Big Ideas: Looney Tunes’ Laff Riot

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Those of you who have stuck with us from the beginning may, as you read this, think “Didn’t they post this already?” Well, yes and no. I originally typed this entry while we were on Blogger; when we imported the site over to WordPress, I recently discovered that this particular article had gotten “lost” somehow; long story short, the original copy of this article is floating around in Limbo somewhere. While this idea is a couple of years old, I still think it’s a good one, so for posterity’s sake I thought I’d type it again, since the original one couldn’t be retrieved.

Hey, remember The Looney Tunes Show?

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The Looney Tunes Show was an attempt by Warner Brothers Animation to introduce the Looney Tunes franchise to an all-new audience, and as such, it did its’ job well enough, lasting 2 seasons with 52 episodes in total, however, TLTS was also a very polarizing show; while some people enjoyed it, a lot of Looney Tunes purists derided the series, feeling it lacked the teeth and anarchic glee of the original shorts, as the show lacked the slapstick and “squash-and-stretch” physics of the original cartoons. This was due to the show’s executive producers, Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone, feeling that they weren’t capable of emulating the shorts’ style. As a result, The Looney Tunes Show was more reminiscent of Seinfeld than the original theatrical cartoons.

Me? I felt The Looney Tunes Show was just OK. I liked the show, but I didn’t love it. I’d like to love a Looney Tunes show again. The Looney Tunes Show was all right, but didn’t ignite my fandom the way, say, Tiny Toon Adventures did.

That last particular thought gave me an idea: why doesn’t someone at WB make a Looney Tunes show Tiny Toons style? I came up with a hypothetical series done just that way. I call this series Looney Tunes’ Laff Riot.

Laff Riot

For those who don’t know, Laff Riot was Warner Brothers’ original concept for The Looney Tunes Show, a “true-to-the-classics” show emulating the original run of Looney Tunes shorts announced in July 2009. However, it was scrapped because the executives were not impressed, and it was later retooled into the sitcom-inspired The Looney Tunes Show which premiered on May 3, 2011 on Cartoon Network. We liked the Laff Riot concept and felt it wasn’t given a proper chance.

freakazoid

“Plus the name makes me happy!”

Like on The Looney Tunes Show, Laff Riot would place nearly all of the major Looney Tunes characters in a singular setting, in this case Acme Acres. Like on Tiny Toons, Acme Acres is like a world in microcosm (where of course, EVERYTHING is named Acme), housing several diverse locations and areas to accommodate the various characters. There’s Acme Forest, home to animal characters such as Bugs, Lola, Tina (or Melissa, whichever you prefer), Mac and Tosh, Pepe, Squeaks the Squirrel and Daffy.

daffy-duck

Speaking of Daffy, the Laff Riot version of Daffy would have more in common with the 30’s and 40’s versions of the character than the later 50’s and 60’s version. In short, this Daffy would be”totally nuts” rather than greedy and selfish.

As for Lola, another VERY polarizing element to The Looney Tunes Show, the Laff Riot version of the character would be a mash-up of the scatterbrained motor-mouthed version from TLTS…

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…And the hyper-kinetic version from New Looney Tunes…

Lolabunny

…Definitely not the bland cypher version from Space Jam

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We like the Looney Tunes Show and New Looney Tunes versions of Lola. We prefer funny Lola over hot Lola. Deal with it, ya nerds.

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As on Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production, Wile E. Coyote would be the pompous, technology-obsessed next-door neighbor to Bugs, with a vast desert-like expanse stemming from his side of the fence. This would be the gateway to the Acme Wild, home of characters such as Wile, the Road Runner, Taz, Pete Puma and Beaky Buzzard.

Royal Oaks Glen Oaks Garden Oaks Cul De Sac

The human characters would live in a suburban cul-de-sac called Acme Oaks, again not unlike on The Looney Tunes Show. As on that show, Granny would live in an old-style manor, with Tweety, Sylvester and Hector the bulldog as her pets, Yosemite Sam would live in a dilapidated shotgun shack, Witch Hazel and Gossamer would live in a Gothic style haunted house, plus I’d add Elmer Fudd there as well, since I thought it was kind of wrong how he was given such a small role on The Looney Tunes Show.

elmer-fudd

The Laff Riot version of Elmer would be a “big time game hunter” and host of a hunting show where he shows off his hunting prowess (except for a certain wabbit who somehow keeps eluding him). Just to make things more interesting, Fudd here would also be a millionaire, owning “a mansion and a yacht”.

porky-pig

Porky, whose always been a “border line case”, would live on the outskirts of Acme Oaks adjacent to Acme Farms, where Foghorn Leghorn, the Barnyard Dawg and Henery Hawk reside.

