September 16, 2009

TV Review | Teletoon at Night Saturday Premieres: Part One

EDIT (September 22, 2009) | Clarification regarding Part 1 of this article: Teletoon at Night is the weekday adult programming block.  Teletoon Detour is the weekend adult programming block.  I apologize for the error.

Teletoon has changed the name of its adult programming blocks from Teletoon Detour to Teletoon at Night.  Sunday nights are a doggie bag – new episodes of Life’s a Zoo.tv, but nothing else of note.  Saturday nights are where the “stars” come out to “shine,” if I may “use” a “cliché.”

I’m glad to see Teletoon finally bundle its [adult swim] shows in a one-night package.  In this case, “new” is relative.  Those second-season Metalocalypse episodes are two years old by now.  G4 Canada is competing against Teletoon with its own [adult swim] package, which I hope spurred Teletoon to get its ass in gear.

As for the Sunday animation block, I hope Teletoon mounts a few new shows within a year or two.  If I remember correctly, The Dating Guy and the Teletoon Pilot Project shows have yet to see air.  I’d love to see Teletoon with a real [adult swim]-like roster of programs, not just reruns of Punch! and Clone High strewn waywardly across its schedules.  Failing that, at least bring back Captain Star.


The Venture Bros. 3.1: “Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny” (10:30 PM ET/PT) | Despite its Jonny Quest-baiting origins, The Venture Bros. has become the best show on [adult swim] at this point in time.  The show has created a host of interesting and multi-layered characters, enough that the entire Venture family doesn’t feature in the third-season premiere.  Instead, Doctor Girlfriend and The Monarch are being interrogated by The Guild of Calamitous Intent.

There aren’t many truly funny moments in the third-season premiere.  All the same, “Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny” is worth it for the fleshing-out of The Monarch’s character – his status as Phantom Limb’s ninth Shadowman, the relationship with wife/former Phantom Limb second-in-command Dr. Girlfriend, the first attempts at destroying “arch-nemesis” Dr. Thaddeus Venture.  The Venture Bros. has entered the stage where secondary characters can carry whole episodes, enough that the backstories might be hard to follow for newcomers.

The Venture Bros.’ main strength – and it has many, from voiceover work to dense plotting – is in its animation quality.  It’s a low-budget, traditionally animated effort, but creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer have the 1960s cartoon style down to a fine art.  I’m actually surprised The Venture Bros. has kept up its quality for as long as it has.  It’s almost too good for [adult swim].


Moral Orel 3.2: “Numb” (11:00 PM ET/PT) | Wow, Teletoon is airing the third season as originally intended!  As bad as Teletoon is in its scheduling, at least the Teletoon at Night block doesn’t pull stunts like airing new episodes of [adult swim] shows as an April Fool’s joke.

Moral Orel has much improved from its “I’ll beat up a heathen for Jesus” religious-hypocrisy-baiting days.  Actor Scott Adsit has admitted to Moral Orel‘s first two seasons being formulaic by design.  It makes me wonder why Moral Orel didn’t flesh out its characters until its first two seasons had passed.

There’s the usual bit of shock humour in “Numb,” as Bloberta uses a jackhammer as a vibrator (albeit offscreen.)  She mutilates herself so she can see Doctor Quentin Xavier Potterswheel, appealing to a fetish of his.  Bizarrely, “Numb” is written in such a way that the craziness actually looks normal.  Moral Orel creator Dino Stamatopoulos guaranteed the show’s cancellation with episodes like “Numb.”

One realizes in “Numb” that Bloberta is in a loveless marriage, as shown in the episode’s final two minutes.  Moral Orel has been hinting for two seasons that everyone aside from Orel is screwed up, while the third season just blurts it out.  Having The Mountain Goats’ “No Children” top and tail the episode doesn’t hurt.  I actually like Moral Orel now.

Metalocalypse 2.1: “Dethecution” (11:30 PM ET/PT) | A lot of [adult swim] shows are focused on marketing.  I’m serious about this.  Frisky Dingo?  Basically Xander Crews (and in the second season, Killface) selling himself.  Metalocalypse?  The marketing of the world’s most successful band.

I don’t think I need to explain how Robot Chicken fits into this theory.  Just look at the crappy toys from your childhood and you’ll know.

As for “Dethecution,” I’m not sold on this episode.  It repeats the Metalocalypse formula.  Many people are brutally killed during a Dethklok concert.  Skwisgaar makes singulars words plurals.  Charles Foster Ofdensen lectures the bandmembers on how to conduct their affairs.  It’s the same jokes from the first season.  I like Metalocalypse, but I’m starting to see the holes in the writing.

The Tribunal is back, minus Cardinal Ravenwood, who was killed by Mr. Selatcia at the end of the first season.  General Crozier has nightmares relating to Ravenwood’s death, which is as far as the episode goes.  I’m not expecting Metalocalypse to wow me with a season premiere, but the most notable thing about “Dethecution” is that Metalocalypse‘s theme song has become a running gag.

I can’t see all the episodes of the second season being like this.  ”Dethecution” is just boring as hell.  Nothing happens that hasn’t happened on the show before.  I await the return of Dr. Rockzo.

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