Friday, December 19, 2008

The Return of Looney Tunes


That's right folks! After four long years, the beloved Looney Tunes shorts are returning to television. Due to disputes between Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network involving the 2003 film (Looney Tunes: Back in Action), Cartoon Network was left unable to air post-1948 shorts. Turner Broadcasting owned the pre-1948 shorts, but the network has since refused to air the program until Warner Bros. gave them the post-1948 under certain conditions. It was thought impossible by all animation enthusiasts for the Looney Tunes shorts to ever air again.

But on January 1st, 2009, to ring in the new year, Cartoon Network is airing a 14-hour long Looney Tunes marathon! But, does this mean the permanent return of this classic shorts to the network? Only time will tell...and by that I mean when Zap2it gets up to the first full week of 2009.

EDIT: It's just a test-run to see if it would be profitable for the network to air.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Random! Cartoons - Episode One Review

Well, I saw the first episode, and I can safely say that it was pretty good. And I also hope that I wasn't the only person that saw this episode, cause that would suck for both me and the person who missed out on these animated beauties.
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Solomon Fix isn't the worst short ever, but it was barely decent. The jokes were basically kiddy fare, some making no sense what so ever. The theme song came out and said that "the short was for kids". Well, I should have expected that. But I've seen preschool shows that are actually better than this. It was a waste of 7 minutes. I honestly expected better.

Rating: 5/10  


Moobeard: The Cow Pirate was everything I expected. Easily the best short out of all of these aired today, it was pretty funny. The cow/pig jokes were a pretty entertaining running gag, and so was Moobeard's crying. There's a lot of room for this to become an animated series on either Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network. It takes a lot to make me laugh, and I'm proud to say that the short actually made me chuckle at times. 

Rating: 9/10  


Two Witch Sisters was...weird, to say the least. It was eccentric, crazy, and colorful. It had a random-type of humor, and the designs were pretty cool to look at. The entire short was insane, and it kinda hard to find a plot in all of this. There was a handful of "WTH!?" moments that makes you wonder who was more insane/creative: Fred Siebert who accepted the short into R!C, or the creator herself. Either way, it was a very weird and crazy short. 

Rating: 8/10

"Random! Cartoons" airs every Saturday at 1:30pm on Nicktoons Network.

P.S. - Don't cha hate it when your images get cut off? Click on them to see the full thing, okay? You do want to see the names of the people who created the shorts right? Riiiiiiight?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade just got rick roll'd, courtesy of Cartoon Network.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Yet Some More Animation News

Random! Cartoons to Premiere this December

Starting this December, the long-awaited Random! Cartoons show is going to air...on Nicktoons Network. Unfortunately, it will not be airing on the main Nickelodeon channel. The series is a collection of animated shorts made by several animators in the business: both new and old. One of the shorts, Adventure Time, has been picked up by Cartoon Network and is scheduled to premiere next year. Here's the schedule for the Random! Cartoons episodes (all times 1:30pm EST):

Saturday, 12/6 - Episode 101 (Solomon Fix, MooBeard, Two Witch Sisters)
Sunday, 12/7 - Episode 102 (Finster Finster, Adventure Time, Mind the Kitty)
Saturday, 12/13 - Episode 103 (Ivan, Boneheads, Tiffany)
Saturday, 12/20 - Episode 104 (Call Me Bessie, Teapot, Hornswiggle)
Saturday, 12/27 - Episode 105 (Hero Heights, Yaki & Yumi, Gary Guitar)
So if you have the channel like I do, you better watch the show. 39 animated shorts in 13 episodes. And you better watch them all...


Cartoon Network has the Holiday Goods...

Starting December 4th, with the premiere of a Chowder Christmas special (Hey, Hey it’s Knishmas), Cartoon Network jump starts it's holiday festivities. Other Christmas goodies include a holiday-themed episode of 6teen, a Batman: The Brave and the Bold special, and special titled In Search of Santa. And let's not forgot all those Christmas specials of CN original series, that are also going to air along with some holiday classics. Cartoon Network looks like the place to be this December. Schedule is linked to in the picture to the left.

Yes, I know it's not much, but that's all I've got.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

*gasp* A POST!!!

Just to put in a post this month, after a long absence, I want to make some things known...

  1. I'll try to put up a Animation News post this week, which also involves some news about the long delayed Random! Cartoons show from Nickelodeon.
  2. Reviews of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and of the new Foster's movie (Destination Imagination) with all be up before the end of the month...I seriously promise. 
  3. For the time being, enjoy the Adventure Time short. In case you aren't in the know, Adventure Time is to premiere as an animated series in Fall 2009 on Cartoon Network. The initial order is for 13 half-hours (26x11 minutes).

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cartoon Review - The Secret Saturdays

It was the year 2007. I was surfing the internet as I always do when I stumbled upon the official website for Cartoon Network's 2007 Upfront. Happily, I went to check out the 'Upcoming Shows' section, which showed five shows which would premiere. Well, Cartoon Network's try at live-action programming, Out of Jimmy's Head, failed and was cancelled back in June. Santo is currently somewhere in development hell. And Chowder and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack became hits. But on that day, one show stood out for me the most...The Secret Saturdays. Upon reading the plot and watching the Sizzle Reel, I went to Wikipedia and created the TSS Wikipedia page. I had the feeling that this show would be awesome beyond words and would be one of the greatest American action shows ever. And, upon watching it TWICE last night and once today, I have to say I was pretty close to right.
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Creator(s): Jay Stephens




Rating: A


Premiere: October 3rd, 2008


Yesterday was my birthday, and of course, The Secret Saturdays and Star Wars: The Clone Wars (review on that on Tuesday) were the shows I wanted, no, needed to watch. So after grabbing some birthday cake, and sitting through the last three minutes of Johnny Test, I watched the greatness that was TSS (The Secret Saturdays). Oh, and one of these days, I have to do something on the "You Are Here" block, since that was one great intro. I'm going to like that King Nood...anyway, let me start this thing...


