Let’s say you’re Avi Arad. You’re sitting around the house one night, wondering where it all went wrong. You’re the one, after all, who transformed Marvel Comics into a movie powerhouse; the one who turned Hollywood on its head and made superhero films a success story, rather than a bad punchline. You were behind Blade, behind the X-Men series, behind Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. And here’s your protégé, Kevin Feige, lapping up all the credit, after you were forced out at Marvel. So what do you do?
Why, you make a Netflix series about preschool movie monsters learning to share and get along with new friends, of course.
Super Monsters isn’t as popular as some other post-daycare, I-just-need-a-half-hour-to-breathe shows, like the ones featuring a hapless young tiger or a beloved blue Avocado mod. But it just started on Netflix, and there are only ten episodes. It seems like a natural winner, with its bigheaded, big-eyed, public domain-based characters and their perfectly relatable life situations, like choosing not to use your flying ability to dominate friends at playground basketball.
The characters all have oh-so-clever names, like Drac the vampire, Franky the Frankenstein’s monster, Lobo the wolf, and Cleo the mummy. I’m not clear on the etymology of Katya the witch, but I am fairly certain the design of nonthreatening goth preschool teacher Esmie is based on a young Winona Ryder. Also of note, for any of you bronies out there: because it’s a Canadian show, several of the voice actors also appear on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Anyway, great work, Avi Arad. Setting the stage for the dominant global movie franchise of our time is one thing, but creating a forgettable Netflix show for three-year-olds—that’s something you can hang your hat on.