Netflix is amping up its animated slate with a new comedy, “Pacific Heat,” hailing from award-winning Australian company Working Dog Productions, Variety has learned exclusively.
The series, which landed a 13-episode order for its initial season, will debut on Netflix Dec. 2 in the United States, Canada, the U.K. and Ireland. In Australia, the television partner is Foxtel and the series will premiere in late 2016.
“Pacific Heat” follows the exploits of a dynamic unit of undercover police investigators working on the glitzy Gold Coast of Australia. The glamorous, sophisticated and sun-drenched paradise masks a hot-bed of crime — everyone from drug smugglers and biker gangs to eco-terrorists and the person who invented frozen yogurt — and in order to tackle this seedy underbelly, police established a covert squad of highly-trained operatives, known as Pacific Heat. When criminals strike, the squad will be there in an unconventional and uncompromising manner, and not afraid to operate outside the law — provided at least one of them is wearing a fluorescent safety vest.
The series was created by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner and Rob Sitch of Working Dog Prods., a giant production company in Australia that has been behind much of the country’s top comedy television and film for more than 25 years, including the late-night variety show “The Late Show.”
Sitch, a top Aussie actor and comedian who appears in most of Working Dog’s projects, voices the “Pacific Heat” character Special Agent Todd Sommerville.
Sitch says that “Pacific Heat,” at its heart, is a satire on cop shows. He jokes the idea came about because “two decades ago, we laughed that we didn’t think they could think of another cop show…We sat down one day and we almost got down to 100 with the number of shows we’ve drawn from.”
In terms of tone, Sitch says, “You could throw in ‘The A-Team,’ ‘Hawaii Five-0’ and ‘Charlie’s Angels.'” And in terms of viewership, though the series is animated, like “South Park” and “Family Guy,” the show is made for adults. But Sitch believes it will have a mass appeal.
“We, in a way, made this for adults, but we know that if you make something for adults, a 12-year-old boy will get it,” he says with a laugh. “If you make it for adults, one of the groups that will enjoy it is teenagers.”
Working Dog has previously been in business with Netflix, as their workplace comedy “Dreamland” (titled “Utopia” in Australia) is available on the service. Sitch says creating an original series for the streaming giant was a no brainer. “We had the relationship with Netflix,” he says.
Being on Netflix, “Pacific Heat” will be readily available to view at all times, but how long does the Working Dog team envision the series running for? “In my head, we always think three to five series, but funny enough, I was looking at the ‘South Park’ guys at 20 [seasons] and I was sure they were going to stop at six,” he says. “Animation can go for a long time.”