The Secret Saturdays is about the adventures of the Saturday family and their exotic cryptid pets. Traveling the world, it's up to them to keep the existence of cryptids (creatures undiscovered by science) secret, to protect both mankind and the cryptids themselves. And along the way, they have to tangle with twisted villains like V.V. Argost (host of the show Weird World; which was at the center of Cartoon Network's viral campaign for the show) and Van Rook (a rival cryptozoologist whose just in the cryptid biz just for the money). And the basic plot for the first 26 episodes (2 seasons) is that:
Now that V.V. Argost has gained the gotten Kur Stone, the Saturdays have to find him and try and stop him from using it to find the ancient Sumerian cryptid Kur, and take over the world.
Now, it may sound a bit cliche (with the whole 'good-guys-must-stop-bad-guy-from-taking-over the-world' plot), but I really like it. An animated series about cryptids a truly a new idea, and the execution is pretty great. Globe-trotting and stopping the bad guys...it has a real Johnny Quest-vibe, which is a GOOD thing. How can you not love it!? Also, in case you're wondering, there are going to be quite a few stand-alone episodes in these 26 episodes, so you can jump on in at any time (though you might have to watch "The Kur Stone" is get some things).


At times, the show can get a bit dull. The writing can be cheesy and awkward at times, and the timing is sometimes a bit off when it comes to dialogue. But I think that the timing problem will get fixed over time. I won't really comment on the sometimes stiff animation, due to the fact that since this is the pilot, it's the first animation that was done for the show. So I'm sure that it will get better over time too. But I must say that the art is fantastic. In fact, Jay Stephens actually based the art design on Hanna-Barbera's 60s animated action series (aka The Herculoids, Johnny Quest, etc.) and Alex Toth's art style. This really helps give the show a nice old-school Saturday morning feel that adds to the show's greatness.


Now the characters a pretty good too. I like Zak's energy and personality. I can understand his need to prove himself to his parents, but sometimes he just doesn't do it the right way. Seeing as nearly killed himself half-way during the pilot episode and was the cause of the airship crashing in the Amazon Rainforest, I see why his mom is worried for his safety. Doc and Drew are also pretty good characters. An interracial relationship isn't new in animation, but it certainly is pretty rare. And I also like how it isn't the "stupid dad-smart mom" thing that has started to become common in animation these days. They are both strong, competent characters that are pretty interesting. And they balance each other out: Doc is the calm, slightly-skeptic scientist while Drew is the impulsive, believing-before-seeing mystic. And V.V. Argost...he just has to be one of the best villains in recent animation history. He's harsh, creepy, secretive, and shows no mercy. He's just one of those villains who just seem to be evil for no reason, and it really works here. And the cryptids are pretty funny at times, while also being able to be threatening at others. It's great.


All in all, The Secret Saturdays is now one of my favorite shows. Two scientists, their son, and a few of goofy pets appear to be the winning combination for Cartoon Network. And with Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Ben 10: Alien Force, it will dominate Friday nights. The Secret Saturdays get an ever-loving A from me. Great work, Jay! Oh, and Brandon Sawyer and Scott Jeralds too.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Even More Animation News

Cartoon Network Airing Action Movies In Toonami's Place

For possibly the rest of the year, in place of the now defunct Toonami block, Cartoon Network will now be airing an animated action movie each week, with new Naruto episodes airing bi-weekly. The film roster includes Batman: Gotham Knight (October 4th; 9pm), Justice League: The New Frontier (October 18th; 9pm), and Dr. Strange (November 1st; 9pm). Here is the schedule:
It is rumored that Naruto the Movie 3: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom* will air on Saturday, November 8th at 9pm.

*Network Premiere


On Sunday, October 12th at 7pm, a new Halloween special from Billy and Mandy creator Maxwell Atoms will appear. Entitled Underfist, the hour-long special is spin-off from his previous series The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, and features the characters Irwin, Jeff the Spider, Hoss Delgado, Fred Fredburger, and General Skarr. When an evil witch makes an evil army of "Trick-or-Treater Eaters" with plans to take over Endsville, it's up to Underfist to take her down. The special is to air after a 5-hour GAoBaM marathon.


On Friday, November 14th, the newest Batman animated series (The Brave and the Bold) is to premiere on Cartoon Network. The series, unlike the currently popular Nolan films starring a dark Batman universe, this show returns to a more light-hearted Batman. That doesn't mean Batman is going soft however. It's just going to be the overall tone of the show. In this show, instead of seeing Bat's regular rouge gallery, they're going old-school and showing off some of the Gotham Knight's lesser-known adversaries (such as Clock King). Most episodes will have Batman outside of Gotham City and teaming-up with several other heroes (such as Plastic Man). Oh, yeah, and Diedrich Baker is voicing Batman this time around.

Yeah, only three news items this time. Hey, I was going to add a fourth, but I decided it would be better to say that one in November.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Toonami Finale

Last night, I watched most of the Toonami block. I didn't want to miss a second of it. Toonami was a great and amazing block. Even though it died, it had a great run. It lasted way longer than most shows and blocks do. 11 years is a pretty long time. They went through several hosts (I started watching Toonami around the time of TOM2). I must have been the only one who actually liked TOM4 a bit. He was the perfect version of TOM to close the Toonami block. "So, until we meet again, stay gold..." A perfect end to such a perfect block.

