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TV Series

Roaring Out Of South Africa

According to the Wikipedia page, Jungle Beat is a CGI animated TV series out of South Africa, featuring the dialogue-free adventures and antics of various African animals. Later, the series was expanded into the adventures of Munki and Trunk. (No prizes for guessing what species they are…) Well now this year Munki and Trunk are on their way in their own feature film as Sunrise Productions presents Jungle Beat: The Movie. “One morning, the animals of the jungle wake up to discover that they can speak. They’re even more amazed when they learn the reason why: There’s an alien in the jungle! Little Fneep has come to conquer the planet and has brought some crazy tech with him, including a translation device that lets them talk for the first time. Unfortunately for the intergalactic Scaldronian empire, but fortunately for the jungle, Fneep is a terrible conqueror: He’s homesick, he’s crashed his ship, and he’s no match for the antics of Munki, Trunk, and the gang.” Keep your eyes open: The producers are planning a world-wide on-line release party at the end of this month.

image c. 2020 Sunrise Productions

No, the OTHER Amazon…!

Once again, a cool new cartoon on Netflix — that’s only shown in countries other than the USA. From Animation Magazine: “New Brazillian animated series Tainá and the Amazon’s Guardians, produced by Hype Animation, Sincrocine, and the Viacom group, is making its streaming debut on Netflix across all of Latin America. Aimed at preschool audiences, the show follows the adventures of a young Indigenous girl named Tainá and her animal friends: The monkey Catu, the king vulture Pepe, and the little hedgehog Suri. With little heroes who are always ready to take care of the forest and their friends, Tainá and the Amazon’s Guardians brings messages of respect, friendship and care for nature to the streaming platform.” The article includes a video of the opening.

image c. 2020 Hype Animation

Back to Fraggle Rock

While we’re all huddled in our caves — why not visit with some friendly creatures who dance in theirs? Apple TV+ and the Jim Henson Company have brought back the stars of the beloved series Fraggle Rock in a new collection of shorts called Fraggle Rock: Rock On! “The Fraggles might be apart in separate caves, but they can still find ways to have fun together! Join Gobo, Red, Boober, Mokey, Wembley, and Uncle Traveling Matt for stories and songs that show everyone how we’re all connected.” Fun fact: How do you produce a new show when everyone is still in lock-down? Simple — the entire show is filmed on iPhones from the production staff’s homes and garages. Modern technology! Here’s a review over at Slashfilm, which includes the trailer.

image c. 2020 The Jim Henson Company

Everybody’s Busy! Just A Little Dizzy!

Recently Jake S. Friedman (author, researcher, and professor of art and animation, according to his web site) brought us his new book The Disney Afternoon: The Making of Television Renaissance. “When the Disney Afternoon premiered in 1990, kids tossed their backpacks aside to watch their favorite Disney television characters. Unlike with feature films, these stars had a new adventure every weekday, and their audience journeyed with them on a daily basis. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, Disney raised the bar with a lineup of innovative, high-quality television animation. The characters were endearing, the writing was clever, and the art was exceptional. Those who grew up with these characters have continued their love affairs for shows like Darkwing Duck, Gargoyles, TaleSpin, and the irrepressibly beloved DuckTales, deep into adulthood. For the first time, learn the history of the Disney Afternoon shows, read interviews from the creative teams, and revel in rare, behind-the-scenes artwork, plus get the full making of story of the modern-day DuckTales series and its legacy connections to the past.” It’s available now in hardcover from Disney Editions. Order it from the author’s store — and check out his other titles.

image c. 2020 Disney Editions

Little Dragons to the Rescue

Remember Dragons Rescue Riders from Dreamworks (which we talked about before)? Well Animation Scoop just let us know about a new 45-minute special on Netflix called Dragons Rescue Riders: Hunt For The Golden Dragon. It’s coming your way on March 27th. “Dak, Leyla, and the Rescue Riders crew brace for their newest adventure when greedy pirates get their hands on a map leading to a precious Golden Dragon’s nest. The young Rescue Riders must race against time to beat the pirates and save the dragon’s egg! Expanding the world of DreamWoks Dragons, the special is executive produced by Emmy-Award winner Jack Thomas (Regular Show, DreamWorks Dragons: Race to the Edge) and co-executive produced by Brian Roberts (DreamWorks VeggieTales). Check out the video preview on YouTube, and look for the special later this month.

image c. 2020 Dreamworks

A Fat Cat You Can Get Behind

Younger fur fans might not remember What’s Michael? the manga or the successful anime series that followed it — but over the years we’ve talked a LOT about Makoto Kobayashi’s creation: A somewhat lazy pet cat with a very active imagination. Well now the original manga return in a new black & white collection from Dark Horse Press. “True-to-life daily cat scenarios and off-the-wall crazy feline fantasies combine in this epic manga collection! Makoto Kobayashi’s hilarious series returns in a set of oversized collections, starting with our first Fatcat Collection!” Volume 1 is available now — and at more than 500 pages, even the book is fat!

image c. 2020 Dark Horse Press

Back The Rainbow

This last summer brought as a brand new Care Bares series on Boomerang, Care Bears: Unlock The Magic — and to go with it, a brand new tie-in comic book series from IDW. “Welcome to the Silver Lining, a mystical realm full of mirth and magic! The Care Bears, along with their pals the Whiffles, protect this realm from the negative influence of the mischievous Bluster and his Bad Crowd! With engaging, unique characters and an irreverent and heartwarming sense of humor, this new series is perfect for anyone looking for more magic in their lives!” Featuring art by Agnes Garbowska of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fame. All three issues of the comic mini-series are available now.

image c. 2019 IDW Publishing

Along Comes ANOTHER Pony

We’re already finding out more and more about new animated TV series to be looking for as we go galloping into 2020. Series like… It’s Pony, premiering later this month on Nickelodeon. “The 20-episode series follows the comedic adventures of Annie and her best friend, who just so happens to be an enthusiastic, unpredictable, and carefree pony… The series stars Jessica DiCicco (Adventure Time) as Annie, an optimistic and determined farm girl living in the city with her family and best friend Pony; Josh Zuckerman (Strange Angel) as Pony, who is naïve and impulsive, but loves Annie more than anything; Abe Benrubi (E.R.) as Dad, who treats Pony as a nuisance, but recognizes the special bond he shares with Annie; and India de Beaufort (All Hail King Julien) as Mom, who loves Annie and Pony’s relationship and always has a new project in the works.” Animation Scoop has a preview video to check out. [And with that — we wish you a Happy, Safe, and Very Furry New Year!]

image c. 2019 Nickelodeon

Here Come The Annie Awards!

Presented annually by the Hollywood Chapter of ASIFA (the International Animated Film Society), the Annie Awards are considered by many to the the Oscars of animation — and often enough, a vital clue as to who is likely in the running for Academy Awards from this year. Recently, the nominees for the Annie Awards of 2019 were announced. Surprising no one, Disney dominated in several categories, most especially in Best Feature Film. Frozen 2 and Toy Story 4 were both on that list, along with Missing Link, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, and Klaus. Missing Link did surprise many, matching Frozen 2 at 8 overall nominations each. Over in the TV categories, notable furry nominees included Bojack Horseman, Disney Mickey Mouse, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and a pleasant surprise: Tuca & Bertie in several categories. Visit the official Annie Awards web site to find out more. The Awards will be presented at a ceremony live from UCLA on January 25th, 2020.

image c. 2019 Netflix