July 15, 2010

News: Teletoon at Night announces 2010-11 lineup

Teletoon introduced its 2010-11 lineup today, with a big shiny media site and everything.  This post will cover only Teletoon at Night.

The biggest change for TaN is that Teletoon Detour has been phased out completely.  Teletoon at Night was introduced in 2009 as a place for less raunchy adult-oriented shows, sort of a gateway to the Detour.  The shows common to Teletoon Detour have largely been moved past midnight, mimicking [adult swim]‘s format.

Acquisitions for TaN include the FX animated spy spoof/Frisky Dingo variant Archer, a new season of American Dad and new episodes of Robot Chicken.  Original programs include 26 episodes of The Dating Guy, plus nine of the ten Teletoon Pilot Project entries.

I notice that the Teletoon Detour at Night Pilot Project is missing The Wireless Family.  Commenters on Canadian Animation Resources have pretty much slammed that pilot, as has Mike Valiquette.  I recall the comments on the Teletoon Detour website ravaging the show, though it wasn’t as hated as Drop Dead Gorgeous.

If Teletoon isn’t airing The Wireless Family due to extreme negative reaction, I’ll understand.  I assume the slight has more to do with The Wireless Family being a French-language show dubbed into English, the only Pilot Project show carrying that distinction.  Either way, I doubt the average viewer notices or cares.

From looking at the media site, Teletoon will not air new episodes of Metalocalypse, The Venture Bros. or Futurama this fall.  This frustrates me.  The Venture Bros.‘ fourth-season DVD (well, Season 4 Volume 1) will come out October 26, 2010.  Futurama just made a triumphant return to Comedy Central.  Canadians want these shows, believe me.

I honestly hope Teletoon at Night is withholding shows for winter.  I’m glad Archer is on Teletoon, but the overall schedule is thin.  At least Teletoon at Night is airing new material this year.  I don’t think I could bear the possibility of more Quads!

 
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February 21, 2009

TV Review | Robot Chicken 4.2: “They Took My Thumbs”

Filed under: TV Reviews,URBMN 2008- — Tags: , , , , , , — Cameron Archer @ 2:51 am
Proof that Robot Chicken has become more elaborate as a show can be found on “They Took My Thumbs.”  This particular episode has almost eliminated the five-to-ten-second gag, aside from a decent Hall and Oates reference and a bestiality gag even Jon Dore wouldn’t touch.  The show almost doesn’t feel like Robot Chicken.

“Wildman” is this episode’s best sketch.  Sebastian Bach makes it work by being his usual Rock God self.  Baz is still hard rock’s walking punchline, not that he gives a shit.  I hope Baz does more stuff where people are laughing with him and not at him.

Some of the sketches in “They Took My Thumbs” are weak.  ”You Bet Your Ass That’s a Boulder” takes its one Raiders of the Lost Ark-derived gag and stretches the hell out of it.  A boulder, two hundred darts and an altar’s weak point make for an elaborate way to protect a gold idol, but this five-second observation is padded to two and a half minutes.

“Train Man” and “Thursday the 12th” are slice-of-life tales.  ”Train Man” concerns one man’s desire to succeed despite a subway train almost cutting him in half.  ”Thursday the 12th” shows Jason Voorhees’ daily activities when he’s not slaughtering teens.  Neither sketch is funny.  ”Train Man” attempts Futurama-style poignancy, which is odd coming from this show.

“Bring a Sidekick to Work Day”…I like the fact that the “original” Aqualad was a limbed fish that could survive out of water.  Robot Chicken doesn’t resort to those ever-fresh ‘Aquaman is gay’ jokes in this episode.

Comedy gold should come out of Wonder Girl, Robin, Speedy, Kid Flash and human Aqualad.  The best “Bring a Sidekick to Work Day” can do is The Martian Manhunter’s “invisible” sidekick, which isn’t good.  Robot Chicken has done better superhero parodies, so the attention to period detail is wasted.

“They Took My Thumbs” is a weak Robot Chicken episode.  The episode’s slower pace doesn’t beget funnier material.  I appreciate the show’s effort to be more than farting and retards, but “They Took My Thumbs” is a little padded.  Luckily, the fourth season gets better from here.

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TV Review | Robot Chicken 4.1: “Help Me”

Filed under: TV Reviews,URBMN 2008- — Tags: , , , , , , — Cameron Archer @ 2:38 am
Another year, another season of Robot Chicken.  It’s like this sort of thing happens every year on an arbitrary date decided by [adult swim].

Every Robot Chicken season premiere has to have a big “we’re renewed” introductory sketch, so Seth Green and Matthew Senreich hit up Joss Whedon, Seth MacFarlane and Battlestar Galactica executive producer Ron Moore for work.  It doesn’t matter that Green and Senreich killed [adult swim]‘s Mike Lazzo last season.  Robot Chicken‘s famous for dead people magically coming back to life, sometimes in the very next sketch.  Cartoons are neat.

Seeing Joss Whedon and Ron Moore kill each other warms my heart as I find both Battlestar Galactica and Whedon overrated, but the sketch itself isn’t funny.  I hate the “Robot Chicken cancelled/renewed” cliffhangers.  Robot Chicken is one of [adult swim]‘s most popular shows.  Robot Chicken has at least three more years of being milked.

“I Am Needed Upstairs” is the best sketch of the episode.  Seth MacFarlane’s Trojan Man routine (“the reservoir tip is for your semen!”) helps sell the sketch, otherwise it’s the typical “fictional character in real world” mashup.  ”I Am Needed Upstairs” works due to its use of dialogue, something Robot Chicken isn’t as good at as Dead Baby Comedy.

