The Boondocks is coming back in a big way, evoking 2000s-era nostalgia through a contemporary lens!
HBO is reviving Aaron McGruder’s animated series, The Boondocks, as a “reimagined” reboot, ordering two seasons (collectively 24 episodes,) and a 50-minute special. The show will premiere in fall 2020, set for streaming service HBO Max (which launches in spring 2020). The deal will also bolster the platform’s catalogue content with the complete run of The Boondocks’ acclaimed original animated iteration, which ran sporadically on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block from 2005 to 2014.
Creator McGruder will return for The Boondocks reboot as showrunner and executive producer, joined in the latter capacity by Mainstay Entertainment’s Norm Aladjem, along with Seung Kim and Meghann Collins Robertson. The HBO Max series will be produced by Sony Pictures Animation in a partnership with Sony Pictures Television.
The Boondocks, which first manifested as McGruder’s comic strip, is told through the satirically sardonic viewpoint of Huey Freeman, an African-American child whose family recently moved to a mostly-white Maryland suburb. As HBO’s official synopsis for the reboot series reads:
The new Boondocks follows the adventures of self-proclaimed “Civil Rights Legend” Robert “Granddad” Freeman, and his two rambunctious grandsons Huey and Riley. The family has recently moved to an idyllic community in suburban Maryland only to see it taken over by the tyrannical Uncle Ruckus and his bizarre neo-fascist regime. Life under Ruckus turns out to be an everyday struggle to survive.
As Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer, HBO Max and President, TBS, TNT and truTV, lauds of the deal in a statement:
“The Boondocks was a revolutionary series that sparked conversations on hot button issues and brought dark subjects into the light with episodes like “The Trial of Robert Kelly,” “The Fundraiser” and “The Story of Gangstalicious.” Aaron is a gifted visionary whose unique style of storytelling is a welcome voice and we are elated The Freemans are making their thugnificent comeback on HBO Max.”
The original Boondocks comic strip debuted in 1996 on music site Hitlist.com, subsequently gaining mainstream attention after a 1997 move to hip-hop magazine The Source. However, after achieving the crucial step of national syndication in 1999, The Boondocks skyrocketed to cultural significance with the November 6, 2005 debut of the Adult Swim animated series, in which Huey was voiced by actress Regina King. The series, just as the comic, was a subversive sampling of satire that depicted a diverse set of political viewpoints, often coming to the table with surprising conclusions; notably the case with the January 2006 episode, “Return of the King,” in which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – who, as it turns out, was not dead, but in a 30+ year-long coma – awoke and, after initial fanfare, became the object of public ire after making harsh critiques on post-9-11 America and the state of African-American culture. The episode earned the series the prestigious Peabody Award.
Consequently, the return of The Boondocks in a political climate that’s arguably more elevated in volatility since the post-9-11 era is an intriguing notion. As McGruder expresses in the statement:
“There’s a unique opportunity to revisit the world of The Boondocks and do it over again for today. It’s crazy how different the times we live in are now – both politically and culturally – more than a decade past the original series and two decades past the original newspaper comic. There’s a lot to say and it should be fun.”
We’ll keep you updated on HBO Max’s The Boondocks reboot series as the news arrives!