The runaway hit animated series Bluey returns in July, with another batch of episodes packed with celebrations of family life and the show’s trademark child’s-eye-view humor.
On Thursday, June 15, show distributor BBC Studios announced that 10 new episodes of Bluey will arrive on July 12 on Disney+ in the U.S. and worldwide (except Australia, where they’re already streaming).
What Is Bluey About?
First aired last year on Australian TV, these stories feature the exploits of blue-heeler (a k a Australian cattle dog) sisters Bluey and Bingo, and their parents, Bandit and Chilli.
Bluey consistently ranks in the Nielsen Top 10 streaming charts, with an obsessed fan base far broader than just kids and parents.
It’s known for bringing to life how children learn and grow through simple play, or “living boldly in the pretend,” to quote the lyrics of a song inspired by the show.
“The show and the stories are not disposable,” said writer-creator Joe Brumm in a recent interview. “Bluey (has) a level of quality and care that is a bit surprising and kind of cool.”
Funny and Moving Vignettes of Family Life
Each seven-minute episode centers around simple games contrived by two preschool pup sisters, while Dad or Mom play along, until things go awry (as they usually do).
With the third season, the beloved show has also embraced other story formats and premises.
Games are still part of the mix in this batch.
“Dirt” revels in the importance of hands-on play, and fans will recognize “Musical Statues” as the game played during the show’s opening theme.
In “Puppets,” annoying sock-puppet Unicorse is back to supposedly teach manners (sure).
But these new episodes also get wildly creative. “Space” uses sci-fi tropes to blast off into a story about childhood trauma.
”It’s a very different ep,” said Brumm on a podcast interview. “And there have been 150 eps now, so there’s bound to be one like that.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda and More Stars Join In
A few well-known guest stars crop up in this batch, too.
Broadway playwright and songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) stars in an episode called “Stories,” as two of Bluey’s school friends must create a beeswax horse –- which they imagine comes to life.
In a 2021 interview, Miranda called Bluey “the only kids show that the whole family can be hysterically laughing at.”
He added: “But I wouldn’t dare guest star on it. You need to be Australian to be on that show!”
Apparently, he and the producers changed their mind.
Comic actress Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids) guest stars in “Onesies,” as Chilli’s sister Brandy, who has faced a years-long journey of infertility.
Brumm credits his wife Suzy, who storyboarded the episode, for its sensitivity.
“Bluey is about the whole experience of parenthood,” he said in the podcast interview. “The heartache and joys and highs starts from the moment you say, ‘Let’s start a family.’”
“And sometimes it goes not quite the way that you think it’s going to go.”
Is the show creator moving on from Bluey?
Over a year ago, as production on season three neared completion, creator Joe Brumm said in an interview, “I never, ever saw myself working in children’s television. It doesn’t suit me very well.”
Then, sending shockwaves through Bluey fandom, he added that he thought his time on Bluey would be “limited,” and he intended to start an adult animation series.
On May 4 last year, Bluey’s official Twitter account stated: “We absolutely love the show and there are no plans to end it. The community of fans around the world continue to blow us away and if we ever had an update on Bluey’s future you’d hear it from us first.”
Since then, Brumm has steered clear of the topic. In a recent interview, he said: “The BBC has asked me never to talk about ... the future of Bluey.”
However, Bluey has not been renewed for a fourth season and, to fans' knowledge, no work has begun on it.
What Is the Future of Bluey?
After the batch of episodes that is soon to premiere, an additional 10 episodes of Bluey have just aired on Australian TV.
Season three will conclude with three episodes, including a 28-minute finale episode yet to air, for which details have not been announced.
It could be the end of the series run for creator Brumm, with others to take on writing and producing.
A similar fate occurred with SpongeBob SquarePants, with the show quality steeply declining when creator Stephen Hillenburg walked away after the third season.
Another possibility is that Brumm and Ludo Studio are negotiating details of season four –- or even a long-rumored Bluey feature film. BBC Studios did not respond to a request for comment.
Brumm has spoken about Bluey in the past tense, recently stating: “I’ve learned so much in doing Bluey, from a writing and directing standpoint. It’s like doing a doctorate, so I’m really interested to see what I can do in other age groups and in other formats when the time is right.”
Bluey streams worldwide via Disney+.
Image: Courtesy: Ludo Studio / BBC Studios
Josh M. Shepherd covers culture, faith and public-policy issues for various media outlets. He and his wife are raising two children in Northern Virginia.