Episode One-Derland (Cartoons): Dino Riders

“Promotional quotes that lend nothing to your view of the product, useless for 100 years, are back” -FiddleTwix

Plot: See Breakdown.

Breakdown: Dino Riders is a show about an alien race called the Valorians traveling through space and time to prehistoric earth. Following them are their enemies, the reptilian race, the Rulons. They use their telekinetic abilities to communicate with and befriend the dinosaurs of the land while the Rulons do the same, except using mind-control devices called brain boxes.

They outfit the dinosaurs in high-tech machinery, gadgets, lasers and missiles as they fight battle after battle in their never ending war to conquer the other.

…..Did you get that? Aliens control the minds of dinosaurs, outfit them with high-tech alien weaponry, including missiles and lasers, and battle each other.

I don’t think I need to say anything else. Everyone good? Kay. Put up the verdict card.

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Okay, for those still curious enough to keep reading, I first caught onto this show after watching one of the Nostalgia Critics commercial reviews. He was talking about one of the commercials for the Dino Riders toys which this cartoon is based off of. He was just as blown away by the concept as I was, and I couldn’t resist seeking out the cartoon. Of course this series was released in 1988, one year before I was born. Damn my inability to control what year I was born.

In all honesty, I am overplaying this series just a tad. It is awesome to see battles between raptors, pteradactyls, triceratops and even T-rexes outfitted with lasers and missiles, but I can’t deny that the foundations are kinda weak. We don’t really know why the Rulons want to destroy the Valorians so badly, they just do. The idea that pea-brained dinosaurs can be reasoned with so easily just with telepathy is a bit farfetched (but, honestly, who cares? And the alternative is mind-control hats) and it is just a flat out, 80’s brand ‘we’re two factions at war….pew pew.’

But it is still a lot of fun, and there is so much room for possibilities that, sadly, probably won’t get realized because this series somehow only lasted 14 episodes. Captain Planet gets six seasons. Dino Riders get 14 episodes. Rip. Off. I definitely would’ve been more invested in Captain Planet if they used laser equipped dinosaurs to kill polluters…..Actually…..easily befriending even the fiercest of creatures with telepathy and heart?…..Is Ma Ti a Valorian?

Not to mention we have some top-notch voice work here. Frank Welker (because he’s under contract to be in literally everything) Rob Paulson, Dan Gilvezan (Bumblebee in the 80’s Transformers series) Charlie Adler, Townsend Coleman and Peter friggin’ Cullen – Optimus Prime!

Even the animation stands up very well for being a late 80’s cheap cartoon based on a toy. And yes, I’m including both GI Joe and Transformers there.

Anyhoo, Dino Riders may be a short-lived series with a one-dimensional story…….but DINOSAURS WITH ALIEN LASER WEAPONRY IN BATTLES AGAINST REPTILE CREATURES…..COME ON!

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Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Zeke’s Pad

Plot: Zeke Palmer has a magic electric drawing pad that allows him to alter reality and create things from thin air just by drawing them.

Breakdown: It’s like Chalkzone mixed with Fairly Odd Parents only not nearly as imaginative, funny, or with as much freedom.

The end

I know, I’ve done similar bits before, but it’s true. This concept, on paper (….puns?), is a very good one that hasn’t been done to death but has been done, ala Chalkzone. But its execution here is just plain not good.

First and foremost, this is not an origin story episode. Which is….alright, because we can get the gist of the main plot from the theme song and the episode itself. Zeke has some sort of tablet (called ‘the pad’. How creative) that can create anything he draws. It seems like this ‘power’ is a secret, but I don’t really know. His best friend knows, and that’s all I got.

The origins of the pad are rushed through in the theme song and still make no sense. An electronic drawing pad was being assembled at a factory when the machine suddenly malfunctioned and caused lots of sparks and….magic? The machine threw it out, seeing it as defective, but it bounced out of the bin and out the window where Zeke caught it, somehow instantly knew its powers and how to use it and used to it get away from a dog that was chasing them…..Okie.

Next, Zeke is bland and forgettable with his only notable traits being that he’s lazy, selfish and inconsiderate. Because that’s what I want in my main character – unlikable traits.

To give you the low down, let’s go through Zeke’s actions throughout the course of the episode.

We spend well over two minutes hearing him bitch and moan and have a breakdown over having porridge for breakfast yet again. Apparently his insanely neurotic mother makes it every single day. However, this ‘joke’ has no real setup because we don’t go in knowing this and the joke runs for way too long and amounts to nothing.

After he has a minor porridge breakdown, he bitches and moans that they never have something good like pancakes for breakfast. Aw, poor baby. Your loving mother takes the time out to make you breakfast every morning and it’s not what you want. If you want pancakes, get off your ass and make them.

And he takes my advice…..by going to his room and drawing a huge pile of pancakes on the pad, which materialize before him. And by ‘huge pile’ I mean he stockpiles his room nearly to the ceiling with pancakes and he chows them all down….without syrup or butter. I know that would be messy, but without syrup or butter, you might as well be eating mattress foam.

He gets a huge gut because of this, and, continuity honored, his gut stays this way for the entirety of the episode. However, he completely fails a fitness test at school because of it. Why the hell would you draw a room full of pancakes to eat when you have a fitness test that day? Huge gut and cartoonish appetite aside, eating even a regular helping of pancakes before strenuous exercise would make me feel like garbage.

He got the worst grades on the test in school history, so he’s sent to a fitness camp to bulk up and pass. He exercises a little and gets so fed up with the whole thing that he draws a hot air balloon to escape, but drew it with a nearly empty fuel gauge and crashes…..Yeah, don’t ask me why he did that. He brings it up (“I had to draw it with a FULL fuel gauge?!”) but it still makes no sense (Why would you draw it with an empty gauge to begin with?….or a fuel gauge at all?). Anyway, he makes it home and obviously gets found out because his crazy camp counselor instantly finds he’s escaped, goes straight to his house, searches it and finds Zeke.

That was a pointless waste of time because of stupid, by the way. Of course they’d find out and call his parents. Of course they’d look for him. Of course the first place they’d look is his house. Maybe they wouldn’t practically break in and search without asking permission, but they wouldn’t just leave him be. And he knows this camp is necessary to get him a passing grade, so he should know escaping is pointless. If he were smart, he’d draw a way to make the camp or test easy as hell to pass. Hell, he has reality altering powers, just draw a test with an A grade on it.

Also, just to get this plot hole/annoyance out of the way, Zeke’s father, despite hearing that Zeke has to fitness camp to pass his test, for some reason thinks it’s ridiculous that Zeke would be a camper at a fitness camp and that him, being an artist, must be at an art camp. Even after telling him that and being found at the house, escaping from the fitness camp, Zeke exclaims later that his dad still thinks he’s at art camp…..Is his dad an idiot or is this very poorly written? I can’t tell.

