For many adults around the world cartoonist Charles M. Schulz left a sizeable imprint on their youth, penning over 18,000 cartoon strips, running in more than 2,600 newspapers for nearly half a century and reaching millions of readers around the globe in the process. Those illustrations were equally as playful as they were satirical with quippy one-liners and gags that were set in a world where adults couldn’t be seen and where no technology past the 1970’s could be used.
For a contemporary audience “Peanuts” star Snoopy will be something conjured up only by yearly tradition thanks to holiday specials like “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” or “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. For me those specials - as good as they were - always lacked the original cartoon strips zeal for imaginative childlike play, and so whilst I enjoy them, there’s always been something that just didn’t sit quite right knowing that they were deemed by many as the ultimate interpretation of Schulz’s work despite his involvement.
“The Snoopy Show”, which debuts Friday, is everything I remember those original cartoon strips to be. Those same strips that I grew so attached to. All of the original gang have been brought to life by the talented team over at WildBrain, perfectly encapsulating my memories through three seven-minute shorts per each 23-minute episode with every TV app episode tile an entry-point into another batch of short adventures.
Where-as there have been disappointing attempts in recent history to modernise “Peanuts” folklore and art style, “The Snoopy Show” really does not only reintroduce the familiar to those that have grown up with the cartoons but it also offers that whimsy that transcends generations. Yes the iconic visual art-style in intact, as is Lucy’s psychiatric booth and Charlie Brown’s charming yet nervous energy, but it’s the way Stephanie Betts and Mark Evestaff’s team have seamlessly adapted the original strips for television that offered up my personal unbridled joy. One particular early short re-tells the first meeting of Woodstock and Snoopy, and where the original strips would see both non-speaking characters communicate through thought bubbles, it’s instead their actions, yelps, titters and cry’s that emit playful emotions after a combative first meeting which soon ends in friendship and play.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a true adaptation of Schulz’s work if that world wasn’t also set partially in reality, exploring frustration and other less-than euphoric feelings which is unusual in the modern landscape of cartoons. Something especially needed today as children have more and more questions and in some ways have had to deal with more disappointments than most over the last twelve months. When offering impressionable eyes escapism, its the messages that are grounded in reality that will have an ever-lasting effect.
Whilst the Emmy Award winning “Peanuts in Space: Secrets of Apollo 10,” and the Emmy nominated “Snoopy in Space” were nice re-introductions to Snoopy, Woodstock, Charlie Brown, Franklin, Lucy van Pelt, Linus van Pelt, Peppermint Patty and Sally Brown, something felt missing and left me feeling like the last of the litter to be adopted. “The Snoopy Show” ended that wait for adoption. Much like a sheepish Charlie Brown, the show threw this long-time Peanuts fan a bone, reassuring me “we’re going to be friends til the end.”
Sigmund is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of ScreenTimes where he began his Apple TV coverage in 2016. With an unwavering passion for Apple, storytelling and storytellers alike, he writes about Apple TV with a focus on the arts, development, tvOS, home theatre and accessibility. Sigmund also co-host’s Magic Rays of Light, a weekly podcast exploring the world of Apple TV and the many talents bringing our screens to life.