Saturday, August 9, 2008

Comments Are Now Open

Duh. A little slow on the uptake over here.

Anyone can post now without having to register.

Tiny Toons vs Animaniacs

Ok. A couple days ago I mentioned that I preferred Tiny Toons over Animaniacs. And Teresa was just the opposite.

Time to clarify. As much as I love Yakko, Wakko and Dot, I think that Tiny Toons is a better show.

In other words it is a more enjoyable half hours of toons.

Teresa on the other hand prefers Animaniacs. But it turns out we agree.

We both think that The Animaniacs segments are better than any of the Tiny Toons cartoons on the whole. I agree with that part. But the filler segments (other than Pinky & The Brain) are crapola.

I could give a shit about Goodfeathers, a take off of Good Fellas. Gangster Pigeons? That joke was only half-funny and barely relevant almost 20 years when it first aired.

Slappy the Squirrel? She was supposed to be this "old" aunt squirrel but it never worked. She never looked older than her nephew. I never bought into it.

Or that goddamn singing cat voiced by Bernadete friggin Peters. Rita and Runt or whatever it was. Ugh. Why is that woman a celebrity? Seriously, her cartoon cat persona is sexier than she ever was. What did Steve Martin see in that woman?

And screw Mindy and Buttons and Minerva Mink. That is a load of suck.

Animaniacs was a brilliant idea. And their shorts are well worth the price of admission on DVD. But they had to fill out the show and unfortunately it was with junk. I can forgive that I suppose. It;s tough to come up with half a dozen gems. But I would have preferred a half hour of just the Warner Brothers and their Warner sister Dot. And an occasional Pinky & The Brain. Thank God for the "chapter skip" button on your remote.

But Tiny Toons is a more entertaining half hour of cartoons, in my opinion.

Both had great friggin theme songs, though. They are both in my head all the time.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

7 Cartoons That Ended Before Their Time

As Teresa and I finish up the 5th, and last, season of Teen Titans, I gotta say I'm bummed out. What a great show. I'll never understand when a really well done show with good ratings is canned. I mean it's cool we have 65 episodes of it, but I would have liked 130. Or 140.

Especially when you consider they made 318 episodes of the damn Smurfs. Or the fact they are STILL making friggin Scooby Doo based garbage 40 years later. Toddler Shaggy and Newborn Scooby Chase Ghosts! Look--Scooby's eyes haven't opened yet and Shaggy still shits his pants, but they'll still chase assfaces in rubber masks! Terrific!

Anyhoo, here is my Top 7 list of "13 Episode Wonders." I could have included stuff that aired longer but ended too soon like Futurama or Dilbert or The Critic or The Tick which still had a ton of potential left, but we'll stick with the stuff that a network spent a fortune to buy, license, develop, cast, score, and produce and then axe after a half season. Sweet.

And before anybody bitches and says "Hey those shows stunk out loud and weren't perfect" --let me just point out the first 13 episodes of The Simpsons were not that spectacular. Heaven forbid we judge that show based on that first awkward half season. [or what about the Tracey Ullman shorts] You know, way back when it was all about Bart, before the writers figured out that Homer was the real comedy gold.

I know you bought Season 1 on DVD and I know you watched it like once and then shelved it and waited patiently for Season 3&4 to be released on DVD. Right?

Ya gotta give a show at least a damn year or two to find its footing and not just shitcan it right away.

Okie doke. Here we go.

7 Baby Blues

Based on the comic strip by Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman, this was a cute little show. It aired twice a week in the Summer of 2000 on WB.

Wait. What?

I can't believe that didn't work out.

Anyway, they could have done a lot more with this one. They just had Zoe but could have gone on for years by adding the other kids Hammie and Wren.

Enjoy the clip in Espanol. It's the only one on youtube that wasn't 10 minutes long.

6 Galaxy High School

Ah yes. I love 80s cartoons. This was a cool little Sci-Fi Saturday morning cartoon that could have gone on for years.

The premise is that two Earth kids go to High School in space. Kinda cornabll right? A bit, but the writing was actually pretty sharp. And the character design was crazy. The rich kid was half-unicycle? What?

