HBO News: Animated series Animals. debuts Feb. 5

HBO News: Animated series Animals. debuts Feb. 5
Yareah Magazine



New York City, Earth’s least habitable environment, is home to a host of downtrodden creatures. Whether it’s lovelorn rats, gender-questioning pigeons or aging bedbugs in the midst of a midlife crisis, the awkward small talk, moral ambiguity and existential woes of these non-human urbanites prove startlingly similar to our own.

Created by Phil Matarese & Mike Luciano, and produced by Duplass Brothers Television, the animated adult television series ANIMALS. kicks off its ten-episode season FRIDAY, FEB. 5(11:30 p.m.-midnight ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

The series is also available on HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO On Demand.

Matarese and Luciano voice many of the characters on the show, which also features such guest voiceover artists as Eric Andre, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Rocky, Katie Aselton, Jessica Chastain,Rob Corddry, Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Ellie Kemper, Nick Kroll, Lauren Lapkus, Melanie Lynsky, Marc Maron, Kumail Nanjiani, Horatio Sanz, Adam Scott, Molly Shannon, Wanda Sykes, Cobie Smulders, Kurt Vile, Matt Walsh, Zach Woods and Steve Zissis.

Upcoming episodes:

Episode #1: “Rats.”

Debut: FRIDAY, FEB. 5 (11:30 p.m.-midnight ET/PT)

Other HBO playdates: Feb. 5 (1:30 a.m.), 9 (3:25 a.m.) and 10 (4:20 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Feb. 7 (4:00 p.m.) and 11 (midnight)

An uninitiated rat gets mating tips from his friend at a subterranean party. A pair of police horses complains about an old acquaintance who’s made it big. A bedbug has a midlife crisis.

Written and directed by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano.


Episode #2: “Pigeons.”

Debut: FRIDAY, FEB. 12 (11:30 p.m.-midnight)

Other HBO playdates: Feb. 12 (1:30 a.m.), 16 (3:10 a.m.) and 17 (2:00 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Feb. 14 (5:30 p.m.) and 18 (11:45 p.m.)

A naive male pigeon prepares himself for motherhood, while another is challenged by a New Jersey rival. One caterpillar’s metamorphosis is another’s lament.

Written and directed by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano.


Episode #3: “Cats.”

Debut: FRIDAY, FEB. 19 (11:30 p.m.-midnight)

Other HBO playdates: Feb. 19 (1:30 a.m.), 23 (4:00 a.m.) and 24 (4:30 a.m.)

HBO2 playdate: Feb. 25 (midnight)

Two privileged feline siblings find their perfect day interrupted by a crafty alley cat. Bored with the monotony of his life, a goose sets off on his own, and attempts to bond with a flock of Central Park swans.

Written by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano; directed by Phil Matarese, Mike Luciano and Wes Archer.


Episode #4: “Dogs.”

Debut: FRIDAY, FEB. 26 (11:30 p.m.-midnight)

Other HBO playdates: Feb. 26 (1:30 a.m.) and March 1 (3:55 a.m.) and 2 (4:25 a.m.)

HBO2 playdate: Feb. 28 (5:30 p.m.)

A papillon is thrust into an unwelcoming dog park. A dog-walking group deals with an unexpected secret. Two dogs dissect their owners’ first date.

Written by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano; directed by Phil Matarese, Mike Luciano and Dominic Polcino.


Episode #5: “Rats.”

Debut: FRIDAY, MARCH 4 (11:30 p.m.-midnight)

Other HBO playdates: March 4 (1:30 a.m.), 8 (4:30 a.m.) and 9 (5:00 a.m.)

A rat invents pants. A moth tries neon light for the first time. Two fish couples have a tense dinner.

Written by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano; directed by Phil Matarese, Mike Luciano and Wes Archer.


Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano met while working together at a New York City production company, where they would do voices for the pigeons outside of their office. Phil, an illustrator in his free time, proposed animating a scene based off their pigeon-riffing to screen at Mike’s monthly comedy show.

Thus was born a series of animated shorts, simply dubbed “Animals.”. The series quickly became a full-time passion project, screening in venues throughout NYC, as well as at festivals around the country. After winning Best Comedy at the 2013 New York Television Festival, the duo gained the attention of executive producers Jay and Mark Duplass, who convinced them to quit their jobs and move across the country to begin making ten half-hour episodes independent of any studio or network.

One year later, the inaugural two episodes premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival – the first independently produced TV series to do so – which led to acclaim in the New York Timesand Los Angeles Times, and a two-season pickup by HBO.

The animation for ANIMALS. was created with Starburns Industries, the studio known for “Rick & Morty” and Charlie Kaufman’s new stop-motion film “Anomalisa.”

ANIMALS. is part of the continuing relationship between HBO and Jay & Mark Duplass, whose acclaimed show “Togetherness,” also produced by Duplass Brothers Television, returns for its second season Sunday, Feb. 21 (10:3011:00 p.m.).

The executive producers of ANIMALS. are Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass; directors/writers, Phil Matarese & Mike Luciano; producers, Jen Roskind, James Fino, Joe Russo II, Kenny Micka.

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