Zeke recruits his best friend, Jay, in the middle of the night to help him pass his test. He claims he can’t just draw himself before he ate all those pancakes,because going back, deleting and erasing  always goes horribly wrong. We just have to take his word for it, but uh…..just draw yourself in a fit way you’ve never been. That way it’s an alteration not a redo or a deletion. It’s not that hard.

Just a note, Jay does not help him at all. Not for lack of trying or because Jay’s a bad friend, but because he has no way of helping him. Zeke has the pad and Jay could easily give him advice over the phone, but he begs him to put aside his studying for an algebra exam to help him at the camp and he, reluctantly, goes. When Zeke’s pad gets taken away by the counselor, they both sneak into his office to get it, but it’s entirely unnecessary for Jay to be there. He doesn’t do anything because there’s nothing for him to do. He does point out that Zeke is running away faster than he is and asks if he’s been working out, but bite me Zeke’s Pad. There’s no way a day and half of moderate exercise with a huge gut hanging over his pants made him fit enough for there to be any noticeable improvement.

When he gets his pad back, he thinks of the perfect solution. He draws them at Art Camp, which alters reality….somehow, to making everything an art test and art challenges, which Zeke excels at.

The only repercussions of Zeke’s selfish and lazy actions is that Ike, his older jock brother who both gave him the initial fitness test and worked as a counselor at the fitness camp, is still rough on him, they have to draw Ike in his boxers (Jay’s still at the camp because of no reason whatsoever.) and Zeke’s mom makes him pancakes when he gets home as a gift for passing his test, which, wahmp wahmp, makes Zeke freak out….Also, he’s instantly thin again when he changes the camp to an art camp…..continuity makes sense, right!?

Nothing about this episode was funny. Not a damn thing made me even want to put effort into moving my lip muscles. I’m watching a lazy inconsiderate idiot get himself into trouble, easily get out of it and get what he wants all the while bothering his friends and scarily manipulating reality and those around him. Not to mention a total lack of a lesson being learned or comeuppance for his behavior. He could at least have done something nice for someone else with that pad (like, maybe something to help Jay with his algebra test), but he just uses it stupidly for stuff he wants and is too lazy to do himself.

There’s also a subplot with the rest of his forgettable family with his mother making them work out and eat healthy non-stop. It goes the way you think and ends the way you think.

The jokes they attempt have no thought put into them. Most of them are unfunny slapstick gags, burp jokes and a fart joke, the rest is just cartoon zaniness in how quickly and sporadically they move, which may as well be slapstick.

As an artist who would value this power like a gift from the gods, it bugs the hell out of me that this is such wasted potential. I would love another Chalkzone-esque show. It allows for such amazing creative freedom in plots, characters and powers. However, it is just not used well here. There are vague and undefined restrictions by default and they can’t use the power many times because the thing needs to be charged.

Not to mention the fact that there’s no artistic merit going into these drawings. We never see him actually ‘draw’ anything. We get some weird overdone transition, see the finished drawing for about a second and then cut to the thing appearing or reality changed. We don’t even see him draw anything for the hell of it or at all despite the fact that people keep saying he’s creative and loves to draw.

Even in the very end where he gets his altered test to draw Ike, we don’t get to see him draw or see his finished drawing. This is a show based around art-fueled powers….with no art.

Speaking of art, the CGI cel-shaded art for the show is really blah with no real style to it. The colors are bright and appealing, but that’s about it. These graphics look pretty dated for a show that was supposedly made in 2010, and the animation, while not having many errors, doesn’t have a good fluidity about it. Half the time it’s jarring shifts and the other it’s slow moving in a sliding fashion.

The music’s alright, but forgettable. I listened to the theme song three times just five minutes ago and I’ve already forgotten it.

Final Verdict:

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Two-dimensional characters with the MC having no real good traits conveyed so far, poorly written story structure and dialogue, no good jokes and a complete waste of a fairly good plot and you leave me with no reason to want to continue.

Also, in spite of the fact that this show won two Elan awards for Best Animation TV Production and Art Direction, this show only lasted one season. Hm.

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) The Looney Tunes Show

Plot: Bugs and Daffy are roommates living a generally normal life in the suburbs. Daffy desperately wants to win something for once, so he signs him and Bugs up for a show called Besties, where best friends test their knowledge of each other.

Breakdown: Who doesn’t love Looney Tunes? Arguably second to Disney’s Mickey Mouse and friends, Bugs, Daffy and the rest of the Looney Tunes are some of the most world-renowned, beloved and funny characters (they definitely beat Disney in humor) we’ve come to know in the past decades. They’ve had some amazingly funny and memorable adventures, catchphrases, animation, voice acting and they continue to live on in various forms to this day.

That’s not to say Looney Tunes hasn’t had its hiccups when it comes to the quality of their shows and movies. Space Jam, Loonatics Unleashed and Baby Looney Tunes come to mind in that regard.

Well……*hiccup*

The Looney Tunes show definitely caused some conflict when it was first released. A good chunk of people liked the change of scenery and style and even some of the character traits. I definitely remember people arguing back and forth about whether Lola’s reimagining was for the better or worse.

Warning – Rambling that doesn’t have much to do with the episode at hand. Skip down to the blue mark to reenter episode discussion.

While Lola doesn’t show up in this episode, I do know what her character was turned into through clips and wiki research. Lola was not an original character in the short films we know and love. She was specifically made for the half-live-action half-cartoon movie, Space Jam, in order to increase the female demographic.

Even back then, Lola’s character was a source of debate because while some people saw her as a welcome female addition to the Looney Tunes crew, one with an attitude and knew how to play basketball no less, many others saw her as furry bait. She is obviously designed to be as sexually alluring as possible, in both design and her behavior, to all of the other male characters, yes, including the live-action humans, and she even has bunny boobs. She was also seemingly created just to give Bugs a love interest for the movie. She is even knocked into the cliché ‘damsel in distress’ role to give Bugs the even more cliché self-sacrifice scene so they can fall in love.

My opinion? I found Lola entertaining as a kid, but nowadays I just find her character to be a little insulting. If her character is meant to be made for the female viewers on both the basis of being a female character and giving her an attitude of female empowerment, they didn’t do a good job to me. She is eye candy to the core (which is creepy. I mean, give Jessica Rabbit a pass, she’s at least designed as a human.), the fact that she’s described as ‘tomboyish’ is nearly laughable, and making her shut down anyone who calls her ‘doll’ is not enough to warrant that sense of empowerment to me (who even says that anymore?), especially when the cliché gender stereotype roles are still handed to her.

In the Looney Tunes Show, Lola is completely changed from sexpot to ditzy Bugs-obsessed talk-a-mile-a-minute idiot. And, surprise, that is in no way better.

