Aug 19, 2004

Why Did Fox Bring Back Family Guy Again?

After looking at the two hour block of Family Guy episodes last night, I decided to wait a while before commenting on it. After all, you're not supposed to write anything when you're angry because you might regret it later on.

A little under a day has passed. I've calmed down a lot since last night, and I feel I could go about this post with a rational perspective.


Why in the hell did Fox bring back Family Guy again? You know, I hear a lot of [mute] about Cartoon Network's editing standards. I've heard rabid otakus call them numerous names liks [mute], punks, and idiots. After witnessing the first Fox broadcasts of Family Guy in almost four years, I feel that everybody who has ever criticized the standards department of CN should apologize . . . now.

Last night saw numerous edits on all four of the episodes shown. Words like "crap," "bastard," and "dump" were muted sporadically. When I mean sporadically, I mean some incidents it was heard and others, it wasn't. Rear butt ends were blurred out in the "European Road Show" episode . . . well most of them; apparently it's safe to show a baby's butt but not an adult's.

The one edit I didn't quite get but understood because it was Fox was in Brian's song about the world today. He had possible scenarios for how the world could end. The first two cards remained the same, but the third card was a riot scene from The Jerry Springer Show. Of course when the card was revealed on Cartoon Network, it was George W. Bush holding a beer bong. Perhaps Fox didn't want to make fun of the sitting president. Of course back when the episodes originally aired, Family Guy (and The Simpsons) made fun of Bill Clinton, and he was the sitting president then. So, instead of showing Bush in an embarrassing light, they decided to show Jerry Springer instead. Of course Springer's not a big as he was way back then, but people are familar with the series. The humor is a bit stunted as a result, unfortunately.

Is Fox's political stripes showing? Dunno. I don't like to talk about politics here because this isn't the right forum (for you people still thinking in an archaic political mentality, this isn't the "left" forum either). Still, you have to wonder why Fox edited the four episodes again, especially in this paranoid day and age.

And especially that they passed the network standards when it originally aired. Censoring shows that had previously been seen on television always struck me as sickening.

Which leads to the question I began my rant with. Why in the hell did Fox bring back Family Guy again? I did see the advertisement for the DVDs of the series during the last half-hour for the audience that were bored with the Olympics that have never heard of the series. Most likely the ones watching the marathon were people already familiar with the show and knew weeks in advance about the marathons online. I still find it funny that they could find space to air a commercial for the DVDs, but not space for Turner Broadcasting's two showcases for Family Guy episodes, TBS (which had to displace its Wednesday night airings to Tuesdays to supplement the Fox marathons) and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, where it still airs uncut and with limited commercial interruptions and still drawing in record numbers.

In the original press release bringing back the series, the words "Adult Swim" and "Cartoon Network" were missing when talking about the factors that lead to the resurrection. After looking at the four episodes last night, I could see why Fox refused to talk about CN . . . Adult Swim actually gives Family Guy respect.

Aug 17, 2004

Kids Are Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures

So are network executives, but I'll get to that later on.

As the continual eradication of classic animation continues within the halls of Techwood Drive and the continual spitting on the legacy of those same classics continues within the halls of Williams Street, I wonder who the real culprits are behind the executive changes, and it comes down to three people:

- upper management of Cartoon Network and Time Warner
- programmers at Cartoon Network
- stupid, stupid rat creatures, also known as kids

I'll pick on the kids because, well, I can.

Kids are stupid, stupid little rat creatures who are too spoiled, too conceited, and way too commercial-obsessed. Their attention spans are about the size of a gnat. Their tastes are ever-evolving and foolishly, network executives try to cater to them. That's why you see shows like Ed, Edd, and Eddy, Totally Spies, and Billy and Mandy as well as junk like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh filtered at almost all of the kid-vid hours.

Kids don't know what they like and are spoonfed whatever executives feel are cool. Or at least what executives feel that kids will think is cool. Apparently, executives feel that kids enjoy newer shows rather than older shows. In a way, they're right. Kids do tend to enjoy new shows a little more than older shows. However, just because it's newer doesn't mean that it's better by any stretch.

Usually, shows with the most advertising tend to be watched by a lot of people. That's the reason why advertising exist: to attract both familiar viewers and to introduce something to new viewers. Shows that are advertised are likely going to be watched by somebody. Shows that aren't advertised aren't going to be watched. That's something you learn in Introduction to Marketing, so it's pretty much elementary.

So, explain to me how some people fail to realize that general principle in marketing? On all these boards, I see people trying to defend the decisions made by Cartoon Network to limit classic animation by a now-tired excuse: "Kids won't watch them."

