meets The Hex Girls
Make it happen, Warner Brothers!
meets The Hex Girls
Make it happen, Warner Brothers!
Back in 2012 I mentioned an idea for a Cartoon Network programming block I had called HBTV. Today I’d to do a more detailed description of it.
Get the hook! Or better yet, open the piranha pit. Anyway…
Here’s my pitch: HBTV is an hour-long programming block that would air on Cartoon Network during prime time. (I envision it airing at 8PM EST on Sunday nights after ACME Night, but you don’t have to.)
The block is basically a love letter to Hanna-Barbera Studios.
Each week there’d be 2 original animated shows based on some classic Hanna-Barbera franchise. Some examples…
A new Wacky Races show.
A new Scooby-Doo series, because why not? Maybe something akin to Mystery, Inc.
A new Flintstones show. Again, why not?
Or this block could be the new home for Jellystone!.
Between the shows there’d be fun filler segments, spotlighting other HB characters rendered in a variety of art styles. Some examples:
I’m talking 60 Funtastic minutes of Hanna-Barbera goodness! Feel me??
Do you all remember a post that I made back in 2011 for a potential new animated series titled Disney’s Toontown? Well, as I said back when I originally wrote it, that was more a broad outline for a show. However, due to recent events, mainly the premiere of Warner Brother’s new animated series Jellystone!
This series respawned our interest in this idea, so now, because we have nothing better to do, we’re going to give a more detailed breakdown of Welcome to Toontown (originally Disney’s Toontown) and how we imagine such a series would work. Just to keep things simple, we’re going to keep the main cast at characters who are in-house Disney, so no Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars or Muppet characters. Got it? Good.
Toontown is a place where all of the Disney toons reside.
Everyone has homes and jobs here and chaos typically ensues when they get together. Keeping the day-to-day operations of Tootown running smoothly (or as smoothly as to be expected when you’re dealing with wacky toons), is the town’s mayor J. Audubon Woodlore.
Who is often seen accompanied by his assistant, Fix-It Felix Jr.
And yes, Felix is still married to Sgt. Calhoun on the show. She’s the chief of police.
Mr. Woodlore is the mayor of Toontown, but he’s mostly a figurehead. The town is really owned by world famous incredibillionaire tycoon Scrooge McDuck, who simply didn’t want the job.
Of course, if you’re going to make a series starring Disney characters, you have to have the Sensational Six. No one wants angry fans banging away at their keyboards about your heinous mistake. Yes, Mickey and the gang are definitely in this.
And like the rest of the cast, they all have jobs within the community. Mickey, Donald and Goofy are entrepreneurs who operate a business called Odd Jobs, Inc.
The three of them are freelance problem solvers who take on a variety of assignments. This is a nice throwback to the old theatrical shorts such as “Clock Cleaners”, Lonesome Ghosts” and the like.
And no, Minnie and Daisy aren’t left out. They also have a business. When they’re not working as fashion designers at Minnie’s Bow-tique, they’re at their part time job as the Happy Helpers.
In addition, there’s a group of would-be heroes in Toontown. This team consists of…
These three often go out “on patrol” looking for wrongs to right, but these patrols usually end with them going to the local sweet shop to enjoy some milkshakes.
Toontown’s Hero Squad even has their own headquarters!
Another occupation shown sometimes is Higher For Hire, a airborne delivery service that’s operated by it’s new owner Della Duck and her co-pilot Launchpad McQuack.
Now, on the ritzy side of town is the Enchanted Heights, which is basically like a fairy tale version of Beverly Hills.
This is where the Disney Princesses reside.
And what would an animated series be without cute kids? You’ve got to sell those toys! The main kid crew of Toontown featured here would consist of…
They basically get into Our Gang-style shenanigans. Can you say “toyetic”, boys and girls?
Then there’s Toowntown’s scientific community, who operate at Innovation Station, the Center for Science and Imagination
This team of big brained thinkers consists of
Next, we come to the seedy underbelly of Toontown; Villainville…
…which is populated by the ever scheming group of foes known as Nightmare Enterprises, aka, Team N.M.E.
And because these ne’er do wells don’t like to get their hands dirty, they naturally have grunts to their dirty work for them, namely the Cogs.
You may be wondering, if Team N.M.E. is so evil, why don’t they just waltz in and take over Toontown? The answer is: they can’t. Toontown’s resident good mages
All used their magic to create a powerful force field around the rest of Toontown, thus preventing any villains from entering. Team N.M.E. have tried to penetrate the force field so they can take over on occasion, but they’ve failed every time (remember, this is a comedy show!)
The Genie (from Alladin) is Toontown’s media mogul. Whenever the town needs a presenter, a show host or an interviewer, it’s usually him.
At the end of the day, when the Toons want to wind down, they frequent Toontown’s local watering hole, The Enchanted Tiki Room.
Which is run by Toontown’s resident angry birds, Iago and Zazu.
And for entertainment we have the club’s house band…
Another great thing about this idea is that the perfect theme song for this show has already been written. Music, maestro!
And if anyone from Disney happens to be reading this, feel free to use any of it. All we ask for in return is a “Developed by”, credit, since it was our idea, and that Mickey Mouse has to be an active, funny character in it.
Have you guys been enjoying the new Looney Tunes Cartoons show on HBO Max?
I know I have; it’s old-school cartoon cool, done in a beautiful new art and animation style which manages to pay tribute to the classic style, put a slightly modern twist on it and remain timeless.
To my pleasant surprise, many people on the internet seem to be digging the show as well, but one comment in particular caught my attention. Someone on the interwebz said:
“I wish Warner Brothers would give Tom and Jerry this kind of treatment.”
Now I think that’d be a cool idea: why not do a Looney Tunes Cartoons type show for Tom & Jerry? I know there’s a Tom & Jerry movie coming up, but that’s supposed to be one of those live-action/animation hybrids, where it’s live-action humans everywhere and a CGI Tom and Jerry doing Tom and Jerry stuff. Not exactly feeling that.
More recently, there’s been Tom & Jerry Tales…
…And The Tom & Jerry Show…
…Which, while not terrible, were met with mixed reception. Those shows at least tried to recapture the spirit of the original shorts, I’ll give them that, but that might have been part of the problem.
They’ve also appeared in a number of DTVs, usually consisting of them crossing over with some other show, movie or pop-culture character like Jonny Quest and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
More recently, a thread popped up on the Anime Superhero forum, where a poster opined the following:
“Warner Bros really should reinvent Tom and Jerry, they need to retire the 1940’s Cat chases Mouse humor. Like reimagine the entire cast with new personalities and have Tom and Jerry talk more often and give it humor similar to shows such as Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, SpongeBob SquarePants, Invader Zim and The Amazing World of Gumball. This would really improve the cartoon for modern times and it would be very entertaining.”
OK, I get the thought of modernizing the characters a tad and expanding their horizons a little more, but “make it similar to Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, SpongeBob Squarepants, Invader Zim and The Amazing World of Gumball?” What does that even mean? Those shows aren’t even similar to one another, and none of them possess any correlation with Tom & Jerry. Make Tom & Jerry like those shows how, exactly??
This same fellow goes on to say:
“The old cat chases mouse formula has been done so much its like beating a dead horse. Warner Bros had the nerve to keep them outdated and unfunny.”
“I don’t understand why that would hurt Tom and Jerry, Nothing wrong with Tom and Jerry feeling like The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack or Regular Show. Just better to move up with the times rather than being trapped in the 1940’s.”
Again, I’m not sure where this kid is coming from with “feeling like The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack or Regular Show“. What are you saying?
Turn Tom and Jerry into 20-something slackers, have them play video games and shout “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” from time to time? The problem with that is that if you try to modernize them too much, then the characters would cease to be Tom & Jerry. Updating characters doesn’t just mean strapping guitars around their waists and have them spouting out a bunch of soon-to-be dated buzzwords, and you can’t stop the characters from chasing and trying to outshine and out-maneuver one another, because that’s who they are and what they do. Tom and Jerry are a CAT and a MOUSE, so they have to act like a cat and a mouse. You take that dynamic away, and they’re not Tom & Jerry anymore. You’d end up with something like Yo, Yogi, and NO ONE wants another Yo, Yogi.
That said, I still think a new Tom & Jerry show could be done. If Warner Bros. gave me the keys to the Maserati and asked me to make a new Tom & Jerry show for HBO Max, here’s how I personally would do it. NOTE: I’m not saying that my way is the best way or the only way, but it is a way. Hear me out. Here’s my pitch:
For one thing, I would take a cure or two from 1975’s Tom & Jerry Show.
