11:46am PT by Kate Stanhope
HBO Orders Duplass Brothers' Animated Series 'Animals'
HBO is once again beefing up its comedy slate. The pay cable network has given a two-season order to the new animated series Animals.
The series is produced Duplass Brothers Television and marks the second collaboration between the duo and HBO following Togetherness, which debuted in January.
Created by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano, Animals centers on the downtrodden creatures that call the Earth's least habitable environment — New York City — home. Whether it's lovelorn rats, gender confused pigeons or aging bedbugs in midlife crises, the awkward small talk, moral ambiguity and existential woes of these entities prove strangely similar to those of humans.
Matarese and Luciano will voice many of the characters, and Mark Duplass, Katie Aselton and Nick Kroll will also lend their vocal talents. The animation in Animals was created with Starburns Industries, the studio behind Rick & Morty.
Matarese and Luciano, who met working at an advertising production company, first collaborated on a series of animated shorts called Pigeons…, which screened at SXSW Film Festival, Palm Springs International ShortFest, and also won best comedy honors at the New York Television Festival. The first two episodes most recently screened to acclaim at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
“Jay and I have been excited about bringing the principles of indie film to the TV space, and to have our first real experiment land at a place like HBO for two seasons is beyond what we could have imagined," said Mark Duplass.
“Going from having made Animals in the supply closet at our day job to making Animals in a supply closet at HBO headquarters is an unfathomable dream come true," said Matarese and Luciano. "HBO has so many supplies, you have no idea! Great for drawing stuff.”
In addition to their shows at HBO, the Duplass brothers also have a lucrative four-film deal with Netflix.Togetherness is set to return for season two next year.
Animals marks HBO's fifth comedy series order in recent months. The premium outlet also ordered David Fincher's 1980s music video comedy Video Synchronicity, Lorne Michaels' Brothers in Atlanta, Sarah Jessica Parker's new comedy Divorce, as well as new episodes of the pot comedy High Maintenance. HBO has a roster of awards-season darlings that includes Silicon Valley, Girls and Veep, as well as upcoming half-hours The Brink, Ballers and Vice Principals. Those shows join a slate that also features Togetherness and the third and final season of Getting On.