This week, AMC announced an order for six 30-minute episodes of a new show called Mega City Smiths from Steve Conrad (writer of Wonder and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) and Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, the animation studio behind Robot Chicken and Crossing Swords. The series will be a stop-motion animated project focusing on two detectives trying to solve a high profile missing persons case in the fictional city of Mega City. Oh, and all the characters will be baby dolls made to look like grown ups. What?!
A lot of network and cable channels are investing their time and money in new animated projects since they’re extremely easy to get off the ground in the age of the coronavirus pandemic. People can work from home without much hassle, and there’s little risk of spreading illness when production is spread out and doesn’t require congregation in the same area. The situation may also be resulting in some off-the-wall animated projects getting greenlit that otherwise might fall by the wayside. It seems like AMC just ordered one of those projects
The official press release for AMC’s order of Mega City Smiths says the story “hinges on an investigation into the mysterious disappearance of fictional metropolis Mega City’s most famous magnate.” Throughout the series, we’ll follow two detectives as they take the case and are forced to “fight against their city’s dangerous corruption, at a high cost to themselves and their families, all in pursuit of a gentler place to call home.” And again, we can’t stress this enough, they’re baby dolls made to look like adults.
This sounds like exactly the kind of weird animated project Stoopid Buddy Studios would produce, but it feels like a surprising direction for someone like Steve Conrad. On top of writing the aforementioned saccharine screenplays, he’s been working on shows like Patriot on Amazon and Perpetual Grace, LTD on Epix. Neither of those shows are anything like what this new project, but maybe that’s the appeal for him. In a statement, Conrad said:
“Mega City Smiths is a series about our basic desire to be loved and cared for by our mothers, fathers, our few real friends and the setting we call home. We’re very pleased to have found partners at AMC whose ambition is the same as ours, which is to try and contribute to our era’s collection of remarkable TV.”
What is this show? Maybe it will have more in common with the kind of movies that Conrad has written than it seems at first glance. I just can’t get past the idea of baby dolls being used for the kind of show that Conrad seems to be describing. And the following statement from Dan McDermott, president of programming for AMC Networks’ Entertainment Group and AMC Studios, is only more perplexing. He said:
“Brilliant creator. Iconic characters. Human, dramatic, hilarious storytelling. Unique visuals unlike anything seen on television — these are the components of a great AMC series, and they are vitally present here in Steve’s dazzling work. Mega City Smiths will stand out in this crowded environment and engage viewers of all ages.”
A show that will engage viewers of all ages?! It’s a stop-motion animated series with baby dolls as adult detectives. What’s going on here? Is there something I’m missing? Maybe we just need to wait for a glimpse of the series to get a full grasp on what this project will be, because I just can’t wrap my head around it.
In addition to creating the show, Conrad will serve as showrunner. Meanwhile, Seth Green, John Harvatine IV, Matthew Senreich, Eric Towner and Chris Waters will executive produce for Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, and Jennifer Scher, Jeff Dieter and Tom Glynn will produce. The series, which, once again, uses baby dolls as grown adult characters, is expected to debut on AMC sometime in 2021.
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