Behind the Scenes With Go, Dog. Go! Creator Adam Peltzman
A treasured classic children's book zooms to the screen January 26, when the series Go, Dog. Go! debuts on Netflix. Inspired by author and illustrator P.D. Eastman's best-selling 1961 Beginner Book and developed by Dreamworks Animation and Wildbrain Studios, this new, vibrant CGI world of pooches on the move is set in the city of Pawston, featuring 6-year-old Tag Barker and her many adventures.
Take a peek at all the action!
Creator and executive producer Adam Peltzman loved animation as a kid. In an interview with Daily Paws, he said that Looney Toons cartoons were a favorite, but what attracted him to animation as a career, especially kids' TV, was the chance to explore his interests in theatre, improv comedy, writing, and education.
"The fluidity of animation allows me to be as inventive and playful as I can be with the shows I write and create," he says. "And the great thing about young audiences is that they're so receptive and imaginative that they'll usually go along with just about any story as long as it pulls them in and is well-told."
Peltzman has an award-winning reputation in the world of animation and children's programming, especially animal features. An entire generation knows his storytelling by heart, including Blue's Clues, WonderPets!, and Backyardigans, among others. He and his company, Inner Dog Productions, also create the show, This Podcast Has Fleas for WNYC, which is "an original comedy series for kids about a dog and a cat with dueling podcasts."
"Kids, and people in general, just love animals," Peltzman says. "They're fun, interesting, innocent. And since they can't speak, you can project just about any personality or inner life onto them." When he asked his 3-year-old daughter why she loves dogs, she said "I love them when they bark." So there's that, too, he notes.
How Go, Dog. Go! the Animated Series Came to Life
Eastman, a Dr. Seuss protégé, had many popular children's books involving animals, including Are You My Mother? and The Bird's Nest. But to date, Go, Dog. Go! has sold more than 8 million copies. With all his pet cred, Peltzman said he was drawn to adapting this one in particular because of its unique tone, open interpretation, and artwork.
"There are no character names and it's not a traditional linear story. So in adapting it, I had to invent all that while trying to hold on to the elements that make the book so beloved," he says. "I really liked the seemingly random places and things in the book— blimps, hedge mazes, a party in a tree, a poodle that asks if you like her hat." The poodle is one of his favorites, and he named her Lady Lydia for the series. He's also fond of another character, Manhole Dog, who pops out of random manholes to chat.
He adds that it was essential to also infuse the show with some of the offbeat and surprising tone of the book. "That task was made even more fun by the fact that so many of the creative people who worked on the show had a similar adoration of it," he says.
You might remember from Eastman's tale a giant bed filled with sleeping pups—except for one, who's wide awake. Peltzman says this was the inspiration for the main character, Tag, voiced by Michela Luci, and her family.
"She was fun to bring to life because she has that dog-like enthusiasm and really embodies the 'go' element of the series. She's such a catalyst for stories because she can't contain her excitement!" he says. "She also helps push the community theme of the show because she's so fascinated by the places and dogs of Pawston."
He also made a deliberate effort to create a female lead with skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). "It felt to me like we've seen a lot of boy characters into racing, fixing, and inventing," he says. "Also, since I have a preschool-aged daughter, I liked the idea of her taking some inspiration from Tag."
So far, early reviews of Go, Dog. Go! are all paws up! The first season of nine episodes is available to Netflix subscribers for immediate streaming Tuesday, January 26. Peltzman says even his 7-year-old dog, Winnie, is a fan. "She's a black lab mix, and we also think she has some greyhound in her, so she has some serious 'go.' She seems to like the show and has had very few notes."