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Netflix and DreamWorks Animation: Peak Television Storytelling
Netflix has been heralded (and criticized) for much of its products, but one aspect it doesn't get enough praise for is collaborating with DreamWorks, which helped the streaming service earn a total of 28 Daytime Emmy nominations.
Amidst Netflix's perplexing cinematic endeavors and stellar live action TV projects is perhaps the streaming service's most underrated asset: their collaborative efforts with DreamWorks Animation. While DreamWorks features have often been unfairly placed behind the animation behemoths Disney and Pixar, their episodic programs are second to none, recently dominating the Daytime Emmy animation categories with 20 nominations.
DreamWorks has a variety of creative projects currently available to stream in the form of original content, spin-offs from their films, and reboots of older shows. The pinnacle of their original programming is Guillermo del Toro's Trollhunters. The series boasts entertaining and lovable characters, paired with well-earned humor and a compelling mythology which drives the entire narrative forward. The show also possesses an impressive cast. Led by the late Anton Yelchin, whose character Jim becomes the first ever human Troll Hunter and is exposed to the mythical realm of Trolls and other creatures, as well as a resurgent darkness which threatens both human and trollkind. It's fun, appropriately emotional, and fantastically original.
DreamWorks has also been able to produce quality television shows based on their popular films. Dragons: Race to the Edge is a worthy spin-off series to accompany the How to Train Your Dragon films, taking place in between the two movies and fleshing out the characters and the world they live in further. The show details Hiccup's struggle to bring the two worlds of Vikings and dragons together. The show isn't heavily character focused, instead highlighting the franchise's humor, breathtaking action, and diverse array of dragons to keep audiences hooked. That's not to say the characters aren't interesting, as the relationships are fun and dynamic, thanks in large part to exceptional voice acting (Zack Pearlman, who voices Snotlout, is the standout). The show gives much needed screen time to the secondary characters, as well as building upon characters from the previous series, Riders of Berk. The series will surprise you with its fascinating arsenal of villains, and perhaps give you a greater appreciation for the films.
DreamWorks has also gone to the well to revive some properties most figured would never see the light of day again. The most impressive, by far, is Voltron: Legendary Defender. The show was produced by the same team which worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, and they bring the same level of artistic talent and masterful storytelling to the Voltron universe. The show carries similar humor and fun found in Dragons and Trollhunters, but also contains even more stunning action set pieces and eye-popping color. Compared to the aforementioned series, Voltron digs deeper into its characters, creating consistently compelling narratives throughout the show's five seasons.
Dragons recently wrapped up after 6 seasons, making it the perfect series to binge with the entire family. Trollhunters has a third season lined up, along with spin-off shows, while the sixth season of Voltron will be released on June 15.
Director Guillermo del Toro reveals the first official image from his upcoming Nextflix and DreamWorks Animation series Trollhunters.