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.

One Thing I Don’t Like about “Jellystone!”

I don’t like this show’s take on The Banana Splits. I, like many, I presume, was initially stoked when I found out that The Banana Splits were going to be characters on Jellystone!, but unfortunately, their portrayal here leaves something to be desired.

Fleagle doesn’t have his signature lisp. Drooper doesn’t speak with his signature southern drawl (which was based on that of Monkee’s member Mike Nesmith, btw). And most importantly, The Banana Splits are NOT villains! The Jellystone! characters neither sound nor act anything like the Banana Splits that we know and love. These are just 4 guys who look like The Banana Splits.

These are the real Banana Splits; goofy, fun-loving musicians who sing, dance, tell corny jokes and fall down a lot. That’s how the Splits should have been portrayed on Jellystone. The portrayal of the Splits is one of the few blemishes on an otherwise OK show.

And why would C.H. Greenblatt and his team make The Banana Splits antagonists on a Hanna-Barbera love letter series when Dick Dastardly and Muttley are right there?

Looks like I’ll have to wait a little longer for the triumphant return of the Ant Hill Mob.

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.

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“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!

 

Peeks: First Impressions of ‘Looney Tunes Cartoons’ and ‘Jellystone!’

Not too long ago HBO/AT&T/Time-Warner announced the impending arrival of the media’s umpeeth streaming service, HBO Max, set to launch in May 2020.

hbo-max-header-720x720

HBO…to the Max!

In a press release, they listed what we can expect to see on the service: some movies, some shows, some classic movies, Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Sesame Street, etc., etc. My reaction:

Spongebob Meh

OK. Cool. Whatever.

…Then they announced that they’d be showing the new Looney Tunes Cartoons shorts and a new animated series built around the Hanna-Barbera library (and not specifically Scooby-Doo or Tom & Jerry) entitled Jellystone!. My reaction:

funny cartoon eyes

“OK, NOW you’ve got my attention!”

As you may have surmised by now, on today’s Peeks we’ll be giving you our first impressions of these new shows, what we think of what (admittedly little) we know and have seen so far and what we expect (or hope) to see when these shows eventually make their debut.

LOONEY TUNES CARTOONS

looney-tunes cartoons-2

“Ehhh, what’s clickin’, Doc?”

For those who don’t know, Looney Tunes Cartoons is an American animated web television series developed by Peter Browngardt, creator of Cartoon Network’s Secret Mountain Fort Awesome and Uncle Grandpa

Uncle Grandpa

Yeah, that Peter Browngardt.

…and produced by Warner Bros. Animation, based on the characters from Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. The project made its worldwide premiere at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival on June 10, 2019. This show is the successor to New Looney Tunes, which I actually liked despite some haters nipticking about it.

This project was first announced on June 11, 2018, when Warner Bros. Animation announced that a new series, which would “consist of 1,000 minutes spread across 1–6 minute shorts”…

Looney-Tunes Cartoons 1

 

…would be released in 2019 and that it would feature “the brand’s marquee characters voiced by their current voice actors in simple gag-driven and visually vibrant stories”.

Bugs_Bunny

“Hey, Doc. I’d like to talk to ya about the Looney Tunes Cartoons Initiative.”

The style of the series is to be reminiscent to those of Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson, Bob Clampett and others. President of Warner Bros. Animation, Sam Register (creator of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi), along with Pete Browngardt  serve as executive producers for the series. The shorts will bring all of the Looney Tunes together under one roof, including more obscure members like Pete Puma, Beaky Buzzard, Hubie and Bertie, Petunia Pig and Cicero Pig.

LTC Cast

If you’ve ever wondered what characters like the Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin the Martian and Taz would’ve looked like had they been created in the ’40’s, wonder no more.

Cicero Pig? Now, that’s obscure. AFAIK, He’s never appeared outside of the comics. No mention of Lola, but I hope she shows up as well, along with Witch Hazel. A man can dream.

On June 12, 2019, a short titled “Dynamite Dance” served as a trailer for the series starring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Roll the clip!

Now I’m not normally one to gush, but what I’ve seen of these cartoons so far is simply…

Amazing GIF

 

LTC - mummydummy

I am in freaking LOVE with the designs and aesthetics of these shorts. Everything just…pops! The colors are bright. The shadows, the light, the buoyancy.  The characters are just bursting with life; they look like they could jump off the screen and starting running amok in your living room at any given moment.

