Cartoon Network announced a host of new series and specials at its upfronts this morning. The most problematic for me: Scooby-Doo–Mystery Inc., yet another series in the unkillable dog-detective franchise. The Tuned In Jrs. are just winding down from a major obsession with the various generations of the series, which I’d just barely made my peace with largely because I was able to keep them away from Shaggy & Scooby-Doo: Get a Clue, the most recent spinoff, which made the Hanna-Barbera originals look like Ibsen.
So I’m thinking of trying to hide the fact that the new series will exist from them. (Not to mention an origins movie, Scooby Doo! The Mystery Begins [sic without hyphen].) Hopefully, they’ll be excited enough by the return of Clone Wars and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. On which they’ll probably see commercials for the new Scooby-Doo. Sigh.
You, on the other hand, may be more excited by Total Drama Action, a follow-up to Total Drama Island, while I want to see the new Genndy Tartakovsky series. The very lengthy programming announcement, after the jump:
COMEDY AND ACTION-ADVENTURE ANIMATED SERIES
· Adventure Time with Finn and Jake: Finn, the human boy with the awesome hat, and Jake, the wise dog, are close friends and partners in strange adventures in the land of Ooo. The 30-minute series is from Cartoon Network Studios, created by Pendleton Ward and executive produced by Fred Siebert and Derek Drymon.
· Stoked: Six teenaged groms (young surfers) come together for 12 weeks over summer to work and surf at the world renowned Surfer’s Paradise Resort on the legendary Sunset Island, home of the most epic surf break in the country. From Cake Distribution and Fresh Animation, Stoked is created by Jennifer Pertsch and Tom McGillis (Total Drama Island).
· Total Drama Action: Showcasing all the elements of favorite reality TV shows—romances and friendships; scheming and sabotage; death-defying stunts and stomach curdling challenges within larger-than-life elimination competition—Total Drama Action succeeds Cartoon Network’s #1 show of 2008, Total Drama Island, from Cake Distribution and Fresh Animation. Fourteen contestants face thrilling challenges on an abandoned film studio back-lot, all inspired by the movies.
· Ben 10: Evolutions (working title): An all-new animated series follows 16-year-old Ben Tennyson as his secret identity has been revealed to the world and he’s now an international mega-star super hero, loved by kids the world over but distrusted by many adults. Armed with a mysterious new Omnitrix, Ben will see action in places he’s never been. From Cartoon Network Studios, Glen Murakami (Teen Titans) serves as supervising producer and Dwayne McDuffie serves as story editor.
· Sym-Bionic Titan: From creator Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack) comes an exciting hybrid of high school drama and giant robot battles. Sym-Bionic Titan follows the adventures of three beings from the planet Galaluna who crash-land on Earth while attempting to escape their war-torn world.
· Generator Rex: Infected by microscopic molecular-altering nanites, 15-year-old Rex has the ability to grow incredible machines out of his body. Recruited by an organization called Providence, Rex travels the world investigating a host of biological mutations that were created by the same nanites that give Rex his powers. Generator Rex is from Man of Action, creators of Ben 10. John Fang of Cartoon Network Studios serves as supervising director.
· Scooby-Doo – Mystery, Inc.: A sleepy little village, Crystal Cove, boasts a long history of ghost sightings, poltergeists, demon possession, phantoms and other paranormal occurrences. The renowned sleuthing team of Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo arrive to prove all of this simply isn’t real—but they don’t realize the locals don’t welcome their help. The series is produced by Warner Bros. Animation.
ALTERNATIVE LIVE-ACTION SERIES
· The Othersiders: This thrilling reality adventure series follows five friends on real missions to explore mysterious, potentially haunted locations in search of evidence that will confirm or deny the existence of paranormal activity.
· Survive This: An exciting reality series challenges teenagers ages 14 to 17 to push their limits, overcome fears and develop lifelong survival skills. Hosted by Les Stroud (Survivorman), each episode aims to test endurance, wit and self-determination.
