Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Nickelodeon UK Premieres 'Overlord and the Underwoods'


Get set for an intergalactic family reunion! Nickelodeon UK & Ireland will premiere Overlord and the Underwoods, a brand new live-action comedy series, on Monday 4th October 2021 at 5:30pm! Following launch, viewers can tune in for more out-of-this-world comedy Mondays to Thursdays at 5:30pm.

Overlord and the Underwoods is a original half-hour, live-action, single camera family comedy series (20×30') that follows the Underwoods, a North American family, whose life is turned upside down when their distant cousin, Overlord, the second most-wanted villain in the universe, seeks refuge in their home after being forced into intergalactic witness protection. After snitching out his boss, the evil Mega-Lord Supreme, Overlord is sent to live with his incredibly nice, distant cousins on Planet Earth. Over the course of the series, the evil Overlord and the very sweet Underwoods discover a thing or two about each other as they learn to treasure the value of family and the importance of true friendship, diversity, and compassion.

The new sitcom stars Ari Resnick (Ranger Rob), Troy Feldman (Reign), Patrice Goodman (The Umbrella Academy), Darryl Hinds (Designated Survivor) as Jim Underwood, and Kamaia Fairburn (Holly Hobbie).

“marblemedia is known for creating unrivaled family entertainment that showcase dynamic, diverse, and universal characters and storylines. We are very excited to add Overlord and the Underwoods™ to our robust programming roster,” shares Mark Bishop, Executive Producer and Co-CEO of marblemedia. “We are thrilled to create this original, hilarious comedy series with such incredible talent both in-front and behind the camera led by Anthony Q. Farrell and the Cloudco team along with all of our partners. We can’t wait to share this series with audiences around the world later this year.”

Created by BAFTA-winning showrunner, Anthony Q. Farrell (NBC’s The Office, CBBC’s Secret Life of Boys, CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie, upcoming marble and BYUtv series The Parker Andersons/ Amelia Parker) and Ryan Wiesbrock, creator of the Netflix Original Series Buddy Thunderstruck and the live-action adaptation of the Hulu Original series Holly Hobbie for Hulu and Canada’s Family Channel. The series features top talent and production took place in Toronto, Canada. Announced in March 2021, season one wrapped in August 2021.

Online at, fans can find out more about their favourite Nick shows, watch videos and play games. Fans can also like the official Nickelodeon UK Facebook page, follow Nickelodeon on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to the official Nickelodeon UK YouTube channel for the latest Nick news, highlights, The Scoop about their favourite stars, and videos.

“I am chomping at the bit to start shooting this incredibly fun family series. I have had a blast putting these rich characters into hilarious situations with the other writers in the room. Big thanks to my co-creator, Ryan Wiesbrock, his team at Cloudco and of course my marblemedia fam for having me along for the ride,” said Anthony Q. Farrell, Co-Creator and Showrunner.

Photo: Instagram /@boostrocket.

“Anthony, our Cloudco team, the marblemedia team, and all other partners have brought great energy and enthusiasm to this series. Everyone involved with the project is aligned on how fun it is to see a ‘bad guy’ and a good family, rub off on each other in a positive way,” said Ryan Wiesbrock, Co-Creator and Executive Producer for Cloudco Entertainment.

Farrell compiled an exceptional creative writing team for the show including Kate Hewlett, Ryan Belleville, Jay Vaidya, Amanda Joy, Angelica Mendizabal, Caleigh Bacchus, Simon Owens, Sadiya Durrani and Richard Young.

Academy-Award winning FX expert, Roger Christian (Alien, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace and Episode IV A New Hope) boards the series as Character Designer. Christian was responsible for creating the props and sets for Star Wars, including the infamous lightsaber. His designs for this show will be brought to life by MastersFX and include Overlord’s helmet and costume and his animatronic, robot sidekick. The team at MastersFX is the character effects company behind hit shows The Handmaid’s Tale and The Umbrella Academy, and they will bring Christian’s designs to life in Overlord and the Underwoods.