Bang.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

More Random Animation News

"Secret Saturdays" and "Clone Wars" Start This October

On October 3rd, both The Secret Saturdays and Star Wars: The Clone Wars have their premieres on Cartoon Network. At 8pm, get ready to see the amazing hour-long premiere ("The Kur Stone") of The Secret Saturdays, the first ever animated series about cryptids. From the mind of Jay Stephens, 26 episodes have been produced so far at Porchlight Entertainment. And at 9pm, get ready to go to a place far, far away, with two back-to-back episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars (produced at Lucasfilm Animation). And lucky for you, I have the episode synopsis for both of them:
9:00 p.m. “AMBUSH”: Jedi Master Yoda is on a secret mission to forge a treaty with the King of the strategic system of Toydaria when his ship is ambushed by Count Dooku. Yoda and three clone troopers must face off against Count Dooku’s dreaded assassin Ventress and her massive droid army to prove the Jedi are strong enough to protect the king and his people from the forces of the war. 

9:30 p.m. “RISING MALEVOLENCE”: Creating panic throughout the galaxy, a devastating Separatist mystery weapon terrorizes the clone Starfleet. Anakin and Ahsoka race to save Jedi Master Plo Koon and his clone troopers in time.
22 episodes have been produced for the first season, and reruns will be airing on TNT. The name of the new Friday night action block is still unknown, but the tagline is "YOU. ARE. HERE."



Tonight, between 10:30pm and 11:00pm (Samurai Jack's time-slot), there will be a very important announcement that  involves Toonami.  What could it be: a Toonami channel? Extended block? New shows? No real info on whether the news is good or bad, but I really recommend you watch Toonami tonight for it. EDIT: The announcement is about the death of the Toonami block. 1997-2008: R.I.P. Toonami


Nickelodeon's newest hit animated series, The Mighty B!, has just been picked up for a 20-episode second season. The series is about a 9 and 3/4 year old Honeybee scout who aims to collect every single badge there is in order to become a superhero called The Mighty B. The series premiered on April 26th and has since become one of the channel's top rated series. Created by Amy Poehler (of SNL fame), Cynthia True (former FOP writer), and Erik Weise (former Spongebob writer and storyboarder).


On January 20th, 2009, Warner Home Video and Cartoon Network will release The Complete Powerpuff Girls Anniversary Collector’s Set to celebrate the show's 10 year anniversary. The six-DVD boxed set includes all 78 episodes of the series (including the never-aired in the US series finale) and new bonus features such as a documentary on show creator Craig McCracken, commentaries, a music video and more. In addition to this, there will be an all-day marathon paying tribute to the series, ending with the TV premiere of a brand new PPG special from McCracken himself.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

George Pipes and Bone (unrelated characters)

Yeah, it's another artwork post. That's pretty much all you guys will be getting for the rest of the month. In fact, I plan to make these posts daily. I may not be able to do the follow-up reviews. But don't worry, I'll go back to my Cartoon Reviews next month, and you can expect more Animation News by the end of the week. So for now, enjoy these posts. And just so you guys know, these characters have nothing to do with each other.
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Okay I made this character way back in 8th grade, a few weeks before summer vacation. He was just a little scribble that I ended up liking a lot. In the beginning, he was just a character I liked drawing. A useless guy to draw when bored. But then I came up with a bunch of ideas for him. A run-of-the-mill guy in a a crazy town, a plumber battling monsters in the sewers, the list goes on. I still don't really know what to do with him, but all I know is that he's a plumber in an Anywhere, U.S.A town...

Picture A is a drawing of the guy as he looks normally. He's pretty calm most of the time, taking all of life problems and troubles with ease. Of course sometimes he goes crazy or insane, as seen in Picture B, and has no clue what to do in the face of extreme danger. In fact, I'm starting to like the "plumber who fights sewer monsters" idea now. It has this certain...tinge to it. It just seems to make sense for the character. Picture C is just George staring at something, somewhat confused. Probably confused by some weird painting done by a neighbor a local art show. Picture D is just George smiling. Like the drawings I made yesterday, the ones in pencil are just roughs that I did, and the ones outlined in pen are the ones I really liked.



Yes, I realize that there is a comic book character with the name of Bone, but I just came up with the name, and it seemed to fit this character. This character started as a bedtime character a few days ago, in that I first created him when I was in bed and drawing. And in case you couldn't notice, he's actually a dog. No joke. He just feels like a dog to me.

Picture A is Bone half-heartedly reaching his hand out to someone and telling him/her his name. Picture B is Bone being either shocked or surprised by something...I just don't really know what. You see, because I created this character such a short time ago, I never really had time to truly develop the character yet. Picture C has Bone smiling, being very happy, while in contrast, Picture D has Bone angry with a frown. The picture in pencil (Picture 1) was my first attempt at actually drawing Bone from the front. Pictures 2 and 3 were just drawn to take up space. That's all for today! 

