Hoops panel Comic-Con 2020

Netflix is hitting the court next month with Hoops, a new animated series starring Jake Johnson (New Girl, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) as a foul-mouthed high school basketball coach who’s delusional enough to think that if he can lead his garbage team to victory, his entire pathetic life will start improving. The series comes from writer/comedian Ben Hoffman (Archer, The Ben Show) and is executive produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, with animation from Bento Box, the same company that makes Bob’s Burgers.

Hoffman joined Johnson and the rest of the cast for a lively Comic-Con at Home Q&A session, where they debuted an exclusive first-look at footage from the upcoming premiere episode of the show. Check out the footage and get highlights from the panel below.

Hoops Panel Comic-Con 2020

Jake Johnson’s New Girl co-star Max Greenfield moderated the panel and there was lots of amusing back and forth banter between the two of them, so if you’re a fan of those guys and their work together, I’d definitely recommend checking out the entire panel. They were joined by fellow actors Rob Riggle, Ron Funches, Natasha Leggero, Cleo King, and A.D. Miles. But for those who just want the highlights, here’s everything you need to know.

Creator Ben Hoffman spoke about this show’s long, long path to creation. “It sounds like a joke, but I want to say we made the original pilot five years ago, if Comic-Con viewers are wondering how long it takes for things to get made in Hollywood. I had a show on Comedy Central that was not well received and canceled quickly, and I wanted to follow that up with something with my reaction to that experience, which was anger and frustration and screaming and yelling,” he said. “Let me tell you how long ago this was: Phil Lord and Chris Miller were interested in my pilot and wanted to work on it, and they said, ‘We have a new movie coming out called The LEGO Movie,’ and I said, ‘Sounds good, but I don’t know that a movie about LEGOs is really going to hit, but you guys sound interesting. I’ll check out the movie and maybe we can work together.'”

Johnson explained that they largely expected all of the networks to pass on their early presentation because of how filthy it was, but they stuck to their guns and ramped up the language because they found it hilarious. MTV, who originally funded that early presentation, ended up passing on it, but the team got a second chance with Netflix years later. “My note to Jake for that presentation all those years ago was, ‘Be so dirty that they don’t pick it up,'” Hoffman said. “And he nailed it.”

Max Greenfield mused that the show is so filthy that if it were shot in live-action it would be hard to watch, and Hoffman said that’s exactly how it ended up in animation. “It was not intended to be. That was actually how it became animated. Phil and Chris were like, ‘We love the script, but you do this in live-action and you’ll never work again.’ They said, ‘This could honestly work animated,’ and with my zero years of animation experience, I said, ‘I’m in.'”

Hoops Trailer

Hoffman also talked a little about the look of the series. “I’m a big fan of Bob’s Burgers, and I like that animation style,” he said. “A lot of the same team who did Bob’s did this, and I feel like it has that clean Bob’s look, it doesn’t look dead-on like Bob’s. To me, it has that Sunday night prime time look, which I don’t think Netflix has done before. It’s fun to see a Sunday night network-looking prime time show with this kind of language, which is not something I’d seen before.”

While there’s a clear narrative that takes place across season 1’s ten episodes, Johnson said the creative team really wanted to make sure the comedy was at the forefront of this series. “The fun of this show is, we kind of went after ‘best joke works’ as much as we could, and we had a great writers’ room on this one with a bunch of funny people. There’s not too much heart. There’s not too much story. The idea of this one is just to get in as many bits and laughs as we could, and if we could go on a three-minute run and we felt like it worked, we kept it in. It feels like a little bit of a throwback comedy where it’s comedy for comedy’s sake. There’s not a big message to it. I don’t think you’ll learn anything from watching this.”

If the opening minutes of the show (as revealed during the opening of this panel) are representative of the rest of the series, Johnson is absolutely right. But the show is very funny so far, and I’m curious to see how it leans in, embraces, or even potentially subverts expectations of tried and true sports genre classics and carves out its own filthy identity.

Here’s the show’s official synopsis:

Hoops is an animated comedy sitcom that centers on a hot-headed, foul-mouthed high school basketball coach (Jake Johnson) who thinks turning around his god awful team will take him to the “big leagues” and turn his miserable life around.

Hoops will premieres on Netflix on August 21, 2020.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: