Unpopular Opinions/That’s Warner Brothers!: Live-Action on Cartoon Network

Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s start 2023 with a big ol’ hot take:

We’re not opposed to the idea of live-action shows airing on Cartoon Network!

Yeah, yeah, I know. hear us out. We used to be like you. Years ago, whenever the subject of Cartoon Network daring to air live-action would come up, our usual reaction was….

There was a time when we regarded the very thought of CN airing live-action programming to be akin to painting a moustache on the Mona Lina, but over time we’ve either mellowed with age or have gotten even more insane, whatever you want to call it, but we’re not 100% opposed to the idea anymore.

“But guys…CARTOON Network!” I hear you say, and yes, I agree. Cartoon Network initially pledged to air “cartoons and nothing but cartoons, all day, every day, until the end of time”, I get it, but here’s the thing: animated shows are expensive and take time to produce; unless your parent company has a HUGE backlog of cartoons to fall back on, they’d need something to keep viewers occupied while the new animated shows are being made, and these days CN like most networks prefers to run their older cartoons online as opposed to on the main TV channel. The reason that Nickelodeon and Disney Channel rely so heavily on live-action kidcoms (aside from the obvious fact that they’re popular with kids) is because live-action shows are cheaper and take less time to produce: Disney Channel and Nick can whip out 2 or 3 episodes of Lizzie McGuire or Bunk’d or Henry Danger or Game Shakers in the time it takes to produce 1 episode of Phineas & Ferb or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So there’s a practical reason to employ some live-action programming, even on animation channel.

Now it’s usually at this point that someone will inevitably point to Cartoon Network’s notorious flop programming block CN Real, which we covered here a while back in Keepin’ It Real…Real Bad!. CN Real was a turkey, no one’s denying that, but as Jason (Goldstar) mentioned in that article, the reason why the CN Real block failed wasn’t because they dared to air live-action, it was because they were airing the wrong kind of live-action. What’s the first word in this channel’s name?

There ya go.

If Cartoon Network were to ever start incorporating live-action shows and movies into their schedules, certain requirements need to be met. Live-action on CN could work, provided it’s the right kind of live-action. Reality shows? No. Those don’t gel with cartoon lovers, least of all kids; generally speaking, the only non-scripted shows that kids tend to dig are game shows. If a CN show isn’t going to be a cartoon, then it should at least be “toon adjacent”. Some examples of acceptable live-action for CN would be:

Live-Action/Animation hybrids, i.e., shows that combine animation with live-action…
…Shows starring puppets…
..,or people in wacky costumes…
…Shows based on animated properties; for example, run Filmation’s Shazam! series…
…to coincide with the release of the new Shazam! movie or the first movie airing on ACME Night…
…Shows which evoke the spirit of cartoons or comics, like Super Sentai…
…Live-action hosts…
…Or shows that are so wacky and crazy that they’re like cartoons.

This kind of live-action could work, provided that the animation to live-action ratio stays at something like 70:30 or 60:40 in favor of the cartoons. It may or may not every happen, but if Cartoon Network is ever to open itself up to the possibility of live-action again, they should never forget their channel’s, name, history, theme and roots. If they really ever have to air live-action, it should be animated live-action.

-And yeah, I admit this is partially a way of campaigning to get The Aquabats’ Super Show! back on TV. This show was awesome and should be airing on TV somewhere; it just should.

Unpopular Opinions: DC League of Super-Pets

Regardless of what people thought about the DC League of Super-Pets movie, I have to admit that the film’s version of the Justice League was pretty cool.

Super, Man!

Pros:
You have Jessica Cruz as the team’s Green Lantern. Hal Jordan or John Stewart would’ve been more obvious choices, but Jess’ design looks cool, and this way Wonder Woman isn’t the only lady on the team.

Plus WB tried to make Aquaman look as much like Jason Momoa as possible. I dig it.

Cons:
Well, I have just one really: Cyborg’s Half-fro. Seriously, what’s up with that?

That’s Warner Brothers!/Unpopular Opinions: This Must Be Bizarro World

“The following am very important and worth everyone’s time.”