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I had caught this show a bit on TV a few times when it was airing and….I was never impressed enough to watch more than about five minutes. It was just….not funny. Which, for Looney Tunes, is a damn crime.

But I’m a reasonable person and part of this series is giving shows at least a shot to prove their worth. Maybe even prove my passing glances wrong and give me something to binge watch.

And they blew it.

Let me be fair off the bat here. I technically only watched half the episode because this is one of those shows that cuts the episode in half to create two separate stories. I just didn’t watch the second one because I was nearly offended with how not funny or interesting this one was.

First of all, while we’re on the subject of character changes, what the hell happened to Daffy? I know very well that Daffy is not the brightest marker in the Crayola factory, but he is ungodly dumb in this episode. Like Patrick from Spongebob should tutor him kind of dumb. It’s a good thing he doesn’t wear clothes, because I don’t think he’d be able to master the ability to dress himself levels of dumb.

It was actually annoying how dumb he was.

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Now, onto B–…..What’s that you say? Why did I randomly put a stock picture of Speedy Gonzales up?

Well, because the show basically did the same thing. Speedy comes out of nowhere, being stuck to Daffy’s hand vac as he tries to grab ahold of some food that rolled under the fridge (you may go ‘ew’ now) They basically point out that he’s there….and he leaves, never to be seen again the whole episode.

I wasn’t aware that Speedy was the kind of character that warranted a random splash cameo for the sake of fanservice. In fact, weren’t they trying to get rid of him at a point because they thought he was offensive to Mexicans?

Anyhoo, Bugs is left relatively alone, but he’s lost his spunk. He’s way too much on the side of laid-back sarcasm dispenser with none of the pep and energy his character is known to have.

The plot is what really riled me up. I was angry the instant the plot established itself. This is so unbelievable cliché I want to cry. They’ve been doing this stupid ‘game show where the characters have to know facts about another character’ plot line since The Newlywed Game came out. I’m surprised this isn’t a listed TV trope by now. They even name the host Chuck Berost…..which….I think is meant to be a joke, given that the original host of The Newlywed Game was Chuck Barris…..but I don’t get it….Berost…Barris….???

Not only is this a ridiculously cliché plot line to start from, but it’s also incredibly predictable, especially given Daffy’s idiocy. He’s so stupid, he even ruins Bugs’ correct answers because Daffy has an answer that sounds ‘cooler’. It’s obvious Bugs will have an idea that will get them through a good chunk of the game, but then Daffy will screw it up at the very end because he’s sans brain and they’ll lose. And look, that’s what happened.

The only joke that worked for me even a little in this episode was where they’re doing a ‘parody’ of Superman’s Origins. Don’t ask me why they’re doing this. It doesn’t matter. Bugs is acting as baby Kal el and his ‘father’ Jor el says he’ll say “What’s up doc?” indiscriminately, whether there’s a doctor present or not. Yup. And outside of the piece of kryptonite being a crystal carrot, that is the ONLY joke in that whole parody and the only only joke that really works for me during this whole episode. A joke that isn’t even all that funny…..a joke they ruin by having Daffy bring it up at the end of the episode.

See, the question Daffy screws up is ‘what is Bugs’ catchphrase?’ and he gets it wrong. When he learns what it really is, he says ‘we don’t even know any doctors!’

The last thing I have to address is the art style, which I’m….mostly okay with. Everyone’s character designs are mostly left alone, but the heads are obviously bigger and the colors are more saturated.

The animation is pretty good, though I do see various animation errors here and there. It’s smooth, but sometimes slides into ‘someone’s screwing with Flash again’ territory. Also, the animation doesn’t seem to have that elasticity that Looney Tunes is known for.

I will give them props for somewhat keeping the original theme, but this one’s a bit too heavy on the brass for me, which is surprising because the original is nearly entirely brass. It’s just that they add in a lot of jazzy trumpet interludes that are way too loud and intrusive to me.

Final Verdict:

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Nothing clicks in this show for me. The writing, the characters, nothing. I feel like, if the Looney Tunes name wasn’t on this show, it wouldn’t last more than a few episodes….and hell, this show only lasted two seasons with the branding on it. The Looney Tunes show is just not looney.

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons): Slugterra

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Plot: Will Shane is a respected man of justice in the world of Slugterra – a world miles beneath the surface where people battle using slugs with various powers. While combating the evil Dr. Blakk, he is met with Blakk’s newest creation – corrupted slugs. One of them opens up an interdimensional void that sucks Will up, but not before he sends his faithful slug, Burpy to the surface world to notify his teenage son, Eli, of his fate. After Eli learns of his father’s fall, he follows the instructions on a letter he left behind to finally go to Slugterra and earn his rightful place as a shane, if he wishes it and only when he turns 15.

On his 15th birthday, Eli heads down to Slugterra and follows his father’s directions to find a place to live, a mode of transportation and some starter gear. However, he’s aggravated when he learns that Slugterra has been taken over by thugs in the years of the shane’s absence. Since Eli has no formal training and only one slug, he is quickly tossed aside when he tries to enforce law and order.

In order to help him out, a seeming burglar of his father’s hideout, Pronto, tells him to earn respect and training by winning a local tournament. Eli is pumped to finally start fighting, but since he’s just starting out can he even win a qualifier?

Breakdown: Okay, I really need to start paying more attention to Disney XD because they seem to get way better shows that whatever they sling on cable.

Slugterra didn’t look like much to me when I first glanced at it, but I was surprisingly intrigued by this show….they shoot animals out of guns at each other and they transform in mid-air into awesome monsters! Out of context, that’s seemingly a hair below animal abuse, but it’s actually really cool!

In just our starter episode, part one no less, we are introduced to all sorts of interesting slugs, creatures and characters that get you amped up to see more.

I even enjoyed the cel-shaded CGI animation and art, and that’s very rare for me because I have a really hard time enjoying CGI cartoons.

I do have some bones to pick, though.

First, the pacing is kinda break-neck. We go from Will’s battle to his fall to Eli learning of his fall to him being 15 and going to Slugterra in just a handful of minutes. I think we could’ve made this a bit smoother considering this is indeed a part one.

Second, Eli’s response to his dad ‘falling’ (IE Dying) is uh…less than emotional. I swear, he looks sad for about a second then gets pumped when he learns of the letter his dad left, instructing him on how to start his shane training and how to get to Slugterra. It’s really offputting. The families of soldiers and law enforcement officers are also prepared for something bad to happen to their loved ones, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have an expected emotional response to it happening. Especially when Will seemed like a single dad.

This lack of emotional response is even more offputting when he gets to Slugterra and has the gall to complain about the vehicle his dad left him. Gee thanks dead dad for leaving me full instructions on how to get to this awesome fantasy world and leaving me a place to live, new clothes, a blaster, a powerful slug etc etc. But this vehicle’s a hunk of junk. Pft.

