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Why The Animaniacs Reboot Release Date Is So Significant

Hello-o-o, premiere date! Hulu has officially announced when its upcoming Steven Spielberg-produced Animaniacs revival is set to debut. 

The Disney-owned streamer plans to drop the first 13-episode season of the classic Warner Bros. cartoon on Nov. 20, with the second season slated for 2021 (via Variety). For longtime superfans of the beloved animated series, the day might sound familiar — and it should. It's exactly 22 years after the original series aired its final episode. Animaniacs originally ran from 1993 to 1995 on Fox Kids before the Emmy-winning series was moved to Kids' WB through its cancellation in 1998.

News that Warner Bros. and Amblin TV were developing a revival of the animated variety show for kids — originally a spinoff of the Tiny Toons universe — first came in 2017. A year later, after an intense bidding war between Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, it was revealed that the latter had won rights to the 1990s cartoon reboot, and was giving it a two-season straight to series order

The second half of that deal brings Hulu the entire 99-episode Animaniacs library, along with the complete runs of Tiny Toon Adventures, Pinky and the Brain, and Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain. That's a big take.

Several conflicting reports about an official release date followed the revival's order announcement. In an August 2019 episode of the Animanicast, the hosts suggested that sources close to the project were pointing to a summer 2020 debut. Yet, in a Metro interview with Animaniacs' Rob Paulson, published a month earlier, the voice actor stated the show would arrive to the tune of 26 new half-hour episodes sometime in fall 2020. It's unclear whether Paulson arrived at the 26 number by combining the 13-episode season 1 order with a presumed second season of the same size, but that sounds likely.

In June 2020, Paulson pointed to a September or October release, with the potential for delays due to Hollywood production shut-downs before confirming in a July 2020 interview with Animation Magazine that the series was then in post-production. Apparently, animated projects really lend themselves to remote work.

The revival will see the return of original creative talent and characters, along with several new faces

Considered by Hulu to be its first original family series, the revival will feature the return of Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, alongside several other familiar Animaniacs characters (via The Hollywood Reporter). In Paulson's interview with Animation Magazine, he confirmed that the series would include fan favorites Pinky and the Brain, Squit, and Dr. Otto Scratchansniff, as well as "new ancillary characters." 

Alongside Paulson, who originally voiced Yakko, Pinky, and Dr. Scratchansniff, Jess Harnell will return to voice Wakko, Tress MacNeille will voice Dot, and Maurice LaMarche will serve as the voice of both the Brain and Squit for a whole new series of stories.

"The irreverent and at times subversive humor is the same," Paulson told the magazine. "The Animaniacs are self-aware and know that they have been off the grid for 20 years, and that comes into play." 

Wellesley Wild, whose past work includes Family Guy and Ted, was tapped as showrunner, but several members of the '90s cartoon's original creative team have also returned. Spielberg will once again serve as executive producer. Meanwhile, Steve and Julie Bernstein, who worked on the original show under Emmy-winning composer Richard Stone, will be in charge of music for the revival, which Paulson revealed will feature the "use a 30-piece orchestra for every half hour of the show." 

A mix of old and new, the Animaniacs reveal will be geared towards reaching its original admirers and those it has picked up in the decades since going off the air. "We have a new showrunner and new writers, who grew up watching the original series," Paulson told Animation. "What I can tell you is that it is every bit as joyful and hurt-yourself-laughing funny as the original."

Viewers can find out for themselves when new episodes of Animaniacs hit Hulu on November 20.