Jun 27, 2007

Purging The Cable Infection

I haven't had cable in two months, and I have mixed emotions about it.

I miss the variety cable has to offer as well as a clearer signal of broadcast television. However, in the absence of cable, I've realized one strange fact.

Cable is very toxic.

I'm not being metaphotical either. Cable television often made me physically ill, and I didn't realize it until it was gone.

Cable news is the worse offenders and the most toxic element of cable television. Fox News is so one sided when it comes to their primetime lineup and certain news stories as well as having obnoxious, arrogant, smug personalities shouting at and talking on top of their guests, even cutting off their mikes mid-interview, and the other three major cable news channels wanted to emulate them. Headline News has this guy that is so xenophobic, sexist, and racist anchoring the night followed by a woman who lacks grace when it comes to . . . anything. MSNBC and CNN are no better. They put emphasis on turning certain local murder stories national, especially if it involves young, Caucasian females. Then again, broadcast news tend to do the same thing, which is utterly disappointing.

That's probably why I tend to phase out on news broadcast, relying on the internet print rather than video.

Also, Cartoon Network has become toxic to me. Anybody who read my regular site or see my posts at Toon Zone probably realized that. In the two months without cable, I've become somewhat relaxed. Stress levels and blood pressure are way down, which is kind of shocking. Think I lost some weight as well. Maybe it's just utter disappointment in them that caused me to lose faith in them. I have gotten to the point that even talking about Cartoon Network made me violently ill. But now, I just have a little indigestion when I do talk about them.

I know I haven't spoke kindly on broadcast television, but that's because they don't really live up to their potential. In the months that I didn't have cable, I've realized that broadcast television has completely given up on Saturday nights and rely way too much on courtroom dramas, paternity/cheating situations, and advice gurus. Broadcast television should be more than that. That's probably why I like cable more than television.

It's toxic and probably killing me, but I kind of miss it. Some things I don't miss, but the good things I certainly do.

Jun 26, 2007

Frederator Goes Indy - Among First Projects: "Samurai Jack" Film

In light of the sad, tragic events that occurred over the weekend involving one of my favorite wrestlers of all time, I'm just glad to read something good to lighten the mood.

Scratch that, not something good. Something GREAT!

According to Variety, Fred Seibert (creator of the MTV logo, the architect of the imaging and packaging Nickelodeon uses to this day, former president of Hanna-Barbera, founder of Frederator Studios, and the most underappreciated guy in the animation industry today) and a pair of entertainment executives announced plans to launch a new independent animation movie company, Frederator Films.

Their mission is a great one: To create 2D and genre-based animated films aimed towards young men with a low, but workable budget.

Here's the text (caution - Varietyspeak is in abundance in this piece):

A trio of toon veterans are launching Frederator Films as an indie feature film company with a mission to produce 2-D animated genre movies budgeted below $20 million.

Fred Seibert's partnered with Kevin Kolde and Eric Gardner, with all three acting as producers on the projects. Seibert's the former president of Hanna-Barbera and longtime producer via Frederator Studios, which debuted a decade ago with "Oh Yeah! Cartoons" for Cartoon Network; that show spun off "Cow & Chicken," "Powerpuff Girls" and "Dexter's Laboratory," and Frederator followed with "The Fairly OddParents," "ChalkZone" and "My Life as a Teenage Robot" for Nickelodeon.

Kolde ran Spumco, the banner of John Kricfalusi ("Ren & Stimpy"), for more than a decade, while Gardner is the topper at Panacea Entertainment, a talent management and production company with clients including Donny Osmond, Richard Belzer, Paul Shaffer, the Sex Pistols, Elvira and members of the Rolling Stones.

Seibert told Daily Variety that the new banner can take advantage of 21st century technology to develop offbeat content into feature films.

"Fred is the master at identifying voids in the marketplace and filling them with paradigm-shifting content," Gardner said. "There has been a dearth of both 2-D and genre animated feature product, which Frederator Films will be rectifying." Pics will be aimed at young males.

First projects from the shingle:

"Samurai Jack," a feature version of the Cartoon Network skein. The creator, Genndy Tartakovsky, is attached to write and direct.

"The Neverhood," a claymation feature based on the DreamWorks videogame of the same name. Doug TenNapel, who created the game, is aboard to write and direct.

"The Seven Deadly Sins," a hip-hop project with Don King hired as the first voice actor.

Yes, your eyes did not deceive you. Frederator's making a Samurai Jack animated movie. Let me be the first to say THANK YOU FREDERATOR! One of the greatest animated series of all time always had a place in my heart, and I'm glad to see it at least resuming with Genndy back at the helm of his creation in the form where it was first developed instead of being live-action. Ugh. I'm surprised that they're developing a Neverhood movie. I've always been a fan of Doug TenNapel's works (Earthworm Jim, Project G.ee.K.e.R., and Catscratch). Not his politics, mind you, just his works, which is why I'm looking forward to a return to the Neverhood. I'm cautiously curious about Seven Deadly Sins mostly because of the casting of the most crooked boxing promoter I've ever seen, but I'm sure he's the biggest part of the movie.

