Here at The A.V. Club’s news section, we tend to veer wildly between “how is this going to be a movie?” and “sure, anything can be a movie,” as if we’re not actually making passionate statements one way or the other and are merely following a whim based on which perspective seems the easiest to write about. But if that were the case, it would mean we were just doing our best to cover the news in a fun and engaging way without really taking a stand on anything, rather than using our platform here to state opinions as facts, and that’s only true some of the time!
Anyway, Netflix is turning card game Exploding Kittens into an animated series, with help from producers Mike Judge and Greg Daniels (a.k.a. the duo behind King Of The Hill, to say nothing of the notable things they’ve done separately). This is going to be one of those indignant “how is this going to be a movie?” news stories, even though we’re talking about a TV show, so we should say at this point that that information alone seems absurd. They made King Of The Hill! Now they’re making a cartoon about a card game!
But there’s more to this, courtesy of Netflix’s tweet announcing the show’s cast, which includes Lucy Liu, Abraham Lim, Ally Maki, Mark Porksch, Sasheer Zamata, and Tom Ellis. You probably know all of them, they’re pretty famous! Why are they making a cartoon based on a card game?
For those assuming this animated series will dig into the juicy lore of the Exploding Kittens brand, the game is a pretty straightforward take on UNO with very little juicy lore to speak of. You draw cards with goofy cat characters on them, hoping you don’t draw an exploding kitten card. If you do, you lose. Some of the cards let you avoid losing, some of them let you shuffle the deck, and some of them let you steal cards from other players. If you’re not familiar, you’re in luck: Netflix’s mobile app is getting an exclusive version of the game in May.
The goofy cat characters are obviously where this TV show is going to build its foundation, but there must be some aspect of the game itself as well, right? Otherwise it’s like making a game about Richard from Guess Who? but without any aspect of reducing people down to their physical characteristics. (Richard is the character who came up when we did a search for “Guess Who characters,” so we assume he has the same cultural relevance as the Exploding Kittens creations.)
Exploding Kittens will premiere on Netflix in 2023. If you’d like to try the game, just walk into a Target and start swinging your arms around. You’ll hit a copy eventually.