On February 9, 2023, Netflix is premiering a new CG-animated action-comedy series My Dad the Bounty Hunter. This new series with an all-Black cast will follow close-knit siblings Lisa (Priah Ferguson) and Sean (JeCobi Swan) in 10 22-minute episodes. They take viewers on a journey as they sneakily, and unknowingly accompany their father Terry (Sabo Brok) AKA Dad (Laz Alonso) on his latest work trip in hopes of finally getting quality time together. But, they’re in for a huge surprise! Little do they know their dad has been keeping a secret from them — he’s actually the most brutal bounty hunter in the galaxy!
If you are looking for an animated, action-packed series to watch together as a family, you’ll want to check out My Dad the Bounty Hunter by Creators and Executive Producers Everett Downing and Patrick Harpin. It is a “warp-speed adventure across the constellation of ups, downs, and moments in between that shape family life.”
Meet the Characters of My Dad the Bounty Hunter
Before diving into any new series, I like to get an idea of what the characters are like. Is there anyone I can relate to? If it’s a family show like My Dad the Bounty Hunter, is there something we all can learn from and relate to? I had a special opportunity to get behind-the-scenes insight on each character from not only the creators of the series but the cast playing the characters as well. Here is everything you should know about each character.
Terry AKA Sabo Brok
Actor, Laz Alonso is the voice of Terry, the bounty hunter Sabo Brok, or as his two loving kids call him – Dad. Currently, separated from his wife, Tess he does his best to enjoy the time he has with his kids when he’s not juggling his busy work schedule. He’s the fun parent, trying to make up for the times he is not around, but he isn’t providing what they really want. According to the voice behind the character, Laz Alonso, Terry’s children, Lisa and Sean just want “… his presence and his support.” Laz Alonso spoke about how this journey, solidifies the relationship between Dad and his children. It allows them to see their father in a new light. “Once his kids stow away on his spaceship, it’s the first time we really see Terry behave as an actual dad, and the kids test him. But as the series progresses, they see how much he cares for them, and he also starts respecting them. It’s a beautifully written story of a father who really had no relationship with his kids, and over the course of this mission, they end up becoming a real family.”
When Laz stated that Dad, “…stops looking at them as something to apologize to.” It made me think of all the full-time working moms and dads who spend less time with their children, feeling guilty because they have to work.
Tess is played by Yvonne Orji. She’s a mom who, as Yvonne describes as, “..trying to keep the family together.” Especially since Terry is barely around due to his complicated work life. Although she is separated from Terry, Tess wishes that Terry would get his act together so they can be a family again. Or as Yvonne puts it, “…She’s hoping that for once Terry is going to come through and be the husband and dad that she knows he can be.” When she gets a surprise call from Terry that he’s taking the kids on a surprise trip to Splashtown, she’s skeptical but thinks he might have finally found his chance. Little does she know the adventure they have in store! Yvonne says that “Everything’s hinging on this moment for her. If this goes well, then [Terry] might be the guy she fell in love with once again. He might be the dad she had two kids with. She’s really hoping that he doesn’t let the kids down, or let her down as well.”
Priah Ferguson is the voice behind, Terry’s daughter Lisa. Priah getting this role was no accident. I learned that Everett Downing had his sights on her for this series from when he heard her say ‘You can’t spell America without Erica.’ – her first line in Stranger Things. He actually waited for Priah because he said “…she was the only person he really wanted for Lisa”
we waited and I’m so glad because she was the only person I really wanted for Lisa.” For Priah, choosing to lend her voice to the character, Lisa, was an easy choice after reading for the role. She said, Priah “…is super brave and not scared to defend herself or her family, no matter what they go through. That’s what made me fall in love with Lisa because I saw a little bit of myself in her.”
Lisa’s character is described as bold, fearless, and whip-smart. She’s described as being fiercely protective of her little brother Sean. Where her little brother is more forgiving and always happy when their dad rolls by, Lisa’s spent one too many recitals waiting for him to show up and lets her bitterness show. For Lisa, there’s right and wrong — and no gray area. This often puts her at odds with Dad, who’s made his living in the galaxy’s moral gray areas. “Leeza” (as she becomes known to her alien friends) believes she can chart a different course, taking up the fight to make outer space a better place for everyone.
JeCobi Swain plays Lisa’s younger brother Sean, whom he looks up to. He is described as a fun-loving kid whose curiosity is matched only by his imagination. Sean’s a lover of technology, and like most kids his age, video games are his life. This comes in handy when he’s on his impromptu space adventure with his dad. A dream come true for him, but his Dad’s worst nightmare.
Sean is excited to live out his sci-fi fantasy in space as “Robo-Sean,” a disguise that gets him up close and personal with all sorts of robots and droids, teaching him to rise to the challenge and crack problems in some pretty stressful situations. JeCobi says he can relate to Sean because they’re both wild and “…all over the place.” He says that “Sean’s very motivated to keep fighting for his family. He’s motivated by his sister, Lisa, and even though they bump heads a lot, at the end of the day, they love each other.” Since his sister is overly protective she sometimes prevents him from showing his bravery. But Jacobi says that “… his sister is his protector and she knows what’s best for him, but he just doesn’t know that yet.”
