This outlook on animated television was a lot easier to maintain in the pre-'Simpsons' culture that my father grew up in. Easier, but certainly not justified. The implication that cartoons were initially exclusively "for kids" indicates more ignorance than truth about the nature of the medium. Look at almost any old 'Looney Tunes' short -- as a representative example -- layered with cultural references and parodies that only adults have a shot at understanding.
But now, with the wealth of grown-up animated series available on TV, it's impossible to brush off animation as anything less than a legitimate form of television series. What follows is a broad discussion about animated television, including a list of some of the toons that illustrate best this change in perception.
With the release of the 'Yogi Bear' movie on Dec.17, a new generation of viewers were introduced to the character, now animated in glorious CGI. For those not familiar with Yogi, Jellystone Park or Ranger Smith, here is a primer for you.
With childhood animated icons such as Transformers and G.I.Joe getting the movie treatment (sadly done by Michael Bay), Atom Films put together an animated montage of hypothetical '80s characters (cartoon and otherwise) if they were redone by current directors. I think the sketch would have a little more impact if they did it live-action for each segment rather than animated, but I could be in the minority opinion.
I'm not sure which one is my favorite. The Smurfs done by Peter Jackson is certainly up there. Teddy Ruxpin by Wes Anderson is also a hoot. There are a few that aren't mentioned in the video that I think should have been mentioned:
Which franchises have I forgotten? And which directors do you think can cover these franchises? Which directors would piss on the memory of them and utterly obliterate them?
Video is after the jump.
It kind of makes sense. Unlike my own youth, children don't look to Saturday morning as the sole source of kid's fare. They only need to turn on Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon or one of the plethora of Disney channels. Those channels are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For those interested in a historical look at the old Saturday morning cartoons, I recommend fellow Squadder Rich's articles on the subject.
There are already 24 hour infomercial channels (Home Shopping Network to name one), so Fox already has competition in that regard. However, Fox is a network and not just a cable station. It's an interesting experiment on the part of Fox and I'm curious if it will work out. Without the interest of kids, what will run on the networks on Saturday mornings?
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.
As we've told you before, this is the 60th anniversary of the Emmy Awards. The September 21 show, telecast on ABC, will not only celebrate the Best Actresses and Best Dramas of the current prime time lineup, it will also celebrate the many stars and characters and shows of 10, 20, 40, 60 years ago.
ABC has created an ad that features a lot of those stars. A lot of the stars are easy to find and it's a no-brainer that they were included (Marge and Homer, Rod Serling, Dick Van Dyke, Stewie, the South Park guys, etc), but I'm happy to also see some people I didn't think would be in such an ad: Guy Williams as Zorro, Robert Culp from I Spy, Mike Connors from Mannix, Tim Daly from Wings, Wally Cox from Mr. Peepers, among others.
To enter, leave a comment below before 5:00PM Eastern, Friday, August 22 simply telling why you'd like to own this set. As always, we'll randomly choose three winners amongst the eligible entries. Some other details:
- To enter, leave a confirmed comment below stating why you'd like to own the Transformers Animated first season DVD set.
- The comment must be left before August 22, 2008 at 5:00PM Eastern Time.
- You may enter only once.
- Three winners will be selected in a random drawing.
- Three winners will receive a Transformers Animated - Season One DVD (valued at $26.98).
- Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 and older.
Cartoon Network will be making Firebreather, The Vanishers, and Mice Templar as part of their slate of original movies. Despite the network's name, only two of these comic books will be developed into animated films. The Vanishers will be produced as a live-action movie.
This episode felt more like a Venture Bros. episode than the backstory-tastic stuff that has been dominating this season. Many hilarious moments, beautiful character interactions and gross-out moments were had.
Allan Melvin had so many roles on so many TV shows over the years that it's hard to know where to begin, but I guess the most logical spot would be The Brady Bunch, where he played Sam The Butcher, the guy Alice dated. He was also a regular on The Phil Silvers Show, played Archie Bunker's friend Barney on All in the Family, and also played Rob's army buddy on The Dick Van Dyke Show. He appeared on dozens of other shows over the years, from the Andy Griffith Show (he always played a crook - that's him on the right in the pic) and Gomer Pyle, USMC to Kung Fu and The Banana Splits (he was Drooper).
You would probably also recognize his voice in many cartoons, including Magilla Gorilla, The Flintstones, The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour, The Smurfs, Spider-Man and Friends, Foofur, Ducktales, Talespin, and others.
He died of cancer in Los Angeles.
Check out this post with scans of the illustrations, helpfully accompanied by real photos of the outfits on the catwalk. Sadly enough, many of the fashions look better in the cartoon world than in the real one. Case in point: Those bizarre "if Carol Burnett had a stage lighting fetish" Viktor & Rolf numbers. And I also find it a little unsettling that Donatella Versace looks healthier in Simpson-yellow than in whatever shade of leather her skin is now.
Animaniacs Volume 3 and Pinky and the Brain Volume 3 both come out June 19. This is an early review.
It's been my opinion for some time that series like Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain and Freakazoid were entertaining cartoons not because of Steven Spielberg's involvement, but in spite of it. Spielberg --from what I can gather based on what I've read and the special features on both Animaniacs Volume 3 and Pinky and the Brain Volume 3-- always had the final say on character design and such. I'm just not sure what exactly would qualify Spielberg to make such decisions, since I'm fairly certain he's not an animator.
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