Htrea, aka Bizarro World, is an imperfect, messed-up funhouse mirror duplicate of Earth where everything is the opposite of our world: cats chase dogs, jokes make people cry, boy bands play instruments and Bizarro Joker is the only sane person on the planet.

These days I swear I must be living on Bizarro World, because there was a time if someone told me that Bugs Bunny Builders, an upcoming preschool show for Cartoon Network’s Cartoonito block, would be the show that interests me and that I’m curious to see an episode or two of…

And Tiny Toons Looniversity, a new adaptation of the wonderful 90’s series Tiny Toon Adventures, would be the show that I couldn’t give two squats about…

I’d have told them they were crazy.

But here we are.

I don’t get it either. I’ve tried, folks; I’ve legitimately tried to generate some interest in Tiny Toons Looniversity, but it just ain’t happening. I have zero interest in this show. I’m not even slightly curious about it.

The show I am interested in seeing is Bugs Bunny Builders, the Cartoonito show with squashed versions of Bugs, Lola, Daffy, Porky and Tweety as construction workers taking on all the jobs that Bob the Builder rejected.

“Can we build it? Eh, maybe.”

I know TTL is the show I should be psyched for; I was a big fan of Tiny Toons back in the day, but I’m just not. I think I know why, though: One reason is Reboot Fatigue: I’m legit getting tired of all of these studios strip-mining the nostalgia of Millennials. Another reason is one that I brought up in an earlier Talkin’ Nerdy: I simply don’t think we need another Tiny Toons show right now.

Don’t get wrong; as previously stated, I was a fan of the original Tiny Toons. It definitely filled a need: TT premiered in 1990; back then there was almost no Looney Tunes media aside from The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show on ABC and assorted VHS compilations (anybody remember VHS?), but those were all just collections of the old theatrical shorts, Warner Bros. wasn’t making any new stuff with the Looney Tunes (Space Jam wouldn’t happen for another six years, and this was even before shows like Bugs & Daffy or The ACME Hour — Cartoon Network wouldn’t launch until 1992), so Tiny Toons was as close as we could get to a new Looney Tunes show at the time. It also didn’t hurt that TT was one of the very few syndicated animated series which was all-comedy in an era when most cartoons were action-based or action-comedy hybrids. So I’m not knocking what Tiny Toons contributed to the cultural lexicon.

BUUUT that was then. Today we’re experiencing a kind of Looney Tunes Renaissance: we’ve since gotten no less than 3 new Looney Tunes shows…

Count ’em. Three.

We had a movie this past summer (Space Jam: A New Legacy) and we’ve got 2 new Looney Tunes shows waiting in the wings: the aforementioned Bugs Bunny Builders

…And Tweety Mysteries. Not to mention that Wile E. Coyote VS ACME movie which is supposedly still happening and will be out…sometime.

So with WB doing all this new stuff with the Looney Tunes, what do we need a new Tiny Toons show for? If you own a designer original, what do you need with a knockoff?

Again, I enjoyed Tiny Toons back in the day, but there’s nothing WB can do with Buster, Babs, Plucky, Hamton and Dizzy that they can’t already do with Bugs, Lola, Daffy, Porky and Taz, and when you strip Tiny Toons down to its’ bare bones, Tiny Toons was just a kiddification. I didn’t think we needed a new Animaniacs either (and still don’t), but at least in the case of A!, the characters, while created in the spirit of Looney Tunes, are still original characters with their own shticks. TT, by contrast, did some great shorts, but the characters will always just be junior versions of the Looney Tunes and consequently will always be in their collective shadow.

“You are wrong! The Tiny Toons are original characters! They’re teenagers, unlike the Looney Tunes! There’s all kinds of stuff they can do with them! You’re just a hater!”

Really, what can the producers do on a new Tiny Toons show? A show devoted to part-time jobs? They did that in the first series. Dating and the prom? They did that too. Cramming for exams? They did that. The big football game? Done that. Field trips? Seen that. The only thing they can’t do in this new series is constantly remind us again and again that it’s the 90’s.

Sure, the producers are doing the world a favor by dropping the odious Elmyra from the show, but that’s still not enough to make me interested in it.

