Dogs in Space is Netflix’s newest sci-fi comedy. The show is set on earth, where the animals have taken over and are living with humans as equals. One day, a scientist sends his dog into space to see if there might be life forms out there. What he finds instead changes their society forever…
Netflix’s recently released movie, “Dogs in Space,” was met with a mixed response from critics and audiences. Based on the trailer alone, it seems as if Netflix has taken some liberties to keep this science fiction film true to its canine protagonists. The question of whether or not animals can travel through space is one that deserves an answer no matter how absurdly simple it may seem!
Netflix’s “Dogs in Space” is a Co-production of Netflix and Dreamworks. The show will be released on April 26th, 2019.
On November 18th, Netflix will debut Dogs in Space, a new animated series from first-time creator Jeremiah Cortez that is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an animated adventure comedy program for kids that humanizes dogs without losing what makes them crazy and delightful, and I spoke with Cortez and his co-showrunner, Adam Henry, ahead of the show’s premiere. everything about it
The premise for Netflix’s Canines in Space states, “In the not-too-distant future, genetically enhanced dogs are launched throughout the cosmos in search of a new home for the human species.” “It’s a massive cosmic game of fetch as the dogs search for a planet that will rescue mankind while also allowing them to return to their loving owners.”
Garbage is voiced by Haley Joel Osment, Stella is spoken by Sarah Chalke, Nomi is voiced by Kimiko Glenn, Ed is voiced by Chris Parnell, Chonies is voiced by David Lopez, Loaf is voiced by William Jackson Harper, and Happy is voiced by JP Karliak. You’ll probably recognize some recognized voices among the bigger supporting cast if you’re a big lover of animation.
As previously stated, Netflix’s Dogs in Space premieres tomorrow, November 18th, with a 10-episode order. The show is made in collaboration with Atomic Cartoons. You can read all of our past Netflix coverage here, and scroll down to read our entire interview with Cortez and Henry about the animated series.
: Jeremiah, how did you get the Netflix pitch meeting, and how was it for Dogs in Space?
Oh, you’re going to adore this, Adam Henry.
Jeremiah Cortez: With Dogs in Space, it was almost like a personal project for me. And it began as a little comic book that I drew in my sketchbook, following the main character of the show, Garbage. And that was my method of keeping my corgi as a pet… Growing up, I’d always wanted a corgi, but considering the price tag, I doubted I’d ever be able to afford one.
So it was simply a narrative about this corgi during my final year of college, and it was something I explored as a story after that. Because I would let them read the short comic, my family and friends were eager to see more. Then it was simply a matter of saying, “Well, I believe this is a nice narrative, and it’s probably worth pitching.”
So I spent two and a half years creating the pitch bible and material, including some animation clips with placeholder voices that were completely colored and finished. We started playing the theme music. And, ironically, at the same time, one of my friends said that he knew someone from Netflix who could be interested in hearing the pitch. So I emailed it in, and two weeks later I received a call from Netflix asking me to pitch in person. Then they picked it up two weeks later.
(Photo courtesy of Netflix)
And when did this happen? Animation is known for having a lengthy pipeline at times.
JC: You’re right. We began development at the beginning of 2019, and we were in production by the end of 2019. I pitched at the end of 2018, and we started development at the beginning of 2019, and we were in production by the end of 2019.
All things considered, that’s not awful.
JC: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Yeah. I’ve heard that development might take years. So the fact that we completed it in less than a year was thrilling.
AH: One of the things I enjoy about Netflix is that once you get a greenlight, they’re like, “OK, do it now, and let us know how it works out.” You know what I mean? They’re similar to a flat framework where you don’t have to jump through as many hoops as you may in other areas.
What adjustments did the program undergo between the first pitch and what I’ve seen on screen?
JC: Surprisingly, not a great deal. Netflix was and always will be… Their idea is to give innovators and artists more control. So, other than perhaps modifying one character to make way for another along the process, not much has altered from the original concept. Everything was, in fact, constructed on top of it.