Yeah, I know that this show caught a lot of flak for downplaying the mutual animosity between the 2 characters and essentially making them friends, but this show did do some things right: to compensate for the lack of feuding, the writers introduced some silly but funny jokes and shticks that I admit did make me laugh sometimes, and it didn’t entirely remove the slapstick, especially in regards to Tom, who of the duo was basically the more unlucky and prone to be the butt of physical comedy, which has always been the case. I wouldn’t change that, however, I wouldn’t stop them from doing chase gags (because as previously stated, they are a cat and mouse, so they can’t stop doing cat and mouse things) and I wouldn’t put them in random situations that any person could get into (more on that later).
I also would take a couple of cues from Tom & Jerry: The Movie.
I know, I know. Hear me out!
I’m NOT suggesting having the characters don straw hats and canes and sing muscial numbers about the magic of friendship…
No. No. Perish the thought. But there were one or two salvageable ideas from that film, believe it or not. For one thing, I don’t consider it blasphemous to have Tom and Jerry talk, at least sometimes. I’m not suggesting having them speak nonstop like in the Tom & Jerry comics…
Just have them say a few words at a time to pepper and punctuate some scenes, like in several of the original shorts. Yes, Tom and Jerry did talk sometimes in their original cartoons, people tend to forget that. Just do it that way, only a tad more frequently.
I’d also do away with putting the characters in random setting and situations all the time. Another thing I didn’t mind about the movie was how it tried to establish a concrete setting for the characters. Like I said above, I’d stop putting them in human-like situations. I’d keep Tom and Jerry as house pets, but I’d expand the cast to include other characters for them to bounce lines, jokes and stories off of…
…Not just Spike.
In the movie, they ended up living with a girl named Robyn Starling and her gazillionaire adventurer dad….
I’d do something similar to that, combined with Rick and Ginger, the couple who owned Tom and Spike in several episodes of The Tom & Jerry Show, but I’d expand that. The example I cite for this is Harvey Comics’ Little Dot.
Harvey Comics knew they couldn’t have every story just be Dot going ga-ga over spots, so they expanded her comics to depict her indulging in shtick and shenanigans with her assorted kooky relatives.
I’d do something like that: have Tom and Jerry live in a big house/mansion with a wacky family, each of whom has his/her own shtick that can make for entertaining shorts and stories, that way you have more characters to play off of and react to Tom & Jerry and the cat-and-mouse chasing shtick doesn’t need to be thrust into the foreground and done to death. (Have one of the kids be a child prodigy who sometimes uses Tom and Jerry as guinea pigs for their experiments, for example). BTW, you’d be able to see all of the human characters, including their faces. Plus you could add Spike, Tuffy, Butch and/or some of other pets to be in orbit around Tom and Jerry as well.
Basically a more opulent Loud House, with Tom and Jerry (and possibly Spike and Tuffy) as the pets, doing their usual shtick amid or in conjunction with the family’s antics.
Heck, just to pay homage to the old cartoons, why not add classic MGM characters like Droopy…
And Barney Bear in there as well, either as added attractions, or just random weirdos who turn up in the Tom & Jerry shorts from time to time.
Structurally, the show would be similar to Looney Tunes Cartoons, with 2 or 3 main shorts ranging from 1 to 6 minutes in length, with blackout gags and skits in between. You want to keep the stories and plots short and simple because it’s freaking Tom & Jerry. Like the Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry’s shtick and style of humor don’t lend themselves to drawn out or complicated plots, that’s why those DTVs didn’t work for me.
-Anyways, that what I’d do.
So there you go, Warner Brothers. A way to do a new Tom & Jerry show a la Looney Tunes Cartoons for HBO Max.
Yeah, I know. It’s been a while since either of us did one of these, but I came up with this idea in the best way possible: by not looking for it! Anyways, let’s go!
So….let’s talk about Meet the Robinsons again for a little bit. No reason, I just want to talk about it.
WARNING: If you still haven’t seen Meet the Robinsons yet, don’t read any further because I’m going to spoil the crap out of this film! You’ve been warned!
Meet the Robinsons is an in-house Disney animated film loosely based on the children’s book A Day With Wilbur Robinson (as Damon already noted in Cartoon Country) which debuted in theaters in 2007. The movie was about a twelve year old budding inventor named Lewis who meets a boy from the future named Wilbur Robinson who takes Lewis to the year 2037 to meet Wilbur’s quirky family after a mysterious yet incompetent villain known simply as “Bowler Hatted Guy” steals Wilbur’s dad’s time machine. The movie fared well at the box office and remains one of the Mouse House’s more underrated hits. So surely, Disney would want to cash in one the movie’s success and turn MtR into a franchise by making it into a TV series for children. Surely.
