If you’ve ever worked in a babysitting position or just been around your own kids, you can really appreciate the value of a memorable kids’ TV show. Once your kids connect with a certain character or series, it’s all downhill from there. It’s all about lunch boxes, plush toys, pajamas, and anything else you can put a logo on from then until the end of time, or at least until they reach their next stage of development.
Streaming services of all kinds, like the cable networks that came before them, are building sections to house content exclusively for children. This is a lifesaver for busy parents, especially in recent years when stay-at-home orders had them working (and babysitting) from home. Streaming your child’s favorite show means you can give them what they want to watch on demand. What a bless.
Netflix (NFLX) is counted among the mega streaming sites with a section that specifically caters to children. Viewers of all ages can watch popular kids’ shows from generations past or new shows produced exclusively by and for the popular streaming service. And it may not be Disney (DIS) But Netflix is no slouch when it comes to snagging popular kids’ franchises.
The old-school streaming service has spent years snapping up popular kids’ IPs like “The Magic School Bus,” “Fairly Odd-Parents,” “Goosebumps,” and more. Some of the streamer’s “kids shows” have drawn praise from kids and adults alike, including animated hero sagas like “She-Ra” and “The Dragon Prince.”
Now, Netflix is looking to expand the offerings for its younger viewers by bringing back a childhood favorite from the late ’90s. Adults may not get it, but little kids love it. Whether you like it or not, the Teletubbies will return to a television screen near you.
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Netflix reboots the Teletubbies with star Tituss Burgess
In 2000, “Teletubbies,” along with other popular children’s shows like “S Club 7” and “Bob the Builder,” helped the British Broadcasting Corp. increase revenue by 15% that year. The “Teletubbies” alone generated more than £90m in revenue for the BBC over a four-year period, leaving a permanent mark on the all-ages pop culture sector.
Thanks to Netflix, these adorable little TV-bellied creatures return to television to introduce young children to shapes, colors, sunlight and fun. And this time, Laa-Laa, Dispy, Tinky-Winky and Po will be joined by iconic Broadway sensation and breakout star of “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” Tituss Burgess.
Burgess will serve as the show’s narrator, lending her sweet tone to the rebooted children’s franchise. The show will premiere this November and is well-timed to capture the attention of young children whose parents enjoyed the original show.
The Teletubbies and Tituss are a progressive couple
When PBS brought the Teletubbies to the United States, the show became infamous, and not just because of its popularity with young children. Conservative Christian pundit Jerry Falwell infamously claimed that the purple Teletubby, Tinky-Winky, was a symbol of homosexuality.
The idea gained enough traction that the show’s production company boss, Kenn Viselman, even made an official statement about the claim, saying the TV’s pot-bellied, baby-looking character “wasn’t gay. He is not straight. He is just a character in a children’s series. I think we should just let the Teletubbies go and play in Teletubbyland and not try to define them.”
Falwell’s accusation inadvertently made Tinky-Winky a gay rights icon and has since served as a talking point about representation and how children interact with diversity. And while Viselman’s point, that the Teletubbies are just innocuous kids’ show characters, is valid, it would be remiss to ignore Tituss’ status as another colorful and wholesome gay icon.