I'm not making that up.

Turns out John K of Ren and Stimpy fame did the character design. And the show was created by Harry Potter director Chris Columbus

Bonus: Nancy Cartwright does a couple voices including one for a 2 dimensional kid named Flat Freddy that sounds exactly like early Bart Simpson.

Aired on CBS in 1986 and 1987. Check out that sweet ass intro song.

5 A Four Way Tie of MTV Cartoons

I couldn't pick one so I thought I'd go with 4 from MTV that ended too soon. And yes, they all went only 13 episodes each and were dropped. Why not just let one run for a year or two instead of starting a new one all the time. Ya gave Daria some time to (ahem) develop and that was a great toon.


First up is The Maxx based on the comic by Sam Keith. Great stuff but waaay to surreal for TV I suppose. One of my faves and the art was spot on. This aired in 1995.

Next is Downtown about a group of hip New Yorkers. Also a smart show that was probably ahead of its time. Aired in 1999.

Third is Undergrads Pretty good little show that centered on 4 friends in college. They were kinda stereotypes--the nerd, the jock, etc. But it dealt with campus life in a pretty funny way. This obviously could have lasted for 4 years. This aired on MTV back in 2001.

And last is Clone High. About clones of famous people set in a contemporary High School. Joan of Arc is a goth chick who digs a teen Abe Lincoln. But he digs Cleopatra and JFK digs everybody. Pretty funny little show. Aired in 2002-2003

The clip is of the intro of The Maxx.

4 Striperella

Surprisingly funny and witty show. Kinda had that superhero parody thing going for it like The Tick or The Venture Bros. And a bit of that Get Smart "what are this week's silly gadgets that will totally come in handy" type of thing thrown in as well.

Starring Pamela Anderson and created by Stan Lee. This aired on Spike back in 2003-2004. Featured the cheapest villain ever --Cheapo. Surely the enemy of many a stripper.

Bonus: The DVD shows boobies!

PS All the youtube videos were of a real stripper named Stripperella who looks like a dude. Thus the above clip.

3 God, The Devil and Bob

Ok, this one got canned pretty much before it even started because religious nuts thought the God character looked too much like Jerry Garcia. Or some such bullshit. Anyway, pick this up used on DVD for 7 bucks. You'll see what I mean. Pretty good little show.

Great cast -starring French Stewart (NOT being annoying) as Bob, James Garner as God (perfect choice) and Alan Cumming (Nightcrawler!!--super geek alert) as the Devil.

Only 4 episodes were broadcast on NBC in early 2000.

2 The Oblongs

Ok this is just a crime. What a friggin hilarious show and a fantastic premise. Starred Will Ferrell as Bob Oblong the limbless head of the Oblong household. And Jean Smart, who was hilarious as Pickles the drunk mom.

Classic "freaks vs snobs" material...but with hideous deformities!

Also starred Pamela Segall as Milo the son. Pamela is best known for doing Bobby Hill on King of the Hill so Milo sounds a bit like Bobby from time to time. Segall also voiced the Debbies, the clique of identical bimbos on the snob side: "cute shoes, cute shoes!"

Other characters include Anita Bidet and Helga Phugly. Awesome! Why was this show canned? Oh yea, it was on the WB and got lost in a sea of Wayans Brothers type comedies. Ah well.

Aired in 2001.

Bonus: Great theme song by They Might Be Giants.

1 Mission Hill

I had a tough time choosing between this and the Oblongs as Number One but it's gotta be Mission Hill.

This was created by a couple of head writers and producers of the early Simpsons so the writing is smart and funny.

The show focuses on a set of friends living in Mission Hill, the hip artsy are of an unnamed city. Andy is the main character and he has to look after his younger dorky brother Kevin. When I first watched this I thought immediately of Peter Bagge's classic Hate comics. And the creators freely admit they borrowed a lot of ideas from underground comics like Hate and Clowes' Eightball. So that's cool they cited their inspiration.

Great voice acting from Scott Menville (Teen Titans, Avatar), Vicki Lewis (News Radio), Brian Posehn (Mr Show), Tom Kenny (Spongebob, Mr Show). In fact this was pre-Spongebob Tom Kenny and there is a very familiar voice heard in one of the episodes for another character.

