Thursday, May 23, 2013

Obsessing About It: The Rise Of New Animation

Last time we talked about animated show, I made the point that the one that's supposed to be adult-oriented seems to be in decay; I explained some reasons about the phenomenon...but now, it's time to deal with the other half of the issue.

Are children cartoons in the dawn of a new golden age?

Hold your horses Mabel...

I'm what you could call a "90's kid"; I remember watching Animaniacs, Batman The Animated Series, Tiny Toons and Pepper Ann; from time to time, I still have the chance to watch some of those shows again on a re-run or on the Internet to put at test how much of my love for such animated shows is nostalgia and how much is because they're truly quality entrainment. To my surprise, cartoons like the ones I mentioned before truly have passed the test of time.

 Even if sometimes, their references are so 90's it hurts...NOT! (If you were a 90's kid, you probably
understand where that came from)

Not all series are that fortunate: for each series with a good quality control system, there were others that it's better not to remember and let them rest in the peace of Internet anonymity

Who am I kidding? There's no such thing...besides, that series sucked.

However, many of my generation peers are not afraid to claim that there was nothing like the old Cartoon Network, the old Nickelodeon, the old Disney Channel, and how much better the 90's shows are than the ones we have today. While it is true that there's a lot of crap nowadays...

Seriously, who watches that shit?

...there are plenty of shows that, to be fair, I wouldn't be afraid to call not only good, but actually superior that what we had back in the day. Not always tough, but...G'd dammit, sometimes I am very surprised by how sophisticated modern kids cartoons can get, I mean never thought the story of a cursed human and a half-demon, half-vampire girl could touch my heart...

I'm not crying! YOU ARE CRYING! T.T

If we see the premises and plots of modern cartoons...well, yeah, they're crazy. Of course, being this the world of animation, isn't strange to see shows with crackpot insane stories and concepts, but even taking that in count, modern animation can turn really weird, really fast, even by standards of the medium.

Yeah, yeah: a bluejay, a raccoon, the son/daugther of Frankstein and a ghost just hanging around...

But unlike adult shows, those samples of weirdness seems to lead to something: there is an attempt to build a plot, character development, a tone; in all their craziness, they make sense by the rules of their internal worlds. It seems to work with no problem.


Because some simple truth; so simple, it's hard to not ignore it from time to time, distracted by other factors. Which is that simple truth?

The writers and the authors take their shows seriously, with a very personal vision of what they want to produce.

Now, I'm not saying that authors from previous years didn't take their job as seriously as they should; animation is famous for having very passionate people, struggling to make their works famous and well-known, sometimes betting against all odds and all predictions of failure.

Yep, this has been the story of the medium for a long time

But I'm talking about something slighty different: the rise of what I like to call, the "auteur animated series". Of course, by its own nature, having a single person writing a TV show, animated or not, it's pretty much impossible, but that doesn't mean it can have the personal creative vision of the creator. Nowadays, that seems to be, if now the "standard", at least studios are more open to give freedom.

Because let's be honest, when I heard about "Gravity Falls", I just couldn't believe that show was on freakin' Disney Channel. Is not that there's no child-friendly content in the show, it is's hard to think what executive greenlighted something like this.

By the channel who brought you "A Dog With a Blog"...

While names like Alex Hirsch, Pendleton Ward, Lauren Faust, Brian Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino and Dan Mandel aren't exactly mainstream (let's be honest here: outside of Disney, and probably someone like Chuck Jones or Tex Avery, no names from animation make its way to the memory of the general audiences), they are surely more famous and well-respected among animation fans than, let's say, Seth McFarlane. Add to this recipe executives that, while still tied to commercial principles (that's just not going to change ever), seem to be at least more savvy with the fans, and understand that taking one risk or two doesn't harm their products. In any case, just improves its image.

There are things they're still not ready for, though

It's hard to tell if this is the dawn of a real new Golden Age for the medium, or, if that's the case, how long it's gonna last (sine unfortunely, whether we like it or not, all things, as good as they are, must come to an end), but at least I can tell you that while I do recognize the 90's cartoons and I understand the spirit of the nostalgia, the idea that the shows from that era were superior to what you can see today is completely bullshit, made by people who just doesn't seems to watch a lot of modern animated shows.

In any case, animation fans of all decades should be united against bigger enemies, like this one (because if you think the live action series CN and Disney Channel are crap, you should take a look south of the border).

If you have laughed at this show, you may be a retarded!

Shalom comrades.

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