If there’s one thing that every kid today wants, it’s got to be a TV show inspired by a toy that vanished from store shelves back in 1997. Knowing this, the executives at Netflix have decided to pick up an animated action/comedy series based on the defunct Stretch Armstrong doll from Hasbro Studios, along with a few other shows aimed at children. The 26-episode initial season, which should begin streaming in 2017, will focus on an extremely busy teen named Jake Armstrong and his two friends who are accidentally exposed to a some kind of weird chemical that gives them powers of elasticity. Thus, they become Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters, and presumably fight crime or battle aliens or something.
When Kenner originally placed the Stretch Armstrong doll on the market in 1976, it was in the form of a 15-inch, Speedo-wearing muscle dude made from latex rubber and filled with a corn syrup concoction that allowed sadistic kids to grab it by the the limbs and pull it out to around four feet in length. It was weird. When it was reissued by Cap Toys in the ’90s, it came with a more comically exaggerated face and more clothes, but it was still a pretty strange thing to give an impressionable child:
There was a push to bring the pliable, sort-of-superhero cipher character to the screen back in 2008, when Universal made a deal with Hasbro Studios to make a live-action film with a script from Get Him to the Greek’s Nicholas Stoller and Twilight’s Taylor Lautner in the titular role. Relativity Media acquired the rights from Universal two years later with an intent to make a gritty series of films about a super stretchy guy, but that never came to be. Why such a project would falter can only be speculated upon, but RM’s loss is Netflix’s gain.
Also purchased by Netflix were The Greenhouse, about elite boarding school students in Southern California who fight evil, and Lalaloopsy, an animated musical series based on the popular line of creepy-looking plastic rag dolls.