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.

1 comment:

Curly: Agent of SHIELD said...

And I thought that I was the only one who watched Baby Blues, Undergrads, and Clone High. Always good to take a stroll down amnesia lane. Yet another good list.