I grew up watching reruns of the show, and its goofy blend of cartoon-y action, aw-shucks charm and over-the-top acting still makes me smile. Cartoon Network's great Batman: The Brave and the Bold is heavily influenced by the '60s series, and some episodes even feature unabashed references to the old show.
Now they're taking that same style to the masses. Hero Up! The Super Hero Squad Show is the new cartoon headed to Saturday mornings. The premise is simple. The heroes hang out in Hero City. The mayor is voiced by Stan "The Man" Lee, who created most of the Marvel Universe ("Excelsior!"). That's right up there with Mayor West on Family Guy in sheer coolness.
Meanwhile, over in Villainville, Dr. Doom and the Lethal Legion are plotting to take over the world. To give you an idea of what kinds of villainy we're dealing with, they did a special cast reading at the convention. It's plot: Dr. Doom's quest to acquire an exclusive My Little Pony collectible. The series kicks off with a four-episode marathon on Cartoon Network September 19, and I'm strangely very excited about it.
But there were some moves in the right direction. Episodes II and III were improvements over The Phantom Menace, so I held out hope that new projects might keep what I felt was the proper maturity of Star Wars in perspective. And so, like a good little drone, I tuned into Cartoon Network's The Clone Wars animated series, and it was ... cute.
For years and years, this was the era we knew so little about. In the novels and comics, which took all of this pretty seriously, thank you very much, we covered from thousands of years before Darth Vader to spans after Han and Leia get married. But not the Clone Wars. That era was special. So we waited. And we got cute.
From there, though, Dark Horse got with series co-creator Brendon Small and have developed a full publishing program around the Metalocalypse brand. They even got artists and writers from the show to collaborate with the Dark Horse team on whatever's going to come down the pipe.
Contrary to what his album covers may suggest, Andrew WK is adorable. No, really. Adorable. I first learned this when I saw him on on MTV's Crashing With Andrew WK, a program in which the frontman hung out with some girls at a North Carolina Central University sorority (I found the first installment here, by the way). It's taken the rest of the world a little more time to catch on, but since Andrew WK kicked off his motivational speaking/performing career, people are starting to get it. The folks over at Cartoon Network saw something in his personality and evidently thought, "Hey! This guy should blow things up with kids!" And they're right. They're so right.
Recently, Cartoon Network has announced a block of programming they're calling "CN Real." I'm already upset that a show like Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job isn't animated (don't get me started on Delocated), but isn't getting rid of the cartoons turning the channel into just "Network"?
The text windows will offer trivia, background information on characters and the larger Star Wars storyline. I can't wait for the Jar Jar Binks episodes. "Jar Jar is a stupid character." "This is what happens when you indulge the whims of the creator no matter how stupid they are." "The creators of the character Jar Jar Binks were so ashamed of their contribution to the Star Wars mythos that they quit television. They're currently working in product and character development for Chuck E. Cheese."
Obviously, the show is marketed towards the very young viewer who is first being introduced to the Marvel super hero characters. That way, the company can indoctrinate new zombies into its empire. The cartoon is based on Hasbro's anime-like action figure series of the same name.
I can't help but wonder if Marvel is spreading itself too thin with so many movies and cartoon series. On the other hand, rival DC Comics is already marketing to the kiddies with their Brave and the Bold series on Cartoon Network and one cannot help but wonder if Marvel simply doesn't want to be outdone in that demographic.
In any case, kids watching the show will buy the toys and vice-versa. Marvel is learning the lesson of Disney.
Thanks to the Arizona Cardinals' first appearance this weekend, my hometown team, the New Orleans Saints, will now be one of only five left in the NFL that have never made a Super Bowl appearance. Three if you don't count the expansion clubs.
So if you're a Cardinals fan and don't have the stomach to endure their slow, agonizing and inevitable defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers, here are some alternative shows you can watch instead of the Super Bowl.
Batman's been around in one iteration or another on our television screens for almost as long as there has been television. Since the debut of Batman: The Animated Series in 1992, we've had some form of Batman on our screens almost non-stop. The latest incarnation of the caped crusader comes just in time to enjoy the success of The Dark Knight in theaters, but unlike its animated predecessor, doesn't carry nearly the dark tone of the film.
In fact, Batman: The Brave and the Bold almost takes a page from the beloved 1960's Batman television series with Adam West and Burt Ward. It's not nearly as corny as that in delivery, but it does have a wackiness to some of the villains and gadgets presented. Ultimately, though, it's a team-up show and a way for DC to showcase virtually its entire universe in a Batman show.
Now here's another reason to watch: Former Squadder and Enterprise ensign turned Interweb Superman Wil Wheaton will guest star in the next episode, "Fall of the Blue Beetle," which airs this Friday, Jan 23. Wheaton plays Ted Kord aka the Silver Age Blue Beetle.
Click through for a great clip from the ep, featuring Blue Beetle (who seems to be quite the tech geek) and Batman talking shop and knocking out bad guys.
Back to the original premise of this post. Cartoon Network will be celebrating the tenth birthdays of Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup (who were born on November 18th, 1998) with a brandy-new special titled The Powerpuff Girls Rule!!! on January 19th at 8 pm. This will be the first new episode of the series since its original run ended on CN and it was moved to the ethereal Boomerang in 2008. Prior to this premiere, the network will run a 14-hour marathon featuring the favorite episodes of show creator Craig McCraken.
It's that time of year again, isn't it? That brief period between the humongous holidays of Halloween and Christmas that television and retail outlets have forgotten about. I talk about Thanksgiving, of course. The holiday of football games, unbuttoned pants, family arguments, and giant Snoopy balloons. It is also the time to give thanks.
Thanks for what? Well, we aren't trading chickens for a gallon of gas yet, so that's something. And, we still have television, which we can eventually trade in for chickens in order to get a gallon of gas. But, since our television shows are more important than driving in many cases, we may just start riding our bikes and eat peanut butter sandwiches instead.
With those happy thoughts, here is what I am thankful for when it comes to the flat screen idiot box.
Talking apes! Alien leeches! Laser-shooting blob people! You'll never catch The Dark Knight rubbing elbows with such kooky company on the big screen. To see that, you'll have to tune into Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the new animated series on Cartoon Network.
Two episodes in and I'm loving this lighter, zanier take on ol' Bats' crime fighting adventures. It reminds me a lot of ABC Family's The Middleman, which itself was somewhat inspired by the campy 60s Batman TV Show.
Unlike Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight and the darker Batman cartoons we've seen before, which I also love, Brave and The Bold takes place in that colorful comic book world where anything (did I mention the talking apes?) can happen. There's no Commissioner Gordon, no Gotham City and no Robin (not yet, anyway). Instead, Batman is paired up with a new DC hero every week, and he does his thing in bizarre locales like "Dinosaur Island" or outer space.
At the beginning of the year the beautiful and sexy Jay Black presented a wonderful dissertation on the state of channel drift in cable television that discussed many of the reasons for this phenomenon. Being someone who likes to jump on an idea and trample it to death, I decided to expand on Jay's initial premise and provide some specific examples of cable networks that have drifted one way or another. Yet, being someone who likes to add something to an existing idea before the trampling begins, I decided a twist was in order.
Since a drift can range from 'small, but noticeable' to 'am I on the right channel?' a ratings system needed to be designed to determine how far a channel has gotten away from its origins. So, in the fifteen examples I list after the jump, you will see one of four categories...Minor Shift, Moderate Shift, Major Shift and Mother of All Channel Shifts. It is these four categories that you can use to agree or disagree with my findings once they are presented. So, without a continuing narration, here are the cable networks that have encountered some sort of channel drift.
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