Thursday, July 10, 2008

F! News

Warner Brothers was just about to produce special features for the second and last season of Freakazoid! when they called it off due to music-clearance problems. (I'm still not sure if the problems are with F! or with Tiny Toons, whose second volume would come out at the same time and would have to include the first music video episode.) This might be worked out by early next year, and if the sets sell well enough, they'll have to bring out the second volumes... but it'll be very discouraging if as short a series as F! winds up only half-released.

But for those of you who are at San Diego Comic-Con, there is joint Freakazoid! and Tiny Toons panel at 10:30 on Thursday, July 24. Bruce Timm will be one of the panelists, and if someone asks him about his original plans for Freakazoid!, I'm sure he'll be very, very diplomatic. Rich Arons, who directed for both series, will also be on the panel.

My experience may be an anomaly, but it's been my experience that among the '90s Warner/Spielberg cartoons both Tiny Toons and Freakazoid! provoke less angry reactions than Animaniacs. That show, if you don't like it, represents everything that was wrong with cartoons in the '90s. Tiny Toons is still fairly fondly remembered even by people who thought it was a highly flawed show, because it was more of a fun experience for artists, because it's so clearly the product of a new animation department trying to get off the ground and has the charm of newness and inexperience, and because the characters are generally very likeable. Even the bad episodes, the ones that resemble typical '80s Saturday Morning cartoons in plotting and dialogue, are hard to get mad at.

Freakazoid! could not have been experience for some of the people who were originally hired to work on the Bruce Timm version of the concept, but it wasn't well-known enough to be really widely disliked, and the Timm designs give it a certain link to the more respected and "respectable" superhero shows. Also, one advantage this show still has for me over a lot of the other animated shows of the period is that it sounds different. By the mid-'90s, animated comedies were over-using certain voices, and I'm not just talking about Saturday morning animated comedies, either. (It was around this time that The Simpsons decided that all women should sound like Tress MacNeille.) Some of the regular comedy cartoon voice actors, like Tress MacNeille and Maurice LaMarche and Jeff Bennett, were heard on F!, but there were also a bunch of people whose voices were less familiar, either because they were basically writers (Paul Rugg, John McCann) or because they usually were heard on action-adventure cartoons (Ed Asner, David Kauman, David Warner).

All of which is a very roundabout way of saying that people who get very, very angry at Animaniacs might still find themselves pleasantly surprised by one or both of these shows. Or they might not. But you never know, do you?


VP81955 said...

I'm still trying to figure out how people could be angry with "Animaniacs," other than with some of its weaker entities (e.g., Katie Kaboom).

Kevin W. Martinez said...

I spent a sizable chunk of last perusing for Steve Worth's posts on the old Usenet group. Basically, Animaniacs is loathsome because it's

1.) Talky
2.) Dominated by scripts and not storyboards
3.) Filled with "pop culture references"
4.) The writers had more power than the directors

...or at least thats what I got out of Steve's posts of fury. And I have to say I was surprised to see that Greg Duffel hated Animaniacs almost as much as Steve did.

Anonymous said...

If Thomas Edison were still around, the short film "Electrocuting Steve Worth" would be up on You Tube.

Anonymous said...

It's the baloney in their slacks--that was distinctively irritating.

Mattieshoe said...

Hey, Jaime.

I just found the screenplay for an Animaniacs cartoon that was supposed to air in 1995.

Wow. all this was WRITTEN before any storyboarding?


also, what's with Randy Rogel making up visual gags?

Seeing this makes it much clearer how things went awry after the first season.

the writers shouldn't be the ones "Writing" the screenplays.

The script should have little more then the lyrics in it.

I wish I had a season one script to compare it too.