Looney-Tunes-Cartoons-Art

Plus the artists captured the 40’s look and feel perfectly. If these cartoons didn’t look so shiny and new, I’d swear that they were actual classic shorts that got lost in the vault somewhere. If Wabbit/New Looney Tunes had looked like these shorts (though I know  the amount of money required to produce animation of this quality for a weekly TV series would’ve bankrupted a Saudi Arabian king) the show would’ve had far fewer detractors.

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And fans rejoice! The mayhem is back! Bombs! Anvils! Props! Squash-and-stretch physics! Solving problems with dynamite! WB listened to fans complaining about the absence of good old-fashioned cartoon chaos from The Looney Tunes Show and brought it back in spades. We wanted the slapstick back, and now we’ve got it. And the skies are ripe with love.

LooneyTunesCartoonsFeature-min-1

Plus it looks like we’ll be getting some classic WB team-ups, like Bugs and Elmer (a combo that was curiously lacking on The Looney Tunes Show and Wabbit/New Looney Tunes)…

LTC - Curseofthemonkeybirdscreen

…And Porky & Daffy. Cool, I’m definitely on board. But you know what we’re really happy to see? The triumphant return of this guy:

LTC - Crazy Daffy

“Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo!”

Remember this toon? The “crazy darn fool duck”? The black-feathered nut case who’s so crazy, he just doesn’t give a darn? Well, he has returned! The re-appearance of manic Daffy Duck on New Looney Tunes was not, repeat, NOT a fluke. This series already sold me the second I saw this:

 

LTC Daffy

YES!! My guy is back! We’ve elaborated on this here before, so I’ll keep it brief, but I can’t begin to say how happy I am to see that WB isn’t finished with OG insane Daffy Duck. I’ve had to endure the jealous, selfish, greedy jerk version of this character for soooo long that I was beginning to lose hope of ever seeing screwloose Daffy again, but he’s still here, and I hope he stays around for a loooong while, perhaps permanently.

LTC - Wetcementscreen

No offense to Chuck Jones, but I’ve always preferred nut-job Daffy to his take. Just keeping it 100.

Now I’m OK with the classic pairings, but one thing (among others, I thought) that New Looney Tunes got very right was that they weren’t afraid to mix things up, pair off characters who didn’t usually interact much, if at all, like Foghorn and Taz or Elmer and Porky or Tweety and Sylvester with Speedy Gonzales, Gabby Goat, Pet Puma, Marc Antony and Claude Cat (seriously, somebody at Warner Bros. remembered the character of Claude Cat!). I hope the producers of these shorts don’t shy away from mixing up the character combinations; that keeps things fresh and interesting. Also don’t be afraid to put new spins on established characters like how NLT gave the bland character of Sniffles a shot in the arm by giving him a vigilante alter ego in the form of Dark Bat:

And I may be alone with this, but I also hope we haven’t seen the last of some of the new characters created for Wabbit/NLT, such as Squeaks the Squirrel…

SqueaksSquirrel

You’re free to disagree, but I thought Squeaks made a decent sidekick for Bugs; aside from team-ups or crossovers, Bugs is usually alone, so a character like Squeaks is good because he gives Bugs someone to bounce lines off of and have his back when he inevitably starts cooking up some deviltry.

I also wouldn’t mind seeing other NLT characters like Leslie P. Lilylegs, King Thes and Rhoda Roundhouse.

Bigfoot_wabbit

Just not Bigfoot. Sorry, but I found him to be irritatingly moronic and annoying. I personally don’t need to see him come back, and I take back the ‘sorry’ part.

-So yeah, I’m definitely digging what I’ve seen of Looney Tunes Cartoons. If they can keep up the quality of what I’ve seen of these cartoons so far as well as implement the stuff I mentioned above…

Happy Camper

…I’m gonna be a happy camper. Now, onto the other HBO Max cartoon that got us curious.

JELLYSTONE!

Jellystone! is an upcoming animated series for streaming service HBO Max, which is set to launch in May 2020. The series is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. C.H. Greenblatt, known for  the series Chowder and Harvey Beaks, and Sam Register will both serve as executive producers.

The series will star many Hanna-Barbera characters, similar to shows like Yogi’s Gang and Laff-a-Lympics, living life in the town of Jellystone. While many living in the town work and play and get along together, there is always gonna be trouble happening for one another.

