That’s Warner Brothers!: Missteps to the Max!

Let’s talk about this HBO Max/Discovery + merger, shall we?

“Let’s Get Together, yeah yeah yeah…”

Before we start, this is NOT going to be one of those “Discovery sucks! I hate that HBO Max is getting Discovery shows!” tirade. Warner has partnered with Discovery, so it was obvious that the 2 companies would be mixing, matching and cross-promoting one another; that’s just the nature of the biz. We’re not in love with the Discovery shows, but we’re not bemoaning the fact that they’re there either. Discovery keeps making these shows, so clearly somebody’s watching them, and that’s fine. At the same time, we’re not required to click on any of them either. There are already plenty of shows and movies on HBO Max that we’ve never clicked on; we’ve never watched everything on any streaming service. If Joe and Jane Six-Pack dig the Discovery shows, then we say let them have ’em. We’ve never clicked on Singin’ in the Rain, Meet Me in St. Louis or any of the Andy Hardy movies, but they’re on there for anybody who wants to see them. Got it? Good.


For those who are not aware, recently, on April 12, 2023 specifically, Warner Bros. Discovery, headed by this guy, reality TV mogul David Zaslav…

“I am not a greedy, out-of-touch boomer who’s only concerned about profit, OK?! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the country club and my manservant needs to clean my solid gold Rolls-Royce!”

…held a major press event where they finally revealed the new name and objective of their long awaited and much talked about plans to merge their 2 main streaming services, HBO Max and Discovery +.

In said presser, WBD finally revealed the name of their new mega-streamer.

It went from HBO Max….


….Just Max.


So you guys who get millions of dollars to make decisions like this had months to cook up a new name, and this is what you came up with? All you did was shave off the HBO name.

(Also, not to nitpick, but did you have to change the background as well? We have nothing against the color blue, but we liked the purple background color; it was more distinctive, helped the service stand out more. Though we do like how you modified the Max logo to resemble the HBO logo with the circle getting placed inside the ‘a’ like how it’s in the ‘o’ of the HBO logo. Nice touch.)

Now you may well wonder, why was WBD is such an all-fired hurry to remove the HBO part from their name? The answer is a lot simpler than you might think. Hint: it has something to do with these guys:

That’s right. WBD wanted the HBO moniker gone because they want to attract that elusive sub-group that all media craves…


Indeed, there was a surprising amount of emphasis on Kids & Family entertainment at the presser, more than most people were expecting. It seems that the higher-ups at WBD believe (or pretend to believe) that the HBO name was driving away general family audiences, and that people don’t associate the HBO brand with family entertainment, but rather with niche, provocative adult entertainment, and they’re really hoping to change that.

“Why is everybody always pickin’ on me?”

We find it kind of interesting that these folks are convinced that nobody associates HBO with family entertainment, when in fact, while it’s never been what they mainly specialized in, family entertainment has been part of HBO since it was launched.

History lesson, kids: do you know what HBO’s first original scripted series was? It wasn’t The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Westworld, Insecure, Boardwalk Empire or Deadwood.

It was Fraggle Rock.

Our first ever exposure to the United Kingdom TV show Dr. Snuggles was on HBO.

Go ahead and look him up. We’ll wait.

The Water Babies. The Island of Neverwas. Allison and the Magic Bubble. The Adventures of Professor Beethoven. Peter No-Tail. The Elmchanted Forest. The Mouse and His Child. The “Buy Me That!” specials. These were all family movies and specials that we saw on HBO as kids.

And never mind that HBO is the current home of Sesame Street.

Yes, this airs on the same network that airs Euphoria. Believe it or not.

And also, HBO has a sister channel called HBO Family that’s been running since 1996. It’s currently only airing in Asia, but still…

Purty colors!

Incidentally, if the idea is to attract more families to the platform, then WBD could have named the service HBO Family. It’s not the greatest name, but it’s better than just plain Max.

What I don’t get is why WBD never thought about naming its streaming service after the Warner Bros. studio.