Now, you may be wondering:

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Aside from 1 or 2 changes you made, how is this different from The Looney Tunes Show?

I’m glad I pretended that you asked that. What sets Laff Riot apart from The Looney Tunes Show is its’ tone and presentation. Laff Riot would a variety of shorts per show, ranging from 90 seconds to 6 minutes in length, some with a common theme and some completely unrelated (you never know–anarchy!).

In addition, between the shorts there would also be song segments, the Merrie Melodies.

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These would be the same as the ones from The Looney Tunes Show. No need to fix something that isn’t broken.

There would also be a recurring segment called “One-Shot Wonders”. These would present the characters in more unusual settings, like genre parodies or period pieces. (The One-Shot Wonders would be rendered in CGI to show that they’re different from the “actual” continuity.) There would also be the occasional one-shot featuring new, never-before-seen characters.

The other major difference would be that Laff Riot would contain slapstick. A lot of it. There would be “squash-and-stretch” gags, Bugs donning disguises and breaking the 4th wall (Bugs could even freeze the action to address the audience a la Zack Morris; to keep him special, Bugs would be the only character who could do this), Elmer and Yosemite Sam would once again wield their trademark guns, but now they’d fire cartoon props and effects such as popping corks, paint balls, suction darts, land mines, springboard boxing gloves, custard cream pies, etc., Witch Hazel casts a lot of spells, Gossamer causing collateral damage with his massive strength, lots of “BOOM”s, “CLANG”s and “POW”s and falling anvils.

Finally, Laff Riot would feature character-specific sign-offs; they would depict a different character opening the WB trademark shield like a vault door and giving a farewell greeting to the audience. Some would be the ones previously used in Tiny Toon Adventures and The Looney Tunes Show, others would be new and some would be specific to a particular episode. Among the recurring sign-offs”:

TLTS Signoff

  • Porky: “Th-th-th-That’s All, Folks!”
  • Bugs: “And that’s the end.”
  • (Bugs and Squeaks) Squeaks: (chatters incomprehensibly) Bugs: “Eh, what he said.”
  • Daffy: (Hammy Shakespearean style) “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”
  • Daffy: “Hey! Wanna see my butt tattoo??” (The vault door slams shut on him) “Woo-hoo!”
  • Daffy: “It’s been surreal!” (He pulls out a TV remote and switches the image off.)
  • Lola: “‘That’s all what?” What are ‘folks’? (Points off-screen) “He’s crazy.”
  • Lola: (a la Humphrey Bogart) “That’s all, folks!”
  • Lola: (leaning in the doorway) “That’s all, f…” (She falls from the doorway and lands off-screen with a thud)
  • Lola: (a la Tracey Ullman) “GO HOME!”
  • Elmer: (in full hunter’s garb) “It’s been a bwast!” (He drops his rifle and it blasts a hole though his hat. He shrugs and gives his trademark Fudd laugh.)
  • Sam: “It’s over. Now git!”
  • (Bugs and Lola) Bugs: “Say goodnight, Lola.” Lola: “Goodnight, Lola.”
  • (Bugs and Porky) Porky: Th-th-th-th-th-th…(Bugs covers his mouth) “That’s a wrap!”
  • Taz: &%$#@#^%^#! (gestures as though he’s saying “That’s all, folks!”)
  • Taz: “Show over!” (He proceeds to devour everything on the screen until he’s left standing in a black expanse, then plummets off-screen.)
  • Speedy: “iHasta luego, amigos!” (“See you later, friends!”)
  • Mac & Tosh: (in unison) “That’s all..Oh, after you. No, after you. After you. After you. After you. After you…(etc.)
  • Sylvester: (Roars like Leo the MGM lion, then puts his paw over his mouth) “‘Scuse me!”
  • Witch Hazel: (as though she’s reciting an incantation) “That’s all folks, that’s all folks, that’s all folks!” (She vanishes in a puff of purple smoke, hair pins and bat wings.)
  • Pepe: “Au revoir, mon petit potato du couch!”
  • Pete Puma: Duh, let the show begin!”