Like I said earlier, kids are stupid, stupid rat creatures that are spoonfed by executives. That said, if kids aren't exposed to advertising towards classic animation programming, then those shows aren't going to be seen. Fricken common sense if you ask me. I have yet to see an ad for "The Looney Tunes Show" on Cartoon Network since the new look of series was introduced over a year ago. Heck, there weren't many ads for the recent Duck Dodgers Saturday Block Party. And they do advertise for SBP every day, but the limited ads troubled me. These were the new episodes that were not only delayed numerous times, but were really good.

Anyway, back to the advertising situation. Kids don't watch Looney Tunes because they don't know that they're on. I know defenders of Cartoon Network would easily say that they could read the tv listings for show times. Yeah, they could, but that's not a valid excuse either. Some kids can't read, and more or less, kids watch whatever their attention is drawn to. Kids are stupid (perhaps if I say that fact over and over, people will actually absorb it).

They're also not going to look at something that airs in an ungodly hour of the day either. 6 AM EST is an ungodly hour any day of the week. 6 AM on a weekend morning is unbearably ungodly. Kids won't get up early if they really don't have to. At the earliest, most kids wake up around 9 AM on an average Saturday morning. So, the scheduling of classic animation at the ungodly hour of 6 AM on weekend mornings doesn't make sense.

In case you're just now finding out about this, the two-hour classic block that had Boomerang and The Looney Tune show is now just an hour of one classic HB show and three Warner Bros. shorts at 6 AM every weekend morning. That's one hour of Looney Tunes every week. By comparison, Totally Spies (which replaced the Sunday LT airing) comes on nine-and-a-half hours per week and Ed, Edd, and Eddy (which replaced the Saturday LT) comes on for ten-and-a-half hours (not counting the four-hour Camp Cartoon Network Monday block).

One more time, with numbers (hour:minutes):

Looney Tunes - 1:00
Totally Spies - 9:30
Ed, Edd, and Eddy - 10:30 (14:30 with Camp Cartoon Network)

One final time, to get the point across for those that may have missed it (i.e. the guys who defend Cartoon Network's decision to cut down classic animation and want to blame it on kids for not watching them on early weekend mornings without any advertisements):

Looney Tunes - One hour per week.
Totally Spies and Ed, Edd, and Eddy - Over 20 hours per week (a whole day if you count the Camp Cartoon airings of EE&E).

If you don't get it, I don't think that you will.

Aug 12, 2004

Has Anybody Heard of Cartoon Monsoon?

I'm still trying to understand what it's about myself. I think I have the gist of it.

Warner Bros. Animation has this online "battle" competition of animators called Cartoon Monsoon. Every competitor creates a series of Flash-animated shorts for consumption, and the visitors vote on the best ones.

I think that's how it goes. Everything else is a blur to me. Here's the first cycle of shorts created, including a short that basically turns a popular C-level DC Comics heroine known as Zatanna into what is essentially an "American magical girl" series. I'm sure the powers that be at DC never even thought of that concept for the character. The second round is underway, and a new cycle of shorts are coming to the Monsoon stage.

So, how come you don't hear so much about this in the animated press? And why isn't it even advertised on that aniamtion channel TimeWarner owns in the US? No, not Boomerang, the other one with the checkerboard logo . . .

Speaking of that network, I want to see the pilots shorts! There has been a new cycle of original shorts that were made for Cartoon Network, but the public aren't going to see them any time soon. I guess that they don't want another Kitty Bobo incident on their hands. You remember Kitty Bobo, right? It was that great short about these city-living felines that was with Mission Hill/Downtown-like hipness. Came out the same year the Kids Next Door pilot was shown. It'll probably never be seen again, as won't the other shorts of that year. Gosh, I remember when August celebrated the original shorts, but people (read: CN execs) don't really have the threshold for seven-minute stand-alone short subjects anymore, do they?

You know, for the longest time, I thought it was just a bias towards the classic shorts, but now I realize that unless it's a part of a 30-minute franchise or it's a 12-minute Flash series/pilot for adults, CN really doesn't care for shorts anymore. At all.

Aug 10, 2004

Preschool Instead of Classics?!? What Are They Thinking?

It may come to no surprise that in many outlets today, including WSJ and the AJC, that Cartoon Network are going to add a preschool-oriented block (presumably commercial-free) to their daytime lineup this fall. One of the shows, surprisingly the latest DC Comics-based property Krypto, had already been announced earlier in the year, and it's likely that a lot more shows, new shows from Warner Bros and some of their preschool-friendly shows like Pecola, Sitting Ducks, and hopefully Hamtaro will be a part of it. Of course they could be smart and bring their older Small World property to weekdays, but, as the cute-voiced announcer reminds us everyday, this is Cartoon Network.

