I’ve covered the excellently named animation studio Titmouse over the years, as it revolutionized the cartoon artscape from Avatar: The Last Airbender to The Venture Bros.. I still can’t watch its stunning sci-fi video for Soundgarden’s “Black Rain” without missing the late, great Chris Cornell more than ever.
This time around, we talked for Cartoon Brew about Titmouse’s engaging new fantasy series, Niko and the Sword of Light — which was produced not for the usual network suspects but one of the most powerful corporations in the world, one with plenty of money to burn. The fact that Amazon chose to invest a healthy budget in Titmouse and Niko, in search of staying power and cultural relevance, should be a warning shot to the animation business as usual.
After all, as Titmouse told me, we’re in a cartoon gold rush.
Rob Hoegee And Chris Prynoski On The New Amazon Original Series Niko and the Sword of Light
Known more for its mature animated standouts like Metalocalypse, Black Dynamite, and The Venture Bros., Titmouse has teamed up with Amazon Studios to deliver a promising epic fantasy adventure for the 6-11 demographic called Niko and the Sword of Light.
As internet powerhouses like Amazon and Netflix have jumped into the children’s programming game, the mediascape has been altered in revolutionary ways. Because they have such significant resources and business models, they’re not beholden to traditional concerns when it comes to crafting original series.
“It’s not about volume for them; it’s not about saturating the market with product,” Niko showrunner Rob Hoegee (story editor on Teen Titans, head writer on Thunderbirds Are Go) told Cartoon Brew by phone, alongside Titmouse co-founder Chris Prynoski. “They really want to put themselves out there, which is tremendously gratifying as a show creator, because your mandate is simple: Make a good show.”