Since launching last year, YouTube Red has debuted a handful of series featuring popular creators but has struggled with subscriber numbers. The platform hopes to change that with its first animated series.
Much like Rick and Morty, the eight-episode Paranormal Action Squad, which debuted on Wednesday, involves alternate universes and alien creatures. YouTube gaming creators VanossGaming, TheMrSark, and SeaNanners provide the voices of Vanoss, Eddie, and Paul, respectively, who haplessly track ghosts and demons across the universe with outdated equipment.
Showrunner Michael Rowe said making it an animated show opened up storylines and was more cost-effective. "With animation, you can go to any dimension or galaxy or underworld," Rowe said.
He should know: Rowe's worked as a writer on Family Guy and Futurama. "A lot of what I learned at Futurama is people respond to characters as real people," he says. "It's less about making it funny, more about making characters likable."
Animation has become quite a popular genre on YouTube, and gaming is its own subsection on the platform. This could be a successful intersection for an original series, but YouTube Red has yet to have a breakout hit. Rowe says the goal was to "capture" existing fans of VanossGaming, TheMrSark, and SeaNanners, "but people don’t have to know who these guys are."
Since the show is about the paranormal, has Rowe had any personal experiences?
“I did turn white as a ghost after the election,” he says. “Does that count?”