You know, for a show about dogs and space, it doesn’t really shy away from profound moral problems, as the title suggests. Was there ever a time when either of you thought, “You know what, this is truly too dark.”
JC: I mean, it’s a really dramatic program in which the characters are forced to make major choices and deal with the ramifications of those actions. However, viewing something unusual was always a part of the show’s idea. You know, you have all these tales about dogs and adventures and things like that, but I wanted to produce something where we could witness canines for the first time have a human experience and learn about who they were as individuals.
So that was always the idea, and a lot of programs did a good job of it. Steven Universe and Adventure Time both dealt with important moral choices that the protagonists had to make. But, you know, there was confirmation that you can write those kinds of tales and have the comedy, action, and heart ring true at the same time.
AH: You’re right. And I agree with all you’ve said. And I believe that for me, I like humor and adventure, but if there isn’t a very powerful foundation element behind that, it’s just a bunch of moving images. So the more heart and feeling you can put into a character, the funnier it will be, and the simpler it will be to convey the rest of the tale.
(Photo courtesy of Netflix)
Can you two discuss about the voice cast a little bit? The core cast includes a number of well-known actors such as Haley Joel Osment and William Jackson Harper.
JC: We were quite fortunate. It’s amazing that we got Haley Joel Osment to play Captain Garbage. In some ways, it’s almost as if it was intended to be. I wanted the interaction between Captain Garbage and his owner Chelsea to be as authentic as possible while I was producing the program. And one movie I looked to in order to figure out that tone and how to make it seem authentic was AI.
And it was a film about a robot child who adored his human mother. And that was the film I was watching to see how they did it, to see how they made you care for this robot. You may recall that Haley Joel Osment portrayed the young robot kid. It’s also amusing since I drew inspiration from Haley in that film while creating this show. “Oh, Haley’s on the program doing the main character playing the part where he’s pining for his owner Chelsea,” I realized after he’d already started filming. So it was a weird experience for me.
AH: When I first met Jeremiah, I was impressed by his deep-seated honesty about things and the absence of a veneer of personality over his personality. We never wanted someone to look cartoony, and I believe that carried over into the voice casting. We wanted them to be dynamic, witty, and enjoyable, but all of the voices are just the performers being themselves. We have some side characters with which we can have some fun, such as John DiMaggio, who plays Jake and Bender, and we bring folks in for some entertaining characters.
But, you know, there were times when one of our performers was sobbing in the middle of a scene, like at the conclusion of season one. There’s a sequence in which she just goes for it. “Oh no, are you really crying?” we wondered aloud. And she says, “No, it’s not a problem. It’s all right.” And it took her about a minute to recover. As a result, it’s a good illustration of… For the most part, we sought to elicit genuine feelings, and they were all fantastic.
(Photo courtesy of Netflix)
While it’s fantastic that this is Jeremiah’s first major show, Adam, you joked about having a lot of credits to your name before we began filming. I get why Jeremiah is involved in Dogs in Space, but what about Dogs in Space first piqued your interest, Adam?
AH: Well, for starters, Jeremiah appealed to me. So we met in early 2018, and I believe he met a number of folks that may have assisted him with showrunning. But, as I already said, he comes out as quite genuine. In general, he’s a really calm, laid-back guy with little ego yet a powerful creative presence.
And so the first person I thought of was Jeremiah, because when you’re assisting someone with a show, you’re going to be with them for years. So, if you and your partner don’t get along on a fundamental level, you’re in for a rough couple of years. And, you know, doing a program is really difficult, and there’s nothing that can be done to alleviate that difficulty. There may be times when things are really tough and you are exhausted. And so the greatest problem was obviously finding someone with whom I could work for two years in a very wonderful creative atmosphere.
Then there was the fact that there were dogs in space. I mean, I like humor, adventure, and enjoyable cartoons, and there was nothing about this program that didn’t include all of those elements. So it was a simple decision.