Still, talent drives this brand, and I look forward to see what Frederator Films has to offer in the years ahead.

Jun 7, 2007

Quack, Quack

Things I Can Strike Out on a list for Things I Thought I'd Never See:

- A professional team originally named after a movie starring Emilio Estévez or inspired an animated series winning a professional championship.

Congratulations to the Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks, your 2006-07 NHL Stanley Cup Champions!

Quack, quack.

Jun 6, 2007

Hey, How About A Jonny Quest Movie


I've realized why Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. aren't interested in animation anymore.

They're turning them all into live-action movies.

Over the past couple of weeks, the following films have been greenlit for production:

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Teen Titans


Adding the Speed Racer movie still in production as well as the Voltron and Johnny Bravo movies still in production hell, a lot of animated titles are becoming fleshed out. Originality is no longer needed in Hollywood, and whatever makes a better toyetic franchise, the more likely it'll be made. They still haven't officially announced the new ThunderCats series (coming in fall 2008 to either CN or the CW), but hey, there's officially going to be a live-action version coming soon. Still, any excuse for Mattel to make new MOTU action figures (and ThunderCats since Mattel's the master toymaker for all things Warner Bros), the better.

But, how about creating something that could interesting?

How about Warner Bros. making a Jonny Quest movie?

Seriously, Warner Bros. needs a strong kidcentric movie franchise since, well, Harry Potter has three movies left (Order of the Phoenix, The Half-Blood Prince, and The Deadly Hallows), and they need to develop a franchise with a strong child hero. Paramount's planning Avatar movies with that M. Night Shayma . . . Shmy . . . Shylama . . . that guy who did The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable helming it. Dreamworks is planning Tintin, though the reporter technically isn't a kid (and it's all mocap, pissing off animation elites everywhere). Jonny Quest is not only a child hero, but it has all the makings of a film franchise.

- Familiar, excellent characters that have made an impact for over 40 years.

- A built-in audience.

- A mythology that is expansive and can evolve with every film.

If placed in the right hands, a Jonny Quest film could not only become the next big thing, but could become a movie franchise that Warner Bros. could mature in the years to come. In the meantime, I'll wait for Thundercats.

Jun 2, 2007

I Don't Want MyNTV

Why does My Network TV continue to exist?

Seriously, why does Fox continue to prove that they cannot operate a second broadcast network? MNT's a failure.

A miserable, tactless failure that needs to go the way of DuMont and PTEN.

The telenovella format bombed. The lineup is now filled with old movies, failed reality shows, celebrity news "documentaries," and an MMA league that's not UFC nor Pride. The new lineup looks the same as well. And poor affiliates that aren't owned by Fox have to suffer with limited acquisitions, no Saturday morning lineup, and little support from Fox themselves. All because they wanted to be affiliated by a network since UPN and The WB merged into The CW. Of course, the reason why they did that is because, well, if they didn't, Fox would have killed UPN in September 2006 by dropping the network affiliation from top markets.

MNT barely registers on the consciousness of Americans. Even The CW has created a niche in its year of existance. Still, The CW has more to offer than MNT, at least the ones not owned by Fox. The existance of MNT helped bury a syndication market that really needed a jolt. Free airwaves could have brought a reinaissance in syndication programming, but Fox felt the world needed another network. The execution was a failure, and it's still a failure.

Nobody watches MNT. It's saddled with a terrible brand name. It basically turned some networks into informercial wastelands on Saturday mornings. I won't say it ruined television because a lot of people didn't know it existed.

So, the question remains. Why does My Network TV continue to exist?

Just a thought.

Jun 1, 2007

Step One: Fix Up The Front Page and Add New Blogs

Front page is fixed up a little. To my surprise, Blogger added a few new toys to play around with. So, say aloha to the old look and the retirement of the Thoughtnami: Animated Thoughts name/logo, and say aloha to an evolving look and the site's newish name: Jeff Harris' Thoughtnami.

Speaking of new arrivals, I've posted links to The American Roadtrip Sessions, Richard Mage's Search, and The Hangar. Keen-eyed readers will notice that these new links share the names of three IK Comics titles, coming in 2008. You don't suppose that . . . nah, I'm not that clever or smart, am I? Well, these blogs will entertain you until the actual comics arrive and are written in character.

I'm not crazy, just a little unwell.

Next week, I think I'm going to test out the audio component of this site.

Yes, audio. It'll probably be fun as well as bad for your health. I'll talk about that later.