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Exploding Kittens is the weirdest Netflix release of 2024

Published Jul 11th, 2024 2:42PM EDT
Exploding Kittens on Netflix
Image: Netflix

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In its relentless scouring of the pop culture landscape for old hits to remake for new viewers, Netflix’s ravenous appetite for existing material has resulted in everything from TV show revivals (Fuller House, That ’90s Show) to countless book adaptations (3 Body Problem, The Night Agent) — as well as one new series, Exploding Kittens, that’s actually based on a bestselling card game of all things.

Based on the success of that game — co-created by Matthew Inman, the cartoonist behind the comics site The Oatmeal — you can kind of see why the streaming giant thought this would be a good idea. After it launched as a Kickstarter project in 2015, Exploding Kittens went on to become the site’s most successful project at the time, racking up almost $8.8 million from more than 219,000 backers.

The game, however, doesn’t really have a story, so one had to be invented for the Netflix series (which debuts on July 12). And — well, let’s just say that it’s quite the doozy. Basically, in this series, God in Heaven answers to a board comprised of angels who decide that, because Earth sucks, God needs to be sent down there to fix it by reconnecting with humanity.

Where’s the connection to the card game, you ask? After crashing to Earth in a ball of fire, the Almighty finds that he’s taken the form of a chubby housecat, one who chases laser pointers and displays all kinds of feline sassiness in between helping a dysfunctional family solve their problems. Like I said in the title of this post, a very weird idea for a Netflix series, all things considered. Oh, and the voice of Godcat? It comes, ironically, from Tom Ellis — the actor who starred in Lucifer.

“I’ve always sensed that the cats I’ve owned thought they owned the house, and possibly me,” Inman told Netflix’s Tudum site. “There’s that old joke of ‘Dogs have owners; cats have staff.’ This false sense of authority is what inspired the idea of Godcat. Simultaneously, if you told me that cats were the spawn of Satan I’d [have] believed that as well, so it works with Devilcat’s character, too.” 

If I had to guess, I’m not sure that fans of the beloved card game will automatically get on board with the Netflix series, since, thematically, there’s no real connection to the game beyond the presence of cats. Religious viewers, of course, also won’t exactly be thrilled to see the Creator gagging on hairballs in the form of a cat. If you can get past all that, though, it’s a pleasant enough watch, I suppose. Then again, the sentence I just wrote sort of feels like asking: But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, what did you actually think of the play?

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.