August 23, 2010

News: The Legend of White Fang complete series set out September 14, 2010

On September 14, 2010, Mill Creek Entertainment and Cookie Jar Group will release a complete series set of The Legend of White Fang.  This story has previously been mentioned by

The Legend of White Fang originally aired in Canada on Family Channel, while HBO aired the series in the US.  The Legend of White Fang was produced when Cookie Jar was known as CINAR.

I remember The Legend of White Fang from its Global run, sometime in the mid-1990s.  For a show mainly aired as CanCon-mandated filler, the series was surprisingly decent.  Pierre Berton was even The Legend of White Fang‘s historical consultant.

Truth be known, The Legend of White Fang was a bit boring at times, a problem CINAR shows often had in the 1990s.  I’d still take The Legend of White Fang over Sharky & George, The Smoggies and…ugh…C.L.Y.D.E.

What gets me is how Mill Creek Entertainment and Cookie Jar Group sell this set.  The box set front cover image is of a generic posterized husky.  The cartoon did not look that good.

Also, Mill Creek and Cookie Jar have this habit of passing off unrelated items from the Cookie Jar archives as “extras.”  Seriously, what do Busytown Mysteries, Flight Squad and The Country Mouse and the City Mouse Adventures have to do with a loose Jack London book adaptation?

This isn’t even a new phenomenon.  Mill Creek and Cookie Jar pulled this stunt with the Dark Oracle series set.  It’s annoying.

Here are the opening credits to The Legend of White Fang.  You can see YTV logos and a horrible Canadian flag animation circa 2000 plastered over the credits.  The show got around.


August 4, 2010

News: My Life ME to debut on French Télétoon September 2010

My Life ME, an anime-style Canada/France co-production, will debut on the French version of Télétoon September 2010, according to Teletoon publicist Megan Dunkley.  The English-language version is currently set to air in the fall of 2011.  Programming schedules, of course, are subject to change.

My Life ME has been in development since 2006, part of a slate that included The Dating Guy, Punch and Best Ed.  It will be the fourth cartoon from the 2006 slate to debut on Teletoon.

My Life ME has changed its international distributor since going into production in 2008.  Original distributor TV-Loonland AG filed for insolvency back in November 2009.  Classic Media has since picked up international distribution, licensing and merchandising rights for the show.

My Life ME differs from Teletoon’s upcoming non-Japanese anime The Amazing Spiez! in that there’s an actual manga pedigree, albeit of the original English-language (OEL) variety.  Russian-born Canadian Svetlana Chmakova is responsible for Dramacon and Nightschool.

I admittedly don’t know how properties are developed at the cable/network levels.  I realize shows die in development all the time.  Still, Best Ed came and went in the spring of 2009.  Punch! aired at the start of 2008.  The Dating Guy will debut this fall.  That’s a long wait from development to finished product.

I hope My Life ME will be more Azumanga Daioh than 6teen for manga fans.  The last thing Teletoon needs right now is another niche show catering to teens.  I’ll still support My Life ME over, say, Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 and Johnny Test.


April 8, 2010

TV Review | Spliced! – “Honorary Freak,” “Come to the Dorkside”

Spliced! (Teletoon: 7:00 PM ET/PT starting April 8, 2010) is part of an unwelcome trend in Teletoon’s programming.  Like The Dating Guy, Spliced! has premiered outside of its home country months before its Canadian debut.

I don’t understand why Teletoon does this.  Why withhold programming for so long?  I’m not saying I want the fourth season of The Venture Bros. the same day as [adult swim], but Teletoon has a terrible habit of letting fine wine age way after its time.  Why debut Spliced! in Latin America, of all places?

Wait, it’s the television industry.  Screw me for thinking common sense exists there.

I’m also aware that show creators Simon Racioppa and Richard Elliott have written for cartoon also-rans like Mr. Meaty, Best Ed, Pig City and Grossology.  Screw it.  I like Spliced!  It’s one of the best things going for Teletoon right now.

I realize how sweeping a statement that is, but I defend it.  Sometimes, Teletoon airs an obvious kids’ cartoon like Wayside, Johnny Test and the George of the Jungle remake.  The Total Drama franchise, Stoked and 6teen are teen-oriented sitcoms, doubling as decent ratings-grabbers for Cartoon Network.

What Teletoon hasn’t attempted is a classic Nicktoons-style show, where adults and children can watch the show on different levels.  Spliced! is currently the closest to that ideal, taking the mantle over from Jimmy Two Shoes.  Spliced! isn’t on the level of Ren & Stimpy or Bob Clampett, but few cartoons are.