It never happened. There were plans for a sequel to the film with the working title Meet the Robinsons 2: First Date, but these plans were scrapped when John Lasseter became Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new chief creative officer, he called off all future sequels DisneyToon originally planned.
So as of this writing, Meet the Robinsons was never made into a TV series, and honestly, it’s not hard to imagine why, for a number of reasons:
For starters, no one would want to see a MtR TV show set in the boring present; said show would need to take place in the fantastical future, and the film’s main character, a twelve year old genius inventor named Lewis, couldn’t stay in the future for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who saw the film. for those who haven’t (SPOILERS)…
…Lewis turns out to be Cornelius Robinson, Wilbur’s dad in the future. Lewis can’t just live with his future self. That would create a time paradox, and if you’ve read any sci-fi novel, you know that’s bad.
Sure, you could conceivably have a series in which Lewis and Wilbur are traveling through time getting involved in all kinds of wacky shenanigans, but I don’t think that many people would want to see that (I know I wouldn’t). Also, Wilbur couldn’t be having buddy adventures with his father’s younger self. Not only would that potentially alter the future, but…
“It’d just be weird!”
Another reason is likely because of the Robinson family themselves.
While these characters were enjoyably and entertainingly weird, quirky and fun, the fact of the matter is that most of them were not integral to the film’s plot. At all. Among the Robinson’s various members, the only important ones were Franny, Cornelius, Bud and Lucille. The rest of them were just kind of…there. They were much more minor characters (although each of them was a personality rather than a cipher). They contributed to what’s essentially a single character: the lot of them. After their initial scenes, the relatives’ main function was to fill up the numbers.
Also, it’s entirely possible that Disney didn’t see a ton of merchandising potential with a fictional family where most of the members were adults. The general mode of thinking for kid-vid producers is that kids want to see themselves (i.e., other kids) on shows tailored for them. Kids don’t want to see a show starring a bunch of grown-ups unless there’s something special about them (EX: They’re wizards, super heroes, special agents, etc.) Wilbur was the only kid Robinson. In order for a MtR TV show to work, he would need a buddy; someone his own age to have fun and to get into trouble with, and that character couldn’t be Lewis for reasons that were stated previously. Disney wouldn’t be able to build a successful toy line from that and we know how TV executives think:
So yeah, for the reasoning above, I can see why Disney never attempted a Meet the Robinsons TV show. However, I’d like to now offer my ideas on how a potential animated series based on Meet the Robinsons could work. Here’s my pitch:
In the movie, Lewis travels to the year 2037 and meets his future family. That’s only 27 years from now. Therefore, I suggest that we set this series even further into the future and focus on a new generation of Robinsons.
The Robinson’s famous mansion would be the show’s main setting and where many of the episodes would take place.
Damon suggested that as a way to directly connect this show to the 2007 movie, this series could feature Wilbur Robinson as an adult with a family of his own.
Adult Wilbur would be the current president of Robinson Industries, having inherited his famous family’s business and compound. And even though this would be a Disney production, we won’t be killing off the mother of this family! Wilbur would be happily married with a wife and several children.
Heck, while we’re at it, Wilbur’s wife could not only be alive, but black! The two of them could have some mixed race children. Who says that all of the Robinsons have to be white? We’re progressives here. Deal with it!
So the series would focus mostly on the Robinsons children, each of whom has their own set of quirks, obsessions and talents, which would make for some entertaining moments as they all play around getting into futuristic hijinks in their wacky, high tech, physics defying mansion. Each episode could consist of several recurring segments taking part in various parts of the mansion and focusing on one or more of the Robinson’s children, with the parents showing up at certain points to join in on the fun. Also, since these Robinsons would all be siblings, the audience wouldn’t have to spend any time trying to figure out how they’re all related.
And hey, Carl the servile robot could still be there. After all, he’s a robot, and robots don’t age. He could just be upgraded.
Yeah, I basically just threw 101 Dalmatian Street…
…and The Hilarious House of Frightenstien into a blender and called it a show, but I think it’s pretty good for something that I just pulled out of thin air after one evening in front of the TV. If anyone at Disney studios happens to read this and you like the idea….
You can transfer me the royalties. No checks, please.
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