New children's Netflix series puts new twist on Beatles' music

Netflix series, “Beat Bugs”

Netflix

The Beatles’ tunes that sent teenage girls into a frenzy when first heard on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964 are now being performed like never before. 

The iconic songs are back with a modern-day twist in a new Netflix series aimed at kids. And this time, they’re performed by animated bugs. 

Big-name artists like James Corden are getting in on the act, covering the most famous band in pop music history. 

“Beat Bugs” creator, Australian filmmaker Josh Wakely, pulled off a musical miracle by attaining the rights to the Beatles catalog, regarded as one of the most protected in pop music. 

“So how in the world did you get the rights to the Beatles music?” “Entertainment Tonight” host Kevin Frazier asked. 

“You know, I’d been told by everyone to give up, but I could just see it so clearly,” Wakely said. “I was so magnetized by the idea of bringing music that is so extraordinary and so timely, back in this whole new way.”

Wakely’s passion for the Beatles kept him going as he was running out of money. For three years, he repeatedly pitched his vision in meetings. 

“They were all scary. But I kind of feel like if you’re not scared half the time, you’re kind of like not living,” Wakely said. “So yeah, they’re all like that.” 

Within hours of sealing the deal, Wakely began reaching out to rockers like Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, who takes the bugs on a magical mystery tour. 

Next season will include Rod Stewart, James Bay and Jennifer Hudson​, and each has a bit of Beatlemania. 

“You can’t be an artist if you’re not influenced by the Beatles,” Hudson said. 

“My son, his middle name is actually Max McCartney Corden after Sir Paul McCartney,” Corden said. 

Wakely admits he feels the weight of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Industry insiders believe if “Beat Bugs” is successful, the music of the Fab Four will play on far into the future. 

“There will come a time when the sort of cultural context that the Beatles music came from will probably be forgotten and we won’t really think of the 60’s, and the political climate or even the celebrity and the personalities of the Beatles themselves,” said Andrew Barker, senior feature editor of Variety. “But this music will live on.”      

Wakely’s cartoon career is exploding. He’s just teamed up with legendary R&B singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson for another new animated series. 

“Who are you looking at for the Motown songs?” Frazier asked.

“Look, I mean, Stevie Wonder​ was my very first concert I went to. He came to Australia and went down as maybe an 8-year-old with my mom,” Wakely said. “The guy’s a living legend in the true sense of the word. The natural successor to Motown music is Pharrell [Williams]. It’s sort of ripe for reinvention.”

Wakely has access to the Motown catalog, which features some 3,700 songs. But the Beatles remain number one, selling more than 178 albums in the U.S. alone -- big numbers for a man who dared to dream big. 

“Everyone should pursue a mad and impossible idea once in their life. This just happened to be mine,” Wakely said. 

Beat Bugs | Official Trailer | Netflix by Netflix US & Canada on YouTube