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KF Animation Editor
Location: Tasmania
Birthday: August 27
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TV Series (156)
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animated series Dragons: Riders of Berk © Dreamworks / Cartoon Network
Dragons: Riders of Berk
Rated it: 4
posted: Dec 13, 2014
"Why is he ranking the TV series higher than the movie?", I hear myself ask.

Well, first off, I think I may have been a bit harsh on the movie, and I will revisit it when it comes on TV next, which ought to be within about three days. Secondly, and more importantly, I ranked the movie against other movies, whereas I ranked the series against other TV series. Basically I think the TV series is better versus other TV series than the movie was versus other movies

'Berk', as I like to call it, is so way above average it's silly. It looks great, the voice acting is good, the stories are good, there really is nothing to fault. Though it's not close to my all time favourite series, I can't think of any reason to not give it the highest grade.

There is a slight problem, which isn't the series fault: the second movie changes things so much that the series obviously becomes situated in its concept, between the first and second film. it doesn't make sense after you've watched HTTYD2, and therefore the series seems doomed. Kids will have grown up digging this show, and will be left lamenting the obvious demise of their beloved show in the wake of the second movie - though there' s no reason a new, updated series couldn't be produced, I suppose. It just seems a bit short-sighted of the franchise owners to torpedo the TV version like this.

It is, though, probably in a fairly unique situation, in that a franchise doesn't usually migrate to TV til the cinematic run is over.

But such concerns can only curtail, not detract from this series, which is really a terrific piece of TV, with loveable characters, and damn near everything going right. Good writing, pacing, characterisations, everything.


animated series Crusader Rabbit © Jay Ward Productions / Creston Studios / TV Spots / Television Art
Crusader Rabbit
Rated it: 4
posted: Apr 17, 2013
Oh, Lord - I did the profile for this, God knows how many years ago, and never wrote a review? I must have been busy.

This was the first animated TV show, folks. Nevermind 'Flintstones'; this pre-dated it by well over a decade. It first aired in 1949-50. It is THE piece of TV animation history.

So what? It was first, but was it any good?

Oh, yes.

I don't know why, but I remember this from my early childhood. I don't know why, because it was made more than twenty years before I could have seen it, but that b/w rabbit on his white horse is punched into my mind like Apollo 13.

In the very first episode CR rescues Rags the Tiger from (I think) a circus, and they become the classic lead/sidekick combunation. The eps were serial shorts, not standalone shorts. In this way they resembled cinema serial shorts like Rin Tin Tin.

Crusader Rabbit differs from the early HB TV animation in that its legacy is so obviously Tex Avery and WB. The show is aimed at adults; the gags are really funny, even today, without being offensive in any way. It's adult, funny and cute. That's a combination very rarely acheived in any medium.

The animation in the early eps (oddly I have no memory of the later colour eps) is sometimes non-existant. Often it just looks like storyboards, with some animation chucked in now and again. Somehow this doesn't matter at all. And after all, it looks good alongside godawful rubbish like those Marvel TV series from 25+ years later.

CC and Rags - what a fantastic, loveable, hilarious pair. Is this on DVD?

This is the business.


animated series Adventure Time with Finn and Jake © Cartoon Network / Frederator Incorporated
Adventure Time with Finn and Jake
Rated it: 4
posted: Sep 08, 2011
EDIT: after five seasons. No change.

Jake: "Let's never be stupid again."
Finn: "Wait! Let's always be stupid - forever!"

Occaisionally I encounter something so unique it leaves me stuck for words. I struggled, and the result is this. Fortunately I've had a year and a half to think about it.

I usually start a review by thinking 'what reference can I use which the reader will understand?' 'Adventure Time' has almost none, but I'll try. Imagine something like the sort of surreal sense of humour vaguely similar to 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force', or Monty Python, then imagine it stripped of any profanity or sexual references. Imagine you can play it to an 8 year-old with no qualms. In fact many of the reviews on imdb come from adults who became addicted to this show when they accidentally caught it when their 8 year-old was watching it in the afternoon (Incidentally, at the time of writing, this show has an average ranking of 9.3 on imdb, from a bit under 1500 ratings.) Adults who catch this thing are using expressions like the 'best thing on television'. And this is roughly how it happened to me.

About 18 months ago ago I had afternoon tv on in the background while I was doing something else, and 'Adventure Time' came on. Within minutes I was laughing so hard I was in pain. I could barely breathe. I watched every episode I could manage after that, but sadly I caught it close to the end of its free-to-air run in Tasmania. I went to Youtube and managed to see quite a few more episodes. Unfortunately, since then Cartoon Network went nuts and managed to remove any Youtube clips longer than 60 seconds. There is a Cartoon Network homepage with complete episodes, but when I log in I get 'Sorry... episodes only available in USA'. Great. WHY I have no idea, but never mind AND THIS IS AN UPDATE 1/1/12 - the first DVD is now available, in Australia as well as the USA. I've just been laughing my arse off at it, and I know there are better episodes as yet unreleased.

