If you’re one of the 6.9 million people who follow the handle @nathanwpylestrangeplanet on Instagram, then you’ll be well versed in the unique beings who inhabit the world, articulating everyday occurrences in the most wholesome of ways.
You’ll also likely soon be joined by millions more adoring fans as the cartoon series, created by Nathan Pyle, has been given a straight to series order by Apple TV+.
The adult animated series, which Pyle will executive produce, is being brought to the platform by Dan Harmon, who is best known for co-creating Rick and Morty — which is currently in its fifth season — and the hit series Community which starred Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong, Chevy Chase, and Jim Rash. Both shows boast multiple Emmy nominations with Rick and Morty winning for best-animated program in 2018 and 2020.
The Strange Planet series will tell profound and heartfelt stories about beings on a distant planet not unlike our own. Pyle, who created the series in 2019, told NPR, “I want to communicate empathy and curiosity, so I enjoy exploring more situations that let the characters try new activities and actively listen to each other.
“I want to celebrate humanity! I think that so much of what we are doing here is meaningful and absurd simultaneously. We have created thousands of different ways just to amuse each other and ourselves and communicate that we care about our friends.”
The artist also told NPR that he had been inspired to bring Strange Planet, which sees the alien beings carry out the mundanities of life with subtly comedic effect, into the world as he and his wife were expecting guests — causing them to hide their belongings in order to make their tiny New York City apartment seem orderly.
“I realised this would make an excellent comic. I drew this one based on the experience, and the series was born,” he said.
Adult animations have become more prolific in recent years, as the medium has become a popular device for storytelling, often leaning into the absurdity of its visuals in order to make unpleasant truths more palatable or to get away with blurring boundaries.
Shows such as Bojack Horseman, Tuca and Bertie and Big Mouth have all been praised for their irreverence and ability to bring pressing social issues such as feminism, mental illness, friendship, substance abuse, discrimination, trauma, sexism and racism to the masses.
The animation is about a family who lives in an old mansion inside New York’s Central Park, as the father Owen (Leslie Odom Jr.), works there as a park manager. Mother Paige (Kathryn Hahn) is a journalist, and they have two kids Molly (Emmy Raver-Lampman) and Cole (Tituss Burgess) with season two debuting on June 25.