“Can’t Be a Crime to Kick a Dope Rhyme” is also notable.  Although the sketch is just okay, it wins points for referencing PaRappa the Rapper and replicating its paper-thin look.  Three seasons ago, characters in Robot Chicken weren’t even in scale.  The show has come far.

Tila Tequila’s sketch (“Pre-Pubescent Alien Whore”) is watchable enough, even though the Terminator 2 reference is just there and I could give a potted damn about anything or anyone Tila Tequila does and/or has sex with.  She got a plug for her MTV show in, so that’s her role fulfilled.

The ending sketch, “Just the Good Parts,” is a mixed bag.  It’s similar to season one’s “Welcome to the Spoilers,” but isn’t as funny.  There’s a callback to the beginning of the episode, which is wasted on Seth Green dying.

The occasional Sarah Michelle Gellar and Seth MacFarlane cameos are fine, as are the credit references to Gellar and Mila Kunis.  MacFarlane making fun of Family Guy‘s manatee gags, though, comes across as mutual ass-patting.  MacFarlane’s awesome, I get it.  He only says that about himself once every three seconds.  Robot Chicken can structure a much better gag than Family Guy at this point.

“Help Me” is a fairly solid season premiere for Robot Chicken.  At this point viewers and non-fans alike should know what to expect – farting, retards, nut shots, clever satire with ironic subtext and Joey Fatone cameos.  Robot Chicken may be maturing, but it’s still crude and offensive.  May this show never be up its own ass with self-importance.

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December 17, 2008

TV Review | Robot Chicken: “Tubba-Bubba’s Now Hubba-Hubba,” “Boo Cocky”

Filed under: TV Reviews,URBMN 2008- — Tags: , , , , , , — Cameron Archer @ 10:46 pm
Teletoon recently aired six Robot Chicken episodes, officially the odds and sods of the show’s third season.  In America, the third season began in August 2007 and ended fifteen months later.

This tied in nicely with the release of the third-season Robot Chicken DVD, which I bet everyone bought before the economy started to eat itself.  Here now, some reviews of the frottingest show on television, not including Howie Do It.


“Tubba-Bubba’s Now Hubba-Hubba” | It’s nice that Robot Chicken references the Superpets.  To be fair, it’s the Legion of Super-Pets and Seth Green’s adaptation of the infrequently remembered superhero team is hardly faithful.  Seriously, Hissy the Super-Snake?  Is Proty II screwing with us?

Anyway, they forget to feed themselves, even though at least two of the Super-Pets have human-like intelligence and Krypto is shown drawing a ring around his left eye.  Hissy can type articles for The Daily Planet…oh, who cares?  Watch Streaky the Super-Cat smile at you while he’s taking a shit!  Believe it or not, this sketch is more intelligent than any Superman comic from the 1960s.

The running gag of a 24 parody features Dracula sleeping.  Eventually, Drac foils a terrorist plot and destroys Van Helsing in the process.

He also makes puns and follows them up with pregnant pauses while looking at the camera.  It’s hard not to like Drac’s style.  His puns have that certain bite.

As for other sketches, “Girls Gone Wild: Cenobitches” is great.  The Pac-Man/Matrix sketch has Pac-Man do his best Neo impression before dying.  The entire sketch is time filler and wouldn’t have been funny nine years ago.

Vehicle Force Voltron is made reference to in one sketch, which must have pleased a few Dairugger XV fans but relies on a “transforming robot takes too long to form” gag.  The repeating five-note fanfare is the best part of the sketch, which is sad.

Kevin Shinick has a sketch built around his hosting Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?, but it relies too much on Robot Chicken tropes like kids being yelled at and domestic disturbance as a plot device.  ”Tubba-Bubba’s Now Hubba-Hubba” is a typical Robot Chicken episode.  Let’s move on.


“Boo Cocky” | The opening sketch, where the nerds from Revenge of the Nerds earn jail time for their shenanigans, is lost on me.  The sketch is a variation on the standard “what if reality intruded upon nostalgia” Robot Chicken trope.

The second-best sketch in “Boo Cocky” has Conan the Barbarian and friends make a musical production number out of the line “crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of the women!”  Truly, Conan knows what is best in life.  It’s a simple idea, and it works.

The best sketch is where a giant anthropomorphic carrot jumps out of the ground and eats a bunny.  What the carrot says is Robot Chicken at its absurdist best.  Big surprise the best sketch airs right after the second-best sketch.  It’s best to skip the next seven minutes.

Those who plan to watch the next seven minutes will be rewarded with some hilarity.  The Star Trek Las Vegas Experience sketch has its moments, even though it blows its comedic load halfway through.

A PVR-based sketch reuses the “farting and retards” joke from earlier in the third season.  Robot Chicken fans know the show isn’t just about farting and retards – nut shots have been part of RC since the beginning.  At least the farting retards make for intellectually stimulating television.

The Saw/Saved by the Bell mashup outright sucks.  How the hell can the show waste Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Dustin Diamond, Lark Voorhies and Dennis Haskins on such a lame sketch?  Robot Chicken has screwed the proverbial pooch while attempting to skewer the vast and magnificent world of Saved by the Bell.  Please GO TO HELL!

“Boo Cocky” is funnier than “Tubba-Bubba’s Now Hubba-Hubba,” but that’s not saying much.  ”Boo Cocky” needed more monster carrot.

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