For some fans of the beloved animation studio Pixar, it might feel a little like the studio’s glory days — dominated by the likes of everything from the Toy Story franchise to The Incredibles, Wall-E, and Finding Nemo — are well behind it at this point. You’ve got to give Pixar credit, though, because the studio is at least spreading its wings a bit and trying new things these days, like releasing its first-ever romantic comedy (Elemental) in addition to the launch, later this year, of its first original TV show. That would be Win or Lose, which is set to arrive on Disney+ this December.
The new TV show comes as Pixar has been ramping up its overall output in recent years, which has meant speeding up its feature film release cadence as well as developing more standalone shorts for Disney+. As well as, soon, its first TV show, which will tell a series of connected stories involving eight different characters as they gear up for a big championship softball game.
Continues Pixar, in its official description of Win or Lose: “The series reveals what it actually feels like to be in the shoes of each character — the insecure kids, their helicopter parents, even a lovesick umpire — with incredibly funny, very emotional and uniquely animated perspectives.”
The show was directed, written, and executive produced by Carrie Hobson and Michael Yates, and produced by David Lally. The Win or Lose voice cast, meanwhile, includes Will Forte playing the role of “Coach Dan,” and the story’s focus is on the Pickles — a middle school softball team, which we’ll get introduced to via separate off-the-field vignettes focused on different players.
There’s no specific release date listed on the Win or Lose Disney+ landing page yet, other than mentioning that it’s coming in “December 2023.” We do, however, know that there will be eight episodes, making this almost like a simple collection of shorts. At any rate, I think there’s a lot of potential for this first Pixar TV series to be memorable, and I definitely applaud the studio for trying to think outside the box and not force every idea into the rigid box of a feature film that may or may not find a warm reception in theaters (something that several of Pixar’s recent theatrical releases have been struggling with).
What’s more, there’s no reason the studio can’t also decide to expand Win or Lose into a future theatrical release down the line, assuming the new show gets a strong-enough reception once it arrives on Disney+. Maybe we’ll see more of this down the line, Pixar road-testing ideas via Disney+ that it might or might not decide to expand and bring to the big screen — which isn’t a bad idea, as long as the focus remains on Pixar’s creative spirit and not on simply trying to engineer success.