Undeterred by the cultural debate that ensued when “Arthur” featured a same-sex wedding, Hulu has announced a release date for a forward-thinking, LGBTQ-inclusive animated series.
The first five episodes of “The Bravest Knight” will debut on Hulu June 21. Based on Daniel Errico’s 2014 book “The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived,” the show follows a former pumpkin farmer, Sir Cedric (voiced by T.R. Knight), who is now happily married to Prince Andrew (Wilson Cruz). The two dads are a mixed-race family, and are raising a 10-year-old adopted daughter, Nia, together. (Catch the series trailer above.)
According to press notes, Sir Cedric shares his story “on how he transformed from day-time farmer to full-fledged knight.” As for Nia, she’s in training to become a brave knight herself, and “learns important values such as honor, justice and compassion” along the way.
The debut season of “The Bravest Knight” will comprise 13 episodes in total, and also will feature the vocal talents of RuPaul, Christine Baranski, Wanda Sykes, Donna Murphy and Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean. The show’s theme song will be written and performed by singer-songwriter Justin Tranter, who has collaborated with the likes of Nick Jonas and Christina Aguilera, among other pop superstars.
“The Bravest Knight” was previously adapted as an animated short, which premiered on Hulu in 2015. The new version will further the streaming network’s “commitment to connecting with kids and families through bold approaches in storytelling,” representatives said in a May 23 press release.
The news comes days after the PBS Kids’ series “Arthur” divided viewers when it revealed one of its characters, Mr. Ratburn, to be gay. The elementary school teacher, a rat, tied the knot with a male aardvark named Patrick in an episode titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” which aired earlier this month.
The LGBTQ-inclusive plot point prompted Alabama Public Television to yank the episode from its airwaves entirely. Still, “Arthur” creator Marc Brown told People magazine he was “really proud” of the episode, noting that he would “defend it to anybody who wants to talk about it.”
The verdict, of course, is still out on whether the response to “The Bravest Knight” will be similar. In a 2015 interview with HuffPost, Errico said he felt inspired to write the story given the lack of healthy LGBTQ representation in children’s literature. That void, he added, can put youngsters “at a disadvantage towards understanding later on in life.”
“This is a story about reaching your potential and being true to yourself,” Errico, whose other books include 2013’s “The Journey of the Noble Gnarble,” said. “Regardless of whether kids grow up to relate to Cedric or not, I hope that they find a message of acceptance for themselves and others.”