Plus Mission Hill had some of the best artistic design and color usage ever. It's just beautiful to look at.

If you listen to the commentaries, what makes this show especially tragic is they had a 10 year story arc already planned out that showed Andy going from a cartoonist with a dead end job all the way up to producer of his own cartoon show with Andy changing jobs every 6 episodes or so. This was to be a tribute to Matt Groening and his career.

Ah well. Aired sporadically on *sigh* the WB in 1999 and 2000.

Bonus: First gay couple kiss broadcast on TV, albeit in toon form.

Monday, August 4, 2008

What's On That Shelf?

A friend of mine wanted to know what was on that shelf o' cartoon DVD's in the first post.

I will gladly oblige.


Avatar Book 3 vol 3

I buy the DVD's as they come out. Then sell them on eBay right before the complete collection, or Book, is released. I make about 85% of my money back. Let's here it for resale value!

Happily N'ever After

Haven't actually watched this yet. I have not heard good things. And there are like 50 things I'd rather watch. We'll see if we get around to it.

Drawn Together Season 1

I only watched about half of this. Seems like an awesome idea that was wasted. I haven't bothered with the subsequent seasons, although I hear they get better. We'll see.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Season 5

Still funny. Teresa still hates it. Are there any girls who actually like this show??

Harvey Birdman Attorney At Law vol 3

Pretty good. Still like the first season best

Dangermouse 1 & 2

Great little toon. Makes me think of childhood. Very cozy.

Oban Star Racers Vol 1

Picked this series up on a (hyperbolic) recommendation from someone who has turned me on to other great stuff. Good...not great

Woody Woodpecker Volume 2

Freaking awesome classic toons. Buy this...they hold up perfectly

Simpsons Season 9 & 2

Eh, yea....ya know. it's the Simpsons. Shark Jumper Season [9] and a decent Season [2]. In between these two is the GOLD. These are the bookends of Simpsons greatness.

Sealab 2021 Season 1

Love this show. Although it just gets weirder and more surreal as the season go. Pulled this back out after watching Frisky Dingo...same creators

blue submarine 6

Some pretty cool anime. Not the best but pretty to look at.

Futurama Bender's Big Score

Great stuff. Have watched this about 6 times. But I HATE that goddamn "inconvenient truth algore" packaging...scuffs the disc and the flimsy cardboard case just bends...ugh.

Family Guy Vol 4

Dreadful on 1st viewing. A bit better on second look...but that's because I was expecting less.

Duck Tales Vol 2

Pretty damn entertaining still. My fave from the 80s Disney Afternoon is Rescue Rangers. My memory told me it was TaleSpin...but nope. I enjoy Rescue Rangers more today.

Also, I am a big kid

Freakazoid Season 1

Just got this. Way weirder than I recall. Will report more later. Have only watched 2 episodes

The Batman Season 5

Loved it. And this is from someone who was really skeptical about this show. Being the Batman Animated (BTAS) freak that I am. It's a shame this got canceled. This season had all kinds of cool team-ups with Green Arrow and Superman and stuff. Hate to see it go


This is the anime Metropolis. Fantastic movie. Rich and evocative. Just great.

Tiny Toons Season 1 Vol 1

Finally! I am enjoying the hell outta this. I prefer Tiny Toons. Teresa prefers Animaniacs. More on this later.

Futurama Volume 4 & 3

Well ya know. Classic stuff. Season 3 is the best one. Season 4 is experimental and wacky...still good though

Hellboy Animated Movies

These are just great. I liked "Blood and Iron" more than "Sword of Storms" but both are worth owning. They are true to the comics and the movie. The voice actors are the portrayed by the same people that portrayed them in the movies...Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, etc.

ATHF movie

More Aqua Teen goodness!

Gargoyles Season 1

Wow. I remembered enjoying this even though it ripped off BTAS for design. But yuck. This does not hold up.

Open Season

Havent watched it yet...we'll see. Martin Lawrence is the lead? Eh.

