As talking horses go, BoJack is hardly Mr. Ed.
Viewers will get their chance to assess the latest equine actor when the 12-episode BoJack Horseman, featuring Will Arnett as the voice of the long-faced title character, becomes available from online programmer Netflix on Aug. 22.
The animated but very adult-oriented comedy features the equine BoJack (Arnett), a faded 1990s sitcom star living a depressing life of self-loathing, booze and crummy relationships in an odd world where humans and animals interact as equals.
BoJack, the former star of Horsin' Around, hangs out with his human friend, Todd Chavez (Aaron Paul) and frequently talks to his ex-lover and feline agent, the purr-fect Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) as he plots out a comeback in the darkly comic world of entertainment.
Paul F. Tompkins voices the delightfully named Mr. Peanutbutter, a golden retriever, and Alison Brie plays Diane Nguyen. Other characters in BoJack's bizarre world include Bob Maggot, suitably situated as a funeral director; Lenny Turteltaub, a reptilian producer; film director Quentin Tarantulino; and Neal McBeal, a Navy seal.
Creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg (Save Me, The Exquisite Corpse Project) is joined as an executive producer by Arnett and Paul, with former Disney chief Michael Eisner's The Tornante Company producing. Graphic artist Lisa Hanawalt designed BoJack.
During an animated – in the non-cartoon sense – recent script reading by the cast that features references to Secretariat and Dick Cavett, Arnett gesticulates, waving his arms and running his hands through his hair to add physical movement to the dialogue, as BoJack speaks to Todd. Ten people sit at a table in an open conference room that features toy horses, with at least a dozen more people, including Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, sitting nearby.
"There's a specific vision here and it's a strong group of writers," says Arnett, praising the show's "super-dark" sensibility after the reading at the ShadowMachine production office. "It's perfectly suited for Netflix."
Eisner, who received a congratulatory handshake from Sarandos at the reading's conclusion, says the series is filled with humor and more. "It has heart."