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Johnny Labrat



This is my newest character, Johnny Labrat. Picture A is actually a 'copy' of the first drawing I ever did of him. I first drew him in Honors Biology yesterday. And an idea I came up for the guy yesterday during the same class was that maybe he was the often used test subject of some crazy mad scientist, and he was about to be subject to another experiment. Thus came the name Johnny Labrat.  Smiley 
Picture B is one I made today, and it was the outcome of one of the experiments...a lot of his hair falling out. Picture C is another drawing I made of him today, which was the outcome of a different experiment: making Johnny smile. I decided, that like Mandy from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Johnny should almost never smile. And if he does...well, the results aren't too pretty.  Sneaky 
The pictures in pencil are some roughs I made of him today, and the pen drawings are basically roughs that I decided I really liked. And, since I'm scared of people taking my characters, I decided that I should copyright it.  Yes

Friday, August 29, 2008

Random Animation News

The newest Cartoon Network original series, The Secret Saturdays, is set to premiere this October on a new Friday night fantasy/adventure block. Created by Jay Stephens, the series is about a family of cryptozoologists that work to keep the truth about cryptids from getting out, to protect both the human race and the creatures themselves. 26 episodes were produced for the channel by Porchlight Entertainment.


The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Cartoon Network's newest comedy series, has been picked up for a 20-episode second season that is likely to start airing next summer. Also, the remaining 8 episodes of the first season will start airing this winter. Created by Thurop Van Orman, the series is about a young boy named Flapjack who dreams of becoming an adventurer. Produced by Cartoon Network Studios.


The animated short Adventure Time, created by Pendleton Ward for Nick's Random Cartoons, was picked up by Cartoon Network as a series. Pendleton Ward is currently a writer on the animated series Flapjack. Adventure Time is about a boy named Pen and his dog Jake, and there adventures in a strange land. Where the show is being produced is currently unknown. Short can be seen here.


The animated short, Fanboy and Chum Chum, has recently been greenlighted for series by Nickelodeon. Originally to air as part of Random Cartoons, the short is about...some boy who wants to be a superhero. Created by Eric Robles, the series is being produced at Frederator Studios. 26 episodes have been ordered. More information available at production blog.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cartoon Review - Interview with Jay Stephens

Hello and welcome to Cartoon Review! Instead of doing that late Cartoon Review of Phineas and Ferb, I decided to do an interview with Jay Stephens. Jay, if you didn't know, is a cryptozoology freak who is the creator of the upcoming Cartoon Network show "The Secret Saturdays" (which I think will be one of the best action shows ever, maybe even better than Avatar). It's a rather short interview, which just answers a few short questions. So without adu, here's the interview!
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Me : Where did you grow up, and did your childhood have any affect on your work?
Jay: I grew up in a traditional North American 'broken home' where I was abandoned for hours-- even days-- at a time in front of a TV or with a stack of comic books. I found the love and nurturing I needed in junk culture, and it definitely sent me on this screwy 'career' path. I had to hone my imagination while dreaming up a happy childhood.


Me: How did the idea for your other animated series, Tutenstein, come about?
Jay: When I was 7 I saw a touring exhibit of 'The Treasures Of Tutankhamen' at the Art Gallery Of Ontario, and it blew my mind. Much later, I thought the idea of cross breeding a living mummy with Frankenstein's Monster would be wicked cool.

Me: Before Tutenstein and The Secret Saturdays, I hear you worked in comics. What was some of your work in that and how did you end up in animation?
Jay: I worked in comics (and continue to) for 15 years before coming to animation. You could do some homework on that stuff at my website: http://www.jaystephens.com
Basically, an executive saw my comics and thought they might make good TV. First Jetcat for Nick, then Tut, and the rest is history.


Me: How was it, working on The Secret Saturdays? And if the channel lets you, would you work on a third season?
Jay: We don't have a second season yet, so I'm not sure of what you mean (the first season order was for 26 episodes). CN has been my best experience in animation to date, by a wide margin. I would be delighted to continue the relationship.


Me: How did the Saturdays end up with Cartoon Network?
Jay: They were the only network we shopped it to with the vision to see it through. As luck would have it, the success of Ben 10 had executives hungry for more action stuff. I've been trying to get in that door for years, so it came as a kind of anti-climactic shock to suddenly be doing business with the best animated network out there.

Me: How did you end up being so interested in monsters and cryptids?
Jay: I've been told I have a sick mind. Monsters creep into my thoughts pretty naturally, I guess! When I was in grade school, I was voracious in my private reading habits, sneaking off to the Library across the street from my house as often as possible. It was there that I first discovered the secret science of cryptozoology, and I used evidence for the existence of Bigfoot as my grade 4 Public Speaking project. I won first prize. Cryptids have been good to me ever since.


Me: What do you do in your spare time?
Jay: Get well in a Mental Hospital. For real.

Me: Are there any significant people that influence your work?
Jay: Far too many to list here, and it's an ever expanding list. I can tell you that I was looking to Alex Toth, Doug Wildey, Warren TuftsMilt Caniff, Roy Crane, Harvey Kurtzman, Daniel Torres, Jack Kirby, and Hergé as inspiration for the Secret Saturdays.

Me: Are there any secrets you can reveal about upcoming episodes?
Jay: If I told you, I'd have to sick my chupacabras on you.

Jay Stephens' "The Secret Saturdays" is set to premiere in October on Cartoon Network's new fantasy/adventure/action block along with Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Friday, August 15, 2008

PVoA #3 - The Cartoons That Weren't

Welcome to my PVoA, my Personal Views of Animation. Unlike the past two PVoA's, this one reads more like a Cartoon Review, since I'll be reviewing the two pilots I'm about to talk about. The first pilot is called "The Wizzard of Krudd", and was created by both Greg Miller (creator of the Cartoon Network series "Whatever Happened to Robot Jones") and Mike Stern for Nickelodeon. The second one I'm to show you is called "Zoot Rumpus", and was created by Kaz (of Spongebob Squarepants and Camp Lazlo fame) for Cartoon Network. So I don't have to spend time making a bunch of screenshots, I'll just post the videos.
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Creator(s): Greg Miller and Mike Stern

Running Time: 7 minutes and 32 seconds (the 2 minutes after that are a quick, soundless summary of the pilot)

Network: Nickelodeon

Rating: B+

Status: Stored in a Viacom warehouse, never to see the light of day...except for the occasional "Shorts in a Bunch" airing. 

