Monday, 22 August 2011

Saturday Morning Cartoons - E14 Style

Saturday Morning Cartoons. It was a staple of the weekend for many children, and those who didn’t have it will just have to live with the knowledge that their childhood, however awesome, wasn’t quite the peak of win. This said, at the core E14 is about never letting certain aspects of your childhood slip away, so today let’s take a look at the way to make your Saturday Mornings more awesome in a way that only we can recommend.

In order to give it a fair test, I’m taking the following as the unofficial rules of Saturday Morning Cartoons. Firstly, I’m taking the total length of programming as 4 hours, as the only record I could find of any classic Saturday Morning Cartoon timings ran from 8am to 12pm. Secondly, all episodes of TV series are being taken as 30 minutes, and feature length presentations are taken as two hours, in order to account for where the ads would have been. If you don’t like that, take the 7 or so minutes you gain as a result of the shorter episodes and spend them polishing my proverbial balls.

I do have real balls as well, by the way, but like I’m going to let you rabble anywhere near them!

08:00-09:00 - Futurama Double-Bill


It’s no secret to loyal readers that I’m quite the fan of Futurama, even going so far as to call it better than The Simpsons simply because it never got to the stale stage. Since that post, admittedly, they’ve released some of those straight-to-DVD editions of Futurama, which while they’ve provided some laughs maybe weren’t up to the same standard. Nevertheless, my feeling of it as one of the best TV programmes in history still remains.

If you’re after specific seasons to watch, I’d personally recommend the second or third season, as this is where I feel the series hit its stride in terms of great episodes. Ultimately, the reason for this is that these series develop the secondary cast really well. With episodes dedicated to Hermes (“How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back”) and Zoidberg (“Why Must I Be A Crustacean In Love?”) particular highlights, there’s also no shortage of good episodes with the main cast as well.

Alternatives - Family Guy

Yeah, I’m aware that in the above post I referred to this show as “Overrated” (quite rightly so, in my opinion), but for the sake of an hour’s viewing, it’s very easy to find two episodes worth watching. Episodes of note include “Da Boom” (dealing with the Griffin family coping with post-nuclear Quahog) and “If I’m Dyin’, I’m Lyin’” where faking a life-threatening illness backfires for Peter (imagine that).

09:00-10:00 – Star Wars: The Clone Wars

This is one of those series that, although I’d enjoyed the two cartoon tales done before this CG series, really didn’t interest me initially. The idea of a CG series produced for the US’ Cartoon Network was one thing, but the idea of one that extensively featured the Separatist battle droids and Jar Jar Binks was something else entirely. After all, as far as I’m concerned, the battle droids are far more stupid than Jar Jar’s character (though I marvel at how much the latter seems to feature despite fan reception for his character). Imagine how much The Terminator would suck if Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cyborg character showed not only emotion, but goofy emotion.

Anyway, one of the best things about this series is that the character development is done really well. That’s right, even the stupid characters are well-developed. The first episode is about a group of clone troopers led by Yoda who get ambushed by Separatist droids. Two things stood out about the episode. The first is a more obvious theme throughout the episode, and sees Yoda giving the clone troopers some words of encouragement in one of the more poignant memories I have of cartoon history, besides the futuristic New Adventures of He-Man feature film where you thought he got killed within the first five minutes. I’m not convinced, incidentally, that I didn’t imagine that occurrence, so I’d be grateful for some feedback from people who remember it.

The second is a much more subtle thing which can just be chalked up to people “getting” the character which they’re writing. It involves an awesome Separatist character whose name rhymes with Barrage Bentress, and it’s one look which defines the character; instantly hate-filled, arrogant and embodying everything that we associate with the Sith. Brad had to point that one out to me the first time, but when I went back and looked I was blown away with how well it fit. I suppose it’s a testament to the subtlety of it that I didn’t spot it on first viewing.

Still, through the first series alone, viewers are given an insight into the lair of General Grievous, and considering that the series is on Cartoon Network, it’s dark as fuck for the younger viewer. I suppose that it’s a sign of changing times that the PG rating has changed significantly in its definition of what might be upsetting for younger viewers. Having said that, a guy pulled a bloke’s heart out of his chest in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and that was PG, so maybe it’s not always that simple.

Adding to the series’ character development ethos is the quality of the visuals, which are absolutely spot-on, especially on Blu-Ray where the series really looks sublime. Although the music is changed a little bit to reflect the more military feel of the series, the music still feels like Star Wars, even if it’s not as good as the films’ soundtracks. The voice acting is also superb. Considering that there are very few characters that are voiced by their original actors, the voice actors playing the roles still manage to do their part convincingly.

Alternatives - Batman: The Animated Series

This one should come as no surprise to loyal fans either, as I’ve been pretty vocal on my appreciation for Batman in the past. The series is a good ‘un, and pretty much made Mark Hamill a hero among cartoon fans and (later) video game fans. Now, granted, a lot of those people should have been fans if they weren’t already, as there was probably a fair Star Wars overlap. Mark Hamill is amazing, and let’s never say another less-than-glowing thing about him on E14 again, eh? That’d be great. Honestly…

Come back to E14 on Wednesday, where we'll be doing the second half of our Saturday Morning Cartoon schedule! Don't forget, if you have questions/comments/criticisms (constructive ideally please), you can get in touch with us either via the comments field or on the site email.

Presented to you in Rob Wade Vision- Follow Rob Wade on Twitter

HATCHET 2 GIVEAWAY


To celebrate the 29th August UK DVD and Blu-ray release of Hatchet 2 - directed by Adam Green (Hatchet; Frozen; Spiral) we have an original money-can't-buy cinema poster of the film signed by the great horror director himself plus a copy of the film on Blu-ray. Hatchet 2 is being released by Arrow Films and is available to order from Amazon on DVD and Blu-ray right now!

For your chance of winning these awesome prizes, send your name and full postal address to emotionally14@hotmail.co.uk before midday on Monday 29th August, making sure to put "Hatchet 2" as the subject. The first entry out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will the poster and Blu-ray!

Don't forget to put "Hatchet 2" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Hatchet 2 is available from Monday 29th August.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

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