It’s somehow even worse when it’s revealed that the vehicle in the hideout wasn’t even the one he was talking about and Eli’s real ride is super cool. You don’t deserve a cool ride when you’re a spoiled brat.

Third, for seemingly being the hotshot of the tournament, Shockwire’s battle with Eli was kinda lame. If it’s so well know that his slugs can misfire when they’re overworked, surely this crowd favorite would know about it and not shoot off his slugs willy-nilly. And after one hit by Burpy he surrenders? Come on, dude.

I do commend Eli for asking which of Shockwire’s slugs wanted to go with him instead of just taking one. That shows a level of respect for both the slugs and the world that no one seems to have.

Finally, I hate to say it, but the overall plot is cliché city. From the dead dad to the upstart son to the evil bad guy of badness who is named, of all damn things, Dr. Blakk, and the corruption that puts the world at risk. I’ve seen more creativity on the nutritional value chart on my multivitamins.

Overall, however, this is a very fun and engrossing show that I will be glad to continue. Sadly, this show seems to be in limbo because no new episodes have been made since October 2016.

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I hope to God this show didn’t get canceled on some horrible incident involving a small child, a gun and literal slugs. I don’t know what would happen in the solution to that equation, but I imagine something terrible….and slimy.

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Huntik: Secrets and Seekers

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Break your spine today, Sophie?

Plot: In a University in Venice, Italy, a college student named Lok and his friend, Sophie, accidentally find Lok’s long-lost father’s journal and an amulet in one of his old artifacts. Before they even even begin to look into it, a group of people in black suits burst into his house and attack him with strange powers. They’re after the journal, but Lok travels all over Venice to ensure its safety.

Along the way, he gets imbued with similarly strange powers from the amulet he found, and he finds some sense of security with a man named Dante, who helps save him from the people in suits. He reveals that the suited people are from an evil group known only as The Organization. They utilize ancient powers and summon powerful titans from their amulets for nefarious purposes. Those who possess these powers are known as Seekers, and there is a benevolent group of seekers known as The Huntik Foundation, who aim to take down The Organization.

While Lok quickly wants nothing more to do with the situation, Dante reveals that he already is a part of it since the amulet synced with him, making him a Seeker. The Organization returns for another face-off, this time with more firepower. Will they be able to make it out in one piece?

Breakdown: This show has awesome music.

The instant I heard the opener, I was sold….but maybe I was a bit cheap because there’s not much going on in the originality department here.

Missing dad? Check.

Main Character suddenly dragged into a huge conflict with mysterious powers and monsters? Check.

Obvious love interest? Check.

Being so vague about your enemy that they’re literally bad guys in black with a non-descript name? Check.

Suddenly saved by mysterious guy with uber powers and luxurious hair? Check.

It’s not the most cliché thing in the world…..but it’s up there. Being fair, they put plenty of action in there to hold your attention, but nothing about the story really grabbed it.

Just to get these minor annoyances out of the way, here are some minor annoyances.

– Lok seriously didn’t know what an amulet was. Not what THE amulet was – what AN amulet was…..he’s a college student.

– Bad guys are after the journal, journal falls into water, stops Lok from going into water, make no effort to go into the completely calm canal water to retrieve journal. Don’t even stick around long enough to see him surface. Good job.

– Sophie was reaching for a precious and delicate artifact left behind from your father, is having no real issues reaching it or getting it down, yet you act like she’s about to be hit by invisible falling debris and tackle her, ensuring that the artifact breaks. Good job, Lok. Though, being fair, it’s rude as hell to get all grabby on what is clearly a delicate ancient statue.

– How did Lok’s dad get that stuff in that statue anyway?

– Sophie describes Lok as a nerd and he can even complete a full crossword puzzle in less than two minutes, but he’s super lazy in school, never bothered to open his textbooks out of their plastic wrapping and needs to copy Sophie’s notes.

– They were too lazy to animate him completing the crossword. It was an actual plotpoint, but they skipped it through black fades. They animated a completely pointless Indiana Jones dream sequence, but not him completing a crossword. They even have to have a little note on screen that says ‘Less than two minutes later’

That out of the way, the art and animation is Italian. That about sums it up.

Alright, I’m not being fair. Sorry Italy. But, really, can someone point me to some Italian animation that doesn’t look like it was given the budget of a bucket of nails? I feel like I’m unfairly building a bad view of it just because I keep coming across shows like these.

The art itself is alright. Passable enough. It’s the animation and lip-syncing that make me gnash my teeth. This series was produced by Rainbow s.r.l., the same people who brought us Winx Club. It’s done in that same style, but to the best of my knowledge, the quality is much worse. That might be the fault of their co-producer, Big Bocca Productions, but damned if I can find a single word of that company that isn’t ‘They helped produce Huntik.’

Huntik’s level and type of animation problems can only be summed up in one way – It’s exactly the same as those old religious cartoons from the 90s and early 00s. I can’t describe it any better than that. I was almost expecting this to be produced by a company that made some of those shows and specials, it was just that similar.

As for the lip-syncing, I have no clue how they produced this they way they did, but whatever system they used to work between America and Italy to fuse the animation with the voices did not work. Keep in mind, this show was not originally voiced in Italian. There is no language gap to jump, excusing the poor syncing. As a fan of anime, I would be more than glad to turn a blind eye to that (mostly).

I assume Big Bocca Productions is the American company who did the scripts and voice work. Rainbow did the animation and designs. Rainbow has the responsibility of matching their animations to the script and voice work, so I guess I have to mark off Rainbow for this.

The voice acting as a whole is just alright. We have some actual voice actors here such as Yuri Lowenthal, Marc Thompson and even Maddie Blaustein. They’re not putting their all into it, but they’re not really phoning it in. The sound mixing and editing is sometimes terrible, though. There will be instances of characters accidentally talking over each other and sometimes the music drowns out the voices.

Marc, however, is doing a terrible job as Cherit, the little talking bat-creature thing. Just imagine one of your parents putting on a high-pitched witch-like voice when they would read to you at bed time, and that’s basically what he’s doing.

Final verdict:

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Just barely eeked out ‘undecided’, mostly because A) music is still awesome, B) it intrigued me enough to at least plug on for now. Maybe it has more to offer to set it apart from the crowd. At the very least, I might get to see some laughably terrible stuff.

…….But seriously, he had no idea what an amulet was.

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Lloyd in Space

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Plot: Lloyd Nubulan has just turned 13, so he’s leaving behind childhood and embracing manhood. But what does it really mean to be a man?