Production credits for the series include: Executive Producers Mark J.W. Bishop, Matt Hornburg, Carrie Paupst Shaughnessy, Ryan Wiesbrock, Sean Gorman and Ian Lambur; Supervising Producer Donna Luke; Series Producer Jim Corston; SVP Rights and Executive Producer, Diane Rankin; and Showrunner Anthony Q. Farrell. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports, Trish Williams is Executive Director, Scripted Content, Sandra Picheca is Director of Current Production, Comedy, and Greig Dymond is Executive In Charge of Production. Michael A. Dunn and Andra Johnson Duke are Executive Producers and Jim Bell is Supervising Producer for BYUtv.

The series is produced by award-winning production company, marblemedia, in association with Cloudco Entertainment, a world-class entertainment studio, in association with CBC, BYUtv, Nickelodeon International with ITV/CITV, and with the financial participation of the Shaw Rocket Fund. The series was developed through funding from the Bell Fund Slate Development Program. Cloudco Entertainment and Distribution360, a marblemedia company, hold worldwide distribution rights for the series.

About marblemedia

marblemedia is a leading global entertainment company that develops, produces and distributes compelling TV and interactive digital content for audiences of all ages, across all media platforms.

A trailblazer known for creating entertainment for the whole family through an informative, entertaining and optimistic lens, the company stands on their merits for showcasing diverse and inclusive storytelling with unique points of view. Recent hits as the award-winning competition Netflix Original series Blown Away, critically-acclaimed travelogue Netflix Original series Restaurants on the Edge; YesTV, Family Channel and BYUtv’s award-winning family gameshow Just Like Mom and Dad; interconnected scripted family comedy series The Parker Andersons and Amelia Parker; and the high-octane competition series All-Round Champion based on the International Emmy® Kids Award-winning format.

Founded in 2001 by co-CEOs Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg with a vision of creativity, partnership and innovation, the company has offices in Toronto, London and L.A., with a 50-acre production facility located 90 minutes north of Toronto. Learn more at

Find us online:

Facebook: @marblemedia

Twitter: @marblemedia

About Cloudco Entertainment

Cloudco Entertainment, formerly American Greetings Entertainment, is the owner for iconic entertainment brands such as Care Bears™, Holly Hobbie™, Madballs™, Packages from Planet X™, Twisted Whiskers™, Buddy Thunderstruck™, Tinpo™ and its newest IP, Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese™. Cloudco Entertainment develops multi-platform entertainment franchises across all media channels and extensive consumer merchandising programs that immerse children and adults in brands they love.

About Nickelodeon

The home of SpongeBob SquarePantsTeenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesPAW Patrol and Nella the Princess Knight, Nickelodeon UK & Ireland Network is available in over 13 million cable and satellite homes and now reaches more than 10 million viewers a month. Launched in 1993, the top-performing Nickelodeon network comprises seven dedicated entertainment channels for kids aged 4-15 and their families: Nickelodeon, Nickelodeon HD, Nickelodeon +1, Nicktoons, Nick Jr., Nick Jr. +1 and Nick Jr. Too. The entertainment company has built a diverse multi-platform business by putting kids first in everything it does – Kids Rule! Content is at the core of the business with critically-acclaimed and hugely-popular television programming from the UK and around the world. In addition to the quality television programmes, Nickelodeon also produces bespoke content available online, as well as consumer product and recreation opportunities such as the UK’s first-ever Nick theme park, Nickelodeon Land and the slimiest music festival for kids, SLIMEFEST UK.

New family sitcom Overlord and the Underwoods now on CBC Gem

Overlord and the Underwoods – People like those “fish-out-of-water” stories where two of the most unusual pairings you can think of – usually a creature or alien – ends up living with a typical suburban nuclear family. The end results are always unpredictable with the collision of these two worlds under one roof, but somehow there’s always something reaffirming – and entertaining –that happens which changes the lives of both parties. 

And under that theme, the first things that comes to mind are Alf, Harry and the Hendersons and E.T.

Overlord and the Underwoods – People like those “fish-out-of-water” stories where two of the most unusual pairings you can think of – usually a creature or alien – ends up living with a typical suburban nuclear family. The end results are always unpredictable with the collision of these two worlds under one roof, but somehow there’s always something reaffirming – and entertaining –that happens which changes the lives of both parties. 

And under that theme, the first things that comes to mind are Alf, Harry and the Hendersons and E.T.

