Big Ideas: HBTV (Revisited)

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.

“Ooh! A new animated show from Warner Bros.? Great! I can’t wait for it to come to HBO Max so I can cancel it and shelf it as a tax write-off!”

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.

Funtastic!

Each week there’d be 2 original animated shows based on some classic Hanna-Barbera franchise. Some examples…

A new Wacky Races show.

I was thinking something more along the lines of Wacky Races Forever as opposed to that Boomerang series.

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:

HB Super Stars: new, action-packed mini-sodes starring Hanna-Barbera’s superheroes such as Space Ghost (not Coast to Coast!), The Herculoids, Birdman, The Galaxy Trio, Mighty Mightor, Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, Dog Wonder and more…
Shorties: original shorts starring HB characters in new and unique art styles. If you’ve seen Cartoon Network’s Shorties, you know what to expect;
Groovies: original music videos based on HB franchises. Again if you’ve seen the CN/Boomerang Groovies, you get it…
New Banana Splits segments, ’cause why not?…
New Tom & Jerry mini-shorts…
And an original idea I had, The New Impossibles. It would center around a teenage trio of pop-stars…
…Who just happen to be the super powered daughters of the legendary secret fighters for justice, The Impossibles.

I’m talking 60 Funtastic minutes of Hanna-Barbera goodness! Feel me??

“(Yawn) So it’s like DC Nation, but for Hanna-Barbera.”

-Yeah, basically.

State of the Blog: More to Come

So, 2022 has proven itself to be….a year, hasn’t it?

Yeah, this has been a wild one. 2022 has been a year of tumult, both professionally and personally, for the both of us as well as the world in general.

Don’t get me started on what’s happening over at Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery.

All of this assorted…stuff…is why it’s been kind of dry over here these past several months.

But now we’re back!

Those of you who have stuck with us this whole time (and thank you for doing that, BTW) have noticed a slight uptick in the output here. Progress is kind of slow right now, but things are gradually starting to pick up here. Jason and I are getting back on track and the creative itch has returned, waiting to be scratched. I think we’re ready to FINALLY take this blog to the next level.

(Note how I didn’t refer to it as Twinsanity 2.0, because it’s not Twinsanity 2.0; it’s not Twinsanity anything. We changed the site’s name to Twin Images earlier this year; I’ve already elaborated on why in an earlier post, just refer to that.)

Now, as to what to expect here going forward.

“This is going to be a long read, so you might want to get some snacks.”

First and foremost, I feel like we’ve done all we can with the free version of WordPress.

I think it’s time for an upgrade.

In the upcoming months, we’re going to be upgrading to a paid site. More bells and whistles, more options, and as a paid blog we can monetize this bad boy.

“Cha-ching, baby!”

The reason for this is not just naked greed (though naked greed is part of it); you see, our long-term goal is to one day be able to do what we do here: cartoons, comedy, art and making people laugh, as a full-time occupation; ads can help us accomplish this goal, but we first have to attract more viewers to the blog. I’m also considering starting a Patreon or Ko-Fi account for Twin Images (there’s also another platform called Comradery that I’ve heard things about; we’re currently weighing our options). Artists gotta eat too, especially if we’re going to be paying for a bigger and better site/show.

-Yes, I said ‘show’. Despite the way it may look, we’re STILL planning to start making videos. (We’ll continue to blog in the meantime, though, at least until we get the hang of video production, then that’ll take precedent.) We were just shopping for equipment as recently as yesterday. WordPress has plenty of video-friendly themes and templates; just yet another incentive to upgrade.

We probably won’t upgrade the site until early next year, likely around January or early February, though. It just so happens that it’s now October, and the tail end of the year is a notoriously bad time to try and create content; you have Halloween in October, Thanksgiving in November and Christmas in December. (Also if you count it, New Year’s Eve/Day in late December/early January.) You have to deal with holiday preparations, shopping, family get-togethers, etc. and all the crapola that comes with all that, which leaves very little time to try and create. If you want to do any serious creative work, you’re basically out of luck until January, and since the whole point is to increase production so we’ll increase traffic, we’ll likely hold off on the upgrade until early 2023; we’re not going to pay an annual fee while we’re not producing a lot of work, and we’re sure not going to expect you good folks to donate to us for nothing.

