With today's nostalgia mining reaching the point of depletion, the search is on for the few remaining pop-culture artifacts with but the most gossamer coat of dust. And apparently, we now have to go so deep into the basement, past grandpa's old GI footlocker and the first season DVD's of Digimon, it's time for Neopets, a browser game no has thought about since the Bush administration, to get its own TV show.
For a certain group of ancient Millennials, remembering Neopets evokes strong emotions. Specifically a fearful: "Oh shit oh shit I haven't fed my Korbat in 18 years." Equal parts free-to-play Pokemon, furry boot camp and baby's first free-market simulator, the game was a massive hit for kids in the early 2000s. Surprisingly, the company behind Neopets claims it's still going strong today. The website continues to boast over 350 million page views per month which in a game like Neopets, where the act of equipping a paintbrush requires sixteen click-throughs and three Flash Player popups, counts for about sixteen seconds of gameplay a day worldwide.
So after two decades, for reasons beyond human logic, Neopets is finally looking to become a cartoon show. Beach House Pictures, a Singapore-based production company of Canadian Blue Ant Studios, is developing a series aimed squarely at children aged 8 to 12, which is also roughly the last time anyone updated the Neopets front page. While the show is still in early development, plans are to create new characters and stories while still wanting the series to accurately reflect the Neopets experience -- meaning you're supposed to watch an episode, completely forget about it, then come back for another episode about three years later after browsing nostalgically through old emails.
But a kid cartoon series of Neopets is a lost opportunity if we ever heard one. There's a much better TV show to be pulled out of the Neopets franchise, namely, the story of the company itself. Started by a quaint British couple in 1999, Neopets was unwittingly bought up by a high-ranking member of Scientology and the pair had to fight for years to keep Xenuriffic teachings out of their website aimed at gullible children. Then, in 2005, Neopets was bought up for $160 million by Viacom, which tried to recoup its investment by launching so many sponsored games it completely destabilized the Neopian currency. This plunged the kid's browser game into a Zimbabwe-like economic crisis destabilizing its market and the devs were unable to prevent millions of players and their pets from becoming destitute. Also, a young Chrissie Teigen was a moderator. There, that's already three rated-M seasons of an AMC show ready to go.
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