By contrast, Bugs Bunny Builders offers things I haven’t seen before.

For one, the cast.

Rather than centering the show on all of the Tunes as a whole, BBB looks like it’ll just be focusing on a crew of 5: Bugs, Porky, Lola, Daffy and Tweety (Tweety being there without Sylvester is kind of weird, though). I’m sure other Looney Tunes characters will make appearances, but I like the minimalist approach the producers are taking with this show.

Second, it looks like we’ll be getting a version of Lola Bunny that’s actually funny. Dare I say, LOONY!

I’m definitely looking forward to that after the comparatively bland version we got in Space Jam: A New Legacy. It’s quite a leap from a “too cool for school” Lola who sounded like Zendaya to a bubbly, silly one who sounds like one of the Chipettes, but I’m not complaining.

But what really sold me on BBB is this:

If this image is any indication, then it looks like Daffy on this show will be his earlier “crazy, darn-fool” version, which again we didn’t get in New Legacy.

Plucky Duck from Tiny Toons was straight-up 1950’s Daffy, which is fine, but I prefer the nuttier 1940’s version overall.

It looks like we may finally be getting the long-awaited Bugs and Crazy Daffy team-up for the first time…on a preschool show! I tell you, we’re in Bizarro World!

To (finally) sum up, I guess I relate to what producer/writer Paul Rugg said when asked why he wouldn’t be participating in the Animaniacs reboot:

“Here’s the thing: I did that. 20 years ago.”

That basically sums up my feelings about these reboots. Tiny Toons was great. Animaniacs was great. But both shows were products of the 90’s that I don’t need to see more of. It’s like Eek! The Cat.

I watched Eek! when it was on, I got a kick out of it, but I don’t need to see Eek! suddenly pop back into existence and find out what he’s been up to these past 20 years. I saw the originals, I’m good.

I haven’t seen 5 of the top tier Looney Tunes try to build stuff with kooky stylized vehicles and equipment, so I’m more inclined to check that out.
“That been very bad post! This will be very unpopular and earn you many, many dislikes!”

-Yeah, I know.

Unpopular Opinions: Blue Falcon & Dynomutt 2020

OK, so Scoob! happened.

Scoob!

As you know by now, we don’t review movies here at Twinsanity, so I won’t go into detail about the movie itself (there are already a ton of reviewers YouTube who have done that already), I’ll just say that my assessment of the film overall was…

Meh

It was OK. Not great, not groundbreaking, just OK. I don’t think it was low-grade dog food like many people on the internet apparently do, but I admit that its’ main draw was either for die hard Scooby-Doo fans or people in my age bracket (40-100 and up) who grew up with 1960’s through 1980’s Hanna-Barbera cartoons and will therefore recognize and appreciate the many references, allusions and callbacks.

No, I didn’t think Scoob! was swill, but believe it or not, that’s not the Unpopular Opinion of this post. Today’s Unpopular Opinion is that, regardless of what I thought about the movie itself…

scoob-blue-falcon-e1583455169550

I liked the movie’s takes on Blue Falcon…

Dynomutt 2020

…and Dynomutt.

To understand why I feel this way (and to get the young’uns in the crowd up to speed), here’s a brief history lesson:

Dynomutt_blue_falcon

Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, Dog Wonder made their debut on ABC’s Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour in 1976. The Blue Falcon (originally voiced by Gary Owens) was a Batman-esque superhero (his alias was that of millionaire playboy Radley Crown) and Dynomutt (originally voiced by Frank Welker) was his eager, brave but comedically inept sidekick, who just happened to be a talking robot dog. Dyno’s bumblings were so frequent that Blue Falcon (or “B.F”, as Dynomutt called him) would often refer to him as ‘Dog Blunder’.

The duo later turn up in–of all places–an episode of Dexter’s Laboratory entitled “Dyno-Might”.

DexterBlueFalcon

“Guest star powers-ACTIVATE!”

Fanboy and Chum Chum

“ZOMG! SHARED UNIVERSE!!!”