“Honorary Freak” is a good enough introduction to the show.  Spliced! establishes Peri (Rob Stefaniuk) and Entrée (Joe Pingue), two of the many mutants on Keep Away Island.  The inaugural short’s plot centers around Patricia (Katie Crown), a platypus and the only normal on the island.

Patricia feels lonely because she isn’t a mutant.  Peri and Entrée decide to cheer her up, mainly by avalanching her with flowers and forcing her to fight in the Mayo-Dome.  Peri and Entrée also rap, which isn’t needed and feels out-of-place.

“Honorary Freak” lays bare Spliced!‘s desire to be SpongeBob SquarePants.  Peri and Entrée are SpongeBob and Patrick.  Patricia is a monotreme Sandy Cheeks.  Mind you, Peri and Entrée aren’t as annoying as SpongeBob and Patrick, as P&E aren’t nearly as oblivious.

“Come to the Dorkside” has its moments.  The friendship-related Aesop is a little ham-fisted, but it’s balanced out by some brainwashing gags and an obligatory reference to A Clockwork Orange.  Mister Smarty Smarts (Mike Kiss) and Octocat are Spliced!‘s nominal villains, Mister Smarty Smarts filling the Plankton role well.

I hope Spliced! sticks around.  Any show that has a male character squeeze milk out his udders deserves at least some mention.  Having typed that, I hope the lactation fetishists don’t embrace Spliced!  God knows they’re turned on enough by Rocko’s Modern Life and Cow and Chicken.


March 23, 2010

News: Spliced! debuts April 1, 2010 on Teletoon

Spliced!, a Nelvana cartoon, makes its Canadian debut on Teletoon April 1, 2010.  The cartoon debuts 8:30 PM ET/PT, after five episodes of Johnny Test.  A repeat of the debut airs April 4 at 8:30 PM ET/PT.  Spliced! settles into a Thursday night 7:00 PM ET/PT time slot on April 8.

Spliced! is about a bunch of genetic recombinants stranded on a desert island, as they try to build a civilization from the ground up.  Characters include Entrée, a cow-pig-chicken-tuna-shrimp thing that walks on its udder.  There’s also a dolphin/chimp/Jack Russell terrier with three Internet degrees.  Yeah, it’s that kind of show.

Spliced! has already debuted on Jetix in Latin America, having first aired anywhere April 20, 2009.  Spliced!‘s brief run in the United States was on ION’s digital subchannel qubo, from September 19 to October 24, 2009.

Matt Ferguson directs this show.  He’s responsible for Harold Rosenbaum, Chartered Accountant Extreme, a fairly spot-on parody of limited-animation cartoons.  Viewers may remember Harold Rosenbaum from YTV’s Funpak (2005)…not that many people have watched Funpak.

Spliced! could very well outstrip every other Canadian show on Teletoon’s pre-watershed schedule, which isn’t hard when it’s flanking Johnny Test, Wayside and Stoked.  I’ll admit to liking Jimmy Two Shoes a bit (a bit), but I have a good feeling about Spliced!  Here’s a clip parodying The More You Know:


March 22, 2010

News: TVOntario to propose TVOKids+ to CRTC

As mentioned by Etan Vlessing of Kidscreen, TVOntario has applied to the CRTC proposing a TVOKids+ channel.  TVOKids+ will more than duplicate its children’s programming block, expanding it to fit a 24-hour schedule.

The channel will not carry advertising, save for “sponsor messages” similar in nature to TVOntario.  TVOKids+ will fulfill the same educational mandate as TVOKids, which is aimed at children ten years (i.e., Grade 5) and younger.  The CRTC will hear TVO’s application on May 12, 2010.

I have to wonder where TVOntario is going with this.  TVO’s “Go Public” campaign essentially asks viewers to give the network more financial support.  TVO’s even using the “Viewers Like You” tag before its shows, which is the last thing it should be cribbing from PBS.

On the other hand, TVOKids is a major part of TVO’s broadcast schedule.  A spinoff actually makes sense, given TVO’s reputation for educational programming.  At least the channel has a stated purpose and goal.

Whether TVOKids+ can help TVO make money is another matter, but it’s not like TVO has that many assets to spin off.  What else can it launch?  A documentary channel?  24 hours of The Agenda with Steve Paikin reruns?  It’s probably better to focus on the Internet, since that’s where the real action will be in the future.