The Wizzard of Krudd is basically about a young rocker Gordo McMullett who is enslaved by the evil wizard Butterbeard and his two idiotic goblin side-kicks in the strange land of Krudd. However, from the pilot, you can see that Gordo doesn't even realize he's a prisoner. If you have watched Whatever Happened to Robot Jones, then you will realize the 70s-80s feel Greg gives the cartoon. In fact, it wouldn't be hard to believe if both shows did take place in that time.

It feels like it could have made a good, retro styled cartoon if it was truly given the chance. However, it wasn't and it ended up not getting picked up for a series. It has a quirky humor and style to it that I really like. It would have made a good show, and I would have watched it. And the thing is...it truly fits the Nickelodeon name.

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Creator(s): Kazimieras G. Prapuolenis (aka 'Kaz')

Running Time: 6 minutes and 34 seconds (this is just the first half of the pilot. Once the second part is put up on Youtube, I'll edit this post with it)


Rating: B

Status: Still a chance for the short to be greenlighted.

Zoot Rumpus is about a junkyard dog named Zoot and his attempts to prove that he could run the junkyard one day. It's a pretty zany cartoon that really feels like an old-school Nickelodeon show (like Rocko's Modern Life and The Angry Beavers). At first glances, it feels and looks like a Nick show, but after a while you can see that it has the markings of a Cartoon Network cartoon. In terms of humor, it's somewhere between Camp Lazlo and Rocko's Modern Life (both which were created by Joe Murray). The artwork is pretty appealing to my eyes, and the animation is decent.

Zoot is a good cartoon, but could it still get picked up for a series. It may depend. If Cartoon Network airs it as part of Cartoonstitute, then positive viewer response might make CN execs decide to greenlight it. After all, they do need some more shows going on. However, if it was up to themselves, Zoot could get the boot. We just need to wait and see...

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Thousands of cartoon pilots and ideas get submitted year, but only a small handful end up getting greenlighted. The two I just showed you are but two of the many pilots out there. If you were in the position to choose, would you have accepted these shorts or toss them out to the cold? If it were up to me, I would have accepted these for at least one season, to see how they would do. After all, I liked them a lot. But that's all I can really say for now. Both these pilots were good comedies, even though they didn't make me laugh (Zoot Rumpus came close though). Anyway, come by next week for my next PVoA on Toon Disney. Racattack Force, over and out...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What's Coming Up...

All these blog posts will most likely happen in the order listed. Also, Tednut has been put on hiatus for the time being, I'll explain it next month. As you can see below, I plan to do four more blog posts this month, and a whopping nine posts next month.



Later This August...






This September...


  • A PVoA on Nickelodeon, and most importantly, it's animation.

  • A Cartoon Followup Review of "The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack".

  • A PVoA on Disney XD, and it's possible future effects on current Toon Disney animation.

  • A Cartoon Followup Review of "Total Drama Island".

  • A PVoA on Williams Street, the company that made Cartoon Network's Toonami and Adult Swim blocks.

  • A Cartoon Followup Review of "Chowder".

  • Where's Tednut!?: Why the webtoon is on "hiatus"...

  • A Cartoon Review on The Secret Saturdays, if not done the previous month.

  • The start of my "History of Animation" series, in which I will write (for over a year) about animation history: in the United States and all over the world.

Friday, August 8, 2008

PVoA #2 - Cartoon Network

Welcome to my PVoA, my Personal Views of Animation. This is the second part of my writings on Time Warner's animation library. For this part, I'm going to be focusing on Cartoon Network, and what the channel could do to improve itself. Sure, it's going up in the ratings now, but it still has some work to do. Basically, I'm going to be discussing programming and schedule. Oh, and that WALL-E review...I may never get to completing it. If it isn't up by the end of the week, then don't expect anything. And just so you know, I saw the movie on July 1st.
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Cartoon Network...ah yes, the ESPN of animation. The channel is doing fairly well in the ratings. Each month, the channel continues to get more an more viewers with it's "Har Har Tharsdays" block. Tweens 9-14 (my age group) went up 69% in just weeks. If that happened because of shows like Total Drama Island (which I've grown to love) and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack (which is now tied for #1 series on the network), then just imagine what will happen when The Secret Saturdays, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, & Batman: The Brave and The Bold premiere in the next two months. The channel will go from a distant third to a closer third. And just add Cartoonstitute, the original movies (based on comics) they are developing, and anymore future projects to the mix. Cartoon Network could be heading towards it's former glory. But, that doesn't mean there isn't anymore room for improvement. No, far from it. There's some things the channel must do before it becomes truly great...




Programming







First off, Cartoon Network can keep the live action if it wants. As long as it continues to make up less than 5% of the weekly schedule (it currently makes up 1% to 2%). And I'm okay with them making The Vanishers comic a live-action instead of animated TV movie. In fact, the creator wants that, since he said he wanted it to be portrayed as realistically as possible. As long as animation continues to more than dominate the network, it's okay by me.


