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October 13, 2015


TV 101: Why Modern Animated Series Are Breaking the Mold

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Apr 15th 2011 2:40PM
The SimpsonsMuch to my father's chagrin, cartoons are an ever emerging and evolving source of entertainment and social commentary for fully developed humans. My dad, like many dads out there, still operates under the assumption that anything animated is for children and to keep cats company when their owners leave.

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.

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Yogi Bear 101: A Primer

by Rich Keller, posted Dec 24th 2010 2:00PM
Yogi Bear has been an animated television icon for half a century.For 52 years, Yogi Bear has been a staple of television's animated universe. With intelligence higher than that of the average bear, a trusty compatriot named Boo-Boo and an addiction to pick-a-nick baskets, the confident Yogi has been a favorite of kids, their parents and their grandparents for generations.

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.

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What's with all the drug addicts on Captain Planet?

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 3rd 2009 5:30PM
Bizarre but fun list over at Topless Robot, the 11 most disturbingly adult scenarios in 90's cartoons. There's child abuse revelations on X-Men, Batman having a heart attack, and this one from Captain Planet, as the gang is attacked by ... drug addicts.

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If more '80s cartoons were given to movie directors

by Brad Trechak, posted Jun 21st 2009 11:02AM

The TransformersWith 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.

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Fox is putting infomercials where cartoons used to be

by Brad Trechak, posted Nov 24th 2008 2:05PM
FoxIn an example of a changing economy and changing world, Fox will be putting infomercials in its Saturday morning time slot. They're even giving the slot a name: Weekend Marketplace.

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?

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Do you like your Batman served sunny side up? - VIDEO

by Mike Moody, posted Nov 24th 2008 10:10AM
Batman The Brave and the Bold Plastic Man Dinosaor Island
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.

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This year, the Emmys will feature everyone who has ever been on TV

by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 1st 2008 6:23PM
Emmy ad
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.

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Giveaway Monday: Transformers Animated - season one

by Keith McDuffee, posted Aug 18th 2008 10:00AM
transformers animated dvdAnother giveaway today! This time we've got three copies of Transformers Animated - Season One on DVD for three lucky, random commenters. The DVD is available in stores starting tomorrow.

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.
Click here for complete Official Rules.

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Beloved comic book titles coming to Cartoon Network

by Kristin Sample, posted Jul 24th 2008 9:03AM
Cartoon Network logoCartoon lovers and comic book fanboys/girls rejoice!

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.

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The Venture Bros: Tears of A Sea Cow

by Annie Wu, posted Jul 21st 2008 1:01PM
Dr. Dugong(S03E08) After a surprisingly Jackson Publick heavy run, we finally got another Doc Hammer solo with this episode (the first was "The Buddy System"). Apparently, the first half of the season just worked out to be a lot of Publick episodes and we'll be getting a lot more Doc Hammer scripts in upcoming episodes. Right on, right on.

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.

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The Venture Bros: Home Is Where The Hate Is - VIDEO

by Annie Wu, posted Jun 23rd 2008 12:02AM
The Monarch and Sgt Hatred(S03E04) Wow! An episode with absolutely no flashbacks or crazy hallucinations. That's a change. However, this was definitely the slowest episode out of the four that have aired, and I feel like we are missing something. Don't get me wrong. I have loved just about everything from this season, but it seems like we should be a bit further at this point. Only now do we see the direction for the rest of the season and who our major players are going to be. It's been two hours of set up. When are we getting the punchline?


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How to draw The Venture Bros.

by Annie Wu, posted Feb 26th 2008 11:02AM
Doc VentureThe Venture Bros. storyboard artist (and all-around awesome cartoonist) Stephen DeStefano has decided to update his art blog a little more often and if this is any sign of things to come, VB fans are in for a treat. As most of you know, there are three things that I love in life: drawing, The Venture Bros, and fine cheeses. DeStefano's latest update covered two of those categories, so I grabbed a handful of aged cheddar cubes and basked in its greatness.

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Allan Melvin dead at 84

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 19th 2008 8:25PM

Andy Griffith ShowAllan 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.

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The Simpsons take on high fashion

by Annie Wu, posted Jul 16th 2007 10:03AM
Harper's BazaarThe Simpsons promo machine is still going strong, preparing for the family's bigscreen adventure on July 27th. The marketing for this movie has been wonderfully creative, but even though real-life Squishees are delicious, I think my favorite plug has got to be the new fashion spread in the August issue of Harper's Bazaar. "The Simpsons Go to Paris" depicts the Simpson family wearing outfits straight from the seasons' high fashion catwalks. The spread also features Simpson-ized versions of supermodel Linda Evangelista and designers like Marc Jacobs and Jean Paul Gaultier.

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.

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Animation news: DVD reviews of Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, plus more - VIDEO

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 16th 2007 11:02AM

animaniacsAnimaniacs 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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