Oban Start Racers Part 2

See above

Teen Titans Season 5

Man I hate to see this one end. What a great show with tons of more storytelling potential. Ah well. Glad we have 65 episodes of it.

..have been watching this slowly...we're on episode 3 out of 13

Oh's who I get to curl up and watch toons with:


Sunday, August 3, 2008

My Top 9 Favorite TV Cartoons

May as well get this out of the way. Here are my favorite cartoons. This is really more like my favorite Cartoon TV Shows. I'll explore my favorite Cartoon Movies, or Favorite Anime or Favorite Adult Swim stuff or Favorite Episodes at a later date.

This is in no particular order really. Why not 10? Eh, I couldn't decide on a 10th. And I'm lazy.

1 Batman The Animated Series

Well maybe this is in order because this is definitely my favorite cartoon. I can't really say enough how about how great this series is. Dark, evocative and true to the Dark Knight, this show broke so much new ground for storytelling and stylization its effects are still being felt in cartoons today and even some movies. In fact, each episode feels like a mini movie.

I am still amazed at what this show could accomplish in 22 minutes.

The set design was fantastic and so influential it had its own name given to it--Dark Deco. You can still see it being used today...and even back then when shows like Gargoyles ripped it off (ugh). The character design is still being used and imitated as well, not only in other Bruce Timm-produced stuff (Justice League, Batman Beyond) but most super hero cartoons of the last 15 years (X-men Evolution, Fantastic Four, etc). The musical scoring by Shirley Walker was movie-worthy. And the brilliant voice casting was done by Andrea Romano, who is the best in the business.

And it gave Mark Hamill a much needed job! His Joker was insane and crazy...definitely a pre-cursor to the Heath Ledger version and not a lame rendition of the god-awful Jack Nicholson version...or heaven forbid 60's campy nightmare.

Sophisticated enough for adults and great fun for kids. No camp, no corniness here at all. Watch this one. I can't wait for the new Deluxe Complete Series thing coming out in November.

Ran from 1992-1997

2 The Simpons (The First 8 Seasons)

Obviously The Simpsons have to be on this list. And it is probably my second favorite cartoon. But in the same way that the Star Wars prequels are so awful that they remove the magic of the original trilogy, so it is with the last 8 or 12 years worth of The Simpsons.

Yes I know there have been good episodes since then. I just don't care.

It's just for me Season 9 was the shark jumper. Skinner is Armin Tanzarian?? ugh. I know it was supposed to be tongue in cheek but that kinda killed it. You hipsters will say it was the Who Shot Mr Burns Season Finale Cliffhanger. You holdouts will say it still hasn't jumped. But a majority will say it jumped when they killed off Maude. And that is about to be released on DVD with Season 11. See above photo. Yes, of course I'll buy it, but the magic is kinda gone...and you know it.

Currently in its 43rd Season.

3 Futurama

Ok, now the rest are not in any order.

Another great one from the mind of Mr Groening. This is a classic example of one of those shows that I (and many others) didn't appreciate while it was on. And Fox's crappy scheduling didn't help wither. I started watching them on DVD and was hooked. Great stuff...and funnier with each subsequent viewing. Kinda like The Big Lebowski of cartoons.

And yes, I really like the new movies they've been releasing. I wasn't super crazy about either one at first. But again, better on the second and third viewing.

Ran from 1999-2003. Although 4 New Direct to DVDs have been made--2 released so far.

4 Home Movies

Before Metalocalypse there was Home Movies. Brendon Small as a kid version of himself. Sorta. H Jon Benjamin as Coach McGuirk and Jason. Melissa Galsky as Melissa. Brilliant and funny writing although much of it was ad-libbed.

Thank goodness Cartoon Network picked this up for its then-new Adult Swim block, otherwise it would have died on the UPN and been forgotten after only 6 episodes. Pick this up and watch it. You will laugh your ass off. Oh, and a super deluxe 10th Anniversary set is coming out in November as well.

Ran for 6 episode in 1999 on UPN. Then on Cartoon Network from 2001-2004

5 Venture Brothers

Awesome-ness!! Obviously a send up of Jonny Quest, this show is an instant classic. And the best thing on Adult Swim. Hilarious satire of superheroes, movies, comic books and classic Hanna-Barbera, this is not to be missed. Created by a former writer of The Tick and his buddy. Great voice acting from the creators, Patrick Warburton and more.

