‘Animals.’ Creators Mike Luciano and Phil Matarese on Making a D.I.Y. Cartoon for HBO
The first thing you need to know about Animals., HBO's coolest show you've probably never heard of, is that it's not for everyone. Combining low-budget animation with a host of A-list voices (including Jessica Chastain, A$AP Rocky, Robert Morse, Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, John Lovitz, Kurt Vile and the Wayne Brothers, among many, many others) in an episodic, improvised anthology series about different New York creatures (among them rats, cats, dogs and caterpillars); Animals. was never going to appeal to a mainstream crowd not yet inoculated by cult cartoons like Bojack Horseman and Rick & Morty. Though Animals.--which premiered on HBO at 11:30 P.M. on February 5th (a Friday)--may appear in a time-slot that could be read as fatal to a burgeoning series, its late night time-slot is actually more apropos for what Animals. is; filling perhaps one of the final annals of "dead zone" programming not yet gentrified by Adult Swim.
Because Animals. is late-night television. Animals. is D.I.Y. as fuck. Animals. is punk rock. And the story behind how the show got made in the first place is more Vinyl than a hundred of Bobby Cannavale's cocaine snot-wads. And the story of how Animals. got on television in the first place is a triumphant middle finger to the traditional way of doing things.