Prime Video seems to have begun 2024 in a boundary-pushing mood. We’re just days away, for example, from Amazon’s streamer opting everyone into Prime Video with ads starting on Jan. 29 — ads, by the way, that are only avoidable if you cough up a little extra cash on top of what you’re already paying for Prime. Prime Video has also just dropped the first episodes of Hazbin Hotel, an edgy new animated series that gleefully thumbs its nose at anyone religious among its viewers.
Its protagonist is Charlie Morningstar, the estranged daughter of Lucifer and protagonist of the series from Vivienne Medrano, A24, and FOX Entertainment’s Bento Box Entertainment. Basically, the series presents hell as overpopulated, so Charlie comes up with a scheme to try and rehabilitate the souls of the damned to help them end up in heaven.
Here’s a bit of the monologue from the opening scene: “Once upon a time, there was a glowing city protected by golden gates known as Heaven. It was ruled by beings of pure light. Angels that worshipped good and shielded all from evil. Lucifer was one of these angels. He was a dreamer, with fantastical ideas for all of creation — but he was seen as a troublemaker by the Elders of Heaven, for they felt his way of thinking was dangerous to the order of their world. So he watched as the angels began to expand the universe in their ways.”
From the dust of Earth, the narration continues, the “angels” created Adam and … Lilith, who runs away from Adam and the Garden of Eden and ends up falling in love with Lucifer.
The new Prime Video series is based on Medrano’s animated Hazbin Hotel pilot that was released on YouTube back in 2019. It quickly gained over 92 million views and affection from a worldwide fan base. From the show’s official Prime Video synopsis: “Hazbin Hotel follows Charlie, the princess of Hell, as she pursues her seemingly impossible goal of rehabilitating demons to peacefully reduce overpopulation in her kingdom.
“After a yearly extermination imposed by angels, she opens a hotel in the hopes that patrons will be ‘checking out’ into Heaven. While most of Hell mocks her goal, her devoted partner Vaggie, and their first test subject, adult-film star Angel Dust, stick by her side. When a powerful entity known as the ‘Radio Demon’ reaches out to assist Charlie in her endeavors, her crazy dream is given a chance to become a reality.”
The release of the new series, ironically, comes in tandem with Amazon MGM Studios announcing a partnership with the newly formed Wonder Project, the mission of which is to “develop series and films rooted in spirituality.” Its leadership includes former Netflix and YouTube executive Kelly Merryman Hoogstraten, and Prime Video has already ordered a new series (House of David) as a result of this partnership. House of David will tell the story of David, the ancient king of Israel.