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Hey, I’d watch a show like this, wouldn’t you? How about it, Warner Brothers? Make this happen.

Boomerang Online (Revisited)

A while back, I wrote about an hypothetical idea for a website called Boomerang Online. In the wake of recent developments in the online entertainment industry, I thought that we’d revisit this idea with some minor adjustments made to it. Basically, it’s the same idea as before, only with a little bit of Patreon thrown in for good measure.

This is what the proposed app could look like. I also could have gone with the older big blue ‘B’ logo, but II don’t mind the new logo, so for the sake of argument, let’s go with this design.

Here’s how it would work: Turner could launch a website (the aforementioned Boomerang Online), as well as an app which could be downloaded onto one’s smartphone or tablet. Viewers could access the site anytime and would be able to access a select number of “old-school” Turner owned cartoons such as the 1990s Cartoon-Cartoon shows and cartoons from the old-school Hanna-Barbera library for free. However, Turner could also “sweeten the pot” by giving people the option to sign up and become members of Boom Online for a monthly fee of say, $3, $4, $5 or $9 per month. Turner could offer perks to paying members. For example, if someone visiting the site for free wanted to watch Dexter’s Laboratory, he or she would have access to a limited number of episodes which would rotate every few days or weeks and would have to watch them with a pre-roll ad as well as mid-rolls. But a paying member of the site would have access to all of the Dexter’s Lab episodes and could also view the episodes without mid-rolls. Paying members would also have access to a wider selection of shows as well as a wider selection of episodes of said shows.

And while we’re at it, why not throw in some SWAG for paying members as well? Turner could also offer Boom related stuff like T-shirts, hats and other cool stuff for those who are willing to pay for them. The more money that members are willing to give the site, the more stuff they would be able to obtain. Because as we already know…

Just had to get that in there. And hey, while we’re at it, why not propose a TV Land Online for fans of nostalgic TV shows?

These shows aren’t airing on TV right now, so why not?

Is the New Boom a Bust?

Let’s wax for a bit about Boomerang, shall we?

As many of you may or may not know, Boomerang, the digital tier bonus sister channel to Cartoon Network, originally launched in 2000 as a dumping ground to get CN’s older, canceled and discarded shows off the man channel in order to make room for their newer shows, premieres and acquisitions, has re-branded this February. Turner has since reformatted Boomerang from an ad-free all-reruns archive channel to a ad-supported sister network to CN targeting 4-11 year old kids and their families. The channel’s bumpers and wraparounds have also been updated, with the original bumps depicting Hanna-Barbera toys and narration from actor John O’Hurley (who you may know as Elaine’s boss from Seinfeld and a former host of Family Feud) have been retired and replaced by new stylized Art Deco bumpers and a new kid announcer. Turner is trying to position Boomerang as a full-blown channel in its’ own right, having it run in sync with Boomerang’s international feeds, and that’s OK. However, since the February makeover, Da Boom’s scheduling has gotten severely lazy, with Double Play blocks of Tom & Jerry, The Tom & Jerry Show, The Garfield Show, The Looney Tunes Show and What’s New, Scooby-Doo? airing up to 3-4 times per day, no new original shows airing there as of yet aside from Numb Chucks, a weekend series originally announced to run on CN and Grojband, which originally aired briefly on CN and CN.com, both of which only airing on weekends, and Teen Titans GO! and The Amazing World of Gumball, 2 of CN’s biggest hits currently , airing simultaneously on Boomerang. And for a channel trying to carve a swath for itself as contender…

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“That’s no good!”

