Bone TV Series

After a decade of false starts, I’ll believe that a film or television adaptation of Jeff Smith‘s Bone actually exists when I sit down to watch it. And yet, I can’t help but feel pretty good about it this time. Netflix has revealed that the lauded comic book series, a wry blend of fantasy and comedy, is coming to the streaming platform as an animated show. Honestly, this already feels like a perfect fit for the material.

The news comes our way via Deadline, who also have this statement from writer/artist Smith himself:

I’ve waited a long time for this. Netflix is the perfect home for Bone. Fans of the books know that the story develops chapter-by-chapter and book-by-book. An animated series is exactly the way to do this! The team at Netflix understands Bone and is committed to doing something special — this is good news for kids and cartoon lovers all over the world.

Originally published from 1991 through 2004 and spanning 55 issues, Bone tells the story of the Bone cousins, three little white creatures who are run out of their home and arrive in a fantastical valley, meet a number of eccentric characters, and have an adventure that is as funny as it is sweeping and epic. The comic won numerous Eisner and Harvey awards and was named one of the ten best comics of all time by Time Magazine.

Quite frankly, all of that was deserved. It’s my favorite comic of all time and I’ve been waiting nervously for some kind adaptation for, oh, you know, more than half of my life.

Smith has been famously protective of the comic over the years, refusing to let any potential adaptation water down his work. When Nickelodeon attempted to adapt the comic in the late ’90s with child voice actors for the three leads (presented as adults on the page) and modern pop songs on the soundtrack, Smith responded that Lord of the Rings and Star Wars would never have pop songs and Bone shouldn’t either. A decade later, Warner Bros. attempted to adapt the comic into a three-part film trilogy, but nothing ever came of it, even after P.J. Hogan was hired to direct in 2012. The project sparked to life again in 2016 with a new director, but that also fizzled out. And that left the door open for Netflix to jump in.

Now, Netflix has to pull off what everyone else managed to not do: actually bring Bone to the screen. I’m especially curious about who gets hired as a showrunner, since the comic is a high-wire act of tones, often feeling like J.R.R. Tolkien by way of Chuck Jones. Like the best of Pixar, it manages to tell an all-ages adventure that never talks down to kids or compromises drama or stakes for adults. There are shades of Princess Bride here, but also Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and classic Disney. And like any story that took over a decade to tell in its original form, it feels like a proper journey, with characters undergoing radical changes as they discover more about themselves and their world. Streaming television feels like a better fit than a film series.

No release date has been announced, but we’ll keep you posted as we learn more.

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