From the year 1950 to his death in 2000, Charles M. Schultz published 17,897 “Peanuts” comic strips in total, making the beloved series “arguably the longest story ever told by one human being.” It continues to be adapted into television specials, movies, books, stage productions — you name it. Now, the gang is back and as loveable as ever, this time with an Apple TV+ original series about Snoopy, the world’s most imaginative beagle.
“The Snoopy Show” consists of six episodes, each with three seven-minute stories that are as simple and playful as the comic strip itself. Longtime fans can rest easy — this is a return to form. Everyone from Peppermint Patty (Isis Moore, “Corn & Peg”) to the Little Red-Haired Girl is back with the same mischievous gimmicks we know and adore. But make no mistake, Snoopy (Terry McGurrin, “Abby Hatcher, Fuzzly Catcher”) and his trusty sidekick Woodstock (Rob Tinkler, “Doomsday Brothers”) are running the show.
The premiere gives us a look into how he found a home with Charlie Brown when Snoopy decides to publish a memoir on his impressively riveting and completely make-believe life. As the rest of the bunch marvels at Snoopy’s motorcycle adventures and tales from the wild west, Charlie explains what the beagle was really like when he first met him: shy and afraid.
It’s the exact type of heart-melting stuff that “Peanuts” has always done so well. There are mature themes of failure, ego and loneliness, but they’re all boiled down to their most palatable form. Everything about the show, like all the great moments before it, feels innocent and fun.
The animation style is still untouched (in fact, the production of the show allowed no technology past the 1970s). Yet there is something in the vibrant air-brushed texture that feels distinctly fresh, as if every color shines just a bit brighter than before. It also helps that Snoopy is the perfect tour guide through these lushly painted settings where even dropping off a sandwich to Sally Brown can turn into a hero’s journey across desert sands.
One may argue that “Peanuts” thrives on tapping into our nostalgia, and of course it does. Why on Earth wouldn’t it? But there’s a heartfelt craftsmanship to the comic that is so profoundly pure, and its insistence on staying in that box and remaining relatively neutral and undaring has made the classic bunch so timeless. It’s a rarity that something can exist for so long with so little willingness to move forward, and I have to admire what a gem it has become as a result.
There isn’t much to overanalyze; honestly, there shouldn’t be. It’s lively and jolly and full of heart. It will make you say “aw” and feel warm and fuzzy and possibly even put you in the mood to bake cookies. Isn’t it wonderful that in a world this complicated, we still have at least one thing that has remained so joyously unadulterated.
Do yourself a favor. Put on some PJ’s, make yourself some tea and hop back into the endlessly wholesome world of “Peanuts.” After all, this is Snoopy’s show. We just get to enjoy it.
Daily Arts Writer Ben Servetah can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.