Fears that the end of HBO’s Game of Thrones meant the end of TV monoculture in an increasingly fractured online streaming world were vastly overblown. According to a report from Discussing Film, HBO has found the perfect replacement for the violent fantasy drama: a Sesame Street spinoff starring Elmo. Executive Producers Benjamin Lehmann, Mindy Fila, and Stephanie Longardo will bring Elmo’s World into late night, and we all know what late night on HBO means.
The Not Too Late Show With Elmo is the name of the show, which is currently in development, and it will air on HBO Max, the upcoming WarnerMedia streaming service set to launch in the Spring. HBO took over Sesame Street from PBS in 2016, finally offering hope that we could one day see the modern, grim and gritty take on the longtime children’s franchise that fans have been demanding. And now, with Elmo heading to late night, it looks like wHBO continues to strike gold, even as rival Disney can’t seem to get their @#$% together on a god damn Muppets reboot.
Look, the writing has been on the wall for some time that children’s programming is too childlike. Remember what The Hollywood Reporter said in their review of the blockbuster film Dora and the Lost City of Gold:
What keeps things alive, up to a point, is the imperturbable attitude of the titular heroine, who is invested with try-and-stop-me spirit by Moner, who’s actually 18 and looks it despite preventive measures. The same goes for Wahlberg, who’s 19. There’s a palpable gap you can’t help but notice between the essentially innocent, borderline-pubescent nature of the leading characters and the film itself, and the more confident and mature vibes emanating from the leading actors. The director seems to be trying to keep the hormones at bay, but there are some things you just can’t disguise, perhaps human nature first and foremost. Dora seems committed to projecting a pre-sexualized version of youth, while throbbing unacknowledged beneath the surface is something a bit more real, its presence rigorously ignored. To be believed, this story should have been set in 1955.
Maybe The Not Too Late Show With Elmo will deliver the kind of children’s programming that respected outlets like THR have been longing for? We’ll learn more in the coming months.