Leslie Uggams lends her voice to Lisa and Sean’s no-nonsense grandma. My mom would say she can relate to Grandma since they both tend to get roped into babysitting. She’s not afraid to let her son, Terry know when he needs to step up in his responsibilities as a father. Her lack of attentiveness means the kids usually get free rein, but she can be counted on to be there for “her babies” when they need it most. You’re probably wondering how did they get Leslie Uggams from Deadpool to be Grandma, right? Downing loved her performance in that movie and wondered if she’d read for the role. Of course, she did great. Downing stated that after Leslie was done reading, she says, ‘That’s it? You got to write more stuff for me!’”
Played by Yvette Nicole Brown, KRS is the onboard computer and voice of Sabo’s ship, KRS navigates, give status reports, and functions as Dad’s personal assistant while he’s out on missions. But when Sean starts pushing her buttons, he changes her personality settings and gives her a whole new attitude. Suddenly, Dad’s getting second-guessed by his kids AND his ship!
Wildcard Computer: In finding a voice for KRS, Harpin recalls searching for a “wildcard character that’s with Dad and the kids.” Yvette Nicole Brown fits the bill. Adds Downing, “We really wanted someone with the energy of the fun auntie who’s hanging out with you that you fall in love with. And Yvette is that. She was perfect.”
Rob Riggle is the voice behind Glorlox, the name is a play on a Klingon name and Lox (yeah, the fish) according to Patrick Harpin. Believe it or not, the creators didn’t think they could get Rob for the role, but when they asked Rob, they said he was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll do it.’ He’s so important and we were so fortunate to get him.” Adds Downing, “Riggle was great in the room and understood Glorlox right away — he’s emotionally attached. He just nailed it.”
Glorlox is Sabo’s former partner who is upset with Dad for going solo. When he runs into Sabo at Bucky Quanto’s with two “interns” by his side, he’s instantly jealous, not knowing they’re actually Sabo’s kids. And when he learns Sabo’s chasing down a new target, he looks to get revenge by catching her first.
Dad’s boss, The Fixer, is played by Jim Rash who is known for playing Dean Pelton on Community. Patrick Harpin had the idea to cast Jim AKA “Mean Dean” because it “…made sense” he said. he sounds almost like a corporate hitman.” Adds Downing, “He can get really sinister when he needs to.” Adding that Jim “…sounds almost like a corporate hitman.” “He can get really sinister when he needs to.” says Downing. The Fixer clad in a vest and khakis is described as being the creepily calm agent of The Conglomerate. Always checking at the most inconvenient times, The Fixer wants you to know he’s always there, always watching — just waiting for you to slip.
Jamie Chung is the voice behind Vax, the mysterious fugitive Sarbo Brok has to capture. While Vax has a reputation as a dangerous criminal, Lisa isn’t convinced. She may be onto something. They just need to look to see what’s hidden in The Conglomerate’s case file for Vax.
Jamie Chung was cast as Vax because she represented who Vax was. She, as Harpin states, “…has warmth but also comes across as a real fighter.” Harpin says “Jamie Chung was another hugely important member of the voice cast. A lot rested on that character. We describe Vax as if she’s almost someone from a different show. She’s almost from a more serious, dramatic adult show, and she’s hanging out with our crew. It was very important to get somebody who you believe is that.”
What the Creators Hope for Viewers of the Series
Everett Downing affectionately calls My Dad the Bounty Hunter his love letter to his family. I’m saying, “I’m gone all the time, but I love you.” I’m ready to show that appreciation. He also wants kids to watch the series and realize, “Oh, you know what? My dad does work a lot, but he’s doing it for me.” Or for parents to realize, “Maybe I do need to slow down and spend some more time with my kids.” He wants people to be able to see themselves in these characters.
On the other hand, Patrick Harpin hopes that the series Is something that people can enjoy and makes them laugh. He said he wants viewers “to get swept up in the filmmaking.” Because even though the series is full of comedy, and lighthearted stuff, they always wanted My Dad the Bounty Hunter to feel like a movie. “We’re trying to make something that’s at the level of what inspires us — like Brad Bird’s films.
Both creators stated that they wanted viewers of the series to think and come to their own conclusions about who is right or wrong while watching it. “I want people to be able to make decisions for themselves and come to their own conclusions because we don’t necessarily spell everything out for them,” says Harpin.
I am digging this series because of its all Black cast like some of my long-time favorites Laz Alonzo, Yvette Nicole Brown, Russel Hornsby, Yvonne Orji, and more. It’s good to see Netflix increasingly tapping into its Strong Black Lead platform, adding diversity to what’s being offered by Black creators like Everett Downing who is known for the Netflix short Hair Love, and including family-appropriate shows and animated series like My Dad the Bounty Hunter.
Check out more about My Dad the Bounty Hunter on Netflix.com.