Breakdown: Here’s a show I actually have some mileage in. Lloyd in Space was on ABC’s One Saturday Morning lineup, and I caught it several times when it was airing. I watched it enough to be nostalgic about it a little, but not enough to get excited when this popped up as Episode One-Derland fodder.

How well does it stand up?

Well, let’s just say, I can understand why this wasn’t a must-see show when I was a kid.

Let’s tackle the big picture before we get to the main episode material. Lloyd in Space is basically every typical day-in-the-life-of-a-typical-kid show….in space. That’s probably why they just decided to call it Lloyd in Space. They ‘space’ up the dialogue and the character designs are alien’d, but it’s seriously just any old slice-of-life kid show. The comedy’s mediocre at best, no character is very memorable and the best they have to offer is tons of destructive slapstick.

Getting into the main episode, we can break this up rather easily. Lloyd turns 13 and suddenly decides to be an insanely boring adult, which is totally not how any 13 year old has ever acted ever. When you turned 13, what did you want to do? What did that mean for you? How did you act?

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Most people would say they asked for a larger allowance or if they could do cool things like use their dad’s power tools, take the wheel of the car for a minute or stay up late, or you may even have asked for more responsibility like going places by yourself, walking to school alone or having a cell phone (though the latter is being commonly presented to five year olds now. Damn kids and their rap music.)

Did you ever consider foregoing cake and ice cream because you thought only kids ate that stuff, then say you’d rather have cheese and fruit as dessert? Did you forego sugary cereal for bran flakes? Did you rudely refuse toys as gifts and state that you’d rather have clothes? (okay, admittedly, that one might be believable for 13 year old girls) Did you ever backtalk your teacher saying you were above writing a book report and invited your teacher over to discuss the true meanings behind heavier reading material over a cappuccino?

If you said ‘no’ to all or most of those questions, you’re far more normal than Lloyd. I don’t know why any kid would purposely want to pursue the more boring developments of perceived adulthood over the more exciting ones. It’s like if you were imagining being a college student as a teen and you looked forward more to student loans, crushing stress and shitty jobs than college parties, drinking and being on your own.

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After Lloyd spends the first third of the episode being obnoxious, he gets taken down a peg when his teacher responds to his bullshit by telling him he can indeed avoid his book report, but has to write a 50MB essay on what it means to be a man instead.

He wracks his brain for a while, realizing he really doesn’t know what it means to be a man, so Station, the space station that Lloyd lives on, taking the form of a robotic neurotic eyeball that can emerge from numerous spots around the station, takes him to a poker game consisting of a bunch of robots – more specifically a robot phone, a robot vacuum and a robot toaster. And if you were worried that they didn’t make tons of puns about what objects they are, worry your pretty little head no more because that’s about 95% of what they do.

It’s in this poker game where Lloyd is taught his first valuable lesson – Adults lie (learned through bluffing….and them literally saying that adults lie.)

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He gets a birthday hologram call from his grandpa, and in an effort to help Lloyd determine what it means to be a man, he gets his second valuable lesson – Men fish. (learned through space-fishing)

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He accidentally blows up a power plant with a fish…..I’d explain exactly what happened there, but anything you imagine is probably more entertaining than the actual reason. Being taken back home in a squad car, the officer taking him home offers to let him drive for a bit since his dad did that for him when he was 13 as a rite of passage.

This is surprisingly normal, but they mess it up with the third valuable lesson – Adults are in control. The way to seem in control is to act like you’re in control (lesson learned through leaning back and acting like a cocky douche while driving)

He tries to be even more laid back by attempting to turn on the radio, and in a literal ‘don’t touch the red button!’ moment, he activates the boosters and crashes into the parking bay.

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Back at home, with his mother listing off his financial costs of the damages for the day, wracking up to tens of thousands of dollars for the smaller stuff and, while they don’t say it, probably billions for the power plant, she gives him the stern, harsh, turn away from the screen and grit your teeth punishment of……..

Grounded for a month.

Okay, I will admit, the crash is moreso on the cop’s shoulders so Lloyd shouldn’t get much flak for that, but grounded for a month after all of that destruction? I had harsher punishments for accidentally cussing.

Lloyd stews in his room over being grounded when his little sister, Francine’s, daycare calls asking for Lloyd’s mom who is actually the commander of the space station. He says she’s not there, but there’s an emergency. Francine’s going crazy in a temper tantrum for some reason, causing her to telekinetically float the other kids and everything in the daycare around and she even starts cracking the glass walls.

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Lloyd decides the best course of action, instead of calling his mom, is to go there and settle her down himself. The daycare is in another region of space, so Lloyd needs to break his grounding and commandeer a vehicle to get there.

The guy in the garage tells Lloyd that he can’t just give a vehicle to a kid, so Lloyd implements valuable lesson one – lying. He lies and says a poker chip is a special permission chip his mom gave him for emergencies. The guy actually believes him and is about to just give him a vehicle, but still says he’s too young to drive, so Lloyd convinces him to take him.

About to be pulled over by a cop and the garage guy ducking down because he can’t be caught outside of the station in a vehicle because reasons (DUI?….Possession?) Lloyd has to talk his way out of being pulled over. He implements valuable lesson three – acting like a douche. He acts like a douche and the cop finds nothing wrong with a clearly underage kid driving and leaves them alone. Lloyd, you could’ve explained the situation to him and maybe even gotten a more legit and faster ride. Oh, but wait, he’s trying to be an adult, and adults lie. Guess telling the truth is for kids and intelligent people.

He gets to the daycare center and finds out that the reason Francine is freaking out is because her favorite doll, Rosie, is stuck high up in a ‘tree’. Lloyd points out the obvious and asks why she doesn’t take it down with her powers, and she gets even angrier saying she’s trying but it won’t come unstuck. How it got up there and how it got so stuck is never explained.

Lloyd decides to implement his third and final valuable man lesson – Men fish.

He ties a yoyo to a ruler, wraps it around Rosie and yanks her down. He gives it back to Francine and she calms down….

No….Just no. You can’t have a kid using such powerful telekinetic abilities that she’s easily floating a room full of kids and many heavy objects around like crazy and cracking apart the building….be unable to free a little doll….when Lloyd can do it with a yoyo and ruler.

You remember that scene in Pokemon where a young Sabrina demolishes her house easily with her telekinetic abilities? Imagine that scene is immediately followed by her being unable to pick an apple from a tree with her abilities then Ash gets it down with a jump rope. Seems stupid, doesn’t it?

Back home, Lloyd’s mom apparently is forced to drop Lloyd’s grounding and any additional punishment for what he’s done now because he’s an infinite hero at the daycare….uh….who…cares? What authority do they have over her parenting? Even if they did have any authority in that regard, she’s a major space station commander. I think she outranks a daycare employee.