So freaking funny and perfect I don't know where to begin. So I won't.

Currently broadcasting its 3rd season on Cartoon Network

6 Avatar: The Last Airbender

This was clearly aimed at younger viewers by Nick, but it gathered a huge audience of all ages because of its great storytelling, sophisticated characters and beautiful design. . I have loaned my copy of Book (season) One to half a dozen people and every one of them went out and bought their own copy. And a couple of those people were "cartoon haters."

Set in an alternate world where different tribes have the ability to "bend" or shape 1 of the 4 elements, this is classic storytelling full of mythology (mostly Asian), ordinary heroes and a perfect ending. Looks kinda like anime but is an American production. Pick this up without delay.

Currently just wrapped up its last season. Although its being turned into a live action trilogy by M Night Shamayalamndmaann

7 South Park

You know this had to be on the list. Still funny, still relevant and still irreverent. Season 11 is about to be released on DVD. And they were totally right about Family Guy's lazy writing...although I do enjoy Family Guy myself from time to time.

Currently on Summer hiatus between the first and second half of Season 12

8 Invader Zim

Ok, this one is so overlooked it's a crime. A dirty shameful crime. But thank God Nickelodeon took a chance and even produced this one.

From the deranged mind of comic book artist Johnen Vasquez, Invader Zim chronicles the invasion of Earth by the brutally incompetent title character. He is small and disguises himself as a fourth grader. He is assisted by his not so smart sidekick Gir. They have a very "Pinky And the Brain" relatonship.

There's also Dib who is out to prove Zim is an invader...nothing could be more apparent but everyone else is so oblivious that they don't take notice of Zim and Gir and their poor disguises.

Anyway, this show is funny. Funny premise, funny voice acting and funny writing. The Dib-centric ones are less funny but still ok.

Oh, and some of the best creative design, original music, and color usage I've seen in a toon.

Check out the complete at a bargain price at Amazon...around 15 bucks for all 3 sets (2 discs each). You can't beat that with a stick.

Ran from 2001 to 2006??? What? That's not right. It actually aired from March 2001 to September 2002. Nick then released 2 DVD sets and put the unaired ones on a 3rd set. Then went back and aired them all in 2006...thus if you look around the interwebs it will say they aired in 2006....but most of those were finished for a 2003 airing but it never happened.

Ok...that's more than enough info....suffice to say this show was just ahead if its time.

9 Looney Tunes

OK, so not technically a show. But it felt that way as a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s when Looney Tunes were shown as a show on Saturday mornings or in 1 or 2 hours blocks after school.

So yea, I know, they were shorts created for theaters to be shown before feature length flicks. But to my mind it was a TV show consisting of 6 or 12 cartoons.

Obviously not enough can be said about the importance of these classics on the world of animation and cartoons.

By the way, I'm talking about the stuff between 1933 and about 1962, with the "Golden Era" being from about 1945-1955. Please just try and put crap like Space Jam and other modern incarnations out of your mind.

Honorable mentions: Samurai Jack, King of the Hill, Tom & Jerry, Family Guy 1.0 (before it returned to TV) Woody Woodpecker, Teen Titans, Animaniacs, Popeye & Tiny Toons.

The Perfect Time and Place to Watch Cartoons

Ah yes..the mythical 1st post:

Yea, I watch a lotta cartoons.

For years now I (we) have watched cartoons in bed right before we go to sleep.

It's a great way to unwind.. I find the 30-60 minutes before sleep to be the ideal Toon Time. I suggest you give it a try.

I'm gonna be posting my thoughts and reviews on all kinds of cartoon stuff. Top 10 lists, The best of Hanna Barbera, favorite cartoon movies, overrated cartoons, underrated cartoons, what to avoid, what you MUST buy/rent and get the idea.

Leave comments. We can argue about when The Simpsons jumped the shark. Or why anime is often times overrated.

(the picture is of what's on my bookshelf in my bedroom as of right now...waaay more stuff in the living room)