Dyno-Might 1

In it, the Falcon’s arch-foe, The Buzzard, ‘kills’ Dynomutt in battle and BF comes to Dexter for assistance. Dex rebuilds Dyno, but feels that the goofy ‘Dog Blunder’ isn’t a worthy sidekick to an awesome superhero like Blue Falcon, so he builds a replacement called Dynomutt X90, a more efficient but far more aggressive robot dog who’s so extreme that he sets a man on fire for littering and nearly laser blasts a little girl for picking a flower before he’s stopped by the re-activated original Dynomutt.

DynoMuttX9.JPG

“Jaywalking? Not on my watch, buster! Say your prayers, dirtbag!!”

At the end of the short, Blue Falcon says that he prefers having a comic relief sidekick because it makes him look cooler. Dexter, who’s saddled with Dee-Dee, agrees.

Fast-Forward to Scooby-Doo: Mystery, Inc. BF and Dyno turn up in this series as well (by this time it’s been long established that the crime fighting duo know and are well-acquainted with the Scooby-Doo gang, as they’ve met and crossed over on numerous occasions and even appeared alongside one another on the Scooby Doobies team on ABC’s Laff-A-Lympics), albeit with a slightly revised backstory and some notable changes in characterization.

Blue_Falcon_(SDMI)

“I’m a falcon! Grrr!”

Here, rather than being a rich playboy, Radley Crown is a security guard at one of the laboratories of Quest Industries (as in Dr. Benton Quest, father of Jonny Quest–yes, Jonny Quest, Scooby-Doo and Blue Falcon exist in the same universe–it’s canon now) and Dyno is his faithful dog Reggie. One fateful night the two are attacked by a mutated monster created by Mad Science and Reggie is seriously injured in the attack. Desperate to save his friend, Crown enlists the aid of Dr. Benton Quest himself, who utilizes Quest technology to transform Reggie into a super canine cyborg. While Dyno here is his usual goofball self, B.F. is more gritty, angtsy and edgy, basically a spoof of Frank Miller’s Batman from The Dark Knight Returns.

And now we come to today. B.F. and Dyno turn up again in Scoob!. Here, Blue Falcon is a very famous and highly revered superhero, idol to millions and heavily trademarked, BUUUT (*Spoilers for those who haven’t seen the movie, or actually care, which I doubt is many of you) this Blue Falcon is not Radley Crown, rather it’s his adult son Brian Crown, a somewhat goofy and slightly egotistical glory hog who seems more interested in promoting his brand than saving the world.

scoob-blue-falcon-e1583455169550

“Remember, kids: say you prayers, eat your vitamins, drink your milk, and buy my T-shirts!”

Dynomutt 2020

Dynomutt meanwhile has apparently been upgraded to a sleeker, cooler and far more competent version of himself; his tech is 100 times cooler, he’s more sarcastic and quick to chide his new partner and his goofy giggles have been replaced by a more annoyed wiseguy voice, provided by Ken Jeong.

And I enjoyed the heck out of these guys, particularly Dynomutt 2.0. Confession time: I’ve always thought Dynomutt was kind of cool. Despite his usual portrayal as a bumbling dufus who hindered Blue Falcon’s efforts as much as he helped them, I always though his tech was pretty cool. Back in the ’70’s, Dynomutt, along with the Robonic Stooges…

Robonic Stooges

That’s right, THESE guys…

Were what first attracted me to the idea of utilizing high-tech as a super power. These guys were the Robocops and Cyborgs of their day. So I was actually glad to see Dynomutt on screen and not being a joke. You’re free to disagree with me but I thought Blue Falcon and Dynomutt’s banter was funny and I love their new designs. The details on Brian’s costume looked awesome and this new Dynomutt is just cool-looking and badass.

Plus, I can’t be the only one who’d like to see an animated series starring these two. C’mon, a Booster Gold-esque Blue Falcon trying to make a name for himself while struggling to live up to his father’s legacy and his snarky but efficient robot dog companion? I’d watch the heck out of that show!

Even if you don’t agree with me on that, there’s something else I think we can all agree on:

Daphne Blake 2020

Kid Daphne in this movie was cute as a button!

