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KF Animation Editor
Location: Tasmania
Birthday: August 27
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Reviews by animation type
TV Series (156)
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Reviews for TV Series

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animated series Ben 10: Omniverse © Cartoon Network
Ben 10: Omniverse
Rated it: 2.5
posted: May 04, 2015
Any Ben 10 fan could tell that I'm not a Ben 10 fan - because I'm giving this fourth incarnation a better review than the first. To put this in context, I panned the original Ben 10 series, largely because I thought the animation looked about 20+ years older than it was, and was so awful that it interfered with my ability to engage with the plot. - whatever it was. Conversely, most Ben 10 fans love the original series and moan about this one 'destroying the franchise' or somesuch.

I only caught the odd episode of the two intervening series, and I only started watching Ben 10 again in its most recent incarnation. I immediately noticed several things: the animation actually looked liked 21st century TV, not 1983 something awful, and the writing had improved to the extent that several of the characters sometimes produced witty lines, several of the characters in general were rather funny (especially the intellectual hillbilly guy who just likes blowing things up with his brother, even if it's the entire universe, and metaphysics are involved to put the series back together), and there was a general storyline which I could kind of relate to.

The sidekick plays the straight man 'Spock' character nicely, and whereas I can't pretend to really, thoroughly understand what has transpired between the first series and this one, I found I could at least watch this. I'm giving it an extra half star, which will probably offend both fans and non-fans.


animated series Tales of Tatonka © Cyber Group Studios
Tales of Tatonka
Rated it: 1.5
posted: Mar 02, 2015
I admit that perhaps I'm being a little harsh on this show, and if you get the chance to see it, you should make up your own mind, but Ive deducted at least a half star for what I think is a pretty good reason. I'll get to that.

'Tatonka' is a CG French series, set in Yellowstone National park, and following, mostly, the adventures of some wolf Cubs and their friends - a Lynx, bear cub, squirrel, eagle, and sundry other animals. Each episode is introduced by Tatonka, a wise old bison who often comes to the rescue when the Cubs get into trouble, which is nearly all the time. Their parents and other adult wolves feature too, as well as coyotes.

One suspects this series was made on the cheap. The backgrounds are quite nice, but it's pretty rare to see a modern CG series which really screws up in this department. What's not so easy to look at are the fur textures of the various animals - especially the squirrel, who looks like an inflatable rubber toy. A shame because she(?) is probably the best character in the show.

Each episode ends with a real life short documentary on some aspect of wildlife in Yellowstone - rather like the real life segments at the end of eps of 'Mysterious Cities of Gold' (a French thing, perhaps). That's fine, and the segments are genuinely educational. The animated main part of each episode is usually a well paced and enjoyable enough tale, too, but almost inevitably the wolf Cubs run into trouble because they encounter the evil 'renegade' wolf pack, who are baddies because they basically behave more like real wolves, rather than frolicking around with rabbits and squirrels. Kids animation is rife with this 'carnivores are bad, m'kay?' rubbish, and that's annoying enough, but to have it monotonously wheeled out in a show which purports to be educational is plain infuriating. If this trope didn't pop up in virtually episode, the show might just be passable. I mean Kimba tried making carnivores live on insects back in the 60's, and admitted that sadly, it didn't work.


animated series Robot Chicken © ShadowMachine Films / Stoopid Monkey / Williams Street / Sony Pictures Digital
Robot Chicken
Rated it: 2
posted: Dec 19, 2014
Robot Chicken is probably the best short, sketch-based, stop-motion TV series ever made. So much for the bad news.

Created by voice actor Seth Green (Chris from 'Family guy'), RC crams lots and lots of staccato fast bits into its brief running time, so if you don't like what's on, don't worry too much; it'll be over before you have time to be seriously annoyed by it. This is definitely a saving grace. Although the percentage of really funny sketches isn't high, you're never far from one.

The style of the humour would have been a revelation for TV animation once upon a time, but Adult Swim and Williams Street in particular have been doing variations on it now for nearly 15 years. Still, how often does something come along that is breathtakingly new, and good at the same time?

Robot Chicken isn't as surreal as 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force' or even 'Frisky Dingo', but the blink-and-you've-missed-it speed of the bits (some are just three seconds long) creates a kind of non-sequitur feeling to the whole show, somewhat regardless of the actual material.

Gross-out humour and general scatology are employed, but not so relentlessly as the worst offenders in this category, where they become the whole point of the show. There's enough genuine creativity to keep this chicken's head above that low water mark, and combining the style and format with stop motion means the show will stand out in the crowd. It nearly got 2.5 stars from me.

If you want to see genuinely hilarious, surreal and fast stop-motion which doesn't need schoolboy crassness for a crutch, 'A Town Called Panic' still sets the bar. If you can find it.


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 The Looney Tunes Show © Warner Bros.
The Looney Tunes Show
Rated it: 2
posted: Oct 18, 2014
I don't think I've seen 'Loonatics Unleashed', so I have no opinion as to whether this outing is an improvement. Actually I probably wouldn't have seen this show except that they started airing 'Adventure Time' at 6PM, and my PVR started catching the end of 'The Regular Show', which airs before it - so I started recording that, and catching the end of 'Unleashed', and you get the idea...

First, I don't have a problem with the whole resetting in suburbia, and near episode length stories. Actually I think I'd have been more annoyed if they'd tried to make each episode a collection of traditional Looney Tunes shorts. As classic as many of them were, to imitate the style of 60 years ago would be moribund, and the product would instantly be tarnished by comparison with the originals. It still is rather lame, of course - just look at the army of male voice actors it took to replace Mel Blanc - and there's some A-league voice talent there, too. Needless to say, the animation is just TV quality, and more 80's than 2010's, but at least it's not CG (the later seasons seem to have lost the Roadrunner shorts and musical numbers)

It's a watchable show with no ghastly problems, though I do wonder what sort of audience it has in mind. Surely it's purely a kids show, designed to appeal to a new, young audience without major issues about the old theatrical shorts, which could be quite sophisticated. But then Daffy comes out with a word like 'Kafka-esque', and you wonder...

Another slight disappointment is the new female characters. Lola and Daffy's gf have basically no personality - or perhaps more correctly, they have normal personalities whereas everyone is a nutjob. Which raises the question, why in hell would a good-looking, well-balanced female go out with Daffy? Why would anyone share a house with him voluntarily for that matter? In this series he's basically a narcissistic sociopath.

Oh well. This series clearly didn't set the world on fire, and didn't deserve to, but it's really not worth getting bent out of shape over, either.

It's really not that bad, if you come to it without expectations.

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