This related byte also got on my nerves. They say that if the preschool block does well, Cartoon Network might turn Boomerang into a preschool network.

Let's see, how should I react to that? Oh yeah!

No. No. No. No. No. No. NO!!!!

Boomerang is this country's first and, unfortunately only showcase to older animation properties. The network is popular amongst those that actually have it, but the thing is that the programming grid for the network is atrocious. A thrice-daily rotation of eight-hours of programming is not the way to create a classic-animation network nor properly utilize the massive library they have on hand. I would go into detail on how I would improve Boomerang, but that'll be for another post.

I'm mad that Cartoon Network would even consider replacing Boomerang with a preschool-oriented network. It's like they're admitting that the creation of Boomerang was a mistake and that the preschool audience would be one they could market to cable operators a little easier. Let's be honest. Cable operators are still of the school that animation is just for kids, so the need for a classic animation network for older audiences isn't really there for them the way they need a classic television network and a classic movie network (while we're on that topic, couldn't Boomerang actually keep the shows and shorts the way they were intended to be seen, uncut and uncensored, political correctness be damned?).

The fact that CN execs would even admit a plan to convert Boomerang leads me to believe that they already have a plan in place. I personally can't see how a preschool network would even bring in an audience, but then again, I don't have any preschool-aged kids. I don't have any kids, but I have to find a girlfriend to make a wife before that even happens. Maybe they're trying to fill a void that can't be seen on Nick Jr., Playhouse Disney, TLC's Ready Set Learn, PBS Kids, PBS, and Comcast's upcoming preschool network. They'll succeed with the block, but do they really need to make a preschool network?

Aug 3, 2004

Quick Question

If G4techTV has a show called and an awards show called GPhoria as well as continuing to show reruns with the G4 logo (still telling folks to go to the old G4 domain) and new episodes of shows still using G4 microphones as well as continues to show the G4 logo whenever possible and naming the entire production company responsible for all shows on the network G4 Media, is the network really called G4techTV?

If it is, they really need to either be unified as a true combined network or, dare I say, create a brand new name for the network.

R-Rated Characters In PG-13 Films

The moment when I saw the first Aliens Versus Predator ad on Cartoon Network, I let out a very loud, very verbose reaction.


The reason why this ad made me react this way wasn't because it was a theatrical version of the epic battles first introduced in comic form a little over ten years ago. I knew it was coming this year. The reason why I reacted that way was because Cartoon Network doesn't air any ads for R-rated movies. All the hopes of seeing a truly visceral bloodfest that was spread out through six previous films in the original Alien and Predator films were immediately dashed the moment I saw the ad on Cartoon Network. At that moment, the rumors that I tried to avoid all these months were indeed true.

Aliens Vs. Predator is rated PG-13.

The great Hollywood machine has once again ruined an R-rated franchise, and heaven knows there weren't many of them. The Aliens/Predator movie could have been a testament to the legacy they have created and probably the ultimate visual feast for the gore-loving eyes and loyal fanbase. Look, I understand why they decided to tone down the bloody violence and gore that could have been in this film for a PG-13 movie. They want teens to go see it, and teen = money. Look at the Spider-Man franchise (which has almost accumulated $750 million for both movies in the US). Teen buying power is what Hollywood craves, tradition be damned.

Nobody cares about tradition anymore.

Fans were anticipating the ultimate battle, and they didn't want the battle to be watered down. Sure, AVP will be violent, but not as violent as it could have been and a shadow of its former self. Perhaps Fox should have witnessed the sequel to Pitch Black.

Pitch Black, an R-rated film, was a cool cult classic that really caught on in the cable and DVD market. Universal decided to create a theatrical sequel and two non-traditional prequels. The video-game prequel has developed a small-yet-significant following in recent months, not to mention getting rave reviews from video game critics and fans. The animated prequel hasn't really gotten much press (or maybe I haven't looked in the right places). The film could have been and should have been better. The Chronicles of Riddick could have been extended throughout a lengthy series of films. The potential was rich. However, the PG-13 rating limited the kind of story the character of Riddick deserved. That's why the film suffered, particularly at the end, which had Riddick in an unlikely position, one that could have been a great note to begin perhaps a final chapter rather than the ending of the first (and probably only) film.

That's not to say there weren't any R-rated sequels to R-rated franchises that didn't suck too. Freddy versus Jason was just cartoony, and Terminator 3 was unnecessary (especially considering the ending of Terminator 2). I just expected AVP to be a violent exception, but alas, Fox has denied me that pleasure. Pity.