From dramas and documentaries to comedies and comic books, Netflix has had a banner few years with original and highly popular programming like House of Cards, Making a Murderer, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Daredevil. Many other shows have followed suit in these categories, but the streaming service’s latest target-to-conquest is the wide and zany world of sketch comedy. Bob Odenkirk and David Cross’ Mr. Show with Bob and David followup, W/ Bob & David, did quite well when it was released last November. So, what’s next?
Per the trailer above, it seems The Characters — a new sketch comedy series featuring up-and-coming comedians, stand-up comics, and writers from places as varied as Orange Is the New Black and Saturday Night Live — is the next logical step for Netflix. According to the official press release:
One show. Eight comedians. Multiple personalities. In Netflix Presents: The Characters, the next generation of comedians get a chance that only Netflix could offer: the opportunity to create their own 30-minute episodes and do whatever they want. No rules. No limits. Each comedian writes and appears in his/her episode, presenting a series of sketches that veer wildly from Bachelor parodies, to music videos, to biblical spoofs… all in the name of outlaw comedy.
Coming out and describing a new sketch comedy show as “groundbreaking” takes one hell of a lengthy leap of faith, but The Characters boasts an impressive list of regular and occasional cast members. Netflix alums Lauren Lapkus (Orange Is the New Black) and John Early (Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp), Comedy Central’s Kate Berlant (The Meltdown) and Paul W. Downs (Broad City), SNL writers Tim Robinson and Natasha Rothwell, Heroes Reborn star Henry Zebrowski and character comedian Philip Burgers (i.e. Dr. Brown) make up the principal lineup. Guest stars include SNL‘s Cecily Strong and Bobby Moynihan, supermodel-turned-actor Tyson Beckford, and Broad City‘s Abbi Jacobson.
Viewers won’t know whether or not The Characters will work until all eight episodes go live on Friday, March 11. Considering the lineup, however, there’s a good chance Netflix’s latest experiment just might do very well for itself. Besides, the more Lauren Lapkus we get, the better.