July 5, 2013 |
"Futurama," the other cartoon series created by Matt Groening, is nearing the end. Now in its final 13-episode half-season, it was born on Fox in 1999, canceled in 2003 and revived from its state of suspended animation by Comedy Central in 2008. Given that it has come to this point once already, and given that cartoon characters look just as good, or just as bad, after even a long hiatus as they did before, something about this finale seems less than final. "There is a last even of last times," wrote Samuel Beckett; perhaps this is only the next-to-the-last of last times.
June 29, 2013 |
Warner Bros., where Bugs Bunny was born in 1940, understood the power of music. The studio's Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoon series avidly used music from Wagner, Rossini and Brahms, showed Bugs Bunny as an orchestra conductor, ballet dancer and an opera singer, and sometimes offered parodies of noted operas. A few years after Looney Tunes' inception in 1930 and Merrie Melodies' a year later, Warner Bros. brought on composer Carl Stalling as a staff member to set the animation to music.
May 25, 2013 |
"Sanjay and Craig," which premieres Saturday (tonight) on Nickelodeon, follows the adventures of a boy named Sanjay, voiced by Maulik Pancholy of "30 Rock," and his best friend, a talking snake named Craig, voiced by Chris Hardwick, the Nerdist. Linda Cardellini and Tony Hale are also voices on the show. Among other things, the goofy and delightful series represents the joining of two great names from the golden age of Nick with three as-yet obscure names from its possible future.
February 22, 2013 |
"Out There," which premieres Friday on IFC, is a rather lovely coming-of-age cartoon series from Ryan Quincy, who spent 14 years on "South Park. " It is nothing like that. Coming-of-age stories tend to be told by the misfits and weirdos and refuseniks of Normal Life, and this is no different. Our heroes are Chad (voiced by Quincy himself, whose slightly flat, unaffected delivery works well for this) and his strange new pal Chris (Justin Roiland), "the kind of friend who would shove you into the abyss and then jump right in after you. " Invisible to their peers except as occasional targets of mockery, they spend their days "off to the side, riding a wave of obscurity, observing the tableaux of teenage bliss.
January 9, 2013 |
Pop music + cartoon animation + pubescent audiences + sugary breakfast cereal ads = hit entertainment. In the 1960s and '70s, that equation briefly produced a string of clever, endearing animated feature films and Saturday morning TV serials that still give today's frenetic, hyper-edited animated flicks a run for their money. Some were instant classics, like "Yellow Submarine," with the Fab Four's music set to Heinz Edelmann's memorable designs. Others, like the Jackson 5 cartoon serial that originally ran on Saturday mornings on ABC from September 1971 to October 1972, slowly sank into the post-syndication ether, leaving barely a trace.
September 3, 2012 |
First it was the penguins of "Madagascar" and then the animal warriors of "Kung Fu Panda" on Nickelodeon, now it's the cast of DreamWorks' "How to Train Your Dragon" on Cartoon Network. "Dragons: Riders of Berk," which premieres Tuesday, is the latest small-screen incarnation of a successful animated film to retain both the personality and production value of its progenitor. But unlike its predecessors, it plays more like sequel than spinoff. (Although a cinematic sequel is also in the works.)