Also, expect the style and nature of the posts we make to change slightly. Regular visitors to the site may have already noticed a slight difference in the types of posts that have been appearing here lately. We’ve decided not to adhere so rigorously to the recurring segments here. (This is why I removed the tab listing the recurring segments; that and it was just out-of-date now.) I/we used to try to make all or most of the posts adhere to one of the regular segments that we set up, but that’s just the thing: WE set them up; they’re not etched in stone so everything we do doesn’t have to fit into a specific box. At a certain point this year, I decided:

I’m just going to post what I want to post.

From now on it doesn’t matter if something fits into one of the recurring segment categories or not, whether it’s long or short, simple or detailed; if it’s funny or interesting and it came from one of our brains, then we’re going to post it. Period. We need to be flexible and just have fun with this stuff. It can’t ever stop being fun; it if starts to feel like a job or a chore, then it’s time to hang it up.

(The recurring segments won’t be going away, however; we’ll still be doing That’s Warner Brothers!, Brain Candy, The Couch, Retroville, What the Funny, Pop Dream, et al, it’s just that going forward everything we post doesn’t have to fall into one of those categories. We’re trying to give ourselves more creative freedom here.)

-As a consequence to this New Style, you’ll probably be seeing less of us on Tumblr going forward. We won’t be leaving Tumblr; it’s a great community and there’s some cool people and stuff on there, but neither of us have been posting a ton of original work on there this year. Initially we created the Tumblr account to a) attract more eyeballs to our main site on WordPress (feel free to do start following us here if you’re not already doing that, BTW) and b) post short, quick micro-blog posts and simple jokey-jokes that we didn’t think were ‘big’ or ‘significant’ enough to post here on the main site. However, as previously stated, nowadays we’ve greatly loosened that self-imposed rule and have been starting to put all of our musings and ramblings, big or small, on this site, to the point where sometimes I would copy the same posts on both sites. With this being planned to become the main hub for our content, we just don’t need to post on Tumblr as much anymore (lately I’ve mostly just been lurking and re-blogging stuff on Tumblr). There are no plans to shut down our Tumblr page just yet, but from here on out we’ll mainly be posting content here and on YouTube.

As for what type of content you can expect, no major changes. We’ll still be covering our favorite topics:

Our favorite Golden Age cartoon icons…
Our favorite current cartoon shows, characters and channels…
The glory days of Saturday Morning…
Video game stuff…
Weird, funny, memorable and obscure products, stores, ad campaigns and mascots…
Kooky, fun locations and tourist-y spots…
And whatever else we feel like.
Also expect to see more of us just being funny, wacky, crazy and creative in general.

Speaking of which, we still would like to one day start posting original art and cartoons online. (I made a couple of early attempts, and they were just that, but the dream is still alive and I’m learning.) If that venture takes off, we’ll likely create a second blog for our cartoons. (I may put them behind some kind of paywall too, we’ll see.)

So once again, big, BIG thanks to all of you who have stayed with us. It means a lot. Please stick around to see what’s coming up next from us here; we can’t wait to show you what we’ve got in store. And as always…

Art Attack #2: The Saturday Twins

The lead characters from a project we have in the works called Meet the Saturdays. These are the Saturday Twins, Sea Duck Quackers (left) and Sunny Funny (right). Sea Duck is a beach bum who’s gaga over ducks, while Sunny is an incurable optimist who works hard only at being silly.

You may be seeing more of these kiddos as production increases. If we start putting up artwork and cartoons on a consistent or semi-regular basis, we may create a second blog for those. Stay tooned.

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.