The New Barney Series Is Coming — and Reactions Are Mixed

Barney the Dinosaur balloon at the 2002 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2002
NBC via Getty
NBC via Getty

Barney is being introduced to a new generation of kids. Parents and kids can expect to see the big purple dinosaur back in the new animated series "Barney's World," streamed by HBO Max and Cartoon Network in 2024.

Warner Bros. Discovery announced on May 9 that it picked up the new series, which will "revamp the iconic character for modern audiences." However, the toy company Mattel is also working on a line of clothes and accessories featuring the classic Barney for adult fans who grew up with "Barney & Friends."

While young stars who got their start on the original series, like Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez, won't be there, the show promises to tap into the nostalgia of the '90s with a modern take. It just might not be the modern take anyone had in mind.

When Mattel announced in February that it planned to relaunch the Barney franchise with a whole new animated look, some OG fans were not happy about the changes. Many turned to social media to share their reactions to the "new and improved" Barney with horror. "WHAT did they do to Barney?" tweeted one person, noting that the dino had "lost weight" in the comments. But most focused on the alleged "plastic surgery" their purple friend had undergone.

Sundance filmmaker Taietsarón:sere "Tai" LeClaire pointed out that Barney's new face looks like he got buccal fat surgery (aka Instagram cheeks), which has been trending since Chrissy Teigen opened up about receiving the procedure to give the appearance of sharp cheekbones. "They gave Barney contacts, a nose job and bigger veneers. Sad," wrote one critic.

Others were upset by aesthetic changes like adding a gapped tooth and losing the "friendly sleepy eyes" that were synonymous with the 1992 costume. Even Lovato's mom shared her disappointment on Twitter: "Aww man... I hate change."

Barney got the buccal fat removal

— Taietsarón:sere (@tai_leclaire) February 13, 2023

Despite the initial backlash, there is hope that kids will come to love this CGI version of the T. rex. Aimed at preschoolers, similar to the original, the revamped show will still focus on love, community, and encouragement, and it will also feature games and problem-solving adventures with Barney's friends.