Ok, I guess I've been avoiding trying to describe the show. Well the main characters are Finn (a 12 or 13 year old boy) and Jake, his best friend; a 28 year-old dog who can change size, shape and grow ridiculously long legs and is voiced by John DiMaggio (Bender from 'Futurama'). They live in the land of Ooo. Finn uses 80's jargon, particularly words like 'righteous', but also new versions of same, like 'Algerbraic!'.

The two pals live in (apparently) a post-apocalyptic world which resembles nothing so much as a Dungeons and Dragons as invented by Salvador Dali. There are many hilarious recurring characters such as The Ice King, who is obsessed with kidnapping Princesses, Lumpy Space Princess (so called because she is the Princess of lumpy space), Princess Bubblegum and (my favourite character) her companion Lady Rainicorn, who is a cross between a unicorn and a rainbow and who only speaks Korean (Jake is in love with her, and they both play viola), and Marceline the Vampire Queen (a 1,000 year old guitar playing teenage Goth).

Trying to sum up a typical episode of this show is nearly impossible. Maybe the Cartoon Network site will work for Americans, and you can see for yourself. Otherwise, as an example:

'Finn must travel to Lumpy Space to find a cure that will save Jake, who was accidentally bitten by Lumpy Space Princess at Princess Bubblegum's marshmallow tea party. '

The pace of events is rapid. Unexpected, surreal scenes pop up; sometimes crazy diversions might take only a few moments or seconds. All this in a multiverse which is like a cross between 'Alice in Wonderland', 'Lord of the Rings' and Monty Python at its most surreal.

Maybe most significantly, though most of the shows' fanatics are adults, it's marketed as a kids' show, and when Finn is determined to be 'righteous', he really means it - not in the 80's sense, but in the traditional dictionary sense.

Whatever you do, don't watch the interview with creator Pendelton Ward. It's the opposite of the show in that it's amazingly boring. How could someone like this have created something like that? It's like if Margaret Thatcher created 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'.

This is one of a kind. I love it.


short film The Black Dog © Channel 4 (UK) / The Black Dog Ltd
The Black Dog
Rated it: 4
posted: Aug 22, 2011
I think this is a first. I don't think I've used the phrases 'Masterpiece' and used 4 stars three times in two weeks before - but this 20 minute short film is simply sublime.
I've only watched the Spanish version, but that's irrelevant, since there's do dialog; just scene titles.

The 'black dog', as most of us would know, is an anglo synonym for depression, and this is how the film opens: a black dog (who really looks like a cross between a wolf and Anubis from Egyptian/Stargate mythology) sitting on a depressed teenage girls' bed.

But ultimately this is not really about depression - at least not SIMPLY about it. It's as much a rejection of materialism and consumerism, as the dog leads her through numerous scenes where affluence and poverty, happiness and misery are juxstaposed and linked. The message seems to be (in part) that money won't make you happy, and that you should look deeper for the roots of sadness - maybe egotism or materialism or lack of real social contact.

And I can't close without saying

a) if you'd shown me this and said it was an unknown short by Yuri Norstein, I'd have believed you without a doubt. Norstein's ('Tale of Tales', 'Fox and Hare', 'Hedgehog in the Fog') signature is scrawled all over this film.

b) what a cool dog.

Stop making me say 'masterpiece'. I'm more comfortable as Jay Sherman.

The version I watched, BTW, is currently on youtube at

vale Alison De Vere.


This is a masterpiece.

I don't fling that word around wantonly. It is also jaw-dropping. I guess I use that phrase with similar reserve. Later in the review I will provide a link from which you may watch the whole thing in brilliant HD stereo. But for now...

Imagine a cross between The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Steamboy, Charle's Darwins' diary, Jules Verne, Edgar Allen Poe, Dr Moreau, a Sci-fi epic, and God knows what else.

By my estimation something comes along about once every 3 or 4 years which just hits you in the guts and leaves you in a sense of wonder and awe. The previous two I can think of were 'The Triplettes of Belleville' and 'Mary and Max'. Here's another. Significantly, none of them are American and (perhaps coincidentally) two are Australian.

Jasper Morello is the navigator on a victorion sort of iron dirigable, on a mission to save his land (and wife) from a deadly plague. I won't go too far into the plot, because having watched it twice I still don't feel qualified to explain it. Moreover, the thing is drenched in its sheerly stunning visuals. I swear you have seen nothing like this, and largely it was financed by a minor Australian TV station, SBS, who have a 6 market share (same station created 'Wilfred', which you may be familiar with the American version of).

The main characters only appear in silhouette, ala 'Achmed'. Behind and amongst them we have sepia (and later) blueish and then arctic backgrounds, elaborate Victorian machinery, and futurustic 19th century airships.

I've just watched this three times, and am still coming to terms with it. If it has any fault it is that the visuals are so astonshingly audacious that one may tend to forget the characters. So watch it over and again, because you will eventally get it. I wish it had been a feature length film with more room to breathe, but indy films only have so much money.

Now here is the URL for a youtube copy which is in glorious HD widescreen and wonderful stereo. PLEASE watch it and review it.

If you're in Australia or can view region 4 DVD, please buy it.

Thank God for things like this. I'm in awe.


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