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Lloyd says he now knows what being a man is, and his mom points out the obvious before I do that apparently being a man means lying, stealing a car (acting like a douche) and fishing. Lloyd, and by that I mean the writers, subvert this by saying no, that’s what it means to be a man. In fact, that stuff got him grounded for a month.

Being a man is about doing the right thing, even though you may have to break rules to do it. It means putting someone else ahead of yourself. It means—nope. No. You can’t do that. You can’t disregard those things as illegitimate or detrimental lessons when you clearly made a point to ensure each and every lesson was integrated into your heroics. You even included audio flashbacks to each lesson before he did it.

Each of those lessons did initially get him grounded, but utilizing those lessons helped calm down Francine and saved the daycare. Those lessons are stupid, but this story was trying to reintegrate them for the sheer purpose of trying to convince us that they were important. Maybe the real lesson should be ‘you can take bad lessons and turn them into something that can benefit you in a crises.’ That’s also not a very good lesson, but at least I’m not ignoring that these lessons were used in the end.

Lloyd realizes that he finally understands what it means to be a man, so he goes off to write his essay. He also leaves his birthday cake and says he’ll eat it at breakfast, which Francine thinks is weird in a bad way for some reason. Again, no little kid would react to that statement that way. They’d probably say if their older sibling gets cake for breakfast, they want some for breakfast too, or that it’s unfair or they’re lucky. Etc.

As a first episode, it’s fine. It establishes the world effectively, the characters are introduced well enough and it does an okay job trying to start off the story. However, the characters aren’t very interesting, the writing never hits a joke that even makes me want to consider thinking about smiling, and it’s just very bland and mediocre at very best. Not to mention that Lloyd spends a good chunk of this episode being annoying, and the morals for this episode are so beyond confused and screwed up.

This whole thing is stupid anyway. Everyone knows you’re not really a man until you have a mustache.

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Final Verdict:

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This brought me back a ways to The Weekenders and Fillmore! And actually looking forward to waking up on Saturday mornings, but there’s just not much being offered here. I did realize that I memorized the theme song, though. So that’s something. Not much, considering the lyrics are mostly dialogue clips and the song itself is rather muted and not worth memorizing, but still.

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Robotomy

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Plot: In a world populated by only robots, life happens. Some of its kinda funny.

Breakdown: This show seems a lot like it’s trying to be an all-robot Futurama. Starring Patton Oswalt and other people, I’m sure, this series was Cartoon Network’s attempt to make slightly more mature programming bordering between their regular shows and Adult Swim.

It did not succeed. This series stands as Cartoon Network’s shortest original series with merely ten episodes under its access panel.

While I can’t say the show has gigantic flaws, it really is forgettable, and, like I said, it’s just an all-robot version of Futurama to me, in terms of the tone of humor.

And the humor really isn’t that great. A lot of it is the typical stuff you’d expect of a robot show, while other jokes are trying to make new stuff based on their robotic environment. The latter is hit or miss, and the hits are like first base at most. It never made me laugh or break out a smile, but it made me do that internal ‘hm that was kinda funny’ thing.

The two main characters, Thrasher and Blastus, who may as well be interchangeable because, while they seem to be going for a goofy impulsive guy and straightman dynamic, they’re basically the same character. Damned if I can tell you which one is which, to be honest. The skinny one is the one voiced by Patton Oswalt, though.

To fit the demographic, this series takes place in a robot high school, which, sadly, just shoves a lot of tropes down this series’ throat, like social media, wanting to be popular, embarrassing yourself in front of your crush etc. It also basically makes this a neutered Futurama clone.

The story of this episode is everyone is joining a social media site called Frienemy. When Thrasher and Blastus join up in hopes of getting popular, they find that they have no friend requests. They send in a complaint to the website itself who offers to be their friend. They accept, but find that Frienemy, who takes the physical form of a giant floating spiky head, is incredibly clingy and possessive. They can’t escape him, so they destroy him by having thousands of robots poke him, which doesn’t make any sense because why would the website, the being that encompasses and creates the poking, be negatively affected by a lot of poking? And if Blastus and Thrasher aren’t popular in the least, how did they instantly convince so many people to poke him?

As an intro, it does a decent enough job of introducing us to their world and the characters, even if the main two are entirely interchangeable. But it doesn’t do a great job of making me want to watch more. I don’t think this series deserved a pitiful ten episode run, but it’s certainly not a very good show.

The art and animation are pretty good with some nice style here and there, but it’s not incredibly creative.

The music is meh. The opening is repetitive and forgettable while the BG music is just forgettable.

Final Verdict:

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It’s a very short series with very short episodes, and it was just entertaining enough to make me feel compelled to tell people to at least give it a shot. I, personally, won’t continue, but I can see how someone else might find this funnier than I do.

Recommended Audience: Despite their drive to hook in a teen audience, there’s not much in regards to anything that mature. One of the robots gets their innards exposed like guts, but they’re robots, so that’s basically censored. Uhhh…..I honestly can’t think of anything. E for everyone, but aimed at teens I guess.

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons): 6Teen

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Plot: Jen, Nikki, Jude, Jonesy and Wyatt all made a pact to get jobs at the mall over the summer so they can hang out. So far, Jen’s the only one with a job at a juice stand called The Big Squeeze. She’s aiming for a new job at the sports equipment store, The Penalty Box, but the others fumble through their job interviews at the other outlets. As they try again, Jen, now hired at The Penalty Box, trains a spoiled rich ditzy girl named Caitlyn to take over her job at the juice stand in order to pay off her insane credit card bill after her father flipped out over the expenses.

Breakdown: I’ve been a bit harsh on 6Teen in the past. I’ve referenced it in a bad light. I’ve mocked it. It was just here and there, but I did it. The reason I feel particularly guilty about that, even if I didn’t do it a lot, is because I never once saw a full episode of the series. I had seen the theme song and about one minute of one episode. Plus, other people poked fun at it, so I shoved my foot on that bandwagon. I don’t like making fun of things that I’ve never seen or experienced, and I did that with 6Teen. I’m sorry 6Teen.

That being said, I have now given a full episode a go and…..some of my mockings were justified, but I think there’s more to this show than meets the eye. It’s not laugh out loud funny, but it made me smile a bit. It is filled with a bunch of annoying teenagerisms, but it’s also relatable.

As a first episode, this does a good job at establishing the personalities of the main characters, even if I was at a loss for most of their names for nearly the whole episode. I managed to remember Jen, Caitlyn and Jonesy but when it came to the other three I had to look it up on the Wiki, which is kinda sad because the theme song flashes their names twice. In my defense, it goes by very fast and they’re accompanied by silhouettes.

All of the characters have memorable character designs at least, and I actually recognized Nikki from the one little clip I watched many moons ago.

They fit well as a group of friends, with all of them being typical teenagers, none of which seemingly the popular type. Caitlyn’s the only exception, but that’s the point of her character. She’s about as exaggerated as they come in regards to ditzy rich popular girl tropes.

