Beatles and Motown on Netflix

Netflix will premiere one series and bring back another, both designed to introduce and engage young viewers with classic pop music from the 1960s and 1970s.

The new animated series, yet to be titled, will be set to a playlist of Motown classics. Created and directed by Josh Wakely and executive produced by the legendary Smokey Robinson, each episode will feature contemporary music stars covering Motown hits first performed by Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Lionel Richie, The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder and others. Netflix has not announced a premiere date.

According to Netflix, the series will take place in the fictional city of Motown. The songs will inspire “the visually stunning adventures of a lovable and slightly shy eight-year old boy named Ben with an extraordinary artistic ability to bring street-art to life.”

Robinson said the show “will embrace the magic of Motown and present our songs to a whole new generation of fans and their entire families.”

Grace: A Storytelling Company, where Wakely is a principal partner, will produce the Netflix original series in conjunction with Beyond Screen Production. Robinson will help select the songs and the artists who perform them. The season one soundtrack will be released on Melodia/Motown Records timed to the show’s launch.

Beat bugs image

Meanwhile, Netflix has renewed Beat Bugs, another original animated series from the same producers, for a second season, although the first season has yet to premiere. The first season of Beat Bugs, which will showcase the music of The Beatles played by contemporary artists, will be available August 3, with the second season launching November 18.

Stars such as Aloe Blacc, Robbie Williams, Frances and The Lumineers will perform Beatles hits during season one, with Rod Stewart, Jennifer Hudson and Tori Kelly to be featured in season two.

At the time of the series’ August launch, Republic Records will release an official season one soundtrack consisting of 27 songs. The season two soundtrack, with 26 tracks, will be released in November.

Cover artists and Beatles songs include:

Beat Bugs Season 1

  • P!nk: Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds
  • James Corden: I’m A Loser
  • Aloe Blacc: Rain
  • Robbie Williams: Good Day Sunshine
  • Eddie Vedder: Magical Mystery Tour
  • Frances: In My Life
  • The Shins: The Word
  • The Lumineers: Honey Pie
  • Sia: Blackbird

Beat Bugs Season 2

  • Rod Stewart: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • Chris Cornell: Drive My Car
  • Regina Spektor: And Your Bird Can Sing
  • Jennifer Hudson: I’ll Follow The Sun
  • Of Monsters and Men: Eleanor Rigby
  • James Bay: Hey Bulldog
  • Tori Kelly: I’m Happy Just to Dance with You

You can watch the Season 1 trailer here:

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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