The studio’s name is known all over the world. Everyone instantly recognizes its iconic shield logo, so why not name the service Warner Max or WB Max? Heck, even if they just called it WB+ or Warner+, that would be lazy (since everyone is doing the plus thing after the name), but viewers would instantly know whose service it was.

Maybe the HBO name might have contributed the family entertainment getting the least amount of clicks on HBO Max, but I would argue that their almost never bothering to advertise or promote their family fare didn’t help either. Since HBO Max’s launch, I can recall seeing one ad for Jellystone! and one for Looney Tunes Cartoons and that was it. People aren’t going to flock to something when they don’t know it’s there.

Compare this to Disney+, who never lets you forget the stuff they have, because they promote them to death. You never have trouble remembering that Disney owns Marvel and Star Wars ’cause they remind you constantly; they even have Star Wars and Marvel characters walking around the Disney parks. You always remember what Disney does since they plaster the Disney name in front of everything and remind you all the time.

“Want your car to glide like the Millennium Falcon (which we own) and look fancy like Cinderella’s coach (which is on Blu-Ray now)? Then don’t forget to use Mickey Mouse brand wax and motor oil! Just $20 off if you’re subscribed to Disney Plus! You can pay in Disney Fun Dollars, and remember what your pal Mickey says, ‘There’s no refunds!’ Ha-ha!”

This does seem to check out; it syncs up with the words of current president of Cartoon Network, Michael Ouweleen…

The man co-created Harvey Birdman. He’s cool with us.

…who in an interview around late January/early February stated that he and WBD were planning to shift CN to being a more “general, all ages” animation channel.

Now, this sounds promising, but given WBD’s shenanigans as of late…

I don’t have to remind you good people what a dumpster fire 2022 was for animation…

…You’ll understand if we’re just a tad skeptical. Seeing is believing.

D: If WBD’s claims actually do bear fruit, I personally hope that these plans result in more general TV Y or TV Y7 shows on Max and Cartoon Network. The gap between the ranges of CN’s programming as of late has been really noticeably wide; shows are either for Cartoonito…

“Let’s all count to 1! Yaaay!”

Or [adult swim]…

“Dude, I just ate an entire plate full of pot brownies and now I got the munchies like a mofo!” “Cool. Let’s fly to Singapore for no reason.”

And that’s it.

A middle ground exists and that’s a market just waiting to be tapped.

I really hope WBD can/will pull this off. It’s why Cartoon Network was always my favorite of the Big Three kids’ animation networks: it always seemed to cater to that sweet spot for people like me who don’t exactly flock to shows made for toddlers but aren’t really attracted to gratuitously gross, overly sexual, stoneriffic hipster adult cartoons either. There should be a place for us gray animation fans.

“Ooh! They’re stripping down to their no-no’s!” “Hon, the kids are asleep. You can use the actual words.”

J: I’m going to add to this; I hope that this “new way” for Cartoon Network will not only lead to more general audience programming on the channel, but also that we’ll get more bright, colorful, upbeat, funny cartoons on CN instead of the mopey, depressing, emo, edge lord-y stuff that we’ve been getting as of late. Somewhere down the line, these hot new creators and producers seem to have forgotten that cartoons are first and foremost meant to be FUN!

Make Cartoons Fun Again!

-If you want to get into our good graces, WBD, bringing back the shows that you yanked off the platform last year would definitely be a step in the right direction.

C’mon, we’re paying you close to $17.00 a month; the least you can do is let us watch Uncle Grandpa on there again.

On a final note, we think it’s interesting that, in order to attract more families to their streaming service, WBD dropped the the HBO handle, as they feel that name has become synonymous with adult entertainment, but kept the Max name; coincidentally their service shares that part of the name with another pay-TV channel, Cinemax…

…Which actually DOES specialize in adult entertainment.

“Eh, didn’t really tink ‘dis through, did ya, Doc?”

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.

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.


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…