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TV Series

Ponies… In… Spaaaaace!

Yes that trope gets used a lot, but anyway… Word has slipped out that Hasbro is hard at work on a sequel to the 2017 animated film My Little Pony: The Movie. According to the Idea Wiki, the plot goes like this: “A giant whirlwind sends Onyx Star, Adonis, the weasels, Nike, Discord and the ostriches to outer space and they need to get back home to Equestria. Along the way, they meet new friends who were also stuck in space years ago, space animals, and evil alien ponies who wanted to capture Onyx and his friends and destroy the Earth with a reliquary-cannon after Groff, Maxil, Zio and their minions sold all of their souls for it.” Got all that? They go on to say: “The film is produced by Allspark Pictures and DHX Media, with animation created once again using Toon Boom Harmony, and is scheduled to be released theatrically on October 2, 2020 in the United States by Lionsgate. It also marks the 10th Anniversary of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” Series favorite Jayson Thiessen is directing again.

image c. 2019 IDW Publishing

The Nuts Are Back

More from Animation World Network: “Feature animation studio ToonBox Entertainment and Canadian production company Pipeline Studios have announced the creation of a new joint venture. Their first project is Nut Jobs, a 2D-animated series for kids ages 6-11 based on The Nut Job, the hit animated feature film franchise that took in $120 million at the international box office. The production companies have been working in development on the series and have tapped Emmy Award-winning industry veteran and Grant Moran to spearhead these efforts. Moran, who will serve as the showrunner for the TV series, previously served as Executive Director in Charge of Production at Nickelodeon.” No word yet on any release date, but stay tooned.

image c. 2019 Toonbox Entertainment

The Annie Award Winners for 2018

Your humble ed-otter and his mate got a chance to attend the Annie Awards at UCLA’s Royce Hall recently. Presented annually by ASIFA-Hollywood, the Annie Awards are considered by many to be the Oscars for animation, voted on by folks who work in the industry. And once again, there was plenty of anthropomorphic content to be found among the winners. By far, the big winner of the evening was Sony Pictures’ Spider Man: Into The Spiderverse. The surprise hit from last December not only won the coveted Best Animated Feature trophy, but also took home the Feature awards for Directing, Writing, Character Animation, Character Design, Production Design, and Editing — winning all seven categories in which it was nominated. (Go, Spider-Ham!). Ralph Breaks The Internet had to settle for only one award in Feature Effects Animation, while the 2D animated sequence in Mary Poppins Returns got the awards for Animated Special Production and Character Animation In A Live Action Feature. Also taking home one award was Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs, which got the award in Feature Voice Acting for Bryan Cranston’s performance as Chief. Over on the TV/Broadcast side of things, the big winners were Hilda from Netflix (taking home awards for Best TV Series For Children, Writing, and Character Animation) and Disney’s Mickey Mouse (with trophies for Music, Storyboarding — tied with Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — and Directing). In TV Character Design, the Annie went to a very anthropomorphic episode of Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure called “Freebird”. Bojack Horseman did well, winning for TV Voice acting (Will Arnett as Bojack) and Best TV Production overall. Dreamworks’ Tales of Arcadia: Trollhunters won the trophy for Best TV Effects Animation. The award for Best Commercial went to “There’s a Rang-Tan in My Bedroom” (produced for Greenpeace), and the first winner of the brand new Best Virtual Reality award was Crow: The Legend (which we’ve talked about before!). Finally, the Ub Iwerks Award for technical achievement went to the developers of the open source software known as Blender, which of course many furry creators have also used extensively. To see all the winners visit the Annie Awards web site — and remember, nominations for the Ursa Major Awards close on February 16th!

image c. 2019 Sony Pictures

Oh My Darlin’ Space Patrol

Whoa, don’t give up on 2018 just yet!  Take a look at some things we missed… Back around Halloween (!) DC Comics continued their mightily-odd hook up with classic Hanna-Barbera characters in new comic book settings. How so? How about the Green Lantern / Huckleberry Hound Special? Yes. “Returning from recent duty in Vietnam, veteran Marine John Stewart — now a member of the Green Lantern Corps — contemplates what, if anything, he should do about the issues tearing his country apart. Meanwhile, Huckleberry’s comments against the Vietnam war have left him a celebrity outcast, and a visit back home to Mississippi puts him face to face with the Civil Rights Movement. What can one man — and one hound — do? Plus, part two of a Secret Squirrel backup story written by J.M. DeMatteis.” Got all that? Check out the web site if you don’t believe us. The main story is by Mark Russell and Rick Leonardi. Not weird enough for you? How about the Deathstroke / Yogi Bear Special, the Nightwing / Magilla Gorilla Special, or the Superman / Top Cat Special? We kid you not.

image c. 2019 DC Comics

What Are YOU Doing This Weekend?

