Turbo FAST is an American flash-animated web television series based on the 2013 computer-animated film Turbo. Produced by DreamWorks Animation Television and animated by Titmouse, it is being exclusively released on Netflix in United States and in the 40 countries where Netflix offers its services. It is the first Netflix original series for children, and the first DreamWorks Animation series produced for Netflix.
The first five episodes of the first 26-episode season were released on December 24, 2013, with subsequent batches of five to six episodes following around holidays throughout 2014. Each episode consists of two 11-minutes stories, except for few double-length episodes. Season 2 was released on Netflix on July 31, 2015. Season 3 was released on Netflix on February 5, 2016.
The series picks up right after the events of the film, following a snail named Turbo and his crew to Starlight City, where they master new stunts and compete with villains. It is being animation directed by Mike Roush, casting and voice directed by Andrea Romano, art directed by Antonio Canobbio, produced by Ben Kalina, Shannon Barrett Prynoski and Jennifer Ray, and executive produced by Chris Prynoski and Jack Thomas. Beside Ken Jeong and Mike Bell, who reprise their roles of Kim Ly and White Shadow from the film, the series features an all-new cast. It consists of Reid Scott as Turbo, John Eric Bentley as Whiplash, Grey DeLisle-Griffin as Burn, Phil LaMarr as Smoove Move, Amir Talai as Skidmark and Tito, and Eric Bauza as Chet.
Ever since Theo aka Turbo won the Indianapolis 500 from the film Turbo, Tito builds a city for all the snails along with Turbo. He even built a race track for the snails to race. Now Turbo continues his racing adventure with the help of his brother Chet, and his friends Whiplash, Burn, Skidmark, White Shadow, and Smoove Move.Turbo/Theo (voiced by Reid Scott) - The main protagonist of Turbo, a snail who has gained super speed after being swallowed by a car engine, and who has won the Indy 500 with said powers.
Chester "Chet" (voiced by Eric Bauza) - Turbo's paranoid older brother, who is the main safety patrolman of Turbotown and the manager of the F.A.S.T. crew. He is also Burn's boyfriend. His shell is equipped with an ambulance/helicopter.
Whitney "Whiplash" Chubbington (voiced by John Eric Bentley) - The tough-as-nails leader of the F.A.S.T. crew, whose shell is equipped with a jet engine. Despite his gruff attitude, he has a fondness for lavender lotion.
Skip "Skidmark" Markovich (voiced by Amir Talai) - The F.A.S.T. crew's main mechanic, whose shell is equipped with a propeller. He is fond of conspiracy theories, which seems to annoy the other team members, despite most of them proving to be true. Despite his idiosyncrasies, he is a devoted team member. He is best friends with White Shadow.
Bernice "Burn" Guzman (voiced by Grey DeLisle-Griffin) - The only female of the F.A.S.T. crew, and Chet's girlfriend. She is the youngest of many sisters, and her shell is equipped with afterburners.
Whitman "White Shadow" Shafford (voiced by Michael Patrick Bell) - The largest snail in the F.A.S.T. crew, who has a habit of acting stealthy, though his large size is a disadvantage. He is best friends with Skidmark, and often proves to be just as quirky as him. He is somewhat dim-witted and a big eater. His shell is equipped with tires.
Smoove Move (voiced by Phil LaMarr) - The "grooviest" snail of the F.A.S.T. crew, whose shell is equipped with bass speakers. He has a taste for funk and rap music, which help him to "groove" through the track. He is also a DJ and has a knack for painting.
Hardcase (voiced by Diedrich Bader) - A tiger beetle who envies Turbo's fame and wishes to outrace him, even resorting to cheating. He does not tolerate losing, and even threatens to ravage Turbotown until he wins a race.
Breakneck (voiced by Mark Hamill) - Whiplash's old racing mentor, who wishes to obtain Whip's racing shell for his own. He had also previously worked for Ace Gecko in order to swindle the town out of its tomatoes.
Ace Gecko (voiced by Jeff Bennett) - A con artist who regularly makes false deals with the citizens of Turbotown, especially Chet. Although he dons the alias "Gecko", he is actually a newt.
