential of CG animation in my next article.