Posts tagged “Cartoon Network

Animation Wednesday: Steven Universe

This post is part of the Animation Wednesday series, a regular column which looks at animated TV series and movies of the past, present and future.

One of the highest bits of praise I can give an animated series is that it provokes a genuine emotional response from me. Now, I’m a soft touch when it comes to these things. Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Gravity Falls have all had episodes here and there that have pulled on my heartstrings. But in terms of making me feel, really feel, I have to tip my hat to Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe, one of the best new shows of last year.

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Animation Wednesday: Adventure Time

This post is part of the Animation Wednesday series, a regular column which looks at animated TV series and movies of the past, present and future.

While I was posting about Regular Show, Adventure Time was unquestionably the elephant in the room. Adventure Time is one of the most popular cartoons on Cartoon Network, nay, on television, and has achieved probably the largest crossover appeal among adults of any children’s cartoon currently running. (The only competition I can think of would be My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but Adventure Time has greater mainstream popularity outside of its fandom.) It’s emblematic of if not a revolution, at least a movement within children’s animation towards clever, distinctive design work, created by indie animators and zine comic artists to satisfy themselves, not their corporate bosses. Why had I jumped to Regular Show while ignoring Adventure Time?

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Animation Wednesday: Regular Show

This post is part of the Animation Wednesday series, a regular column which looks at animated TV series and movies of the past, present and future.

Absurdism is in. I suppose, in a way, that’s always been the case. Looney Tunes and early Disney stuff featured talking animals beating each other up. But for a long time, cartoons have stuck to a high concept and tied most weirdness back to the premise. Shows like Animaniacs or The Powerpuff Girls featured their share of strange characters and situations, but things flowed naturally from the premises (zany cartoon characters causing a ruckus and preschool superheroes fighting parody bad guys, respectively). Show which got weird for weirdness’ sake, like Ren & Stimpy or Cow and Chicken, struggled to find audiences. I’d place Spongebob Squarepants as the first show which involved jokes that were as much non-sequitor oddities to puns and punchlines that really caught on. Since then, randomness has been the word, and while the biggest of these shows (and probably the subject of a future post) is Adventure Time, the one closest to my heart is Regular Show.

Regular Show follows the ersatz adventures of Mordecai and Rigby, two twentysomething slackers who happen to be a blue jay and a raccoon, respectively. They work as groundskeepers with Benson (a gumball machine), Muscle Man (a fact green guy), High Five Ghost (a ghost), Skips (a yeti), and Pops (a lollipop…shaped…guy?). Most episodes revolve around their attempts to take care of a basic chore, or go perform some kind of activity. These inevitably result in trips to space, summoning monsters, time travel, and the like. Why?

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Animation Wednesday: Green Lantern: The Animated Series

This post is part of the Animation Wednesday series, a regular column which looks at animated TV series and movies of the past, present and future.

I was a bit nervous about Green Lantern: The Animated Series.  For every bit of news which got me excited, there was one I wasn’t sure about.  Green Lantern cartoon!!  But with the Red Lanterns as the primary villains.  Bruce Timm of Batman fame designing characters!!  But for CGI.  There was also the overarching fact that the show was pitched to tie into the Green Lantern film’s buzz, so there were presumably going to be similarities and connection points for new fans.  My lack of enthusiasm for the movie is well-documented.

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Animation Wednesday: Sym-Bionic Titan

This post is part of the Animation Wednesday series, a weekly column which looks at animated TV series and movies of the past, present and future.

Animation is a funny industry.  It’s primarily marketed towards children, and often used to market toys and other products.  This means that a lot of shows are kind of factory-assembled, designed to cash in on current trends and hold kids’ fleeting attention spans.  This is all fine, of course.  I’m not going to insist that every show be a thought-provoking, high-production tour de force with deep content for any age group.  But it does mean that there’s not always a lot of room for experimentation, and the kind of personal visions of directors that film or television allow for.

Genndy Tartakovsky is one such director. Tartakovsky has had a rather prolific career at Cartoon Network, creating 2 Stupid Dogs, Dexter’s Laboratory, and The Powerpuff Girls with former CalArts classmate Craig McCracken.  All three shows were highly successful, and Tartakovsky expanded his style to action cartoons Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars.  These also found critical acclaim, and in 2010 Tartakovsky premiered his latest animated series, Sym-Bionic Titan.

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