Chris Nee‘s passion for telling inclusive stories, making history interesting to kids, and getting content out to as wide an audience as possible are finally coming together in her latest show, Ridley Jones.
The creator behind Vampirina and Doc McStuffins has some well-known projects under her belt, but her upcoming Netflix adventure series is extra-special to her.
“Ridley is really a story about a bunch of disparate groups of people who have to figure out how to live together in a museum,” says Nee. “That was always the thing that was really exciting about writing [it].”
Produced by Brown Bag Films, the CG-animated series stars a young girl who discovers that the exhibits in the museum where she lives come to life, and she has to protect them. Nee created and executive produced the six x 22-minute show, which is set to premiere on July 13.
Nee was particularly excited about the freedom she had to be very inclusive with the series, which features a nonbinary dinosaur and a character with two dads.
But she’s also been wanting for some time to tackle a series about history—an often-sidelined field of study because it can be hard to make the past fun for kids. Nee is hoping that the museum adventure staging of Ridley Jones will change how kids think about the subject, opening their minds up beyond the stereotype of old professors reading books and making the study of the past an action-packed journey full of learning opportunities. When the exhibits run wild in the first episode, for example, Ridley has an opportunity to learn about dodo birds, Egyptian mummies and what a caribou stampede looks like.
Nee thinks the show’s history lessons will also be accessible and fun because the stories are blended with emotion and layer in a deeper message about how people come together, which should resonate with families better than ever right now.
Netflix dropped two full episodes of Ridley Jones on YouTube a full month before ahead the July 13 premiere date. The sneak-peek was part of the SVOD platform’s overall strategy to give kids more access to content, according to a company spokesperson. Netflix sees discoverability potential in YouTube and will support the show’s premiere by rolling our additional short clips there.
So far, the strategy has worked: The two episodes on YouTube have racked up 17 million views collectively. And now Nee is eager for even more families to see the series.
“With Ridley, I got to create an action-adventure hero and show that hero’s journey, which excites me,” she says.