 

We’ve been told that Boomerang is undergoing a “stealth re-brand” and that the changes being made to it are said to be gradual, with said changes coming in a little bit at a time as opposed to all at once. Boomerang’s Upfront is supposed to be released in May, and supposedly we’ll see a real difference in Boomerang’s schedule then. But do The Powers That Be at Turner really think that folks will be willing to wait that long and sit through the same 4-6 shows again and again until then? I know A LOT of people are dissatisfied and genuinely upset with with this re-brand, and I have to say that I’m a tad disappointed with it as well, albeit for different reasons than the people who are making pissy YouTube videos about it. The former group is upset that Boomerang has reformatted and changed, whereas I’m disappointed that Boomerang hasn’t changed dramatically enough. For all the noise I’ve had to endure about Da Boom re-inventing itself and as long as The Powers That Be have made us wait for the re-brand, after all that just to give endless breadstick blocks of Tom & Jerry and The Garfield Show is more than a little anticlimactic. I actually think it would’ve been better if Turner had just unveiled its’ new format and schedule all at once on day 1 of the re-brand rather than nerfing their schedule down just a small handful of the same shows and looping them (as well as the same 2 bumpers) endlessly until spring.

Turner’s other big mistake was turning its’ back on its’ classic programming, under the idee fixe that “new is better” and audiences won’t watch anything more than 15 or 20 years old.

On more than one occasion I’ve been accused of “praising Boomerang for going in a new direction and steering away from nostalgic programming” and “wanting to see the classics get taken off once and for all”, and I just want to go on record to say that that notion is so far from the truth that it’s funny. Why would I want to see the classics get taken off of Boomerang? Please. I have nothing against the classics, I’m just not a nostalgic person and as such I don’t allow myself to become “time warped” and stuck in a particular era. The shows that interest me, from ANY era, I watch, and the shows that don’t interest me, from ANY era, I simply don’t watch; it’s literally that simple. I don’t go around proactively wishing for shows to get removed when just switching them off and watching something else is so much easier. Just because I read enough press and information to know that Boomerang’s true purpose was not to “preserve the classics”, but rather to get the older shows off of Turner’s main kids’ channel Cartoon Network, and because I’m also realistic enough to accept that times and the media have changed considerably since the late 80’s through 2000’s and that archive channels are rapidly going the way of the dodo since their audiences tend to fall off after a while and advertisers aren’t in a hurry to run spots on a channel which doesn’t show anything new (the elephant in the room that the ranting YouTubers tend to ignore or overlook is that Boomerang wasn’t making a ton of money as the Hanna-Barbera Reruns Channel, which is why this re-brand was initiated in the first place, both domestically and internationally; if the all-reruns format had been profitable, then The Powers That Be would never have re-branded Boomerang in the first place)…

“Psst! Here I am! I’m here in the room! Look over here! I will not be ignored! Holla at ya boy!”

…Just because I’m aware of the facts and accept these changes as an inevitability (quite frankly, I’m surprised the old Boomerang lasted as long as it did) doesn’t mean that I’m anti-classic cartoons, and Turner shouldn’t be either, at least not completely. This new Boomerang is said to be aiming itself towards kids and families, well the last time I checked, moms and dads, and even big bro and sis were part of the family too, why shouldn’t they get to enjoy the beloved shows from their childhoods once in a while? And no, I’m not suggesting that Boom ax all of the new shows, scrap the originals before they even debut and revert back to the all-archive format like so many YouTube complainers want; that would be ratings suicide for reasons I’ve already listed above. There’s nothing wrong with having some older shows sprinkled around the schedule here and there, but if they’re used as the anchor of the whole network, then you have a problem. Too much retro is overkill, as that does little as far as gaining and keeping viewers. I’ve said this before, but here it is one mo’ time: nostalgia just doesn’t work when it’s overused. Networks should treat nostalgic programming as something to fill a time slot, not its’ bread-and-butter. Had Boomerang stuck with an all-classics format like the nostalgic fans want in its’ current ad-supported state, not only would I just not watch it very much (as I didn’t watch old Boomerang very much) but I can guarantee that Boom would’ve been remade into a CN/TBS clone inside of 2 years. Personally I don’t see why Boomerang has to be exclusively one or the other; surely there’s enough room on a 24/7 channel to accommodate the entire household?

This is what I would do with Boomerang if I were the one sitting in the big easy chair. Now I’ve been declared legally lazy by a physician, so I’m not going to type an entire schedule here, I’ll just list some highlights of what I’d put on Da Boom. Before starting, let’s get some things out of the way:

-If I could, I’d shorten the channel’s name to simply BOOM!

It’s a cartoon/comic book onomatopoeia and would reflect the channel’s embracing of animation as well as sounding new, exciting and spontaneous, plus it would silence the complainers crying “Boomerang needs to change its’ name because it’s not all classics anymore and the slogan ‘It’s all coming back to you’ is meaningless now!”.

