Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Addiction to Animation

by Christopher Scott

Why is it that when we, as adults, see the word “cartoon” it triggers a gag reflex at first glance? What part of our psyche ensnares our childhood and holds it for ransom from the rest of our daily lives? And why is it that, no matter how adult the theme may become, cartoons will always play second fiddle to live television regardless of production value, storyline, or artistic intent?

Well, I’m tired of keeping my closet obsession with the world of animation a secret. I’m here to set the record straight and give some life to the world of cartoons so that those gems in this generation don’t get passed by. Hopefully I spark some interest in you to join the revolution and take part in some amazing journeys yourself. 

Now, rather than debate about which generation had the best cartoons and why (because we all know it was mine anyway), I’m going to focus on what is out there right now that you are missing. The first of which being ThunderCats

Skeptical? You should be! This is the retelling of one of the greatest cartoon storylines of the 80s, next to Transformers. Airing for 5 seasons and totaling 130 episodes, the original ThunderCats is an epic saga that is more than difficult to live up to. However, what I think is so great about this reboot is, it hasn’t been overdone yet. Unlike so many cartoons that always come back for more, ThunderCats had a great run, then faded from existence. It is the perfect reboot template! In this new show, Lion-O is the heir to the throne when, as foretold by the Book of Omens, the kingdom of Thundera is overthrown, and his father slain. Now, he must recover the Book before the evil Mumm-Ra can find it and gain access to its powers. There’s more to it than that, but I don’t want to spoil it. 

The premiere episode just recently aired on July 29th, so catching up should be fairly simple in the next few weeks. Plus, it is being aired on Cartoon Network, which is known for long-running series on a regular schedule (i.e. Justice League, Ben 10, and Samurai Jack). Be sure to catch it on Friday nights at 8:30ET. 

Another great cartoon in its infancy is Transformers: Prime. Now, those who know anything about cartoons know that this one has had a million iterations, on a million channels, and in a million art styles. Their success has varied from time to time, but the generic story has always remained the same: good versus evil on a grand scale. This story tries to cash in on the movie franchise by having a few characters as cameos. Bumblebee is a Camaro and can’t talk, Ratchet is the ambulance and team doctor, and Optimus is … well, Optimus. 

Based on the last 5 series I wouldn’t have given this one much thought, but it is airing on a new channel, The Hub. I figured watching this was my best chance at gauging this new station, and it has yet to disappoint. The only problem I have with the show is the CG is a bit weak, and the lack of High Definition is very noticeable. I will admit though, it gives off a bit of nostalgia because of this. It’s like watching Beast Wars (another CG Transformers concept) on antenna TV as a kid. I am HOOKED! If you’re thinking about trying to enter the series this late in the game, I highly suggest investing in a DVR. I can’t find them online anywhere yet. It wouldn’t be hard to jump in right now, but there are a few details you would find useful. 

The last show I want to touch on is a great cartoon that truly captures why we love cartoons. It airs on The Disney Channel and is called Phineas and Ferb. The creative minds behind this show have put together a masterpiece of animation. It has already cemented itself as one of those shows that kids today will reminisce about in their college dorm rooms or at reunions with friends. 

The concept behind the show is so simple, it’s amazing that I can’t think of anyone having done it before. Two kids trying to make the most out of every day of their summer vacation use their creativity and engineering expertise to entertain themselves and their neighborhood. In typical cartoon fashion, this is only a mild idea of what they get into. From building roller coasters to time travel to their secret agent platypus and interesting assortment of friends, this show is a kid’s fantasy. And adults will marvel at just how much thought went into such a show. Maybe it’s the unique hypnotic songs that come up during each episode that keep me coming back for more, but this is one series I will own just to be able to pass it down to my kids someday.

Hopefully this has given some of you a newfound interest in cartoons. Maybe it has only piqued your curiosity as to what all of the fuss is about. All I can say is this: there is a cartoon out there for everyone if you only give them a chance. So turn on the TV, switch it to your favorite animated network, and enjoy being a kid again.

Christopher Scott is a contributor for the television blog TheTalkingBox. He spends much of his time watching TV intended for 8 year olds when not spending it with his family in Huntsville, AL.
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This

No comments: