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Television

New Furry TV from Dreamworks

According to an article at Animation Scoop, we (or at least Amazon Prime Video subscribers) have not one but two new TV series from Dreamworks Animation to look forward to. First off are the brand new 2D adventures of none other than Rocky and Bullwinkle, set to premier this May. “The world-famous talking moose and flying squirrel are back in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, a serialized comedy about two goofball best friends who routinely find themselves thrust into harrowing situations but end up saving the day time and again… The series is executive produced by Scott Fellows (The Fairly OddParents, Big Time Rush) and Tiffany Ward, daughter of the original series producer Jay Ward, and features Tara Strong (The Powerpuff Girls, Teen Titans Go!) as the voice of Rocket J. Squirrel, Brad Norman (America’s Most Haunted) as Bullwinkle J. Moose, Ben Diskin (Hey Arnold!) as Boris Badenov, Rachel Butera (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Natasha Fatale, Piotr Michael (Impress Me, MADtv) as Fearless Leader, and Daran Norris (The Fairly OddParents) as the Narrator.” Then, there’s a brand new TV series based on the Kung Fu Panda movies. “Later in 2018, Prime Video will premiere Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny, an epic adventure series from Emmy Award-winning executive producers Mitch Watson and Elliott Owen (All Hail King Julien), and Lane Lueras (The Adventures of Puss in Boots). When four panda kids stumble upon a mystical cave beneath Panda Village, accidentally absorbing the chi of ancient and powerful kung fu warriors known as the Four Constellations, they must realize a destiny to save the world from an evil force. Meanwhile, Po finds himself faced with his biggest challenge yet — teaching this ragtag band of kids how to wield their newfound powers.” Much to keep your eyes out for! No previews for Paws of Destiny yet, but the article has a preview video of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

image c. 2018 Dreamworks

Animals of the World — but not North America

You know, it’s getting to be an old saw that the rest of the world gets to see some very cool animation — and much of it furry! — that we never get distributed over here. Oh well, here’s hoping that opportunities arise! Next on the list? The Tales of Tatonka, an animated series for kids that was created by Cyber Group Studios. According to Animation World Network, “The Tales of Tatonka tells the adventurous stories of four wolf cubs who grow together as a family living with nature. Their friend Tatonka, the bison, helps the young wolves explore their wilderness home along with friends Cinksi the lynx, Poum the bear, Wahi the squirrel and Wambli the eagle. Written by Pierre Sissmann and directed by Olivier Lelardoux, The Tales of Tatonka has received multiple awards across the world including a Golden Panda nomination in China and Karusel TV’s Best Kids’ Series in Russia. The series combines an 11-minute animated adventure with a live action segment titled ‘The World of Tatonka,’ depicting animal life in the wild.” So if you’re in China or Russia, look it up!

image c. 2018 Cyber Group Studios

They Get It Over There…

We stumbled across an interesting article about a new series of animated shorts coming to TV in South Africa. “NickToons in association with local animation studio, Sunrise Productions have proudly developed it’s first South African animation for the channel. Munki and Trunk is a dialogue-free 3D animated TV series for kids aged 4 to 7. Munki is a vine-swinging force of nature, hungry for bananas and adventure. Trunk is a big-hearted elephant who loves to nurture and play. These unlikely best friends explore their world together, facing fears and helping friends along the way. It’s the most fun you can have in the jungle.” The show is produced by Tim Keller, and it premiers this month. No word at all if anyone plans to distribute it to other parts of the world, unfortunately.

image c. 2018 Sunrise Productions

This Lion is Kuku

We have Fred Patten to thank for this: He pointed us in the direction of Kuku and Mey Mey, a new 2D animated comedy series of shorts created by Anish Patel and realized by HopMotion Animation. Here’s how they describe the show: “On the edge of the wildlife sanctuary that is Kuku’s home, is a famous Jungle Inn. This is Kuku’s hunting ground and the comforts of the Jungle Inn are big game. All Kuku wants to do is sneak into the inn and steal the modern day comforts it has to offer. Meanwhile, the territorial Mey Mey will go to any lengths to stop Kuku from trespassing. Her notorious booby traps are set at every corner to do the trick and embarrass the beast out of Kuku. The result is a chaos laden chase comedy that turns the tables on predator and prey.” Now, about distribution: “The first season of the show has 78 episodes of seven minutes each and is available on North America’s OTT platform Toon Goggles and VOD platform Amazon Prime US, under the title Kuku and the Goat.” Got it? The article over at Animation Xpress has more details and a preview video too.

image c. 2018 HopMotion Animation

Teenage Girls and Their Friends

Over at Cartoon Brew there’s an article about two new animated TV series coming to The Disney Channel in 2019. They have some interesting things in common: Both feature teenage human females transported to an unearthly other realm, and both have been created by storyboard artists who worked on the wildly-popular series Gravity Falls. One is a bit anthro, and one is very anthro! The former would be Owl House, created by Dana Terrace. “The show follows Luz, a self-assured teenager who accidentally enters a portal to the Demon Realm where she befriends a rebellious witch, Eda, and a tiny warrrior, King. Though she lacks any magical abilities, Luz pursues her dream of becoming a witch by apprenticing with Eda, and ultimately finds a new family in an unlikely setting.” On the other paw (flipper?) there’s Amphibia, from Matt Braly. “The show tells the story of Anne Boonchuy, a self-centered teenager who is magically transported to the world of Amphibia, a rural marshland populated by frog-people. There she meets a young frog named Sprig, who will become Anne’s first true friend and help transform her into a hero.” Keep your ear-holes open for some more precise debut dates when we get them.

image c. 2018 Disney TV Animation

Two Birdies on the Town

We actually heard about this from several sources: Tuca & Bertie is a new 2D animated series coming soon to Netflix. It stars comedian Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) as Tuca, “a cocky, care-free toucan who’s friends with a 30-something and anxious songbird (the titular Bertie)”. Ms. Haddish is also executive producer on the show, which was created by BoJack Horseman producer and designer Lisa Hanawalt. AV Club has more information about it, but no premier date yet.

image c. 2018 Netflix

Light the Lights, Baby

Disney Channel is bringing back a childhood memory for many, and perhaps creating new memories for a new generation. This March they will premier a new Muppet Babies TV series as part of their Disney Junior line-up. (If you didn’t know, back in the 1990’s the original Muppet Babies 2D animated series was so successful that it spawned a flood of imitators, including Disney Babies and Warner Brother Babies, no less.) Interestingly, this will be the first Muppet TV series animated in CGI. (Also interesting: Jenny Slate (Dawn Bellwether from Zootopia) is one of the voice actors.) According to Animation Scoop: “Based on the original Emmy Award-winning series, the all-new CG-animated Muppet Babies chronicles the hilarious playroom antics of the young Kermit the Frog, Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Animal and brand-new Muppet Baby, Summer Penguin. The series will feature guest appearances by fan-favorite Muppets including: Statler and Waldorf, Bunsen and Beaker, Rowlf the Dog, Rizzo, and Dr. Teeth. Set in the vibrant playroom of an urban brownstone with an expansive backyard, the Muppet Babies have everything they need at their fingertips to lead them on their fantastical adventures.” The article has a lot more information, and a preview clip as well. Look for the new series to debut March 23rd.

image c. 2018 Disney Channel

The Annie Awards for 2017

Saturday the 3rd at UCLA, the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA) handed out the annual Annie Awards for the best in animated films, television, and effects for the year 2017. As everyone expected, the big winner of the evening was Disney/Pixar’s Coco, which took home 11 of the 13 honors that it was nominated for, including Best Feature, Best Directing, and Best Writing. (Not really an anthropomorphic film, but those alebrijes were so cool!) In spite of Coco’s sweep, there was still room for several anthropomorphic items to win awards in several categories. Revolting Rhymes was awarded Best Special Production (the award for medium-length original films). Based on the poems of Roald Dahl, Revolting Rhymes was created by Magic Light Pictures, which previously brought us The Gruffalo and Highway Rat. Silvergate Media’s series The Octonauts won for Best TV Production for Preschool Children, while We Bare Bears won Best TV Production for Children. Trollhunters won for Best Character Animation in a TV Production, and the feature War for the Planet of the Apes won for Character Animation in a Live Action Production. Cuphead took home the award for Best Game. Meanwhile, the Disney Mickey Mouse TV series had quite a night, taking home Annies for Best Directing, Best Music, and Best Storyboarding. Visit the Annie Awards web site to see the full list. [And remember: The Ursa Major Awards are taking nominations now!]

Image c. 2018 Magic Light Pictures

Funny Animals Around The World — Except Here

And here we go again… Another cool animated funny animal series that has picked distribution around the world but somehow skipped North America… well, at least not the US of A. Here’s what Animation World Network has to say about Animanimals: “Each of the 26 non-dialogue episodes features a different animal facing an absurd adventure with a surprise ending. The series has already won 20 prizes across the world, including the Audience Award at the New York Children’s Film Festival for two consecutive years — for the films Zebra and Octopus — and the award for the Best Film for Young Children at the Chicago Children’s Film Festival for Zebra… The family entertainment series Animanimals is produced by highly experienced and creatively driven Studio Film Bilder in Stuttgart, which also has garnered many awards over its 28-year history… “All stories are driven by director Julia Ocker’s engaging sense of humor,” says Thomas Meyer-Hermann, founder of Studio Film Bilder. “There is laughter and empathy throughout the story, and then excitement at the clever and creative solution.“” Now it’s ready to be shown in much of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, New Zealand, and Canada. We’ll let you know if it gets closer to us here!

image c. 2018 Studio Film Bilder