The comedy-action animation series “Boons and Curses,” which was scheduled to debut on Netflix sometime in 2023, has sadly been abruptly cancelled by the streaming provider (viaThe Hollywood Reporter). The series was cancelled by Netflix after their relatively recent statement that they had lost 200,000 members in the first quarter, leaving creator and executive producer Jaydeep Hasrajani and co-executive producer Jake Goldman and their team feeling pretty sad.
Not only was “Boons and Curses” cancelled by Netflix, but also other animated shows that were in the works, such as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s animation series, “Pearl,” and Jeff King’s “Dino Daycare.” The fact that a dozen journalists (mainly women of colour) were abruptly fired from Tudum months after they were employed and received only two months’ worth of severance pay is another issue with the streaming platform’s rash judgements, to say the least.
The removal of cartoon series like “Boons and Curses” may be Netflix’s attempt to contain the damage, but it has a significant financial and professional cost.
The problem with authentic, representative stories getting sidelined
Having previously collaborated on the “Powerpuff Girls” reboot, Hasrajani and Goldman returned to work on “Boons and Curses,” which features South Asian folklore in its plot. Hasrajani discussed the significance of the plot, highlighting how the cast and crew are filled with up-and-coming South Asian talent and how the cancellation news was “quite painful” for all parties involved:
“This was a first go at a purely authentic South Asian animated series, and we really rallied behind it as a team and a crew, and it was very genuine and a lot of hard work. Not only were we able to get a lot of South Asian talent behind the scenes, but we were also able to get a lot of allies to help support that vision, and also get an all-South Asian voiceover cast and an all-South Asian writers room. It was pretty outstanding that we were given a wide-reaching platform to make this effort. And so the news that came was pretty devastating.”
Hasrajani and Goldman added that every studio had responded favourably to their presentation, and that they ultimately chose Netflix because of Jane Lee, manager of original animation and ardent supporter of AAPI creators. Hasrajani added that he believed Netflix would have been an appropriate global venue for his production given how the narrative subverts damaging stereotypes of South Asian characters on television and “combats” them with love.
It’s hoped that “Boons and Curses” would soon be picked up by another network, enabling the writers to realise their vision. The Netflix show that may have been would have had the following logline:
“In the magical land of Maya, a cosmic war is on the horizon. The Raj and his monstrous army threaten to destroy any who stand against them! The universe itself hangs in the balance and our only hope is… 3 feet tall and made of butter. Claiming to be a cursed warrior from another time, Baan may have been transformed into solid ghee but he won’t let that stop him!
Teaming up with Rani, a young thief with delusions of grandeur, Baan must use every arrow in his quiver if he wants to defeat the Raj. Heavily inspired by ancient South Asia, Boons and Curses is an adventure-comedy highlighting the myths and legends that have enraptured generations.”