The Care Bears Are Coming Back, Here's How

It’s no secret that we love cartoons here at Cinema Blend, almost as much as we enjoy reminiscing about childhood. Netflix is combining those worlds to try and win over multiple generations of streamers by bringing back the biggest enemies of cynics everywhere: the Care Bears. All of your rainbow and yellow sun stomach tattoos will be in vogue once more.

Netflix is currently developing a new iteration of Care Bears and Cousins, which will also incorporate all of the non-bear animals in the Care-iverse, and they’re aiming to have the first season available to customers as early as the beginning of 2016. This is the latest in a line of kid-centered shows that the streaming giant has announced in recent months, proving their dedication to making Netflix a worthy company for the whole family. Care Bears is an interesting franchise to go with, as it’s a bit plain by today’s “everything is loud and in your face” standards.

For those who grew up in the clouds, the Care Bears are a bunch of really nice bears that were created as a marketing tool for the American Greetings card company in 1981. (And you thought Ouija was a silly adaptation.) The fuzzy Care-a-lot residents have pictures on their stomachs that identify their characteristics. So Tenderheart Bear has a heart tummy symbol and is really caring, and Champ Bear has a trophy on his belly and he’s badass at sports, and so on. Lotsa Heart Elephant, Swift Heart Rabbit and the rest of the Cousins clan follow the same system. (Are Facebook Like Bear and Bacon Bear far behind?)

You’d think that a world capable of creating Care Bears wouldn’t be a place where evil exists, but there’s Professor Coldheart and his assistant Frostbite, trying to excise all of the kindhearted feelings from the world around us. There are also other villains for the Care Bears to not get into fist fights with, such as the movie’s Dark Heart.

The question is whether or not this version of Care Bears and Cousins will retain the franchise’s generally blinding sense of goodness, or if they’ll try to jazz things up for today’s audiences. Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos told CNN, “A lot of it is just ‘trusted brand,’” so it’s likely they won’t be modifying too much. Gotta keep it recognizable to the parents who are letting the kids watch it, after all.

Netflix is already bringing back beloved children’s series like The Magic School Bus and Popples, not to mention developing new youth-skewing series based on King Kong (Kong – King of the Apes) and Winx Club ( Winx Club WOW: World Of Winx). And that’s added to the multiple seasons of their already airing original shows, like Bojack Horseman and Orange is the New Black, and their exclusive deals with popular network shows, like Gotham. Since there seem to be no limits to what Netflix can do, what fictional universe do you think they’ll take us to next?

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.