Tag Archives: Nickelodeon

Late Thoughts on Transformers Earthspark, More Than Meets the Eye

18 Nov

Transformers EarthsparkPresented on YTV Nov 11, 2022

The robots in disguise that we all love have gone Terran, and this new series continues from where Generation One ended. Although the events took place many decades ago–the flashback sequences present the original designs–Transformers Earthspark literally evolves the story further. Unlike past sagas set in its own continuity (i.e. universe), this one sees the battle between the Autobots and Deceptions finally over.

But as for the new threat, who we’re dealing with is like M.E.C.H. from Transformers Prime. This was formerly led by Leland (Silas) Bishop. Here, Dr. Meridian wants to merge a man with mecha and his agenda is nothing like Headmasters.

Like every other series, every introduction requires youths discovering these robots. However, for brother and sister Robby Malto (Sydney Mikayla) and Mo (Zion Broadnax), what they discover are creations that may well be Earth’s firstborn techno-biological lifeforms. They did not crash-land on this planet, but rose from its primordial goo that looks suspiciously like a lake of energon. Because they interfaced with it, they too wear a special gauntlet, so they can feel each other’s emotions. Thus, Twitch (Kathreen Khavari) and Thrash (Zeno Robinson) are born, and are probably the same age. They behave like their human counterparts, to which they’ve “bonded” to.

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Star Trek: Prodigy is this Franchise’s Shining Light

2 Jan

Star Trek: Prodigy (TV Series 2021– ) - IMDbNickelodeon
Paramount+

Releasing Star Trek: Prodigy in small waves is perhaps the next best thing to creating that serialised vibe past series are known for. The first five episodes set up the dynamics in a new crew of misfits who end up finding an experimental Federation starship–presumably abandoned in the Delta quadrant–and figuring out what to do with it. The hologram that helps them out is a simulacrum of Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) from Voyager. As far as artificial intelligence goes, she’s willing to ignore the fact they’re not cadets.

This series is Paramount’s answer to Star Wars: Rebels. We have Dal (Brett Gray), a 17-year-old renegade without parents. The first episode focuses on him escaping a prisoner’s life and finding the USS Protostar to hide out in. He is joined by Pog (Jason Mantzoukas), Zero (Angus Imrie), Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui) and Murf (Dee Bradley Baker), but five is not enough if they are to escape from the clutches of Diviner (John Noble). He is Gwyn’s father (Ella Purnell), the reluctant sixth member, and is a tyrant of the imprisonment colony of Tars Lamora. Sources say this character is modelled after Kahn from the movies, but I think there’s more of an Admiral Thrawn type personality behind him. He’s in search for that Federation ship. As for what he wants to do with it, that’s anybody’s guess until the next batch of episodes is out.

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The Skullduggery Steals the Show in Nickelodeon’s The Barbarian and the Troll

23 Apr

Nickelodeon to Premiere 'The Barbarian and the Troll' on Friday, April 2,  at 7:30 p.m. (ET/PT)"By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

On Nickelodeon, YTV and YouTube.
Please check local listings for Friday evening showtimes

Nickelodeon’s The Barbarian and The Troll is a love letter to the antics from the original Muppet Show, and tosses in some of Matt Groening’s style from Futurama for good measure. Technically, he’s been producing Disenchantment, which I simply lost interest on over time. This puppet version has a better appeal since it doesn’t feature as much violence.

Brendar (voiced by Spencer Grammar) is very much like a Leela figure, fiercely independent and sassy, and gets her title not by choice. Her side-kick, Evan (series creator Drew Massey) dislikes trying to extol tolls from the bridge he’s supposed to manage. His singing chops are great (the tunes are catchy) and I’d have to say he is more of a bard than a mad troll. However, the people aren’t exactly praising him for his skill. He’s every much a level one D&D character with a charisma value of about five.

True to the fantasy formula, they form an adventuring party, and Brendar takes the lead. I’d guess she’s at least a level six warrior (with a magical talking axe) on a quest to rescue her brother, Kendar. A demon by the name of Alvin kidnapped him. 

There’s Skelly (Allan Trautman), the general of a skeleton patrol who is causing problems in the world of Gothmoria. Their antics are crazier than those from the movie, Army of Darkness, and I suspect that’s where this puppetry team is drawing their inspiration from. Their moments are laugh-out-loud funny, especially the third episode where Skelly has lost his body, and his minions have to figure out how to put their leader back together again. Humpty Dumpty never had it this bad!

Buried in this same narrative is the wizard Horus Scrums (also Trautman) plans for this world. There’s a simplicity in the narrative that’s enjoyable. It’s not too crazy like Lord of the Rings.

Production-wise, the visuals switches from wide shots of the puppets animated by wire to close-ups where puppeteers are tucked below the camera line. This technique works very well to make the show come alive in the same level as The Dark Crystal.

But the big selling point is with Evan’s musical numbers. Somehow, they turn into full blown orchestrations (which may get addressed a fourth wall breaking moment one day). Ultimately, it’s the nostalgia which makes this program great viewing for older audiences who grew up on Henson’s many puppet products. Kids won’t necessarily understand the humour, but I was cracking up whenever the skeletons are on screen. They are the reason I love this show lots. They tickle my funny bone!

4 Stars out of 5

 

What’s New and Old for This Year’s Christmas Special Viewing?

21 Dec

Angela's Christmas Wish review - bringing the warmth back to the seasonBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Many animated Christmas specials (from 19xx to 2000) are considered tradition, and others–the newer stuff–are jockeying for position as a fan favourite in today’s holidays. Of the channels I’m subscribed to (or are part of my regular network package), the content is not feeling as fresh as it could be. YTV is generally my go to channel, but these days, this station is including programming that mixes up decades and a few new things as staples for the season.

They offer a bit of new content. There’s plenty of top ten or twelve, but I’m tightening the belt on making it five!

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The Best All Time Longest Running Cartoons to Self-Isolate With

23 Apr

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By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The Simpsons and South Park notwithstanding, it’s tough to top either as both have been on air for 30+ years now! With most parts of the world in its fifth or sixth week of self-isolating, eventually just I want to do is wish next year is here already! But seriously, if I’m going to be a couch potato, I thankfully have a huge library of television shows–animated and 80’s era shows–to tide my time with. Yes, we can go out for walks around the neighbourhood for a breath of fresh air, but for those people serious in not wanting to be exposed to the virus, it’s better to learn a new hobby to keep the mind and body sharp!

As an animation enthusiast, I’ve seen a lot of cartoon franchises evolve. As new teams gets involved, something is bound to change. I’ll rage about Thundercats Roar later; I’m still trying to decide if I like it.  As new producers try to make something new for today’s viewing audiences, it’s hard to say if they are in touch with kids of today. Perhaps the better question is to ask, are they wanting to remind us of once was then reinvent the premise? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the best example of how these heroes in a half shell has changed. Well, that’s mostly in how April O’Neil looks than the turtles. These teens will never grow up!

My criteria are series lasting for more than but not equal to five seasons. There’s plenty to choose from and instead of a top ten, I’m opting for a top five.

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