Hayaku (voiced by Lauren Tom) - A Japanese cricket who pretends to be in love with Turbo in order to beat him in a race in Tokyo. Although she still claims him to be her enemy, Turbo still believes she has feelings for him. Her name means "Hurry up" in Japanese.
The series premiered on December 24, 2013, when the first five episodes of the first season were released. Following batches of five episodes were released on April 4, 2014, June 27, 2014, September 12, 2014, and December 1, 2014. It will have a total of 56 episodes.
Five-episode release is a departure from previous Netflix release strategy, where an entire season of a series was released at once. Netflix explained the change of the strategy: "Production on animation is on a different timetable, so we chose to make the episodes that are ready now available for viewers as they were ready."
Turbo FAST is the first project coming out of the five-year deal between DreamWorks Animation and Netflix, which includes 300 hours of original programming or over thousand episodes. For this task, DreamWorks Animation opened a new television production unit, called DreamWorks Animation Television.
Initially, the project started as a standalone special based on the Turbo film. Being impressed with racing visuals which Titmouse, Inc. created for the Disney XD series Motorcity, DreamWorks Animation contracted the studio to make the special flash-animated, rather than computer-animated. Soon after the Titmouse's founder Chris Prynoski signed on as the director, DreamWorks decided to turn the special into a series. Pryonski directed the first few episodes, and then took over as the series executive producer.
Production on the project began in the summer of 2012, a year before the film's release, when it was still undecided if the project would be a special or a series. With the film still having numerous storyboard panels instead of finished animation, Titmouse had to develop their own style: "We were inspired by the movie, but we weren't held to match the movie," said Prynoski. Titmouse's director Antoni Canobbio developed a look that felt new and cool, to suit the project's racing theme.
Beside Flash, which is the main program for animating the series, many additional tools have been used, including Maya, Photoshop and After Effects. To overcome the difficulty of animating intricately detailed snail racing shells, the studio generated 3D models of the shells in Maya, so they could rotate them to any position they wanted. Each time it was put in a new position, it had to be cleaned up by hand to make it look like a 2D drawing. Prepared shell was then put into a library, waiting for next animator to use it when needed.
In addition to Titmouse's studios in Los Angeles and Vancouver, a "sizable piece" of the production is taking place at a couple of studios in South Korea, in order to stay on schedule. This marks the first time for DreamWorks Animation to outsource to the country. On average, it takes a crew of about 80 people about six to eight months to take each episode from premise to delivery.
Unlike previous DreamWorks Animation series, the Netflix deal allowed DreamWorks to maintain creative control. Prynoski said: "Typically, if you are working on a show like this, you might get two sets of notes: one from DreamWorks and one from the network. But we don't get notes from Netflix, which is cool. It allows us to move faster, and we can make the shows, hopefully, the way we want them."
Beside Ken Jeong and Mike Bell, who reprise their roles of Kim Ly and White Shadow, the cast features all new members. One of the reasons for this was the desire to have the actors working together. "The thing is that these actors are really busy, and we want to get talent in the same room at the same time to get that chemistry. And that's a lot easier to do with professional voice actors," said DreamWorks Animation head of television Margie Cohn. The cast was selected by the Titmouse's casting and voice director Andrea Romano, who chose people Titmouse already knew and had worked with.
Reid Scott, who replaced Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Turbo, knew Prynoski from 2000 or 2001, when they worked together on a Flash Frame pilot for AMC. After that, they lost contact, but they met again ten years later, when Scott successfully auditioned for Disney XD's Motorcity, which Prynoski created and directed. They enjoyed working together, and when Motorcity got canceled, Prynoski offered him the role in recently contracted Turbo series. Scott's initial approach to the role tried to capture Reynold's "inflection, his intonation and the character's attitude. And then slowly it took on a life of its own. The Turbo we have now is inspired by that, but he's very much his own guy." According to Scott, the same happened to all other characters, which "slowly morphed into different versions."
A DVD collection of all the season 1 episodes, titled Turbo FAST: Season 1 was released on DVD on June 2, 2015 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.