What’s four letters long and comes slightly too late to the alphabet party to spell SYFY? That’s right, TZGZ showed up at Comic-Con@Home Friday packing a quartet of animated ‘toons that’ll soon be heading — or heading back — for a swing around the network’s late-night adult animation block.
With Baron Vaughn (SYFY WIRE's The Great Debate) presiding over proceedings, four new original shows took turns parading four distinct flavors of off-kilter quirk. New animated series Devil May Care kicked things off in hellish fashion, with a socially-distanced online table talk featuring showrunner Doug Goldstein (Robot Chicken), joined by actor Asif Ali and the inimitable Alan Tudyk (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).
Tasked with voice acting honors for the new series as the devil himself, Tudyk said his character may indeed be the smooth-talking head honcho in the Bad Place — but the show hinges on the idea that he really just wants all its condemned residents to be happy.
“‘I think we all have our own inner devil,” joked Tudyk. “He just wants Hell to be a better place, c’mon!” But, he added, there are times when Satan just has to shed his workaday persona as a jacket-wearing, coffee-sipping “goth CEO” exec and go full beast mode. “He gets frustrated — especially in the trying days we’re living in,” he reasoned, leading to the inner devil in all of us turning “into big, veiny, massive freaks.”
Stunned to be stuck in hell and interviewing as Lucifer’s new right-hand man is Beans (Ali), a Gen-Z social media manager at the untimely time of his death back on Earth. “Being a social media guy, you’re used to just being yelled at, told what to do, being given jobs you cannot handle, being blamed for things,” said Ali, explaining that his character’s budding dynamic with Old Scratch will probably work in his favor.
As co-writer for Robot Chicken, Goldstein already knew a Biblical amount about scripting an offbeat animated comedy. And like any good writer, he declined to reveal what the mild-mannered Beans possibly could have done to end up sending his immortal fortunes southward. “He seems like such a nice guy — and the answer to that is something I’m not even gonna bring up,” Goldstein joked, teasing guaranteed “Emmys for everybody” when the secret’s finally revealed.
TZGZ also rolled out a preview for Magical Girl Friendship Squad, the upcoming animated series that finds urban dwellers Alex (Quinta Brunson) and Daisy (Anna Akana) torn between paying the rent and realizing their ultimate universal destiny.
Show creator Kelsey Stephanides said MGFS is equal parts tribute and parody to all the urban and genre stereotypes she knows and loves — from Brooklyn slacker culture to anime outfits that no superhero in her right mind could wear comfortably. “We’re big fans of the magical girl genre,” she said, and “we’re taking the magical girl genre story and parodying it by modernizing it…pushing it on to a very, like, cynical, Millennial Brooklyn thing.”
MGFS will hit TZGZ with a cast that also features Matteo Lane (a human henchman) and SNL veteran Ana Gasteyer as Nut (an inter-dimensional red panda with god-level powers). The recurring guest list for the show’s first season is pretty talent-heavy too, including Manny Jacinto (The Good Place), Christine Baranski (The Good Fight), Helen Hong (Silicon Valley), Eric Bauza (Looney Tunes Cartoons, Muppet Babies), and Sarah “Squirm” Sherman (Three Busy Debras writer).
Next up was a sneak peek at Wild Life, the upcoming animated series about a post-apocalyptic world that animals — not humans — have inherited as the dominant life forms. Describing Wild Life as a “hangout show,” creator Adam Davies said all the on-screen mayhem is just window dressing for the animals to stage their superior (if mostly relaxed) existence: “The flaming buildings in the background are more of a backdrop to kind of contrast this paradise that these animals are now living in,” he joked.
Featuring the voices of Reggie Watts, Claudia O’Doherty, and Vaughn as an unintentionally destructive fox named Hudson, Wild Life heads to TZGZ soon to raise your late-night comedy to the top of the food chain.
Last of all was Hell Den, which makes the move to SYFY for its second season as a spiritual heir to the kind of TV-watching group hangout that’ll make for easy viewing for any Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan.
The idea of putting monsters and misfits together to weather the “uber-apocalypse” indeed takes inspiration from MST3K as well as ‘90s classics like The Ren & Stimpy Show, said showrunner Neil Garguilo. For the new season, he added, the gang won’t just be watching old cartoons — they’ll be talking over all kinds of footage from TV’s earliest days, whether it’s PSAs, commercials, or just plain strange black-and-white oddities that turn heads in the here and now.
In short, said writer and voice actor Justin Ware, it’s “the exact same lack-of-class show it was before, but bigger and faster — and funnier.” Starring Garguilo, Ware, Brian James O’Connell, Zabeth Russell, Sean Cowhig, and David F. Park, Hell Den is heading to TZGZ soon to help your restless soul burn the midnight oil.
Click here for SYFY WIRE's full coverage of Comic-Con@Home 2020.