FriendsWithYou Signs Deal with Netflix, Colorful Kid's Show Coming in 2017

Children’s programming is about to get a little friendlier.

Los Angeles-based, Miami-bred art collaborative FriendsWithYou recently announced a partnership with Netflix to produce and air at least two seasons of a characteristically bright, colorful, and smiley-faced kids show.

According to an interview with artnet, True and the Rainbow Kingdom will be a deeper, more spiritual take on the formulaic genre with an aim to teach kids to care about the world around them. Each episode will last 22 minutes with the initial set of 10 episodes slated to arrive by summer of 2017.

“The idea is about love, compassion for the world and its inhabitants,” FriendsWithYou said on Instagram. “We make the world alive and model a sustainable planet as an aspiration vision of a bright rainbow future.”

Partners Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III are known for their post-pop art style and slightly-hallucinogenic characters usually brought to life in the form of paintings, sculptures, and sometimes larger-than-life costumes. You’ve probably seen their mark around town. The adorable Rainbow Valley playground at the Aventura Mall? That’s FriendsWithYou. The apathetic black and white cloud hanging in the Melin Building in the Design District? FriendsWithYou again.

They make happy cloud lamps, full-on Rainbow city installations, and something wonderful called Super Malfi. It’s easy to imagine FriendsWithYou’s cartoonish style in proper cartoon form, and yet, the venture is a total first.

“As artists, we really had no idea what the business of TV was,” Borkson is quoted in the original artnet News interview, “but from the beginning of our practice, we wanted to affect as many people as possible with this idea of an idealistic future—a vision of a future that's good for the future of our world—and make that into something that reaches as many people as possible, especially kids.”

Each episode will follow a girl named True, a “fixer” in the Rainbow Kingdom, as she embarks on fun and thought-provoking adventures, fixing problems with the help of her cat buddy Bartleby and three “wishes.”

Just as FriendsWithYou’s works of art depict inanimate objects as super happy beings, so too will True and the Rainbow Kingdom.

“The world [of the Rainbow Kingdom] is alive," said Borkson to artnet. “If we can teach little kids that the world and the ocean is a character, like it's their grandfather and grandmother, that these ideas exist in nature, then maybe we can make this vision for an idealistic future society where babies grow up thinking like this. It's a beautiful seed inside the brain, but it's also fully inside of our work—making animism accessible, and pushing the idea of love."

The project is a further collaboration with Pharrell Williams and his multi-media brand i am OTHER, as well as Home Plate Entertainment and Guru Studios. Read the full interview with artnet, and start counting down the days.
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Kat Bein is a freelance writer and has been described as this publication’s "senior millennial correspondent." She has an impressive, if unhealthy, knowledge of all things pop culture.