In light of the manufacturing schedule. I’m going to ask the million-dollar question, which I’m pretty sure I’ve asked everyone at this point. What impact did the epidemic have on production?
AH: You’re the first one to inquire, but we’ve been waiting for you.
JC: At first, it was difficult. I believe that everyone in the globe and in our sector has struggled with the transition from working shoulder-to-shoulder in the office to going home and trying to figure out how to Zoom. You’re attempting to figure out when you’ll be able to perform real work and how many meetings you can fit into a single day.
When it came to being in the writer’s room and trying to be creative, it was a different scenario. When it comes to speaking, you must wait your time. You can’t simply speak all at once since the program will muffle you and things like that. Everyone was having a fresh experience. Atomic and Netflix, as well as Adam and I, were all incredibly compassionate when people were burned out and needed to relax. And if someone wanted a break, they were more than welcome to take one without inquiry.
But, in terms of production and everything else, I don’t think we really skipped a beat. And I don’t believe the program suffered in any way in terms of quality. The show seems to be fantastic. I couldn’t be more pleased with it. It’s much superior than anything I could have concocted on my own.
AH: Building on what Jeremiah mentioned, the crew’s mental health is always sort of essential on any production, not that it is always, but you know, you really have to pick up those signals on whether someone is beginning to go. You know, a lot of it was tied to the epidemic.
It’s sometimes merely work-related on a program. Animating is a difficult task. Being a storyboard artist is really difficult, and your days are always packed. Add in the fact that individuals are alone and at home, and you have a recipe for disaster. As a result, you must be well aware that this was an afterthought. And we had a handful of crew members who were feeling the effects of working in solitude. So we had to either take them away from their work for a short while or shift them to a less active or hectic area, or myself or Jeremiah would simply step in and perform their tasks.
There are several situations when I just declare, “Okay, you’ve gone too far. I’m going to complete this, “Whatever it was, I’ve been in the industry long enough to know that there’s no component of the manufacturing process that I can’t step into and perform quite effectively.
Another item that comes to mind is… “What am I missing the most here?” was my revelation, in a way. The two-minute sessions were the part of the epidemic that bothered me the most. There were no meetings that lasted less than two minutes. There was no way I could just go into the office and say, “What’s new with you? What’s up, what’s up, what’s up, what’s up, what’s up, what’s up” “Oh just alter that area there,” you may remark after looking over someone’s shoulder for 30 seconds. All of those small little meetings that you have in a production when everyone is there suddenly vanished. As a result, each meeting had to be a meeting, lasting half an hour or an hour. As a result, you just missed such tiny gatherings.
(Photo courtesy of Netflix)
What is a minor feature from the program that you like but aren’t sure whether anybody else will notice? Personally, I like how the dogs’ necks might occasionally bulk out in their little outfits.
JC: That was something I had to really think about. The art style is simple on the surface, yet below it all is a complex mess. Chonies is a small chihuahua, and you’d think that based on his design, he’d be the simplest character to animate and move about, but he’s really the most complicated. And when it came to animation, he was the one who was continually getting red lines and comments from me to make sure he was doing everything right. He was the one with the most brow rolls in his eyes.
When it came to the style, when you mentioned the neck rolls, we worked hard to make sure they looked authentic. We have these virtually flat figures, but we concentrate on having these extremely particular overlapping lines and contour lines simply to make sure that the characters seem very realistic and move in a really three-dimensional fashion, even though they’re as plain as possible. So, sure, seeing these people move and seem very, very genuine is where my biggest satisfaction comes from.
AH: And I’d have to say it’s entirely Jeremiah’s neck roll. Nobody else was thinking, “Oh, we really need neck rolls in this show.” So that’s simply his excellent sense of character design. And we had a fantastic Character Supervisor, Adam Bernier, who is sort of… He and Jeremiah got along swimmingly. So kudos to each and every one of them.
