Todd Spangler / Variety
Netflix is bringing the tunes of John, Paul, George and Ringo to a new generation of tykes with “Beat Bugs,” an animated series featuring renditions of the Fab Four’s songs by artists including Eddie Vedder, Pink and Sia.
“Beat Bugs,” from Grace: A Storytelling Company, Thunderbird and Beyond Screen Production, will bow on Netflix this summer. In Australia, Netflix will obtain streaming rights to the series after its premiere on Seven Network.
The series features original characters and a world created by Australian native Josh Wakely, who directs, writes and produces the series, following a deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing for worldwide rights to record covers of the Beatles song catalog.
“Beat Bugs” incorporates songs from the Lennon/McCartney “Northern Songs” catalog. The show will feature some of the best-known Beatles songs woven into the narrative of each episode, with Eddie Vedder, Pink, James Bay, Sia, The Shins, Of Monsters and Men, Chris Cornell, Regina Spektor, James Corden and Birdy each recording their rendition of an iconic song. Among the songs featured are “Help!,” “All You Need Is Love,” “Come Together,” “Penny Lane,” “Yellow Submarine,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “Magical Mystery Tour.”
The series revolves around five friends — Jay, Kumi, Crick, Buzz and Walter — who band together to explore and learn in an overgrown suburban backyard, which to them is their entire universe.
“Personally I’m very grateful to be part of Josh’s vision,” Eddie Vedder said in a statement. “A tremendous show for kids that combines beautiful animation with great stories and obviously some of the best songs ever written.”
“Beat Bugs” was “a rare occasion to be presented with a truly one-of-a-kind children’s show that is so perfectly suited to Netflix,” said Andy Yeatman, director of original kids’ content at the streamer. Added Wakely: “Bringing ‘Beat Bugs’ to life on Netflix and having a platform to reimagine this universally acclaimed music for families around the world is an exhilarating and rewarding experience.”
The series is the first project from Wakely’s independent film and TV production and development banner, Grace: A Storytelling Company, which he co-owns with “Beats Bugs” exec producer Trevor Roy. Vancouver-based film and TV production group Thunderbird serves as a co-production partner, alongside Beyond Screen Production. Atomic Cartoons, a Thunderbird-owned studio, is creating animation for the series. The series is represented worldwide by Beyond Distribution.