Second off, Cartoon Network should consider airing more classical programming. They air close to two hours of Tom and Jerry every day, so the least they could do is air some of The Flintstones and The Jetsons. Maybe some Smurfs and Snorks would do. And I don't care when they air the stuff. They could air in in the early mornings or in the middle of the afternoon, just air the stuff.



Third off, in addition of airing classic programming, they should air some of their old Cartoon Cartoons. Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls just have to air on the channel again. In the early mornings or late at night, I don't care, I just want to wake up and see them. Same for the 90s Warner Bros. cartoons. Which brings me to my own example schedule idea...





Schedule




This is an example schedule I made for Cartoon Network. It features classical cartoons, the Warner Bros. cartoons of the 90s, the old Cartoon Cartoons, current CN programming, and future CN programming. The red is for the "Dynamite Action Squad" block, if it still exists at that point. The green is for an after school block, the light purple for "Har Har Tharsdays", and dark red/brown for "Fried Dynamite" (it has started to get some real ratings, so it's gotta stay). Oh yeah, the black is for "Toonami", and the blue for the "Flicks" movie premiere block.

With this schedule, HHT is now three hours, and both "Fried Dynamite" & "Toonami" are four hours. Monday mornings feature action cartoons, Tuesday mornings show comedy, Wednesdays have Cartoon Cartoons, Thursdays are the classics, and Fridays are the 90s Warner Bros. cartoons. Saturday and Sunday mornings are just simply random. Like now, movies are on at 10 am every day except Saturday. And there is also a marathon every Sunday afternoon. Saturday afternoons show encores of premiere episodes that aired earlier in the week. In case you don't know, Cartoonstitute is a shorts project Cartoon Network is currently working on. It's similar to the What A Cartoon! Show that aired years before. Ironically, Cartoon Network seemed to have trademarked the phrase. Maybe as a new slogan for the network...who knows?

Of course, in the summer, Cartoon Network is free to do what every other kids network does: air their most popular shows 50 times a day. But for fall, winter, and spring, they have to mix it up a bit a give us some variety. And that's it for today. Next week, I'll talk a bit about some cartoon pilots that never got picked up for series, one or two from Nick, and one or two from Cartoon Network. Whatever pilots I can actually show you...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

VIACOM VS YOU = BOYCOTT

Oh crap, I seriously hate this. Viacom, you guys are serious...buttholes. But anyway, the Wall*E review will be up tomorrow. Please comment to voice your opinion on this.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tednut Production News!


I have posted this news both here on this blog and on the official Tednut website. Production on my web series, Tednut, has been temporarily halted until further notice. Well, no exactly halted, its more like I'm starting all over again (in a way).  There are a number of reasons why I have to do this, which I shall list below: 
  • Animation, is a major reason. I will most likely not be able to even start it until later this month, after I get back from a weeks at Pillars of Fire (which I'm going to after spending a week at a camp in the Adirondack Mountains). I'll be pretty much gone for two weeks, and have no access to any computer during this time.
  • Storyboards Only. I have to completely get rid of the scripts. After all, what use does a script have for a show where none of the characters actually talk? I was unable to get my hands on a microphone todo the voices, so I'm getting rid of that aspect. All humor will be based entirely on actions. This could be a chanllege, but I think I can handle it. This show will now only use storyboards, if I want at least the few episodes to be done by September 12th (it's a bi-weekly series).
  • Backgrounds. I haven't finished ANY of the backgrounds...okay, I finished one (Ted's bedroom) but I really need to redo that one since it's very messy. Most of the kitchen is colored, but I need to complete it. A school hallway I drew is completely uncolored (with the exception of a fish)
Okay, so that's all you really need to know at this point. Storyboarding and backgrounds will hopefully be done over the next three weeks, and I have to find good sound and music clips on the internet. All following news will be posted on the official Tednut website from now on unless it's very major.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cartoon Review - Three Delivery

Okay, in my last Cartoon Review, I said that I would rather watch a show Kappa Mikey or Three Delivery (which didn't yet premiere at the time) than the new Speed Racer cartoon, which was kinda bad. So today, after checking when it would next be one, I sat down and decided to watch "Three Delivery", Nicktoons Network's new original series. And I ended up watching the greatest NN series to date (but it isn't that big of a statement when you check out their original shows). It was entertaining, it kept me somewhat hooked to the end, and I see great things in the future for this show...namely two seasons and a TV movie. Now, let's get down to the review!
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Creator(s): Larry Schwarz

Running Time: 22 minutes


Rating: B+

Premiere: June 27, 2008

Now, let's check out the plot. According to the show's official website, this show is about three teenagers who are trying to stop the evil Kong Li from using the powerful recipes of a magic cookbook to take over the world...okaaaaaaaaayyyyy. Actually, I thought I misread the synopsis when I saw at. I mean, a magic cookbook? They couldn't be serious: I would have believed magic stones, mystical objects, or some other monkey guano thing like that! But, then again, this company also made a series of shorts about dancing sushi trying to become famous...yeah, so this is standard Animation Collective, with all their Flash animation glory. Thankfully, the animation is a real step up from some of their original work, like the first few episodes of Kappa Mikey or Princess Natasha. They've steadily improved, I'm glad to see that. Now, the animation is great, but could be better. It would look much more fluid if done in traditional 2D animation. Anyway, the fight scenes are well done: a real step above Danny Phantom, but not at the level of other shows such as Justice League.



