Total Drama Island was one of Cartoon Network's most popular series last year. It broke several records, with the finale getting the best ratings that the channel has gotten since 2002. It was due to this success that Cartoon Network picked up the second season (Total Drama Action), got total merchandising rights for the series in North America, and a third season is being produced. Some people are puzzled why a reality series spoof is doing so well, while others aren't so surprised...
Name: Total Drama Action
Running Time: 22 minutes
Network: Teletoon (Canada) and Cartoon Network (United States)
Premiere: January 11, 2009 (Canada) and June 11, 2009 (United States)
Total Drama has a simple concept: a bunch of teens competing in a reality show to win cash. It's a pretty simple idea that has been done and proven to work many times. But what makes Total Drama different from all the others, and why is it so popular? Is it the fact that its animated? The fact that it mocks the common conventions of reality shows? What ever is the secret behind the show's success, it extends to the second season (which premiered to the network's best ratings this year). The story behind TDA is that, after losing the chance for a million dollars, 14 contestants from the previous season are back to reclaim it. Leaving Camp Wawanakwa for an abandoned film set, the new season has the campers competing in challenges based on movie genres: from horror to science-fiction to crime. It took me over a month to actually find humor within TDI, so how good of a start did TDA have? Just like TDI: not the greatest beginning ever.
Total Drama Action is just another season of Total Drama Island, so if you don't know anything about these characters, then no worries: the writers happily break the the characters down to their core, and briefly explain the events of the last season to bring everyone up to speed. That's great if you missed the first season, and hope you can jump into the next one. But if you've already watched the TDI several times, and are such a fan that you are even getting the DVD, then it's just useless information that could have been replaced with more interesting stuff. Another critique was the length of the entire thing. After showing you around the set for 10 minutes, you only really get 8 minutes worth of the actual challenge (running away from a monster). I hoped that the season premiere would be an hour-long: more than enough time to add more substance to the plot than "teens-bricker-and-run-from-monster." While the first season's premiere went slowly, taking its time to show you all the numerous characters and their world, the Season Two premiere went by in a flash. When the episode ended, I was surprised a half-hour had already passed. At this point, there is nothing left to say: the only reason TDA has managed to get a C- from me is simple. The first season didn't really get me when it started, and then became pretty funny. I'm hoping the same time for Total Drama Action, because at this point, Cartoon Network's reality series "The Othersiders" is funnier...and it is not meant to be.