Dec 8, 2009

Characters Welcome . . . Unless They're Animated

I like USA.

I do.

If the wags get their way and NBC goes cable through its new majority owner Comcast, I shall miss USA because I don't see them keeping a cable-only NBC and USA, unless they become like Time Warner's TBS and TNT networks, but better. But that's not what I'm writing this article about.

The tagline of USA for the past four or five years is "Characters Welcome." It's a catchy tagline, especially when they showcase folks of all walks of life. Of course on air, the characters that are present at seemingly all hours are detectives. There are detectives that are behind the badge. There are detectives that are freelancers, albeit with a few personality quirks. There are detectives that are fake psychics. There are detectives who work for the government. There are medical detectives who find out what's killing you from the inside. There are medical detectives who discover who and what killed you from the outside. There are detectives who are cops. There are detectives who are crooks.

There are plenty of characters on USA. However, most of them are detectives. Those that aren't are either warriors of the squared circle (that's wrestlers, cats and kittens) or those found in movies. Characters are wanted at USA, but for some reason, there hasn't been any animated characters on the network in a long, long time, and at this rate, they're in no rush to correct that.

The last time animation was on USA on a regular basis was in 1998. Sailor Moon was on weekday mornings as was Gargoyles. Duckman ended in 1997 and actually got away with a lot of stuff shows like The Simpsons could never do and was actually a precursor to the prime-time animation era to come with shows like South Park, Family Guy, and the whole fratboy mentality Adult Swim has captured and made their own.

Now I'm not in no way suggesting that USA brings back Duckman or Sailor Moon. Those shows are in the history books. But in an effort to be different, USA should invest in original animated productions. I think USA could be a network that would actually take a chance on something that hasn't seriously been considered on cable television or broadcast - an hour-long dramatic animated series (and before you say otherwise, yes, I'm familiar with Invasion America, Dreamworks' dramatic series. It aired for an hour, but they were two separate episodes rather than a continuous hour-long episode). There are many types of stories that could be explored in animation. Even detective/crime stories USA tends to be behind in droves.

I mean, if FX could have an animated series on its roster (Archer, from the folks behind Frisky Dingo and Sealab 2021, officially debuts in January only on FX, so check it out, boosh!), why can't USA? It'd be kind of cool if at least this once, animated characters were welcome at USA again.

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