HBO Max is about to get animated. At the Television Critics Association’s 2021 winter tour HBO Max ordered not one, not two, but three new adult animated comedies in addition to renewing J. G. Quintel’s Close Enough for two more seasons. But the most exciting part of this news? Those new series include the revival of Clone High, and a new series all about Velma Dinkley’s origin story.
It’s hard to pick a favorite part of this announcement. But if we had to choose it would be a two-way tie between the Clone High revival and the very existence of an adult Scooby-Doo series all about Velma. Clone High originally ran from 2002 to 2003 on MTV, and it was the rare cartoon that was considered to be ahead of its time. The series follows a high school filled with clones of various historical figures. One day they’ll grow up to be great, but right now? They’re just figuring out life, man. That’s how you get insane things like Gandhi trying to convince Lincoln to ditch his homework to go party. HBO Max has renewed the revival for two seasons. Originally created by Phil Lord, Chris Miller, and Bill Lawrence, all three will return to executive produce. Lord and Miller will write. But this new take will be headed by showrunner Erica Rivinoja, who wrote for the original Clone High. She’s since worked on South Park and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, so you know this pairing is going to be great.
Next up is Velma, which will be executive produced by none other than Mindy Kaling. You know how Velma is the only competent member of the Scooby-Doo gang and how all of her friends would likely die without her? The girl is finally getting her due in a new series that will explore her origin story. But will it elaborate on her clear crush on Daphne? In addition to her role as EP, Kaling will also voice Velma. Charlie Grandy, Howard Klein, and Sam Register also serve as executive producers.
HBO Max has also given a one season order to Fired on Mars. Described as an “existential workplace comedy”, the series will be set on the Martian campus of a modern tech company. Think Silicon Valley but with the hopelessness of every space saga. So the real Silicon Valley on a bad day. Pete Davidson will voice a character as well as executive produce alongside Carson Mell and Dave Sirus.
Last but certainly not least is HBO Max’s first foray into the world of original animation, Close Enough. Quintel’s wild series that turns the monotony of life in your 30s into an action-packed adventure has been renewed for two more seasons. The series follows a married couple, their five-year-old daughter, and their divorced best friends as they all try to make it work in a cramped apartment in Los Angeles. Get ready for haunted couches, bulbous horses, time-traveling whiskeys, and a literal houseguest from hell in Season 2.
These are only HBO Max’s most recently announced animated shows. The streaming service also has four other adult animated series currently in production. Sean Solomon’s Hello Paul will follow a neurotic millennial cat who’s constantly at odds with his mouse roommate. Obi Arisukwu and Arthur Harris’ Obi, based on Arisukwu’s popular Instagram comic, will follow a 30-year-old man-child chasing his dreams to become an artist. The delightfully gruesome sounding Uncanny Valley will revolve around three awkward domestic helper robots who kill their human owners and try to assume their identities. And Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack are adapting their acclaimed DC comic book Cover for streaming.
All of these shows sound great, but there’s another reason to be excited by this announcement. It shows that HBO Max is betting on adult animation in a big way. We’ve seen other streaming services follow the same path. Netflix started its animation play with BoJack Horseman and continued with hits like Big Mouth and F Is for Family. Hulu has done the same thing with Solar Opposites and Crossing Swords. For the most part these plays have been sporadically successful. But no streaming service on the planet is better suited to create bangers right from the gate than HBO Max. They’re home to Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, for god’s sake. If anyone can upset Fox as the modern king of adult animation, it’s them.
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