DreamWorks launches TV channel here

US film studio's popular characters will star in their own TV shows

The DreamWorks TV channel line-up includes All Hail King Julien, starring King Julien and his lemur friends from the Madagascar film franchise.
The DreamWorks TV channel line-up includes All Hail King Julien, starring King Julien and his lemur friends from the Madagascar film franchise. PHOTO: DREAMWORKS CHANNEL

There are sidekicks in literature and popular culture who have become famous in their own right, including Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from Shakespeare's Hamlet and the penguins from the Madagascar movies.

Now, the minor characters in the universes created by American film studio DreamWorks will get a platform to shine on.

The new DreamWorks TV channel, which starts airing from March 3 on StarHub TV Channel 606, will complement the studio's movies, bridging narrative arcs and telling the stories of sidekicks in movies such as the Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon series.

This way, the TV shows will not steal the thunder from the studio's popular theatrical film offerings, say Mr Eric Ellenbogen and Mr John Engelman, the co-heads of International TV for DreamWorks Animation. They were in Singapore earlier this week for the launch of the new channel here.

Mr Ellenbogen says: "If you look at the two Dragons TV series that we've made - those creatively bridge the two How To Train Your Dragon films.

"You'll see the first film, and then the series Riders Of Berk and Race To The Edge bridge the story between the two films. Of course, you can enjoy the movies and TV series on their own as they are standalone stories. But for huge fans, you'll have a narrative arc that connects the TV series to the movies.

"There are also certain smaller characters and relationships that have become very popular from the movies - these will get more development in the TV series."

The programme line-up on the new channel includes All Hail King Julien, which stars the irreverent King Julien and his fellow lemur friends from the popular Madagascar film franchise. The show won the Outstanding Children's Animated Program award at the Daytime Emmys last year.

Other programmes to look out for include The Adventures Of Puss In Boots, featuring Puss from the Shrek film franchise; Dawn Of The Croods, a prequel series to the movie The Croods (2013); and animated shorts such as Secrets Of The Masters, which features characters from the Kung Fu Panda movies.

Other than the DreamWorks movie spin-offs, the channel will also feature a daily morning pre-school block for children aged two to five, with fresh episodes of popular shows such as Noddy and Guess With Jess.

Coming up are reboots of classic TV series such as Voltron, a 1984 show about a giant robot named Voltron which is piloted through space by a group of specially trained astronauts.

The new channel, which debuted in Thailand last August and in Malaysia last September, costs $8.56 a month and comes with DreamWorks On Demand. It is also available as part of the Supreme Box Office Pack, which costs $28.90 a month.

It marks the first time that DreamWorks Animation is aggregating its content on a single TV channel. Previously, it licensed its properties to other TV channels, such as Nickelodeon.

Even though the shows are made for TV, the channel executives vouch for their animation quality.

Mr Ellenbogen says: "The quality of the TV series is not dissimilar to the movies - these are highdefinition series with animation of the highest quality. You will see them in all their glory."

•Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter @STyipwaiyee

•DreamWorks (StarHub TV Channel 606) starts airing on March 3. All StarHub TV subscribers get a free preview of the channel from its launch until March 20.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2016, with the headline DreamWorks launches TV channel here. Subscribe