Dec 9, 2010

[TV] First Look At Two New Cartoons

Instead of a full review of yet another TV season that I've managed to watch with my partner, I thought it might be interesting to talk about two new cartoon premieres that came out recently. Besides, if I don't write this piece, then I won't be able to talk about them until their first seasons are officially over. And that will be sometime in 2011.

Cartoons still get me excited - it's a geek thing I suppose. As for these two, well, there's definitely promise on both counts.

Young Justice PosterFirst up is the latest offering from DC Entertainment as released on Cartoon Network. While there is a similar comic book series of the same name, this is not a direct adaptation of that. The only clear connection is the fact that the cartoon still involves younger heroes that we typically know to be "sidekicks" or whatever you want to call them.

I think the biggest change that somewhat bothers a lot of fans (and casual viewers like myself) is the fact that (1) they have Aqualad as the leader of the team and (2) it's a completely new version of Aqualad specifically created for the show. The new Aqualad seems to satisfy both ethnic diversity requirements (he's the token black kid in the show) and the pseudo coolness factor as evidenced by his Tron-like tattoos that need to light up when he manipulates water like Mera did in the comics. Do I like him? I'm not entirely sold but you can't tell much from only the first two episodes. Best to wait for the rest of the series to get a better idea.

At the very least, it's a very fun show and it does have a lot of promise. The team dynamic seems decent enough and the whole premise of it being set in the earlier days of the DC Universe (as the producers claim), then it just might work, Aqualad aside.

Transformers Prime Poster

The second one is the 5-part premiere of the latest incarnation of the Transformers. I never really got into Transformers Animated since it felt way too child-focused in terms of its targeting. Plus I couldn't get over the fact that they made a cartoon derived from the Michael Bay continuity of Transformers. This new series, Transformers Prime, still exists in that Michael Bay version of the Transformers reality, but at the same time it involves a darker storyline, a lot fewer Transformers with names and characters actually dying.

Yes, I said DYING. Sorry, I guess that's sort of a spoiler right there.

The show is taking a while to grow on me, even after five episodes. It still has the element of annoying kids and the CGI animators gave the characters annoyingly animated mouths. The Decepticons now have a near infinite number of drone robots, Megatron has something silly called "Dark Energon" and the opening plot feels like a silly rehash of DC's Blackest Night event. Oh yes, Transformers rising from the dead.

Still, it's nice to have a more mature version of the Transformers on the airwaves again. And I'm a bit of a sucker for CGI animation, although the quality of the broadcast on The Hub, Hasbro's joint venture with Discovery Communications, is rather lackluster. I suppose it's more because they aren't typically available in HD just yet so we just have to deal with this for now.

In conclusion, both shows are interesting things for fans to get into. You like DC Comics? Try out Young Justice. You like Transformers? Give Transformers Prime a shot. You just like watching action cartoons? Then you may still be better off with Young Justice. The jury's still out on Transformers Prime - at least from my perspective.
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