I know Turner would never actually change the name since Boomerang is a global brand, but since this is a fantasy schedule for funsies, let’s act as though I could change the name. We’ll call this channel BOOM!

-There would be no live-action on this channel, except for host segments, live-action/animation hybrid shows and movies such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, puppets, costumed characters and Saturday Morning live-action shows which are basically like live-action cartoons, of which I’ll elaborate on below.

Teen Titans GO! and Gumball would not air on this channel; they would be exclusive to Cartoon Network. No need for CN and Boom to air the same shows; otherwise, what’s the point of having 2 channels?

-The Tom & Jerry Show, The Garfield Show and What’s New, Scooby-Doo? would still air on BOOM!, just not as frequently as they’re being run now. Pokemon would likewise still air here.

-Imports such as Mr. Bean: TAS, The Jungle Bunch and Skatoony would air here as well as internationally. There would also be new and original contemporary shows from around the world, as long as they’re fit for a general (kids and family) audience.

-I’ll be listing some shows as examples of what would or could run on BOOM!; again, this is hypothetical, so we’re pretending here that Turner would be able to run or acquire the broadcasting rights to the shows listed here. This is just so I can avoid typing “assuming that Turner could get the broadcasting rights” a gazillion times.

Some sample shows and programming blocks:

  • Planet Play– this would be a Qubo style block aimed at the younger kiddos, and would air weekday mornings with a longer encore airing on Saturday mornings. Some sample shows: Krypto the Superdog, Baby Looney Tunes, Masha and Bear, Peppa Pig, The Mr. Men Show, Shaun the Sheep, Pearlie, Turbo Dogs, Jacob Two-Two.
  • BLAM!– standing for Big Loud Animation Melee, this block would run from late mornings to early afternoons. It would be a spotlight for everyone’s favorite theatrical shorts shows, such as Tom & Jerry, Looney Tunes, the HB funny animal shorts (Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, etc.), The Pink Panther et al. The CN/Boom Wedgies would air as filler segments between the various shorts.
  • JUMP– Standing for Joyful Unlimited Maximum Play, this would be a weekday afternoon comedy block (featuring both animated and live-action shows), emphasizing big laughs and extreme fun. Shows would include the likes of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, The Super Mario Brothers Super Show!, My Parents are Aliens, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, The Funny Company, Channel Umptee-3, Maniac Mansion, Beetlejuice, The Twisted Whiskers Show, Johnny Test, Space Goofs, The Weird Al Show, Samurai Pizza Cats, Skatoony, My Spy Family, Viva Pinata, The Super Six, Video Power, and Round the Twist.
  • Cartoon Planet– this would be a mix of the original TBS/CN Cartoon Planet and the Best of CN block which aired on CN a year or so back. It would feature new wraparound segments hosted by Space Ghost, Zorak and Brak and would feature shorts from the Cartoon-Cartoons and other 90’s through 00’s CN toons. CP would either last 1 or 2 hours, depending on the schedule. Chowder would be relegated to this block.
  • That’s Warner Brothers!-A compilation of Silver Age WB comedies. Sample shows: Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Freakazoid!, Taz-Mania, Duck Dodgers, The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, Pinky & the Brain.
  • Sparkle-who says girls don’t rule? This would be a block made for girl-centric cartoons, both comedy and action. Sample shows: Winx Club, Tara Duncan: TAS, Totally Spies!, Code: LYOKO, LoliRock, Ladybug. This block would air weekday afternoons with a weekend encore.
  • Kick!-a block for action/superhero toons. Sample shows: Batman: TAS, Superman: TAS, Batman Beyond, Justice League/Unlimited, Static Shock, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Men in Black: The Series, Teen Titans: TAS (not TTGO!). Like Sparkle, Kick! would air on weekday afternoons with a weekend encore.
  • Fun Zone– this would be a prime time premiere block airing on weekends, either with different schedules for Friday and Saturday nights or a single lineup premiering on Friday nights and an encore on Saturday nights, depending on how many new shows are available. Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production and Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! would air here. I’d also give The Aquabats! Super Show! a new home on this block.
  • HBTV– also known as HB Nation, this block would air prime time on Sunday nights. It would be a love letter to Hanna-Barbera, with new shows based on HB properties intermixed with new Shorties, Groovies and other shorts starring HB stars.
  • The Groove Tube-this block would air late nights, say at about 9, 10 or 11 PM, and would run for 2 or 3 hours. This would be where the retro shows would air. sample shows: The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Underdog, Speed Racer, Voltron, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, Popeye, The Three Stooges, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast.
  • Saturday Morning Fever-a special Friday night edition of The Groove Tube , recreating the 60’s through late 80’s Saturday Morning experience. Sample shows: Land of the Lost, The Real Ghostbusters, Help! It’s the Hair Bear Bunch, H.R. Pufenstuf, Lidsville, Smurfs, Snorks, The Harlem/Super Globetrotters, Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp.

