Saturday, 21 September 2013

Saturday Morning Cartoons - The Somewhat Delayed Fall TV Preview 2013

I miss the days when Saturday morning cartoons were still big enough to warrant those star-studded prime time specials where they gave you previews as to what kids could expect to watch on TV during the fall season.

Maybe star-studded is too strong a term. Actor-laden?

Okay, maybe I don't really miss those at all. In retrospect, they barely contained any actual previews! Anyway, it doesn't matter because we're all old enough now to make our own informed decisions as to what cartoons we want to watch. But in case you're a lemming, here's my Somewhat Delayed Fall TV Preview of new cartoons I've watched or am intending to PVR this fall. I am your host, as Alf doesn't seem to return any of my emails.

Teletoon / Cartoon Network (Canada)
Cartoon Network (USA)

This comedy is a spin-off from a short film called The Cartoonstitute, and a series from 2011 called Secret Mountain Fort Awesome. That particular show never took off, but apparently it won enough awards to warrant this new series.

Created by Peter Browngardt, who also worked on Futurama, Adventure Time and Chowder, Uncle Grandpa features the adventures of everybody's uncle and grandpa, visiting random children with his friends Pizza Steve, Ham Sandwich and Giant Realistic Flying Tiger, just to name a few. Mark Hamill, who seemingly appears in every cartoon series ever conceived, lends the occasional bellow to another acquaintance of his, Frankenstein.

It's certainly not revolutionary, but I'll admit I laughed in spots.

Family Channel (Canada)  ***Premieres Sunday, October 13th***
Disney Channel (USA)

This fun show comes from Craig McCracken, who brought us cartoons like The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends. Like anything McCracken is involved with, the pace is fast, the colours are vibrant, the laughs are many and the appeal is just undeniable. And the theme song could be the most insane earworm I've ever contracted.

If you like what you can see, you can stream the first episode, 'The Picnic', by wandering over yonder.

If the voice of Wander, the little orange alien, sounds familiar to you, this clip will probably help to enlighten...

Other celebs in the Wander voice cast include Aziz Ansari, James Marsden, Edie McClurg, Frank Welker and Spongebob Squarepants' Tom Kenny. (who incidentally also provides a voice in Uncle Grandpa)

FOX (Canada / USA)

This show has been airing on Fox, late Saturday nights since mid-summer. There are only 6 episodes right now, but 6 more are on the way.

The term "animation domination" had previously been used by Fox to promote their Sunday night block of adult programming, like The Simpsons and Family Guy. This is a half-hour show comprised of bits, promos and 2 book end 11-minute mini-series, including Axe Cop and High School USA!.

Axe Cop may sound familiar. It started as a web comic created by 29-year-old Ethan Nicolle, who based the stories and characters on guidance from his 5-year-old brother, Malachai. The TV show is based on some of these stories with new writers. But apparently the now 8-year-old Malachai was still brought in as a creative consultant. Which is why the decision was made to move Zombie Island into space.

Parks and Recreation's Nick Offerman was a huge fan of the comic series, and requested to play the lead long ago.

The end result is bizarre and hilarious. Many of Adult Swim's adult-generated shows could only try to be this genuinely offbeat.

The back end series, High School USA! looks deceptively like Archie and the gang at Riverdale, but the content is decidedly different. Skewering modern youth can be tiresome. It's hard to keep it original with the glut of teen parody options out there. But High School USA! is pretty amusing, and doesn't come off as forced. Creator Dino Stamatopoulos (writer on TV Funhouse, creator of Moral Orel, and probably best known as "Star Burns" on Community) keeps things fresh and edgy. SO edgy in fact, that the 6th episode of the series was banned by the FCC for its depiction of the porn industry.

Family Channel (Canada)
Disney Channel (USA)

These great 3-minute reboots of classic Mickey Mouse are overseen and co-written by Paul Rudish, who worked on Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls. The series premiered in June and new episodes have come out intermittently. It's a great example of how animation can still be the star of the show, as opposed to the writing-reliant programs you see on Adult Swim. Quick, charming and a great reminder that simplicity can be a key to success, Mickey Mouse is a nice throwback to classic cartoons, but a worthwhile reinvention.

Here he helps Minnie rebuild bistro inventory in gay Paris in 'Croissant de Triomphe'.

YTV (Canada)
Disney XD (USA)

Okay, I'd never watch an entire episode of this. I was just thrilled that a Pac-Man cartoon could still exist in 2013, as it made me feel a little less...uh...mature.

After all, it was 30 years ago that the original Pac-Man aired on ABC. With special guest stars Dick Clark and Henry Winkler! Brought to you by Cascade - leaves dishes and glasses virtually spotless!

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