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Parents of preschool-age children, a warning: Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po will soon be on TV screens again.
Netflix will debut a Teletubbies reboot in November as part of a slate of shows aimed at young kids debuting in the coming months. The show will feature the four Teletubbies interacting and discovering their world — and will be narrated by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Tituss Burgess.
Teletubbies is set to premiere Nov. 14. Two other new shows are also set to join Netflix’s preschool lineup: Spirit Rangers (Oct. 10), about three Chumash/Cowlitz siblings who help protect the land and spirits of the national park they call home; and Princess Power (2023), bbased on the book Princesses Wear Pants by Today anchor Savannah Guthrie and Allison Oppenheim. The streamer will also debut new seasons of Waffles + Mochi’s Restaurant (Oct. 17) and Gabby’s Dollhouse (Nov. 1) and new iterations of StoryBots (StoryBots: Answer Time, Nov. 21) and Cocomelon (Cocomelon Lane, set for 2023).
The Teletubbies reboot is one of a handful of new versions of kids’ shows from the 1990s and early 2000s that delighted kids and were sometimes the scourge of their parents. In June, Peacock announced a CGI redo of Caillou, which in turn follows new versions of DuckTales (Disney+), Blue’s Clues (Blue’s Clues & You, Nickelodeon), Carmen Sandiego (Netflix) and Animaniacs (Hulu), among others.
Teletubbies originated on the BBC in 1997 and first aired in the United States on PBS a year later. In 1999, right-wing televangelist Jerry Falwell accused the show of pushing LGBTQ propaganda on children because Tinky Winky carries a bag and because “he is purple — the gay-pride color; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle — the gay-pride symbol.” The ensuing controversy had a Streisand Effect, only serving to raise the show’s profile; the head of the show’s production company, Ken Viselman, responded that Tinky Winky is “not gay. He’s not straight. He’s just a character in a children’s series. I think that we should just let the Teletubbies go and play in Teletubbyland and not try to define them.”
A 2014 reboot aired on the BBC’s CBeebies kids’ channel in the U.K. and Nick Jr. in the U.S.; episodes of the original currently stream on Pluto TV.
Sept. 7, 9:35 a.m. An earlier version of this post misstated the premiere date for Spirit Rangers.
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