Now there is a new TV comedy series to add to the “fish-out-of-water” category: “Overlord and the Underwoods”, created by marblemedia and Cloudco Entertainment, in which its first 10 episodes can now be seen on the CBC Gem streamlining service; the remaining episodes will air in the winter of 2022.

Co-created by Anthony Q. Farrell (The Office) and Ryan Wiesbrock (Buddy Thunderstruck), Overlord and the Underwoods follows the weekly misadventures of the Underwoods, a typical suburban North American family, who receive a totally unexpected house guest who is literally out of this world: a distant cousin named Overlord, an intergalactic villain who decides to seek refuge with the Underwood family after he snitches on his boss, the very evil Colossatrotus.

“This is like Darth Vader under the witness protection program, but is balanced with the premise of a family comedy. It’s like a fun spinoff on the classic battle of good versus evil, but we decided to make the Underwoods just as interesting as the Overlord,” said Farrell during a recent phone interview.

Farrell stated that the idea for the series evolved from an impromptu competition he had with Wiesbrock over who can create a different kind of family series. “We wanted to hearken back to the series we watched when we were younger, and we decided that a super villain living with a normal family would be a cool element. So we noodled around with the idea and we got a promise of show for the series in early 2017,” he said.

One thing Farrell noticed about the character of the Overlord is the way he reacts to different situations, as a sort of “king of over reaction”. “The Overlord is a character who is insecure and reacts with outbursts to a number of ridiculous situations,” he said. “He likes to over react to the smaller things in life, which lends to his overall pomposity, and makes it funnier that he can’t handle those little things.”

Another outstanding feature of the Overlord is his stand-out blue costume, which was designed by Oscar-winning FX specialist Roger Christian, who is best known for creating the costumes of such legendary Star Wars characters as C-3P0 and R2-D2, as well as the omnipresent light sabre.

“When I was told that Roger was interested in working on the show, my first reaction was ‘are you serious?’,” he said. “I was always a Star Wars nerd. And I was amazed at the work Roger put into the Overlord’s costume. He was always production-minded, not to mention a very kind and generous person to boot. Overall, Roger was a dream to work with.”

Overlord and the Underwoods also boast an impressive cast, including Jan Arden as the voice of RO-FL (the Overlord’s droid companion), and veteran comedian/actor Jayne Eastwood, as the Underwoods’ quirky neighbor. “Jayne does add a quirky element to the show, but her character gets more meatier during the second half of the season, especially one episode where she hosts a dinner party,” said Farrell. “As we progressed further with the filming of the episodes, I got to know much more about Jayne and why she is such a legend in the world of Canadian film and television. We had a great time working with her.”

Before Overlord and the Underwoods debuted on CBC Gem, it premiered on the Nickelodeon UK channel this past September, where it was met with a great deal of success. And Farrell admits that the show is getting just as much positive feedback since it first aired on CBC Gem. He adds that it’s due to the antics and hilarity that greet Overlord and the Underwood family on each episode, which are enjoyed by both children and adult viewers alike.

“This is a show that families can watch and laugh together. Everyone gets something out of it,” he said. “It’s fun, silly and gives us a lot of reasons to laugh, which can help us forget our problems for 30 minutes per episode.”


After getting his start on ‘The Office’ Toronto showrunner Anthony Q. Farrell is creating opportunities for others

Farrell, named Playback’s Showrunner of the Year, wants to see “more writers of colour who are in positions of power” in the TV industry.

Anthony Q. Farrell looks forward to the day that it’s so routine for people of colour to occupy senior levels of television production that their presence goes unremarked.

But we’re not there yet, which is why, on the day that a snowstorm ravaged Ontario, we were on Zoom from our respective GTA homes talking about his career as a TV writer and producer — he was recently named Showrunner of the Year by Playback magazine — and what he hopes to do for the careers of others.

If you’ve heard Farrell’s name, there’s a good chance it’s in connection with “The Office.” The Toronto-born Farrell, the son of immigrants from St. Kitts and Nevis, wrote for the beloved, multiple Emmy-winning American comedy for two years.

He got his start in showbiz through theatre: he studied theatre and math at Queen’s University with the idea of becoming a math and drama teacher (his parents are accountants) but also attended the Humber Comedy Program and performed theatre in places like Vermont and Gananoque, Ont.