She doesn’t understand that credit cards have limits, believes that employees hire people to do their jobs for them and bought a brand new Vespa because her old one had a flat tire and didn’t realize that such a problem could be repaired. When she gets a job to repay her father, she’s effectively disowned by her equally self-absorbed materialistic friend, Trisha, just because of her doofy uniform. She becomes friends with the main group shortly after and they accept her just fine, even if they obviously poke fun at her obliviousness to the real world.

The art style has always bothered me a bit. It’s an odd craggy style with no lineart where everyone looks like they’re animated slightly like those paper dolls you made in art class with the little hinge clips. They’re very toothy, their expressions are always a little off, and it made me think that this show was based off of a series of binder and other school supply logo artwork.

The tone and situations are very relatable for the teen crowd. Hanging out at the mall with your friends, trying to get a job, experiencing the somewhat ridiculous nature of job interviews, learning that friends sometimes only care about you for how you make them look etc. I particularly enjoyed the job interview segment. That was the highlight of the episode by far.

This show is praised for the fact that it actually has slightly more mature dialogue and situations than most other shows aimed at teens and tweens. For example, Wyatt makes an innuendo joke by saying ‘Grind Me’ when everyone’s saying where they applied for a job. He’s talking about a coffee shop.

Then they show two teenagers who are making out in the sloppiest way I’ve ever seen animated. Flopping tongues, drool everywhere, it was blech. According to some reviewers, they also make other pokes at sex, discuss aspects of sexuality such as erections and say some ‘swears’ like ‘ass’ and ‘boobs’.

I haven’t seen any further than the ‘grind me’ joke and the makeout session, but if they do then I gotta applaud them for that too, as long as it’s done right.

One of the bigger problems I see for this show, however, is its target demographic. I think the target audience is very small. At most, it’s probably 13 to 15. Any younger and they probably won’t be able to relate nor will they be old enough to watch some of subject matter. Any older and you’ll just be mostly lost because many older teens don’t want to watch cartoons, unless they’re particularly raunchy or aimed specifically to adults. And I gotta tell ya, the art was not helping there either. The bright pastel colors and highly, for lack of a better term, cartoony style really don’t make you think this series is meant for upper teen audiences. Ironically, it doesn’t make you think anyone who is 16 will watch 6Teen.

If you’re an adult who still enjoys the animated world, you may enjoy some of the episodes for a nostalgic feel, but the jury’s out on whether the comedy and storylines have enough substance to make you want to go back and watch the rest of this series.

Final Verdict:

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I enjoyed the episode enough to give it a few more episodes, but, like I said, I’m still on the fence about whether or not this seems worth pursuing for the entirety of the series. I never was one for SOL teen shows, except maybe Lizzie McGuire. If I watched a teen show, it usually had to involve super powers of some kind. Maybe this show will change my mind over time.

Recommended Audience: There’s one innuendo joke that I don’t think kids would get and there’s one tongue-tastic makeout scene. 10+

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Martin Mystery

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Plot: Ego-driven paranormal maniac, Martin, his hot-headed slightly skeptic step-sister, Diana, and Java the Caveman work for a secret organization called The Center, where they combat supernatural forces. Martin, Diana and Java are sent on their latest mission to France where several children have mysteriously gone missing, leaving being an odd goo behind as the only clue. Martin deduces that the boogeyman is really behind this, kidnapping all naughty children and leaving them for eternity in his bog. Can the boogeyman be stopped?

Breakdown: Annoying main characters? Check.

Trying desperately to shove over-the-top anime style comedy into our faces whenever possible? Check.

Bad animation? Check.

Expressions that don’t match what’s being said half the time? Check.

Lack of sound effects at noticeable points? Check.

A bunch of teenagers working for a secret organization where there are odd entrances everywhere? Check.

Untold amounts of things that make no sense? Check.

We truly have something made from Marathon Media and Image Entertainment – the same companies who produced Totally Spies! Also known as “we don’t know how to get out of this formula” inc.

I remember Martin Mystery being advertised quite a bit when I was a kid. And I definitely remember them advertising the crossover that Martin Mystery did with Totally Spies! However, I never once sat down and watched a single frame of it. I dunno, it just never caught my attention.

Now that I’ve given it a shot, I’m quite glad it never caught my attention.

To get this out of the way, this show is harmless and less annoying than Totally Spies!, but that’s basically saying ‘Drink this! It’s not as disgusting as urine!’ The subject matter is also more interesting than Totally Spies! with paranormal monsters instead of ridiculous spy villains. Still, this show is basically using the template for Totally spies! just aiming it more towards boys.

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The first episode starts off with Martin, Diana and Java at school (Java acts as the lunch worker. No idea how or why) Martin makes an idiot out of himself trying to hit on some girls when he has pudding in his teeth and then he spills some of his food on Diana sparking the running side-plot of this episode. She claims Martin is such a slob that he can’t stay clean for 24 hours. They make a bet on that statement, and the loser has to give Java a foot massage.

They go through a “SECRET” door in the fridge of the cafeteria to the home base, The Center. This is so obvious it’s ridiculous. Yeah, Totally Spies! had the girls be swept away from wherever they were, which was unrealistic, but at least they were usually transported so quickly that no one would be able to notice. Martin yells to use the door in the fridge, points at it as he’s yelling, they slowly open the door wide, the doorway friggin’ glows and they take their sweet time walking through it. Anyone could walk in there at any time. Even if the doorway had some cloaking device or something, plenty of kids just saw the lunch guy, Martin and Diana disappear through a fridge.

They get briefed from female version of Jerry named MOM, who gets them up to speed on the plot and they head off. After some detective work and another kidnapping, they decide to set a trap for the boogeyman. What is this ingenious trap, you may ask?

Using innocent children as bait, with their parents oddly easily obtained consent even though they’re aware of the situation, they hope to manhandle the boogeyman into submission or capture him in a net. Did I also mention this boogeyman can create portals and can turn into a multitude of maggots? (alright, points given for creativity)

Martin, Diana and Java follow the boogeyman through his portal and are thrown into the boogeyman’s bog. While Diana and Java land in the water, Martin lands on land. I know what you’re thinking (or maybe not – you probably forgot about this dumb plotline already). “Hey, that means he lost the bet, right?” You’d think, but no. And, also no, he didn’t use some gadget (he has them because of course he does) to save him or some clever idea to avoid it. He just lands in it. On his back. Then he proclaims that he ended up being completely clean after that.

Uh, yeah Martin….no. Just no. You’re in a bog. A swamp. A marsh. A quagmire. They are wet areas no matter if you’re in the water or out. They’re muddy, they’re gooey, they’re swampy. They’re swamps. There’s no way you land flat on your back in a bog and not get dirty. I don’t care how dry that piece of land could possibly be, you’d still get dirty. I could land flat on my back in my front yard after a drought and still get dirty.

