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August 27, 2015

The Adam Finley Award nominees

by Jason Hughes, posted May 28th 2008 5:22PM
TV Squad AwardsBeing the award for Excellence in Animation, this was easily the widest ranging category, and you all really came through in your nomination suggestions (sorry The Venture Brothers doesn't qualify). With animation owning several channels all to itself and still appearing everywhere else, you've got kid's shows, very much adult only series (did I mention The Venture Brothers can't get nominated?), gag cartoons, sci-fi cartoons and even gothic horror.

With your help from my Adam Finley Award call for nominations post last week where you tried to trick me into nominating The Venture Brothers, even though I can't, we've managed to narrow down the field of contenders to what we feel were the five strongest entries into the wide world of television animation in the past season. Don't forget to check out the Reader's Choice at the bottom where you can vote for which of the five you think are deserving to win. Next week, we'll be revealing both your winner and ours.


Death Note
While there is a lot of great anime on the small screen, this year there was just too much strength in the American made shows. That said, Death Note is something different, regardless of source. I first discovered this series in it's manga, or graphic novel format. The premise, in which Light Yagami, finds a "Death Note" intentionally left in the human world by an extra-dimensional being, called a shinigami. The notebook can be used to kill people simply by writing their names in it. There are an extensive list or "rules" involving the notebook that are revealed as the series progresses. Death Note is quite simply just one of those absolutely great ideas. The characters are brilliantly conceived, from Light himself to L, the lead investigator into the sudden spate of deaths, to the shinigami themselves. It's hard to describe in a few short paragraphs, but it offers some of the best of serialized entertainment. The property is a huge hit in Japan and becoming that way world-wide. The anime is just one way to enjoy this amazing story.

Family Guy: Blue Harvest
Who would have thought that a fairly faithful retelling of Star Wars IV: A New Hope would net so many moments of humor? Okay, those of us who've watched the movie more times than any human should ever admit to know there are plenty of moments in the series for humor. But still, inserting the Family Guy cast into the saga made for some absolutely brilliant parody. Admittedly, for any who've never seen Star Wars, the jokes may not work as well, but this is satire at it's best. A follow-up parady for Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back has been green-lit for this upcoming season. With results like we've already seen, I say let 'em go ahead and do all six.

Futurama: Bender's Big Score
This one barely squeaked in under the wire. Sure, it was a direct-to-DVD movie, but it was also the return of this cult TV classic in an original format. Much like the above Family Guy, Futurama was a cartoon that was cut down before its time by FOX only to find renewed life, and ratings, on Comedy Central. But rather than just go into production on new episodes, they opted to go the direct-to-DVD route and make four movies a year. Then, the movies are aired on CC in episodic installments shortly thereafter. So see, it was new episodes of Futurama this year. It may be stretching the category, but I think it's worth it. The entire crew of the Planet Express returned in this romp through space. It had everything including time travel, headless accountants (well one anyway), naked evil aliens and a tattoo of Bender on Fry's butt. This was a great return of a great series in a great format.

Robot Chicken: Star Wars Special
I actually feel bad having two Star Wars parodies on here, but damn if this one wasn't just as funny as the Family Guy one, but for such different reasons. While FG focused on Episode IV, offering a reimagining of that story with FG cast members and jokes galore, Robot Chicken instead attacked the entire six movie franchies in it's typical short-shorts fashion. Particularly memorable are the Jar-Jar Jedi ("Meesa all glowy and sparkly now, Ani") and the phone call from Darth Vader to the Emperor ("He's crying.") after the destruction of the Death Star, but there are so many gags. An argument could be made for just having the whole series on here as a nominee, but there was such care and craft in this special, that it deserves special recognition.

South Park
I don't care how many years it's been on the air, just watch any episode and you will see such biting social commentary buried under scream-out loud shock humor that it's astonishing that twelve years later the boys (Trey and Parker) can keep the show so fresh. It helps that the cast of South Park is one of the best extended animated casts on television; with no knock intended to the excellent larger Simpsons cast. Always willing to tackle the most controversial issues in the most controversial way, we could have just singled out "The Imaginationland Trilogy" for excellence, but then we would have missed their takes on AIDS; addressing the fact that it's no longer a "trendy" disease; Britney Spears' woes and the paparazzi's depravities, the WGA (Canadian) strike, our obsession with the internet and the Guitar Hero parody addressing addiction. This season brought us the second half of SP's 11th Season and the first half of their 12th.

