Netflix has already established itself as one of the biggest providers of on-demand streaming media in the world. But now Netflix is beginning to challenge some of the USA’s major TV networks, such as HBO, CBS and ABC with its new and original programming. Shows like House of Cards, Arrested Development and Orange is the New Black have been very successful amongst both critics and fans. Now Netflix has had a go at an adult animation, with its latest original programme, BoJack Horseman.
Back in the 90’s, BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett) was in a very famous TV show – a tacky and generic family sit-com known as Horsin’ Around. Fast forward 20 years, and BoJack is a washed up actor living in Hollywood. He has an on-again, off-again relationship with his feline agent, Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris), and to keep himself from being completely alone, he lets his free-loader friend Todd (Aaron Paul) sleep on his couch.
When all of the work has dried up, BoJack decides to write an autobiography, but he struggles to get past chapter one. After a meeting with Pinky Penguin of Penguin Publishing, BoJack hires a ghost writer to write his biography. Diane Nygen (Alison Brie) is hired to follow him around in his daily routine and write the best-seller that will re-launch his career. BoJack starts to fall in love with Diane, and this is only made worse when he finds out that she is in a relationship with Mr Peanutbutter (Paul F. Thompkins) – a talking dog who ripped off BoJack’s 90’s sit-com.
Creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg has produced a fantastic adult cartoon comedy similar to the likes of Archer and South Park. He has created a fascinating world in which talking animals and humans coexist, and it works really well. What I like about the animals is the fact that they are anthropomorphized, but they still seem to have some familiar animal characteristics – a giant chicken lays an egg in fright after a confrontation with BoJack, Mr Peanutbutter chases the mailman, a sheep gardener trims the hedges by eating the grass and a rooster delivers its wake-up call whilst out on a morning run.
The creators of the show have also made some very clever decisions when it comes to casting. Will Arnett, who voices the eponymous hero, is most famous for his portrayal of George Oscar G.O.B Bluth II in Arrested Development – another Netflix original. Arnett is perfect for the role of BoJack, and he lends his voice brilliantly to the show. Another smart casting choice is Aaron Paul as Todd. Paul played Jesse Pinkman in AMC’s Breaking Bad and after the huge success of the show, he has a massive fan base. I myself am a huge fan of Paul and this is one of the reasons that I was drawn to the show.
Additional celebrity voices have been used throughout the show to create a better sense of character. Patton Oswalt voices a whole host of characters, including Pinky Penguin – a book publisher who is going bankrupt. Other notable voice performances come from J.K Simmons, Kristen Schaal and John Krasinski.
BoJack Horseman is a brilliant and unique adult animation that is definitely worth a watch. The show is full of hilarious laugh-out-loud visual gags, as well as some more subtle and conceptually funny jokes. It’s also worth looking at the opening sequence and closing credits of the show, as the music really complements the programme.