How do you recognize a monument of popular culture? High school students could work on the question for four hours during a baccalaureate philosophy test, but we can also answer quite simply: by observing the enthusiasm aroused when we dare to touch it. This week we learned that a new season of the cartoontotally spies was in preparation.
“I don’t know if it’s all over the internet already or not, but I just found out… there’s a new season of totally spies in preparation for ! tweeted Thomas Astruc, the series’ former lead storyboarder. Contacted by 20 minutes, the production company for the first five seasons, Zodiak Kids, declined to comment. Behind the scenes, she is looking for animators and an artistic director to bring the project to life.
Three girls you can relate to
Sam, Clover and Alex are the three heroines of this animated series, a cult event for a generation thanks to multiple broadcasts in the youth section of TF1. High school students, they are also secret agents recruited by the WOOHP, the world organization for the protection of humans, managed by Jerry. In each of the episodes, the three best friends are summoned to be given their mission order.
A bit like Destiny’s Child or the Powerpuff Girls, the trio is a source of inspiration for many former viewers. “These are three different personalities and each member of a group can identify with each other,” says Maé, 25. On the Messenger application, this reader of 20 minutes even renamed his chat group with his sisters as a tribute to totally spies. For Thibaut, 28, it’s a Proust madeleine that reminds him of the after-school snack, a hot chocolate and a cake in his hands. “I have always appreciated the secret agent side of the cartoon and the different characters of the three characters”, despite a slight preference for “the madness and clumsiness” of Clover.
“It was a project led by enthusiasts”
Being part of the production team during the first two seasons, Thomas Astruc salutes the work of Vincent Chalvon-Demersay, the producer, who “succeeded in imposing an action series starring girls, which was unthinkable at the time. He understood that there was an injustice and a huge expectation on this. Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that totally spies is a French series that has been a hit all over the world. “Vincent Chalvon-Demersay also imposed the fact that the series be broadcast simultaneously in all countries, a feat which made it possible to unite a very large audience from the outset”, continues Thomas Astruc. In total, the adventures of Sam, Clover and Alex have been followed in more than 130 countries.
“Stéphane Berry, the director, managed to impose a style with manga influences, a feat there too as the chains were refractory”, adds Thomas Astruc. For this, he surrounded himself with young talents “who could find no place to express themselves” like Patricia Lyfoung, author of The Scarlet Rose, or even Eddie Mehong, now in Japan to work in the studios ofanime. “It was a project led by enthusiasts. And passion is always communicated,” he concludes.
A capillary dubious reboot
A first visual of the reboot of the series, found on a job offer from the animation studio, was widely commented on social networks Friday. We see Sam, Clover and Alex with their spy suits and some hair changes, sources of discord with the fans of the first hour. “Clover’s hair is horrible,” says Célia, another fan, for example. This character is obsessed with his beauty so for those who know the series, it’s terrible! »
— Series Info (@lnfosSeriesFR) January 13, 2022
It is obvious that if this new version of totally spies makes so much talk, it’s because it touches on nostalgia. “It takes me back to childhood,” says Célia. Even if in the meantime mores have evolved and certain clichés like their obsession with boys make me cringe more. Considered feminist because it was one of the first animated series to feature three teenage girls capable of defeating an army of villains, totally spies however, offered skin-tight jumpsuits to its heroines who, when they weren’t on a mission, spent their time shopping or trying to find love.
“It’s not a series that scores for its diversity”
True selling points, fans still remember the gadgets attributed to spies, from the boots propelled to the telescopic belt, without forgetting the “compoudrier”, capable of making phone calls and analyzing fingerprints at the same time. Célia also remembers the fight scenes which “changed princesses” and the friendship of the three heroines “which weathered all storms despite their differences”.
Aside from Clover’s hair issue (which can still be fixed), fans seem happy with this return. “I’m happy that they didn’t erase Alex’s crossbreeding because it’s not a series that stands out for its diversity,” confirms Célia. From there to say that the copy could be better than the original, there is only one step.