Other contenders included such excellent fare as Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Metalocalypse, American Dad, Avatar, The Mr. Men Show (and not just when I brought it up), Frisky Dingo and The Venture Brothers. But The Venture Brothers didn't air any new episodes during this past season and so it doesn't qualify. The Sopranos had to take a year off from dominating The Emmys for the same reason. Sorry, guys, but we can't make that much of an exception. With new episodes coming soon, it'll be a sure possibility for next year's award.

Don't forget to check in on the other TV Squad Awards. Some of them are still gathering potential nominees so chime in and let your voice be heard. These awards are as much yours as they are ours. Each one will have a viewer's choice as well so vote here, vote there, vote everywhere (see we're giving you practice in voting for November -- you're welcome!). And why not check out AOL TV's best & worst of TV poll while you're in a voting mood.

Who's your winner for The Adam Finley Award
Death Note45 (8.6%)
Family Guy: Blue Harvest125 (23.8%)
Futurama: Bender's Big Score128 (24.3%)
Robot Chicken: Star Wars Special84 (16.0%)
South Park144 (27.4%)

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Oooh very hard choices. But my vote goes for Death Note. I rarely like anime but this was AMAZING. I didn't read the manga though I plan to sometime. The movie was alright.

May 30 2008 at 3:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

for all you metalocalypse fans, DETHKLOK IS ON TOUR!! that's right, the most metal band ever is blasting eardrums and slaying all comers - i'm going to try and see them next week...

also, why no mention of some of the less 'adult' animated shows, like 'kim possible' (which i LOVE) or 'foster's home for imaginary friends'? great stuff...

May 29 2008 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I went with South Park, simply because I think that's what Adam would have gone with. He was real big into reading the subtext behind the humor, a subtlety I think that the other contenders lack. Parody is fine and funny, but when a joke or episode works on so many levels like South Park's humor, it truly raises the bar for the others.

May 29 2008 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mj green

Frisky Dingo! I love it. And Death Note, and Bleach. Please note that I am in my 50's, (eek) but totally love all these shows. Did I mention the Venture Brothers? (sorry.) I like most of the other shows you mentioned, but I really think it a shame that more people don't know about FD, DN, and Bleach. Not to mention some of the other series that have ended. Late night Anime is far better than any network show.

May 29 2008 at 8:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would have liked to see Avatar up there instead of two Star Wars parodies (Robot Chicken's was better). I guess that's one good thing about Nickelodeon's scheduling insanity - it'll still be eligible next year.

May 28 2008 at 9:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Death Note is so amazing.

May 28 2008 at 9:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I watch tons of animation on television, and it greatly saddens me to say that I may have to choose "None of the above". I mean, you left out Aqua Teen. In addition to a new season with some stellar new episodes, they had a freakin' movie, for crying out loud!!!! As did The Simpsons, of course. Plus, the aforementioned Frisky Dingo, King of the Hill, the "goo" episode of American Dad, Metalocalypse, new Boondocks... that's just off the top of my head. So I would call absolutely none of those the pinnacle of animation for the year.

And I really, really, really, really don't want to disrespect Adam or anybody here... but I think he woulda at least thrown in Aqua Teen. Maybe I just miss the coolest TV commentator there was. Again, no offense to anyone else.

May 28 2008 at 8:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Death Note is awesome.

May 28 2008 at 7:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I voted for Robot Chicken for their overall contribution to animation. The entire series is so well done it deserves much more attention than it gets via Adult Swim. Seth Green is a god.

May 28 2008 at 6:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How dare you relegate Frisky Dingo to the also-rans. It certainly deserved a nomination over the Robot Chicken special which was half-reused material. And South Park felt stale and slow while Frisky Dingo is new and peppy.

May 28 2008 at 6:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Zachary's comment

Never would've won anyway, just cause nobody watches it, but Frisky Dingo definitely deserves the recognition, especially based on how much better it got in season 2. Season one was all like ka-kow, but season two was all like Ka-Kow!

May 28 2008 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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