The Netflix original series Dawn of the Croods was created by showrunner and Executive Producer Brendan Hay (headline producer for The Daily Show, head writer on the comedy animated series Star Wars Detours, and writer for The Simpsons) as the prequel to the 2013 DreamWorks hit film The Croods. The series debuted the first season of 13 episodes on Netflix on December 24, 2015 and the second season was released with 13 fresh episodes ready to stream on August 26, 2016. DreamWorks Animation Television (franchises of Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon) produced the CGI animated film, and together with Brendan Hay’s team of creators decided to go with a 2D animated style for the Netflix series. They really wanted viewers to know right away that the series is different from the film, not just in title, and the best way to differentiate them was to go old school on the animation. With a CGI film sequel to The Croods set for release in early 2018 (aptly titled The Croods 2), Dawn of the Croods takes the liberty to expand on the main characters and give fans a more in-depth view of their lives as prehistoric cave-people.
Critics have generally been kind about the switch up in animated styles, and the series has been nominated for three Annie Awards nominations; one for Outstanding Achievement, Production Design in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production, and two for Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production. One bland critic stated, “though nowhere near as engrossing or as visually captivating as the popular movie, this animated series has its moments of levity and emotion, much in the same way the film did.” IMDb has an overall rating of 6.0 with 188 votes, a fair rating for a comedy animated Netflix series.
Dawn of the Croods focuses in on Eep, a strong leading female character and adventurous teenager with a curiosity that sometimes brings her big trouble. Rounding out the first-family are Thunk, Grug, Ugga, Sandy, and Gran. Their neighbors across the way, The Boors (Snoot, Meep, Sulk, and Bulk) present the Croods with plenty of opposition. There are many unique facets and features which make this series more than just a modern-day knock-off of The Flintstones. In a January 2016 interview, showrunner Brendan Hay commented on the differences he sees between the two cave-families. “I love The Flintstones, but it was always about transporting the modern world’s conveniences into its time period. The Croods took the time to create an experience based on how a cave family would live, which surprisingly hasn’t been done that often, at least for comedy.” Although none of the voice-cast from the films lend their talent, the series has been graced with cameos hailing from the ranks of Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central, with Chris Parnell (SNL, Archer) as Snoot, Thomas Lennon (Reno 911, Night at the Museum) as Crud and Munk, and Ana Gasteyer (SNL, Lady Dynamite) as Meep.
Another way Dawn of the Croods differs from other family-friendly 2D animated comedies is the artistically creative choices that are found throughout the episodes. For instance, some of them open with Eep’s narrating set to her beautifully animated cave drawings. There is plenty of dark humor with a lot of the jokes centered around either the chance of someone dying or someone already having died. Within this family, nobody has to die to learn a lesson. Despite the characters finding themselves between rocks and hard places (sometimes quite literally), the show uses dark humor to deliver a message that families don’t have to die apart to learn how to live together. A large chunk of the humor comes from making literally metaphoric jokes based on the fact that this is the first time the family members have experienced certain things. Perfect examples of this style of hilarity are the ‘in crowd’ being literally a particular group of people surrounded by other people to protect them from predators, and when the series ended on a cliffhanger Grug is seen hanging from a cliff. Pretty hilarious for a cartoon. This stuff is not only good for the kids, it’s good for an adult chuckle or two as well.
Dawn of the Croods’ final episode of season two did not give us a hint toward renewal or cancellation, and neither Netflix nor DreamWorks Animation Television have mentioned a third season yet. Judging from the time gap between the first season release date of December 24, 2015 to the second season premiere on August 26, 2016, and the fact that Netflix makes every episode available on one date, there is still time for a third season before The Croods 2 releases in theaters in early 2018.
You can catch up with this prequel by watching all 26 episodes from seasons one and two, available for streaming on Netflix.
Do you crave a third season of Dawn of the Croods? What other antics do you see the Croods getting into? Will you head to theaters for the release of The Croods 2?
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