Netflix is building a franchise of children’s animated series created around popular music classics. Beat Bugs, which features Beatles songs performed by current artists, will be joined by an untitled series that will give similar treatment to the Motown catalog, with Smokey Robinson serving as executive music producer.
Written and directed by Beat Bugs creator Josh Wakely, the newly picked-up Motown project revolves around 8-year-old Ben, a lovable, funny and slightly shy boy who discovers he has the extraordinary ability to bring street art to life. Ben and his family live in the imaginary city of Motown, based on Detroit and its rich musical heritage. Inspired by the words and melodies of classic Motown songs, Ben and his friends Angie and Mickey, along with a cast of enchanting street art characters, discover that creativity is magic as they revive vibrancy to their city and learn life lessons.
Like Beat Bugs, the Motown series will feature contemporary artists performing hit songs from the Motown catalog that will serve as inspiration for each episode. Motown’s No. 1 hits include “ABC,” “My Girl,” “Please Mr. Postman,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There” and “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.” The series will incorporate 52 songs by Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Lionel Richie, the Supremes, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder and others.