Well, that’s what I’d do anyway. One thing’s for sure: Boomerang needs to step its’ game up and get out of its’ programming rut, otherwise by the time we get to May, viewers may no longer care. Boomerang will be D.O.A. and this re-brand will have been for naught.

The Hub: What Could Have Been

Well, folks, we’re approaching the final week of The Hub network being called The Hub. Next Monday (October 13) will mark the beginning of The Hub’s rebrand as Discovery Family.

Disc Fam logo

Hasbro will still be in control of the channel from 5 AM to 5 PM, but the rest of the hours will be programmed by Discovery. Yesterday, I came across one of the promos for Discovery Family. Take a look:

That’s it? Just a bunch of educational science, nature and animal documentaries?? Color me underwhelmed. So let’s examine this, shall we? Going by the above promo, Discovery Family’s lineup will have no animated shows (except for the established Hasbro properties such My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Transformers Rescue Bots), no scripted shows and no movies. It’s almost as though Discovery wants this channel to fail. DiscFam is probably going to be an even bigger bomb than the XFL. Yeah, The Hub’s airing old sitcom reruns in prime time was a phenomenally stupid programming decision, but does Discovery honestly believe that they can gain a substantial following by running a bunch of educational documentaries and reality programs in their place? What kind of network that wants to attract kids doesn’t have any cartoons on it’s lineup? That’s just dumb! And yes, I know that live action shows are cheaper to produce than animated shows, but even if DiscFam brought back some of their old Discovery Kids shows in reruns, that would be better than having no cartoons on the lineup at all. After I first saw this promo, my initial thought for the future of Discovery Family was this:

I predict that this new schedule is going to go over like a lead balloon covered with fat people. Even the DiscFam logo looks dull, generic and uninspired. Admittedly, I kind of like the tagline “Let’s Go!”, but it’s wasted on this snooze fest of a lineup. It makes me wish that Hasbro had partnered with some other company to launch it’s family oriented family cable channel and Discovery wasn’t involved at all. This leads me to ponder what things may have been like had Hasbro hitched it’s wagon to another company besides Discovery. Here are a few choices. Before I start, I’m going to say that the Big 3 (Disney, Warner Brothers and Viacom) are already off of the table, since they already have active family oriented cable channels, so we don’t have to imagine what their family channels would be like. That said, to borrow DiscFam’s tagline, Let’s go!

HASBRO AND DREAMWORKS

Dreamworks wouldn’t want to do this, and they have no reason to do it, but imagine if Hasbro and DreamWorks had partnered up and launched a family oriented cable channel. Not only would said channel be able to air all of the movies from the Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda franchises as well as How To Train Your Dragon, but they’d also be able to air the DreamWorks series such as Monsters VS Aliens, Penguins of Madagascar, Dragons: Riders/Defenders of Berk, Kung-Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and the upcoming animated series based on The Croods. Also Dreamworks currently owns the Classic Media library, which  includes the UPA TV catalogue, Harvey Entertainment, Big Idea Productions, Filmation and the license rights to Gumby, Voltron and the Jay Ward productions. This means that this hypothetical channel could also air reruns of Rocky & Bullwinkle and Felix the Cat, as well as any new adaptations of said projects.  Add to that My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic, Transformers and Littlest Pet Shop, and it sounds like a winner to me.

ADDENDUM: As it happens, a Hasbro/Dreamworks partnership almost happened, but Dreamworks’ president Jeffry Katzenberg wanted too much money and power, so Hasbro backed out of the deal. And the Greek chorus moans “More’s the pity.”

