The pros and cons of Lionsgate TV's Twilight adaptation being an animated series

Premiere Of Summit Entertainment's "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" - Arrivals
Premiere Of Summit Entertainment's "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" - Arrivals / Kevin Winter/GettyImages

If you're a millennial of a certain age, like myself, whether you really want to go down the Twilight rabbit hole again or not, you've got an ear to the ground about the Twilight TV series that Lionsgate is shopping. The news broke last April and then it was crickets. Well, now, it's been revealed that it's going to be an animated series.

Yes, a record scratched for me, too, after seeing that news come across the wire. Michael Burns, the vice chairman of Lionsgate, casually dropped that information during a Q&A that took place at Morgan Stanley media conference. According to Variety, he said: "We’re going to go out with the ‘Twilight’ series, an animated series, I think there’ll be a lot of interest in that.”

Burns is right. There will be interest, but we'd been living under the assumption that the TV series would be live-action for nearly a year so forgive me if I'm struggling to pivot away from that idea. I came of age as Twilight-mania was hitting its peak. There's a reason why there was a renaissance on the Internet around the film franchise's 15th anniversary.

There's something communal about experiencing those movies. They're not the best thing we've all seen nor are they the worst either. It's the combination of earnestness, "forbidden" love, hit or miss acting, great costuming and then bad costuming, and drama that hits the sweet spot. You can't help but quote them and also make fun of them and then in the next moment defend them. I've done my fair share of all three over the years.

On the one hand I applaud Lionsgate on going back to the well but deciding to switch things up. Choosing the animated route gives the franchise the ability to really expand on the supernatural aspects of Twilight's world in a serious way. A scene like Edward revealing that he sparkles in the sunlight could go from being unintentionally funny like it was in the film to being a gorgeous moment akin to the first appearance of Jacob's russet colored wolf form which had an impact in the New Moon movie.

The TV series being animated is a good look for that side of the entertainment industry. There's a real opportunity to build on this universe in a beautiful way that hasn't been done before. I'm very much interested in the art and how Bella's story will be brought to life since every book has a different vibe and mood to it. But there is a drawback.

Increasingly, it seems like the avenues for younger actors to make a name for themselves are starting to close as Hollywood focuses on big name draws. A live-action Twilight could have been a vehicle to launch the careers of the main cast, particularly those who would have portrayed Bella, Edward, and Jacob. The films made Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner household names. Stewart is an Oscar nominated indie darling, and Pattinson's work is critically acclaimed not to mention he's Batman. Lautner's career didn't take a similar vein but his name is forever tied to a piece of film history.

An animated Twilight TV series could be a serve but it won't have the lift a live-action would in terms of name recognition. It also pretty much guarantees that the show will be headed toward streaming and not a broadcaster. While linear TV continues to be put in the grave despite there being a yearning from consumers of media for the kind of content that's released weekly, follows an overall arc, and makes us want to tune in for longer than 8-10 episodes, it's not the typical home of animated dramas.

If the show is picked up by Netflix, you can pretty much bet that it'll be dropped all at once. The issue with streaming is that there's not enough time for a piece of media to remain in the public's consciousness to create a hook. Nearly all of Max's hit series are actually HBO originals that simulcast on the platform. Hulu is better known for being the streaming home for broadcasted shows.

Peacock has yet to score a hit. Apple TV+ has prestige programming that's been well received but it's not the streamer people list first as their go to. Paramount+ is where you go to watch CBS' slate and then discover other shows. Disney+ is seen as being for children and then Marvel and Star Wars fans. Then there's Prime Video which has everything under the sun including award-winning, critically acclaimed content but much of what it's known for skews older.

There's no streamer that cuts through the noise like Netflix does but even this service isn't known for its animated content. None of them are. Still, the Twilight series would have a better chance at the streaming king since it has the biggest teen draw out of all the streamers. There's also the added boost of the program being IP. It stands a better chance at longevity even on a platform that loves taking that ax out and swinging.

But will it stand the test of time like the books and movies have? We're in a different age of television. Content is not sticking in the brain like it once did. That's because there's so much of it, all the time, whenever we want, through an abundance of means. There's yet to be a streaming only scripted show that's reached the magnitude of Stranger Things, and we still have to wait until a few years after it finishes its run to see if it'll carry the same legacy that broadcast shows like Friends, Gilmore Girls, and more have, or if it'll be lost to time.

Even then, I'm still listing live-action series. You know which animated shows have stuck it out to become classics? The comedies that are still running today on network TV like The Simpsons and Family Guy. The majority of the rest are cartoons that either ran on Disney, Nickelodeon, or Cartoon Network or were hits in earlier decades on broadcast. Then you have anime which took over the '90s in the U.S. and has staged a comeback in recent years thanks to the popularity of Demon Slayer and Spy x Family.

And I know, if you made it this far, you're thinking, "She's making too much of this." And maybe I am. But I love TV, and I was excited for the Twilight series when I thought it'd be live-action. Now I have an open mind, but I'm not sure it's going to be a pop culture force as an animation, particularly one on streaming. That's just the truth.

Next. Billy Burke hasn't ruled out making a cameo in the Twilight series. Billy Burke hasn't ruled out making a cameo in the Twilight series. light