Tag Archives: YTV

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

 

The Hardy Boys Hardly Excels in Captivating Interest

14 Mar

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

On YTV (Canada) and Hulu (USA)
Please check local listings for accurate showtimes

The television show, Hardy Boys, is finally broadcasting in Canada! Since making its debut in the States, I think interest has been minimal. Nancy Drew is better because it has a paranormal edge. Sadly, this series is being handled by another studio, so no crossover is expected. Had it, I would’ve been more invested in the ongoing narrative concerning a mysterious Tall Man and digging into the D. B. Cooper trope.

This version sees the duo differing in age by a wide margin. Anyone familiar with the books knows they are a year apart. In the live action, the five-year difference is also in their attitudes towards one another. The eldest is a teen. This detail makes for a different dynamic in their relationship. It’s reflected in how they feel when their mother dies under mysterious circumstances. She was killed while writing about something.

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Thoughts on Reboot: The Guardian Code 20 Episodes & On The Great Escape

20 Dec

Surprisingly, the second half (season) of Reboot: The Guardian Code (RtGC) is a vast improvement over its weak start. The narrative takes an air of an espionage thriller and a binge watch of all twenty episodes show a grand design which I am enjoying. Canadian broadcaster YTV aired all the episodes and is still airing them, while on Netflix, two seasons exist. Shades of Disney’s TRON colour the digital landscape, and that’s only because this film introduced me to the idea of becoming part of the digital universe is possible; the spirit of the user remains in every bit of code they create. Those pulses of energy within the machine is life too.

Throughout other shows, these ghosts in the machine are real. In cyberpunk literature, this idea is nothing new. When considering RtGC has three agencies interested in acquiring this technology–the Sourcerer, Megabyte and the Department of Internet Security–their interests are not for the greater good. They are not out to mend or defend.

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YTV’s June 4th, ReBoot with The Guardian Code Reviewed

2 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Had ReBoot: The Guardian Code been titled anything else, this television program would not have been so derided. This series is available to most fans to see on Netflix worldwide. In Canada, YTV has exclusive rights and no firewall can stop crackers to use a VPN service to see the series online. It will soon broadcast on June 4th for those living north of the 49th who do not as technically savvy.

By not making this new chapter part of a much-beloved part of animation history would give this product a better chance for love. Also, the fact this series borrowed a lot from Code Lyoko did not help. This series did not do justice to those who loved ReBoot, the original series, like myself. Nothing is followed up on. A few real-world details connecting the past to modern day are offered, but nothing is said to explain how computer programmers know about the Guardians. This backstory is the only reason I’m going to continue watching.

Some decades have obviously passed. The location of Mainframe is revealed to be located in the basement of a school, and this fact strikes me as odd. I do not expect such a computer system which is home to Bob, Dot and Enzo to exist there. Perhaps the system they discovered is a backup server; the real one is lurking in some forgotten hallway at Electronic Arts Burnaby.

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