HASBRO AND 20TH CENTURY FOX

I know that FOX wouldn’t be interested in doing this, since their last attempt at a family friendly cable channel (Fox Family) didn’t end well and they already have a couple of cable channels under their belt, but it would be pretty cool if FOX had a showcase for their Fox Kids library of shows, as well as any new series that the studio would want to produce. Furthermore, there wouldn’t be the issue of what the channel would air at night after the kids have gone to bed, since this channel could air the FOX prime time shows and/or some of the FX or FXX programs. Plus, FOX owns The Simpsons lock, stock and barrel, so there wouldn’t be any issues if they wanted to air reruns of that on this channel.

HASBRO AND NBC/UNIVERSAL

I think that Hasbro and Universal would get along pretty well. Partnered with Universal, this hypothetical channel could air the likes of Woody Woodpecker and some of Universal Studios movies. Plus, Universal owns Qubo and Sprout. ‘ Nuff said.

HASBRO AND COOKIE JAR

Under this partnership, we would have a channel that had access to all of the Hasbro properties as well of all of the shows on Cookie Jar TV and KEWLopolis.

Honestly, any of these partnerships sounds better than what we’re getting. Now, it’s possible that Discovery may surprise us all by pulling something really special out of their collective sleeves, but I’m not counting on that. After seeing that Discovery Family promo and reading what Discovery’s master plan for the channel is, I have only this to say to all of them.

New Rules for DC Superhero Movies

The Justice League movie. The Holy Grail for nerds. And like the Holy Grail, obtaining it has proven to be no easy task. While Marvel and Disney have been successfully kicking out the jams with their MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), releasing one decent superhero movie after another, all culminating in the spectacular blockbuster The Avengers, and then continuing with stellar solo movies afterward going into Phase 2, DC and Warner Brothers have been, shall we say, less successful. The Green Lantern movie bombed. The Jonah Hex movie bombed. The Wonder Woman movie has been stuck in development hell for years and Man of Steel, while not a box office failure, was a very polarizing movie which was utterly dark and joyless and left a bad taste in many fans’ mouths.

Part of the problem with making the JL movie a reality lies in the total lack of synergy between the companies which operate under the Time-Warner umbrella. Warner Brothers puts the “fun” in “corporate dysfunction”, it’s a giant conglomeration of people all with their hands in the cookie jar vying for big cookie with the giant morsels. The MCU is being helmed by Kevin Fiege, but who’s running the show for the DC movies and TV shows? Chris Nolan? Zack Snyder? Bruce Timm? Allen Smithee? Waldo? Who knows?Warner Bros. is a chaotic mess of executives who all want credit and where no one person is willing or able to be “The Man.” That has always been the studio’s fatal flaw, they’re ruled by committee and not an individual.

We all have our own theories as to what DC can do to step their game up: Regardless whether you think that WB/DC should opt to strike while the iron is hot or ignore the competition and take the “slow and steady wins the race” route, I think we can all agree that they need to formulate a strategy and do something, because right now they’re getting their collective asses kicked. Hard. It’s not pretty.

Personally, if it were me, I’d scrap this whole project and start fresh with a whole new beginning. Forget Green Lantern and Man of Steel ever happened and ignore the Nolan trilogy. For this purpose I present my personal plan for how to construct a DCCU (DC Cinematic Universe) and make the Justice League movie happen, or New Rules for DC Superhero Movies.