-OK, that could be cool. Sounds like it could be fun. The idea of a plethora of Hanna-Barbera stars taking up residence in a single area reminds me of Marvels’ Super Hero Squad Show, but with H-B characters. I’m down with the concept, and C. H. Greenblatt can be funny when he has a good concept, so sure. Let’s have a look at this cartoon.

jellystone

Creeped_Out_emoticon_emoji_face-512

“Gah? Ahhh! AAAAAHHHHH! It Burns! It burns so badly!!”

I know I give some folks a hard time for pre-judging a show just by a few images, but these initial designs are AWFUL. To their credit, you can still easily tell who the characters are supposed to be, but these designs look hideously amateurish to be used on a show put out by a major studio for a multi-million dollar streaming service. They look like a 6-year-old child drew these characters with their crayons, and I’ve seen more talented 6-year-old children. I really hope that these are just first drafts and the designs get more refined, polished and improved upon by the time the show make its’ debut.

Not only are these designs super-crude looking, but the characters look so…stupid. As in low-IQ individuals. Seriously, why do they look so derpy? Most of them have these dopey expressions plastered on their faces, making them look like they’d have trouble walking around a tree. Top Cat looks freaking stoned, like he got trapped in a warehouse full of marijuana and had to smoke his way to freedom.

Look at this image of Yogi:

Jellystone Yogi

Yogi Bear has never had a Charles Atlas physique, but he’s never been this round and fat. He looks less like a bear and more like an anthropomorphic meatball with a head, arms and legs.

And how about this screen cap of Magilla Gorilla?

Jellystone Magilla

OK, points for including him. ’cause he’s always been kind of an obscure H-B character, but again, that face: derp-derp. Same deal with Mildew Wolf here:

Jellystone Mildew

OK, this one doesn’t look too bad, but then we come to pics like this one:

Jellystone!_poster.PNG

Gah! There it is again! That whole ‘derp-derp’ thing I mentioned earlier. Look, I’m really trying not to pre-judge this show too harshly, since I do like the idea behind it and I haven’t seen the characters put through the processes of animation nor have I seen any backgrounds, but some of these renderings are ugly with a capital UGH. In addition to many of them looking so moronic that they should be wearing T-shirts reading ‘I’D RATHER BE DROOLING’, there’s no heft to these characters; they all look so flat; there’s no feeling of weight to any of them. No shadows or light. Nothing. How could the same studio that produced something so awesome looking as Looney Tunes Cartoons be okay with putting out something like these cheeseball designs? The ‘classic’ H-B designs looked like Matisse paintings compared to these doodles.

And those long eyelashes on Jabberjaw? Why, just why?? Is Jabberjaw a female shark in this or what?

Speaking of females, there’s one thing we really hope gets addressed on Jellystone!: Namely, the glaring lack of female characters. I really hope Cindy Bear isn’t the only female inhabitant of Jellystone. Even if the producers have to make up a bunch of OCs, that’s preferable to Smurfette Syndrome. Jason had an idea: if you want another female character, since Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy are on this show, why not show us Augie’s mom as a character? That’s something they’ve never done before. I say why not? Disney recently did the unthinkable by making Huey, Dewey and Louie’s mom Della Duck into a character…

Della Duck

And the fans ate it up. So why not? Go for it, I say.

-Character designs aside, I am remaining cautiously optimistic for Jellystone!. If the show’s funny then that’ll make up for the less-than-stellar artwork and designs. On a final note: I noticed that one of the characters in the title card was Captain Caveman; does this mean that we could be seeing other H-B characters besides the 60’s ‘funny animal’ characters, like the Impossibles, the Chan Clan, Hong Kong Phooey, Space Ghost, the Galaxy Trio, the Teen Angels et al? That could be a hoot to see. Apart from this and the upcoming feature Scoob!

scoob-movie-2020

…Whose art, designs and animations actually look GOOD, just pointing that out…

…It seems that Warner Brothers Animation is really trying to create a Hanna Barbera Shared Universe. (And as a point of interest, Captain Caveman is supposed to appear in Scoob! as well, voiced by Tracy Morgan, of all people. OK, I want to go see this movie for that alone.) C.H. Greenblatt claims he’ll be “digging deep” for obscure characters for Jellystone!; he also says that he’ll be canonizing Yo, Yogi! in some form for this show. I’m fine with that…

Yo Yogi

Just make it absolutely nothing like its’ predecessor, and we’re good!