February 7, 2014 |
Nickelodeon's new cartoon was hatched not through traditional television channels but in a Studio City efficiency apartment nicknamed the "Doodle Chamber. " The 41/2 -minute cartoon about two feisty, accident-prone ducks was intended to be a one-off, a little film crafted to entertain fellow animators at a short-film festival held at a New York bar. But in the hurly-burly world of children's television, network executives are desperate to find that next big hit. When animator Gary Di Raffaele, who goes by the name Gary Doodles, got an inquiry from a Nickelodeon executive about his duck cartoon, which he had posted on YouTube: "I thought it was spam," Di Raffaele said.
February 3, 2014 |
"Wallykazam!," you might have guessed from the title, is a show for young people. Premiering Monday afternoon on Nickelodeon, it is a preschool, literacy-based cartoon that essentially takes a "Sesame Street" sound-of-this-letter blackout and works it into a 22-minute story. Wally is a 6-year-old troll with a puppyish pet dragon named Norville, evidently a graduate of the Scooby-Doo School of Diction, and a magic stick that can create things out of thin air, but only if they begin with the letter-sound of the day. (It's like a supernatural Enigma machine.)
January 13, 2014 |
Now here is this unforeseeable artifact, "Chozen," a cartoon series about a gay white rapper, an ex-con (he was set up) living on his sister's couch at a liberal arts college. Premiering Monday on FX, it is from people who make that network's spy-toon "Archer," whose visual style it borrows whole, and from people who made HBO's "Eastbound & Down. " And it is very much as if they had taken these shows - neither of which puts a great point on taste, sensitivity or modesty - and run them at each other very fast.
December 26, 2013 |
After learning that elected officials in the state of California collected more than $200,000 in gifts during 2012 -- which doesn't include the $6.7 million in donations solicited by officials on behalf of their favorite charities and causes -- the group Common Cause issued a report calling for tighter limits on this potentially corrupting influence. One suggestion: "Apply the $10-per-month limit on gifts from lobbyists to also include gifts from the lobbyists' clients. Currently, clients can give up to $440 per year to public officials.
December 23, 2013 |
"Turbo," the racing-snails movie from this summer, is already a cartoon series, "Turbo: F.A.S.T.," suggesting that such an eventuality was in the cards from the beginning (or somewhere near it). That other DreamWorks-made cartoons - including "The Penguins of Madagascar," "Kung Fu Panda" and "Monsters vs. Aliens," all on Nickelodeon - have taken the same route, suggests that, more than an eventuality, it was an inevitability. One difference is that it is being released by Netflix, the streamcaster's first kids' show and ergo a historic moment.
December 12, 2013 |
From a cartoonist's standpoint, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is the gift that keeps on giving. With allegations that include corruption and inmate abuse, you have to wonder whether the really bad guys aren't the ones inside the cells but the ones guarding them. Responding to numerous credible reports of dirty dealings by deputies, the FBI arrested a number of sheriff's officials in connection with a wide-ranging probe of alleged improprieties by a department charged with - remember?