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Weekly Watch: “Bojack Horseman”

| Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Emily Danaher
WeeklyWatch_WEBEmily Danaher
A little over a week ago, Netflix became the latest television distributor to try its hand at the late night, adult-themed animation market, releasing the twelve-episode first season of “Bojack Horseman” on Aug. 22. After Fox failed so heartily with its ingeniously named “Animation Domination” spin-off programming block, “Animation Domination Hi-Def” (the initials shorten to ADHD, get it?), and Comedy Central seemingly lost interest in the medium (has anyone heard from “TripTank,” maybe it drowned in its contributors’ own self-worth?), the streaming and, more recently, original content provider is aiming to work its way into contention against Cartoon Network’s day-part channel Adult Swim with a stronghold on clever and crude.

The show’s premise certainly seems up to the absurdist standards of now-competitor Adult Swim. In a world in which humans and anthropomorphic animal-human hybrids coexist and intermingle, titular character Bojack Horseman is a part-horse, part-human, washed-out 90s sitcom star living off his former fame. The show promises a look into the vapidity of celebrity, as Bojack’s dormant lifestyle has transformed him into a soured curmudgeon fixated on his past successes.

The 40-something anti-hero is voiced by Will Arnett (“Arrested Development,” “Hot Rod”), just the voice actor to turn in the gravelly, self-loathing yet aloof performance necessary for a half-horse, half-human of Bojack Horseman’s size and stature — both physically and culturally. Alternative comedians Amy Sedaris (“Strangers With Candy”) and Paul F. Tompkins (“Mr. Show,” “Best Week Ever”), and actors Alison Brie (“Community,” “Mad Men”) and Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) round out an all-star main cast. Arnett and Paul are also two of the show’s executive producers.

In a shocking and very rare move in the industry, “Bojack Horseman” was renewed for a second season just four days after Netflix released the first episodes for streaming. Therefore, no matter the outcome of the first season, the show is expected to produce at least another twelve episodes. This quick turnaround may indicate a new area for Netflix to grow: original animated programming.

Animated television shows do not require as much of a joint commitment in scheduling and also leave more flexibility to their stars — which, in the case of “Bojack,” is significant, due to its large cast of busy regular and recurring players. One of the main obstacles the Netflix-produced fourth season of “Arrested Development” faced was undoubtedly the actors’ conflicting schedules and inability to shoot at the same time. In animated series, the voice actors can, if necessary, record their lines separately with little trouble.

However, despite the positive response and promise, we still must ask, is the show worth watching?  To find out, check back in to our follow-up piece Monday that will look at the series’ first episode and discuss the entire season. Or, participate along with us here in the “Weekly Watch” and catch “Bojack Horseman” on Netflix between now and then.

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About Matt McMahon

Notre Dame Class of 2016 student studying Finance and English. From Mercer County, New Jersey. Interests include music, television, film, and writing. Also food. My Mom didn't like what else I had to say here so I took it down.

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