  1. Reboot Superman again, but get it right this time. For Flip’s sake, let’s skip the origin story this time! By now everyone and their Aunt Gertrude knows where Superman came from, so there’s no need to do an entire movie built around his origin; at the most, retell it briefly in a flashback sequence. I’d have the movie begin some few months after Clark Kent has arrived in Metropolis and started his job at the Daily Planet. He’s already been wandering for some time prior to the start of the film, and has started garnering some media attention with his exploits as Superman. Do NOT make the movie as dark, somber and joyless as Man of Steel was; Superman is supposed to about hope, idealism and sci-fi fun, giving Supes the Batman treatment simply didn’t work. If you want to see an example of a “iconic, all-American good guy superhero trying to make his way through a modern, cynical and paranoid new world” movie done the way it should’ve been done, look no further than Captain America: The Winter Soldier. That movie was what Man of Steel should’ve been. Make Metropolis semi-futuristic and high-tech, and have it run and bank rolled by Lex Luthor, and you’ve got yourself a decent Supey flick and a good starting point for the DCCU.
  2. Reboot Batman again, but this time set in the same universe as the new Superman movie. Tone down the grit, realism and darkness and make it less grounded and more fun. That’s the only way the movie can work in a shared universe. I know the thought of a lighter Batman makes some folks cringe, with nightmarish visions of Batman and Robin dancing the Batusi in their heads, but that’s not what I mean. I’m not talking Bat Credit Card goofiness, but rather tone down the dark and grim aspects of the Batman mythos and focus more directly on why it’s so cool to be Batman: how he’s got boo-billions of dollars to throw around, how he’s a playboy with hot ladies falling at his feet, how he’s got gadgets, gear and gizmos for every occasion, how he gets to lay the smack down on weirdo costumed villains, etc. I’m thinking a slightly edgier Iron Man in black.
  3. Do a Wonder Woman movie at long last, again set in the same universe. Focus on the mythological aspects of WW’s origins crossed with some patriotic idealism, reflecting the character’s status as an ambassador to Earth. Have some tensions begin to rise in “Man’s World”, and Diana takes notice and wants to help, but her mother Hippolyta doesn’t want her interfering. She does of course, and gets mixed up with the US Air Force, introducing Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, et al. It could turn out that someone like Ares or Circe is secretly manipulating events for some diabolical purpose. I’m thinking a mix of Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.
  4. Reboot Green Lantern and maybe make a Flash movie, again set in the same shared universe as the other movies. The reason I say “maybe” to a Flash movie is because he’s already got a TV show coming up for the CW, so WB may not want to have too many solo movies preceding Justice League. At the most, some of the movie’s events could be reflected and/or alluded to in the Flash series. Also, I’d probably make the GL of this film John Stewart rather than Hal Jordan, so there’d be a non-Caucasian face on the team.
  5. Throughout all of this, the linkman connecting all of these movies could be J’onn J’onzz, aka the Martian Manhunter. MM first turns up in the Superman movie as a detective named ‘John Jones’ who has been investigating Superman since he showed up in Kansas. ‘John’ meets Clark and befriends him, but doesn’t reveal to him that he’s a Martian…yet. ‘John’ also turns up in the Batman movie, and at the end of that film, he shapeshifts into his green alien form. Dun-dun-dunn!
  6. Make a World’s Finest team-up movie starring Superman and Batman, or a Trinity movie featuring Supes, Bats and Wondy meeting one another and joining forces to tackle some big threat, like say, the White Martians, which could lead to the Big Three meeting ‘John Jones’ together and he’d finally reveal to them all his true identity of J’onn J’onzz and inform them that something big and bad is coming. This would lead to…
  7. The long-awaited Justice League movie, which would bring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Flash, organized by J’onn (why no Green Arrow? I think 7 main heroes–yes, I said 7, more on that later–is enough, and the team doesn’t need 2 rich guys with toys right now. Plus, moviegoers hot off the MCU films not familiar with the DC Comics would just see Ollie Queen as a Hawkeye ripoff, so we can save him for a sequel) to combat said big bad. Speaking of, I can’t over-stress this: DO NOT, under any circumstances, make the villain of the movie Darkseid! Using Darkseid in the first JL movie is a great idea, if you don’t plan on making any sequels. If the plan is to stretch this franchise out to say, 3 movies, you can’t begin with the biggest bad guy in the DC Universe. Save Darkseid for movie 3, and make the villain of the first movie someone like Luthor or Brainiac or Gorilla Grodd or Starro the Conqueror. Personally I’d go with Starro, so we could introduce Aquaman in the movie (Starro starts out making trouble in Atlantis, where Aquaman fights him and maybe gets possessed and controlled by him for a time in the film, where he and his army takes on the League until they free him and he joins the other heroes to defeat Starro), possibly leading to an Aquaman solo movie afterwards, along with solo sequels for the other heroes.
There. I’m not saying my way is perfect, but I think it’s pretty good for something I just whipped together today. And I’m just a snarky, wise-ass blogger. I challenge Warner Brothers and DC to come up with a better strategy.