Okay, this show takes place in Chinatown. I can't say which Chinatown, since the creator most likely went to Chinatowns all over the United States and took bits and pieces of each one to create this one. But is this Chinatown part of a bigger city, or it's own town? I don't know, and I don't really care at this point. I can say that, if memory serves, the creator loved hanging around in Chinatown when he was a kid growing up in...whatever city. Anyway, this show is downright entertaining and kinda fun to watch. You can tell that the creator is very close to this project, and has done all he can to help it succeed. The action is pretty good for a Nickelodeon show, second only to Avatar: The Last Airbender. The art is nice to look at, but the color palette is a bit dark. But that is explained by the fact that many episodes will take place at night. Which makes a bunch of sense, since all the stuff these teens are doing must be kept secret from the public. Or is it? I really don't know, since I don't think they erased anyone's memory of the random earthquakes, or the scary dragon, and all that other stuff. The dialogue is pretty standard, but some lines and actions do get a chuckle out of me. The theme song is not the greatest in the world, but it is pretty enjoyable. But you won't get me to watch/listen to in several times in a row.

All in all, this is the standard American action show: It has the basic team of heroes who sometimes don't get along, it has martial arts, and it has an old person that can do martial arts. I'm giving this show a B+, it's pretty good, and it really put me in a good mood. But I'm hungry from listening to all their talk about recipes and cooking...I'm ordering some Chinese food.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

PVoA #1 - Time Warner's Animation Library (Vol. 1)

Welcome to my first ever PVoA, which is short for "Personal Views on Animation". Each week, I talk something in the animation industry that really catches my attention. This week, I'd like to address something every important about a huge conglomerate. A huge conglomerate with a huge animation library that is incredibly unused. It's animation library is the biggest in the world. It holds many pre-1986 MGM animation, Warner Bros. animation, Hanna-Barbera, and others. And if it just believed in synergy, then maybe at least 90% of it could be put to good use. What is this company? Well, it's none other than...
Time Warner, the world's second largest conglomerate, made up of AOL, Time Inc., Warner Bros., Turner Broadcasting, and a few other subsidiaries. Of course, it didn't gain its huge animation library until Turner merged with Time Warner back in 1996. Ever since then, Time Warner has had a huge library of animation, which features many classic cartoons that could be shown on Boomerang. Which brings me to my first topic...


BOOMERANG

Boomerang was originally a block that Cartoon Network had back when it didn't even need it. Cartoon Network was originally made for Ted Turner to show off his huge library of animation. So it basically showed a whole mountain of classic cartoons and Boomerang was a block on the channel during that era. The channel didn't need the block because many of the shows on that block aired elsewhere on the channel. Anyway, what you need to know is that Boomerang was spin-off from Cartoon Network into it's own channel on April 1st, 2000. And has been showing pretty much the same few shows for the past 2 or so years. It doesn't show Looney Tunes at all because Warner Bros. won't let them air the post-1948 shorts (Turner owns the pre-48 ones) unless Turner pays them a hefty sum of money. The channel has recently added a few Cartoon Cartoons and recent Warner Bros. shows (such as The Batman), which kinda defeated the purpose of the channel. Also, the schedule never changes. It's always the same shows at the same time, every single month, with the exception of some shows being taken off and others being put on for short periods of time. So it's pretty much like the channel is running on auto-pilot.

Now, a week or so ago, I made a three-point plan on how Time Warner could actually improve the channel, use a great deal of their animation library, and also make a great deal of money from it. I will explain it in detail below:

  1. Warner Bros. should buy around 35-45% of the Boomerang channel, making it co-own the channel with Turner Broadcasting. Now, Boomerang now has the full ability to air the entire Time Warner library and air the Looney Toons shorts, among other Warner Bros. properties.
  2. Turner Broadcasting decides to take full advantage of it's huge animation library, and divides up the week into different decades of animation to make it easier to program the schedule. Sundays could be the 30s and 40s, Mondays the 50s, Tuesdays the 60s, Wednesdays the 70s, Thursdays the 80s, Fridays could possibly be the 90s, and Saturday a mix of animation from all those eras.
  3. Warner Bros. and/or Turner Broadcasting decides to make some more "in-between" shorts and (maybe) one or two original programs. They also decide to relaunch the network and give it a huge makeover, with a new logo and bumpers. They also put on commercials, eventually allowing them to move the channel to basic cable, allowing a wider audience to see it. Ratings will get higher, and Time Warner will be able to make more money off the channel.

Okay, with the first part of the plan, I think it would be a good idea for Warner Bros. to own some percentage of the channel, with Turner Broadcasting still owning a good amount of it. After all, they created the channel, so they still should have major control. This way, Boomerang would be able to broadcast several Warner Bros. cartoons in addition to the post-48 Looney Tunes shorts. With Turner Broadcasting and Warner Bros. working together with the channel, the once-divided animation library will combine, and Time Warner would be able to make full use of it.

With the second part of the plan, they decide to divide up the schedule, deciding to air different decades of animation on different days. This should make it easier to program, since they won't have to struggle with trying to figure out which shows should stay and which should go, and won't have to leave out a bunch of programs. They can air all or most of their 60s animation on Tuesday, a good chuck of their 90s animation on Fridays, etc. I'll later post up an example schedule to show you how this can work exactly. But for now, I think you understand this part.

With the third, but possibly not final part, Boomerang gets a major redesign. Like the Cartoon Network relaunch of 2004, Boomerang will be relaunched with a new logo, brand new bumpers (it has been using those toy bumps since day one), new shorts to air in between programs, and maybe some original programming to air on Saturdays. However, this original programming will make up little of the channel if done. However, it would be preferred if they don't choose to add original programming, so they can still use "Classic Cartoons. 24/7." as a tagline or motto. But I just put it up there as a possibility. Anyway, then they must air commercials. Eventually, they could make enough money from these commercials and go from being a digital tier channel to a basic cable channel. More people will be able to see it and they will slowly (but surely) get fantastic ratings.