I suppose it would be for me, and I’ll be a bit childish here. In the show, there are three farts concealed. That was unquestionably a highlight for me… Allow them to squeak in, if you’ll pardon the pun. On a more serious note, we had Liz Artinian, the Art Director for Steven Universe. And seeing the work that came out of the exhibition, as well as from her team and design team, is one of the greatest thrills of the exhibits for me. The BGs, for example, are fantastic. I asked our studio how many we ended up producing, and in a program with 20 episodes, there were over 6,000 BGs, painted BGs, and they’re all really stunning. I simply want to decorate my wall with screen captures.
(Photo courtesy of Netflix)
Netflix is renowned for keeping the number of episodes of a particular program under wraps. So I’m delighted you said there are 20, because one of my queries was going to be, “Tell me there’s more Dogs in Space coming,” because I think the most that’s been revealed is 10. So you’re saying there’s a total of 20?
AH: Oh, it’s interesting you mention that; I think I made a mistake there. Can’t you just say we’ve got 20? [laughing]
Regrettably, it is on the record, and I have it. That said, the cliffhanger at the end, which I don’t believe would reveal anything by stating that there is a cliffhanger of any type, hinted to that.
AH: That’s correct. But, maybe, when I stated it, I was simply trying to sway your opinion? [laughing once more]
I’ll make a mental note of it. [Ed. note: When contacted, Netflix merely said the team was “working toward 10 episodes” for launch.]
AH: We’d want ten seasons. That’s where I’m going to leave it.
Then there’s the inevitable spinoff, Cats in Space, right?
AH: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, Jeremiah, on the other hand, was insistent about no cats in the performance.
JC: Because that seemed like the most logical thing to say.
But you never know. AH:
On November 18th, the ten episodes — the ten verified episodes — will be released. What does it feel like to be so close to releasing your kid into the world?
AH: I mean, I’ll start with that since I’ve done it before. Jeremiah is experiencing it for the first time, but for me, it’s like a tremendous sigh after so much effort. So that’s how it feels to me because you’ve worked so hard, and animation is notoriously difficult to create, to finally have that moment when it’s all coming together. It’s like if you’ve been holding your breath for two years and now you can finally let it.
JC: I’m really looking forward to it. The whole experience has been bizarre. And I’ve always tried to have a cool head about it all. More so during the development stage, since we all know that not everything gets approved. I was of the mindset that I shouldn’t get too worked up about it. And I believe it accidentally carried over into the production, where I didn’t allow myself to get too enthused about it despite the fact that we were well into it. I’m incredibly thrilled, and I’m looking forward to experiencing whatever wave of emotions comes my way once it’s out and I see it on the television.
Are you apprehensive in any way?
JC: I don’t believe I’m nervous at all. I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure there will be some trolly types, but that’s true of everything. I don’t believe there is anything that doesn’t have a negative connotation attached to it. So it doesn’t disturb me; I’m not worried in the least. I really hope we did a good job and that it connects with the target population we’re aiming for.
And, for me, getting others to feel strong emotions is the bread and butter of storytelling. So, if people tell me the play made them cry one or two times, I know I did a fantastic job.
AH: I’m immune to everything. I’ve been doing this for far too long.
You’ve seen all there is to see beneath the sun?
AH: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, But, sure, you always hope that this program, this cartoon, will be on par with Adventure Time, Steven Universe, or one of those things that just blasts off into the sky.
Is there anything else you’d want to add to the conversation about the show?
AH: Um, keep an eye on it?
This is a great note!
JC: In some ways, Dogs in Space was a love letter to humanity and dogs, and the relationship between the two, and what it means to be a human and what it means to be a dog, and having these characters experience each other in a completely new way is something I hope makes people think about and appreciate their dogs, as well as each other as humans and the world. And, yes, I’m interested to see how others react to it.
For length and clarity, this interview was minimally modified.
The “dogs in space movie” is a Netflix original animated film that follows the story of three dogs who go on an intergalactic journey to find their master.
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