If you grew up between the 1960’s and the 1990’s, we know where you were on Saturday mornings: Seated right in front of the television, catching up with your favorite animated and fantasy TV series. Now four whole decades of weekend TV pleasures are chronicled in It’s Saturday Morning! A Look Back at Four Decades of Animation, Pop Culture, and Tradition (whew!). It’s a new hardcover book written by Joe Garner and Michael Ashley. “With concept art, archival images, all-new interviews, and a foreword by Bobby’s World creator and funnyman Howie Mandel, It’s Saturday Morning! celebrates the shows, characters, songs, and commercials that made Saturday mornings a pop culture event—decade by decade… Broadcasting into family living rooms from the 1960’s to the 1990’s, this wildly creative art form wrought a beloved rite of passage. From the hours of 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., parents could sleep in while their children plopped on the couch to consume cartoons galore. From The Bugs Bunny Show, The Jetsons, and Jonny Quest to The Smurfs, He-Man, and Animaniacs, this window of time promised pure entertainment and an experience that united generations… This entertaining walk down memory lane is made complete by a review of some of the iconic products advertised between these favorite cartoons. ‘After These Messages…’ segments provide fascinating facts about the merchandise that appeared in Saturday morning commercials, such as the Slinky, Lite-Brite, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Golden Crisp cereal.” Yum! Needless to say there are lots of furry-themed shows discussed in these pages. It’s Saturday Morning! is available now from Becker & Meyer.

image c. 2018 Becker & Meyer

Bad Guys Do Good

And yet more from IDW — this time back in the world of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. “Powerless and threatened by a great evil, Princess Luna discovers she can’t count on her sister or any of the usual heroes of Equestria. Running out of time and with nowhere to turn, Luna assembles a team specially suited to save the day… a team of former villains!” Wow, we’re there! Nightmare Knights comes to us from the team of writer Jeremy Whitley and frequent Pony artists Tony Fleecs and Heather Breckel.

image c. 2018 IDW Publishing

Afternoon Delight

IDW has a new anthology comic sure to catch the interest of TV animation watchers — and furry fans: Disney Afternoon Giant. According to them, “It’s the first issue of a brand-new series featuring stories from your favorite Disney Afternoon shows! It’s a blast from the past in the present as we feature classic DuckTales, Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, and Darkwing Duck stories, all together in one place for the first time!” The first issue features stories by Warren Spector and Ian Brill, with art by Leonel Castellani, Jose Massaroli, James Silvani, Jake Myler, and Braden Lamb.

image c. 2018 IDW Publishing

Save the Fuzzlies!

Animation World Network let us know about another new animated series on its way to Nick Jr. “Nickelodeon has set the premiere of their brand-new animated preschool series, Abby Hatcher, created and produced by Spin Master Entertainment… Abby Hatcher tells the story of a little girl with a big heart who helps her friends, the amazing and quirky Fuzzly creatures, fix their mishaps, learn from their mistakes and negotiate their emotions… Abby is an eternally optimistic, kind-hearted seven-year-old girl who loves to lend a helping hand to others and accepts everyone–no matter how different they are. In Abby’s world, humans coexist with Fuzzlies, incredible creatures that each have their own unique abilities that make them special, and Abby’s parents’ hotel is home to many. Together with her best Fuzzly friend Bozzly, Abby goes on wild adventures to fix Fuzzly mishaps and help them in any way she can.” Spin Master Entertainment are the folks who previously gave us PAW Patrol.

image c. 2018 Spin Master Entertainment

Birds in Flight — School

Somehow we missed this — ’till we came across it on DVD! According to Wikipedia, “Top Wing is a Canadian computer-animated television series created by Matthew Fernandes of Industrial Brothers and produced by Industrial Brothers and 9 Story Media Group. Taking place on Big Swirl Island, an island inhabited by birds, Top Wing follows four eager young birds—Rod, Penny, Brody, and Swift—who work together at Top Wing Academy as new cadets to earn their wings by helping their community. With the help of mentor Speedy, the cadets take on different missions for their rescue skills and also help those in need, all while learning important lessons.” You can check it out on Nick Jr.’s web site as well.

image c. 2018 Nick Jr.