In addition to writing, Chris Nee is also championing up-and-coming creators who are also telling more inclusive stories.
Award-winning children’s programming creator Chris Nee is unveiling her first slate of Netflix originals.
The Peabody-, Emmy- and Humanitas-winning creator of Doc McStuffins and Vampirina has set three new animated preschool series for the streamer, bringing her number of originals at her new home to four. Of the three new shows, Nee created one of them (action series Ridley Jones) and is spotlighting new voices for the other two (Spirit Rangers and Dino Daycare).
Nee moved her overall deal from Disney to Netflix in late 2018 as the streaming giant continues to make a play for younger audiences. In Nee, Netflix gained one of Disney’s most important creators as she launched two franchises in Doc McStuffins and Vampirina, both of which went on to become cash cows.
“I am so excited to finally get to talk about the work I’m doing at Netflix. As a writer and creator, I have so many stories I want to tell. I could easily fill my slate with my own voice. But one of the reasons I chose Netflix is that they afford me the opportunity to not only tell my stories but shine a spotlight on other talented creators and help them tell theirs,” Nee said Thursday. “I know what it’s like to grow up not seeing myself represented in the shows I loved. I know that it matters not only who is on screen, but who is behind it. The mix of shows announced today perfectly represents what matters to me. I want to reach the next generation of kids, yes, but I also want to embolden and teach the next generation of diverse and underrepresented creators. At Laughing Wild I’m able to build a company that reflects my values, and work at every turn to change the ‘who and how’ of making content for kids.”
The trio of new series join the previously announced Ada Twist, Scientist, the animated preschool series in which Nee is teaming with Barack and Michelle Obama and their Netflix-based Higher Ground banner. Based on the best-selling book series, Ada will launch globally in 2021.
“In the realm of children’s television, Chris and her team are pioneers. Their upcoming projects certainly reflect that — they’re designing worlds that kids and families can escape to, creating characters that reflect diverse cultures and backgrounds and redefining the possibilities of what children can be inspired by on screen,” said Netflix vp animation Melissa Cobb.
Here’s a look at Nee’s three new series:
Creator/EP: Chris Nee
Composers: Chris Dimond, Michael Kooman
Animation Studio: Brown Bag Films
An action-adventure preschool series following 6-year-old Ridley Jones who, alongside her mother and grandmother, is a protector of the museum she calls home. Keeping the exhibits safe takes a real hero, especially since every night when the lights go out and the doors lock shut, the exhibits — stampeding elephants, astronaut chimps, Egyptian mummies — come to life! Throughout her many adventures, Ridley will find that being a good protector – and leader – is about finding common ground and respecting others, no matter what our differences might be.”
“This is the first show I brought to Netflix,” Nee said. “I really wanted to do a series where a girl was the action-adventure star I always wanted to see (or be) when I was growing up. Like so many of my shows, this world is a perfect canvas upon which to create a community of oddball characters and model what it means to take care of each other, even if you aren’t from the same era of time or wing of the museum. With music, comedy, heart and a true heroine’s story, Ridley Jones is a worthy successor to Doc McStuffins and Vampirina. Can’t wait for you to meet her!”
Executive producer: Chris Nee
Creator/EP: Karissa Valencia (Vampirina)
Animation Studio: Superprod Animation
Created by Chumash tribal member, Karissa Valencia, Spirit Rangers is a fantasy-adventure preschool series following Native American sibling trio Kodiak, Summer and Eddy Skycedar, who have a shared secret—they’re “Spirit Rangers!” Spirit Rangers can transform into their own animal spirit to help protect the National Park they call home. With the blessing of the Chumash and Cowlitz tribes, we’ll join the Skycedar kids on their magical adventures with spirits inspired by indigenous stories.
“I am so proud that Spirit Rangers has found its home at Laughing Wild,” Valencia said. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn from Chris Nee since I was a coordinator on Vampirina. Looking back, I now realize I was in an unofficial showrunner bootcamp the whole time. From coordinator, to staff writer, to showrunner, she’s been my mentor from day one. I was able to witness firsthand the groundbreaking preschool shows she would lead and now I strive to do the same. Spirit Rangers is native led with a team of native writers, native artists, native actors and native composers. As a Native Storyteller, I’ve rarely come across the opportunity to tell my own story. I am forever grateful to be given the chance at Laughing Wild and can’t wait for everyone to meet our funny modern native family in Spirit Rangers.”
Executive producer: Chris Nee
Creator/EP: Jeff King (Vampirina)
In a world where the dinosaurs never went extinct — and now live alongside humans — we follow a 6-year-old human boy named Cole as he helps out at Dino Daycare, a nursery for baby Dinos of all shapes and sizes. Though Cole might not be as big and strong as his dad, Teddy, or his T-Rex “aunt” Dinah who runs the daycare, he shows us that he’s got what it takes to care for Earth’s mightiest creatures. Proving that kindness and caring are powerful forms of strength, and that the toughest muscle in our body … is our heart.
“As with most of the defining moments of my life, as soon as I came up with Dino Daycare, I spilled hot coffee all over my desk. I knew this idea could be something special, and I knew the only person to pitch it to was my friend and mentor, Chris Nee,” King said. “Chris immediately embraced my vision for a show that was about both dinosaurs and emotions, in equal measure. It’s a show that celebrates that there are different ways to be the boy who becomes the man. We want to show that boys can be vulnerable, and show feelings, and that strength isn’t just a physical marker… all while giving everyone what they want, mainly dinosaurs. Really, really cute dinosaurs. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Laughing Wild lineup, and can’t wait to introduce the world to a non-traditional boy lead and a daycare full of adorable baby dinos.”