This is an addendum to Pets Over Ponies, an article I did back in January 2013. As is the new custom for Reviews on the Run, I’m gonna keep this short and sweet (OK, short).
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.
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Stick The Hub with a fork, ’cause it’s done.
- Over-Reliance on Nostalgia, and
- Over-Reliance on Ponies and Pets.
This spot immediately got under my craw from the very first time I saw it, but I couldn’t figure out why it bugged me so much. I don’t fault Rob Paulsen and Jess Harnell for doing it, those guys are awesome and they’ve still got it, but something about this just left a burr under my saddle. Then, in the wake of recent events, it hit me: The Hub shouldn’t have been kissing up to Animaniacs (and later Tiny Toons) like this, touting them as their latest and greatest stars and having the stars of their other shows shining the Warners’ collective asses, because A! is 1) old and 2) over. If A! was being revived on The Hub and these were new, never before seen episodes, then the network could rightfully make a spot like this, since then they’d have something legitimate to brag about, but these were same old repeats which have previously aired on numerous other cable networks and currently are on DVD. A! and TTA simply didn’t deserve this level of hype, especially not over their original programs. The spot just came off as a thinly veiled attempt by Hasbro to expand their Brony audience and attract more older viewers. There’s nothing wrong with lightly sprinkling some older nostalgic favorites around the schedule here and there, but too much nostalgia is just overkill, and it does very little to attract and gain viewers. A! and TTA went on to receive as much as 5 airings in a day, only for the nostalgia balloon to burst and for them to go back to just a single airing a day, which they should have been doing all along. To put it simply, nostalgia just doesn’t work when it’s overused. A network can’t, and shouldn’t rely solely on the classics to get by. Older acquisitions should be lightly peppered around non-peak viewing hours to fill those little gaps in the schedule; you don’t treat an older canceled acquisition like the Next Big Thing and the network’s savior. The notion that canceled reruns of A! would or could become The Hub’s next Brony phenomenon was quite frankly, stupid of The Hub. When Cartoon Network would occasionally bring back an older show, it will just air during the day for a little while and then disappear when something newer is available to air, and Nick doesn’t even bother digging up older shows for their main network since they have offshoot channels like TeeNick and Nicktoons for that. A show like A! is OK to show for a little while, but it should have only been treated as filler, not embraced by the network as the Holy Grail.
Well, folks. It looks like we at Twinsanity have been dealt another blow. The latest news is that at the San Diego Comic Con, the Aquabats revealed that The Hub has cancelled The Aquabats! Super Show!.
What do we think of this?
“I pity this channel! I don’t hate the channel, but i pity it!”
It’s time for another installment of The Couch. Today we look at one of the first shows to air on The Hub, the science themed animated sci-fi comedy Cosmic Quantum Ray.
- Quantum Ray himself is the leader of Team Quantum, but in truth he’s captain of the team in the same manner that Arthur “Big Guy” Carlson was in charge of the radio station on WKRP in Cincinnati. Ray is a big muscular man-child of a superhero, sort of a cross between The Tick and SpongeBob Squarepants. (The latter comparison in particularly ironic, since Ray was also voiced by Tom Kenny). Ray was a cosmic being from the 9th Dimension. He is brave, determined and occasionally clever, though he sometimes comes off as a bit “flaky” or “weird” – but he’s just thinking “differently” than we 3-dimensional creatures, as his mind occupies 6 additional dimensions. He possessed a uniquely bizarre but still kind of kick-ass super power set: As a being from the 9th dimension, not all of Ray’s body can be seen – his elbows, knees and midriff are all in “higher” dimensions (we can’t see them, but Ray can). Ray’s body parts can also be detached at times when called for; he is held together by a cosmic essence of unknown origin that only Ray or other higher dimensional beings can see. As a 9th dimensional man, Ray can also see celestial objects and scientific phenomena that 3-dimensional beings cannot, like P-branes and tesseracts. Ray was also super-strong, able to fly and he could also control and change his atoms into any inorganic material he wants: he can turn to titanium, diamond, rubber, brick, iron, gold, and silver – anything he needs to get the “hero job” done. As a higher dimensional being, Quantum Ray sometimes forgets that not everyone occupies several planes of time, space and reality simultaneously, not everybody’s appendages are modular, and that most people have to obey the basic laws of physics. He referred to Robbie as his “young sidekick” and his tagline was “Halt! In the name of Natural Law!”
- Atee and Geecee are a pair of super-cute pint-sized, green-skinned, pointy-eared, hovering teenage twin alien honeys from the planet Tooferwun –a planet where everyone is a twin (and you used to wonder where we came from) therefore they count as a single member of Team Quantum. Identical in appearance, the only way to tell them apart was by their costumes and demeanor: Atee, who wore a pink costume, was sweet-voiced and dainty, whereas Geecee, who wore a baby blue costume, was gravelly voiced and scrappy. The twins were the lead-footed pilots of the ship, knowing only 2 speeds: fast and faster. They were also lazy, declining to perform any other duties with their line, “We’re pilots. We don’t do (whatever additional task they were asked to perform).” In addition to the ability to hover and fly (the twins are seen floating more often than walking), the twins have a superpower that only works when they combine their bodies together to form “Double Helix” – a large band of super-strong, super-elastic DNA that can catch, launch or catapult villains, dangerous objects (like out of control meteorites) – or even their fellow teammates. The twins generate their “Double Helix” ability through the soles of their feet as a sort of contrail, and they control the helixes by flying around. The twins’ “Double Helix” power is activated when they touch each other and speak the phrase, “Two for one, we’re double fun! We’re Double Helix!” (It was unclear if this phrase was necessary or just a habit of theirs. Physical contact, however, is required. If the two are out of reach of each other, they are unable to activate their power.) Their one weakness is separation. They are “connected” on a quantum level…should they be separated they would be powerless. And if they are separated for a very long period of time… they could cease to exist as we know them (but being quantum, we’re not quite sure what they would become). Being teenagers, Atee and Geecee seemed to have a mild crush on Robbie, they were definitely ga-ga over his hair, as they tried to touch it, snip it or sample it in just about every episode. Their names didn’t just sound science fiction-y, they were also a reference to the components of a DNA molecule: Adenine Thymine (Atee) and Guanine Cytosine (Geecee).
- Bucketworth was a bronze plated sentient robot and the brains of the team. Luminously intelligent, educated and refined, he was designed with a mustache, bow tie and a monocle from which he could project holographic images. Bucketworth acted as the sarcastic Mr. Spock to Ray’s clueless captain Kirk. While he possessed no super powers (beyond being a self-aware robot) he possessed a genius level IQ, and could invent handy devices and impeccable strategies to win the day. Bucketworth also delivered the science lessons at the conclusion of each episode. Ever the refined gentleman, he always referred to Robbie as ‘Robert’ and Ray as ‘Raymond’.
- Robbie Shipton himself acted as Ray’s protege and the show’s audience avatar. He had no super powers, but provided common sense and oasis of calm within the group. While in ‘space hero’ mode, Robbie’s outfit switched to a snazzy navy blue and gold space suit with pointed shoulder blades and his glasses would mysteriously disappear.