 

Unpopular Opinions: Quack Pack Triplets

Today’s Unpopular Opinion is about Disney’s resident triplets, Huey, Dewey & Louie.

1180w-600h_101717_donald-nephews-anniversary_v3-780x440

 

-First, let me preface this by saying that I’m digging the current DuckTales series, and I have absolutely no problem with the way the triplets are characterized on the show. I had to get used to their voices (Danny Pudi as Huey, Ben Schwartz as Dewey and Bobby Moynihan as Louie, respectively), as they’re supposed to be 10-year-olds but they sound like 20-something dudes, but I’m fine with how they’re characterized here. (I kind of wish the writers wouldn’t favor Dewey so much, but that’s a different vent unto itself.)

Which brings us to today’s Unpopular Opinion: while I don’t mind the way the characters are portrayed in the 2017 DuckTales series (with Huey as the brainy, by-the-book boy scout, Dewey as the attention-starved middle child desperate to make a name for himself and Louie the lazy slacker who’s always looking for the right angle to get rick quick without doing a lick of work), I think Disney was a little too quick to abandon the personas they developed for the triplets in the previous Duck series, Quack Pack.

hueydeweylouie-quackpack

I didn’t think the Quack Pack versions of Huey, Dewey and Louie were that bad!

Whaaaat

No, really, I’m serious. Hear me out.

Before I speak my piece (to prove I’m not crazy), a little history:

Initially, Donald Duck’s nephews were uniform, like army ants, indistinguishable and indivisible.

Return_to_Plain_Awful_-_Huey_Dewey_and_Louie

Beginning with the 1987 DuckTales series, the Mouse House decided to designate a specific color to each triplet in order to distinguish between them. From that point on, Huey was always dressed in red, Dewey in blue and Louie in green.

Hueydeweylouie

Here’s a nifty way to remember: The brightest HUE of the three is red, the color of DEW is blue, and that LEAVES Louie, and leaves are green.

Cool, but the characters were still basically the same; that changed with Quack Pack.

titanic_sinking_by_esai8mellows-d4xbme8

AKA the Titanic of Disney Afternoon shows.

Now, when I say that the Quack Pack characterizations of the triplets weren’t that bad, I’m not defending the show. I know the nicest thing anyone can say about Quack Pack is that it was a train wreck, but given it’s tumultuous history, it had no choice to be: it was the victim of 2 warring producers, one of whom wanted the show to be continuation of DuckTales, set in Duckburg with Scrooge, Launchpad, Doofus et al, while the other producer absolutely hated the Carl Barks continuity and wanted the show to be more reminiscent of the old Donald Duck shorts, in which Don and the main ducks predominantly interacted with humans. So the show had no choice but to be a disaster area from the get-go.

Quack Pack Triplets Sneak

But the individual personalities the writers gave the triplets were not bad:

-Huey the vain clothes horse who considers himself to be God’s gift to the opposite sex…

Style: "red_dwarf2"

Think the Cat from Red Dwarf, only a kid, and a duckling.

Dewey the brainy one who was into all things geeky…

Simon

blue-ranger2

Geeky brainiacs sure seem to like the color blue, don’t they?

…And Louie the happy-go-lucky, somewhat thick slob who’s good at sports. Those were all decent characterizations, and in the hands of capable writers, they could’ve worked. The problem was that behind the scenes, things were a dumpster fire, plus the show’s producers tried way too hard to make the show “hip” and “cool” and “modern” (this ain’t your daddy’s Donald Duck!) and turn the triplets into “totally cool 90’s kids”, and it was LAME!

90's_kid

“DUUUUDE! The 90’s were Totally TUBULAR!”

So while I’m totally OK with the personas the triplets have currently, I don’t think the Quack Pack takes on the characters were bad either. They certainly weren’t the worst thing to come out of that show, not by a long shot.

-Of course, the 2017 show finally gave us the boys’ mom, Donald’s twin sister Della Duck, in the flesh..

Della Duck 2

And gave us a heartfelt reunion between Della and her boys (whom she wanted to name Jet, Turbo and Rebel)…

ducktales-season-2-episode-12-nothing-can-stop-della-duck

That’s an admittedly tough act to follow.