If they put this into action, Time Warner will finally use a good chuck of it's animation programming, and nothing would get wasted. Everyone will get to see a bunch of the old cartoons they once loved, Time Warner makes money, and everyone wins. And hey, who knows? Maybe Time Warner could try and get the rights to air shows from Cookie Jar Entertainment, Filmation, and DePatie-Freleng Enterprises if (and when) the channel gets successful enough...

NEXT WEEK: Time Warner's Animation Library (Vol. 2)*

*Also known as "Save Some For Cartoon Network Bub!"

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Ain't Dead, I'm I Mummy?

Okay, so I've realized that I haven't been posting anything on this blog in a while. Well, at least anything of real importance. The only thing I've posted in a while was a somewhat badly animated music video that had a song that I liked. And someone posted a bunch of curse words in the comments for that video here...Anyway, I've been really busy with finishing up my school work. I still have one test left, then there's graduation, then the last day of school. Now let me show you what I would have done if I had the time:

Animation News: I would have just been copying and pasting news from Toon Zone over to here. Plain and simple. However, I'll be also adding comments on the news from Toon Zone I post, and be adding some news of my own. And that starts on Friday.

Reviews: I actually planned on doing a review of a new show that premiered on Toon Disney/Jetix a while ago, but I never actually got around to watching an episode. I plan on doing that review this weekend, along with a review of a new Nicktoons Network series that premieres on Friday. As for the Kung Fu Panda review...that may not be happening any time soon. I'm just going to try and do Wall*E. Face it, do you really think I would pick Dreamworks over Pixar? Get real.

Others: I don't feel like telling you guys, but I was going to talk about Flash animation, Time Warner's animation library (biggest in the world), and John K. Okay, that's it. TTFN (that "Ta-Ta For Now").

~ Racattack Force

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Simple Carnival - Really Really Weird

This was just just silly video I found on Youtube. I'm pretty sure that brought me was the music, that and the weirdly enjoyable animation. I could listen to this song and watch this video for hours! Anyway, I'll just to the Animation News for this week...at some point.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cartoon Review - Speed Racer: The Next Generation

Okay, for those of you who don't know, the original "Speed Racer" was a manga series created by Tatsuo Yoshida in 1967. It was titled "Mach GoGoGo" and about a year after the manga hit stores, an anime series was produced. The anime series was directed by Hiroshi Sasagawa and around 52 episodes were made. It soon came to America under the name "Speed Racer" (which became the main character's name), heavily edited and dubbed by American producer Peter Fernandez. The series is now famous for it's "fast" dialogue and "bad" dubbing, and at least two other series (other than this one I'm reviewing) and a number of video games followed. If you want to see for yourself, all 52 episodes of the original series is legally available on Hulu (to promote the live-action movie of course). But anyway, now that I've filled you in on the basics on the series, on with the review!
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Name: Speed Racer: The Next Generation


Creator(s): Larry Schwarz (original series by Tatsuo Yoshida)

Running Time: 23 minutes




Rating: B-/C


Premiere: April 27, 2008




This show is actually pretty decent to say the least. The animation in the racing scenes are pretty superb, flawlessly switching between Flash and CGI animation. And it's simple to understand. Even if you have no actual knowledge of any of the previous series or manga. The backgrounds are kinda well-done, and the characters are well designed. Fans of the original series might not like this series (which is non-canon in the franchise's continuity), but I have seen quite a few that do enjoy this series. But, I'm going to have to say that the bad qualities of this show can overshadow the good ones.



"Nicktoons Network" is, of course, a spinoff network of "Nickelodeon"; Viacom's "brilliant" answer to channels like "Boomerang" (Time Warner) and "Toon Disney"/"Jetix" (Disney). And the channel's most successful series by far was "Kappa Mikey". So Animation Collective, the animation studio (residing in NYC) that made the show, was hired to make the new "Speed Racer" cartoon. So Larry Schwarz (the founder of the studio and creator of all of their series) rounded up a nice group of voice actors, that also includes Peter Fernandez, and set off to work on the 26 episodes that make up this little season. The show is produced in Adobe Flash, and is quite stiff, with limited animation. Somewhat like the first "Speed Racer" series, expect with brighter colors. So that gets a point from me...a very slight point. But, they just had to put the whole thing in a school and make the villian so lame. So very, very lame...I mean, what villian cares about ruining the social life of his targets? Why should he even care about their socail status, if he wants them out of the darn way? That loses a big point from me...a very big point. The animation in this show could be a bit smoother, and their attempts of comedy simply fails...every single time. It doesn't even sound like the voice actor of Speed Jr. (Kurt Csolak) is actually putting any emotion into the character.



It pains me to say that this series isn't really that good. It actually pales in comparision with the 1968 series, which I truly find much better. Give me some more "Kappa Mikey"! Premiere "Three Delivery" already! But this Animation Collective show doesn't do it for me. I'm not saying this series is horrible. If it was, I would have given it a D or F. This series is completely watchable, and I get some slight amusment out of watching it. But there are few redemmable qualities, and you would have to just watch it yourself to find them. I'm giving this series a C...a B- at the most. This is likely to be the show's first and last season though. Not for bad ratings, but for the fact that the movie it was supposed to promote completely bombed at the box office. For those interested, the 66 minute pilot is on DVD, and available on the Lionsgate website.

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