What’s worse is later he falls in the bog again, this time on his front, and they’re still making off like it’s fine because it’s land. Dirt is dirty. What is so hard to understand about that?

They find the kids in the bog and manage to escape the boogeyman’s world. But they still have to figure out how to beat the boogeyman for good. That requires replacing the final page of a book about the boogeyman that they took from the library that the first girl was taken from. Java and Martin combat the boogeyman and Diana suddenly arrives with the final page from they-forgot-to-write-that-part-land. She reveals that the ending states that the kids return the boogeyman to his book, and that’s how he’s defeated.

After sealing the boogeyman away, it’s revealed that, during the whole hoopla, Martin somehow got a tiny yellow stain of unidentified stuff on his shirt, making him lose the bet.

Guys, you had an out. Just have Martin just some of the gook from the book on his shirt before he locked the book. Or have him be all dusty after he caused two clouds of dust from the mountain of books he landed on during the fight (That happened and there was no mention of the bet. Yeah it seems stupid to mention such a thing during a battle but A) no one in these series ever cares if what they say is appropriate for the situation and B) this was a guy who refused to follow the boogeyman through his portal earlier in the episode because he was afraid he’d get the gunk on him. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen)

MOM shows up and congratulates them while Martin arrogantly takes all the credit. These surprisingly British locals from this French town also thank them and the stain suddenly falls from Martin’s shirt. Seems the stain was a small piece of paper from the library, so he didn’t lose the bet afterall, making Diana the Java masseuse. The end.

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As a first episode, it does fine. They introduce the characters and the world they live in perfectly fine. The main story is alright, and I do like how they portrayed the boogeyman, but he’s defeated and worked around very easily. The side plot served no purpose whatsoever and Martin should’ve lost it at least three times if anyone pays attention or uses basic logic. In the end, it’s the fact that the show itself is stupid and one of many of basically the same show from Marathon and Image that really hurts it.

I don’t like Martin much at all. He is one of so many of that dumb as hell trope ego-tiscal main lead who has nearly everything go his way or he somehow makes everything come out on top for him if he does suffer a setback. Usually these characters have some form of redemption in that they truly care about the victims or their duties but, no. Martin loves the supernatural, he loves investigating it and seems to be perfectly willing to put the mission and lives at risk if something petty that might chip his ego is in the way. He seems to do this job to see supernatural things and be proven as right all the time.

Diana is flatout annoying with how much she bickers with Martin. And her main character schtick makes no sense. She’s basically a skeptic, which is illogical since she works for an organization that is specifically designed to combat paranormal threats. She’s voiced by Kelli Sheridan, but she’s yelling so much that I don’t care.

Java is a caveman. He talks like a caveman and is strong. I have no clue how or why they’re partnered with a caveman, but there he is.

All in all:

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If you hate or dislike Totally Spies, you probably won’t like this much better. It’s loud, obnoxious, there’s not much effort put into the story, there’s even less put into the little details of continuity, logistics and plotholes, and it gets to a point where it all melds together into white noise for me. I may subject myself to an off-the-cuff Cartoon Step-By-Step or some singular review, but for now this is being dropped to my ‘no’ bin.

Recommended Audience: Kids might find the concept of the boogeyman here to be kinda scary maybe. Other than that, nothing. 5+

Episode One-Derland(Cartoons) Detentionaire

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Plot: Lee Ping is just entering 10th grade and is looking forward to the new school year. However, he’s framed for a massive prank and is not only given detention all year, but he’s also grounded for the same duration. Now Lee has to do everything in his power to find evidence that will lead him to the real prankster and clear his name, with the help of a ‘gentle giant’ bully named Biffy and his friends, the Scandinavian exchange student Holger, and the wanna-be gangsta Camillio.

Bottomline: I was on edge of dropping this near the middle. The start caught me on pretty well as the series has a nice and fairly unique style to it (seemingly normal but has a splash of sci-fi and fantasy). Though the art and animation do have that weird Flash bouncing habit. You know, when the characters seem to have rubber bands in their bodies that makes them slowly move back after quickly moving forward.

I will say that prank scene was wonderfully stylized though….even if they were stylizing puke.

Anyhoo, this is a pretty interesting premise, and, in the end, I really don’t have any idea who the real prankster is. From the silhouette, it looks like a bald person with glasses, but I could be wrong. I’m not sure if the prank is worth a year of detention and grounding, though. The prank dumped paint on everyone, set off stink bombs, threw junk everywhere and worst of all the stink made everyone throw up on each other.

He avoided the prank because he was in the rest room, making it seem like he’s guilty, then evidence of the crime is found in his backpack, which he left in the gym.

This prank gives Lee some mixed responses. Some people, like the new half-cyborg Principal Barrage and some of the students are very upset with him about it, while many others find his prank awesome and he becomes popular as a result. He even forcibly becomes the new boyfriend of Brandy, a self-absorbed popular girl. I can understand why some of the students found this prank awesome and funny but the girls? Especially the preppy prima donnas? Seriously? Keep in mind, this prank not only ruined their clothes with paint, but it also drenched them all in vomit. Why would they find that cool? And what’s more disturbing, not a damn person washes up after that. Ew.

Half of the beginning and the middle part is a bit of a chore to sit through as there’s not much that’s interesting or funny happening before or after the prank. However, the very beginning and the end ‘mission’ were enough to keep me entertained. Hopefully, now that the ball’s rolling, the show will keep a better momentum.

As a first episode, it does its job well enough. It established a decent portion of the world they live in, sets up the main plot pretty well and introduces many of the most important characters in a way that allows us to know them pretty well in just a few minutes. I like Lee, though Biffy was my favorite character. I always have a soft spot for the behind-the-scenes tech guy, and he was a nice spin on that trope, and he was, by far, the funniest character.

Holger was a little entertaining, though he was a little annoying and was pretty much a stereotype of nearly any foreign exchange student in a TV show (weird, overly clingy, extremely happy and has a thick accent). Cammilio was just flat out annoying and almost offensive in his own right. He always wears headphones for no reason, he speaks in the most wanna-be way possible, he wears a big gold chain with a gold watch on it. And for some reason he wears a giant fur coat.

I can’t see an iota of depth to his character and I’m not hopeful we ever will see depth in him.

Final Verdict?

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This just barely edged out an ‘undecided’ and I was almost convinced to make this a ‘no’ as the more boring parts of the episode wore on, but it managed to hook me back in with Biffy and the ending.

Recommended Audience: Vomit and some extremely minor ‘swearing’ (crap and ‘I’m screwed’). Outside of that, it’s mostly fine. 7+