He ended up in the U.S. after his wife, author Ginette Barton-Sinkia, inherited a green card and had to move to the States to keep it. They went first to Atlanta and then Los Angeles, where Farrell, 44, did standup, performed improv with the storied Groundlings troupe, and wrote, directed and acted for a company called MET Theatre.

A friend’s suggestion that he write for TV led to him getting a manager and acceptance into a diversity program at NBC, which led to the “Office” gig.

Unfortunately, after working on almost 50 episodes of the show, he was let go along with many other writers after the 2008 recession hit. “But the nice thing is I have the credit now, which has helped me all the way throughout my career,” he said.

“Then I got into family comedy somehow,” he added. “Disney came calling. They read a script that I had written about pimps.”

Yes, that’s right, pimps — as in a pimp who learns he has a child and decides to get rid of all his bling to save money for his kid. That show never got made, but its story and characters were strong enough for Disney to start developing ideas with Farrell, which led to Nickelodeon hiring him to write for “The Thundermans.” He then made “Secret Life of Boys” for the BBC, which has won a BAFTA and several other awards in the U.K.

But in 2017, Farrell and his wife, also a Torontonian, decided it was time to come home. Their son was three at the time and their daughter 10, “and raising your kids in America is a different situation,” Farrell said. “I remember (my son) came home with a picture of firemen and police, and we had to have a conversation about why he couldn’t trust the police officers.”

The kids have been thriving here and so has Farrell’s career.

Among his various projects — he’s showrunner for the Super Channel sitcom “The Parker Andersons,” directed a couple of episodes of CBC’s new hit “Son of a Critch,” and is developing shows with American and British companies — is the CBC Gem comedy “Overlord and the Underwoods.” (It also airs on Nickelodeon in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, and BYUtv in the U.S., with more broadcasters to be announced.)

The idea for the comedy — about an alien fugitive in intergalactic witness protection who hides out on Earth with his distant cousin and her family — was hatched about a decade ago by Ryan Wiesbrock, head of development at American company Cloudco Entertainment. Farrell was brought on by Cloudco and Toronto’s marblemedia as showrunner and co-creator. It made its CBC debut in October and 10 more episodes were released Friday.

The fact that the Underwoods are a Black family is a point of pride for Farrell but also a result of serendipity, since the scripts weren’t written with ethnicity in mind.

“I said, ‘Let’s just keep it open. We’ll cast the best family.’”

That turned out to be Patrice Goodman, known for TV sketch comedy “Sunnyside,” as mom Flower and Second City comedian Darryl Hinds as dad Jim, with Ari Resnick and Kamaia Fairburn as son Weaver and daughter Willow. Their arrogant house guest Overlord is played by Troy Feldman, an actor, dancer, choreographer and stuntman who aced the requirement to do all his scenes in a hot costume and helmet since he’d performed as a Toronto Blue Jays mascot.

“Overlord” also has a creative team and crew that reflects the “very eclectic, very diverse” city of Toronto, Farrell said.

One of his aims is to encourage Black, Indigenous and people of colour to get involved at all levels of production.

When he returned to Canada, he found “there were a lot of BIPOC writers, but they weren’t in (writers) rooms … I think there was a better job being done on the drama side of things to incorporate diversity in the writing rooms, but the comedy rooms were still very white.”

It was especially hard to find BIPOC writers to serve as co-executive producers on “Overlord.”

“I was like, I think that’s one of the things I need to start building, is trying to figure out ways to get writers of colour to become producers.”

To that end, he has started a showrunner training boot camp with the industry group BIPOC TV & Film.

The most recent report on equity, diversity and inclusion from the Writers Guild of Canada found some gains — such as modest increases in co-executive producer and consulting producer credits for writers from under-represented communities — but also losses, with a drop in the percentage of Indigenous writers working on Canadian TV.

“Historically speaking, if you have a female showrunner she’ll hire more female writers and that’s how you get more women working. If you have a BIPOC showrunner they’re going to hire more BIPOC writers and that’s how you get more BIPOC writers,” Farrell said. “So I’m mentoring (other writers), but I’m hopefully mentoring mentors … more writers of colour who are in positions of power (who) can make the change quicker.

“Those numbers, they have to start growing soon and, hopefully, over the next four or five years that’ll get sorted. That’s my hope.”


Originally published: September 20, 2021.

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