· Destroy Build Destroy: In a huge construction zone, two teams become demolition experts with the guidance and assistance of experts in the field, using wrecking balls, human destroyers and real explosions. Each week brings a new challenge to build from the debris, with strategy, wits and teamwork deciding which team’s creation out-performs the other—and whose hard work goes up in smoke.
· Head Rush (working title): Kids participate as game show contestants playing for cash while riding thrill-inducing amusement park rides.
· Dude, What Would Happen: This series stars three adventurous teens who ask and answer imaginative questions such as, “Dude, what would happen if you attached 350 helium balloons to a sumo wrestler?” A series so over-the-top, you just might learn something.
· Bobb’e Says: Starring Bobb’e J. Thompson (30 Rock, Human Giant), Bobb’e Says is a fast-paced, viral video clip show where other people’s painful mistakes become tools for Bobb’e as he dispenses sage wisdom to an unsuspecting public.
LIVE-ACTION AND ANIMATED ORIGINAL MOVIES
· Ben 10: Alien Swarm: Director Alex Winter and writer John Turman (Hulk ’03, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer) team for an all-new, live-action movie based on the hit animated series Ben 10: Alien Force, set to premiere in fall2009. Ben 10: Alien Swarm follows teenage hero Ben Tennyson (Ryan Kelley) as he breaks ranks from the Plumbers, a secret organization that battles alien forces, to help Elena (Alyssa Diaz), a mysterious young woman, uncover an alien threat to our world. Additional cast members include Barry Corbin (No Country for Old Men) as Grandpa Max, Galadriel Stineman as Gwen and Nathan Keyes as Kevin.
· Scooby Doo! The Mystery Begins: Discover the never-before-told story of how a mismatched quartet of teenagers first came together before becoming known as the Mystery Inc. gang. Freddy (Robbie Amell), the school athlete; Velma (Hayley Kiyoko), the science fair-winning brainiac; Daphne (Kate Melton), the drama beauty; Shaggy (Nick Palatas), the misfit; and Shaggy’s newly adopted dog, Scooby Doo, are forced to band together to clear their names. Scooby Doo! The Mystery Begins, a Cartoon Network co-production with Warner Premiere and directed by Brian Levant (Snow Dogs, The Flintstones), is slated to premiere in fall 2009.
· Firebreather: Cartoon Network’s first original all-CG animation adventure presents Duncan Rosenblatt, a rather typical, awkward high school kid, except that his dad is a fire-breathing dragon and he is destined to protect the earth. Created and co-executive-produced by Phil Hester (The Wretch), Firebreather is executive-produced by Julia Pistor (Lemony Snicket) and co-executive-produced by Andy Kuhn (Freedom Ring)—Jim Kreig (Ben 10: Alien Force) joins as writer. Peter Chung (Aeon Flux) is attached to direct.
· Tiger’s Apprentice: The best-selling young adult book by Lawrence Yep will be brought to life in a live-action movie. Tom Lee, a teenager suddenly orphaned, is put under the protection of Mr. Hu, a mystical tiger who can take human form. Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) is attached to serve as executive producer/director, Oscar®-nominated screenwriter David Magee (Finding Neverland) adapted the book and Jane Startz (Tuck Everlasting, Indian in the Cupboard) serves as executive producer.
SCRIPTED LIVE-ACTION PILOTS
· Unnatural History (working title): An action-packed blend of science, western culture, eastern philosophy and martial arts, Unnatural History is an urban adventure series centered around Henry Griffin, a teenager with exceptional skills acquired through years of globe-trotting with his anthropologist parents. But Henry faces his biggest challenge of all when he moves back to America to attend a high school stranger than any place he’s ever lived before. Created and written by Mike Werb (Face/Off, The Mask); the pilot will be produced in association with Warner Horizon Television Inc.
· Prepped (working title): A rebellious teen wakes up one morning to find himself trapped at a mysterious prep school that offers no escape. He forms a secret group to discover what they’re being trained for and how to escape. The pilot is executive-produced and written by Paul Dini (Lost, Batman Beyond).
RETURNING ANIMATED SERIES
· Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The #1 series with boys 6-11 returns to Cartoon Network in fall 2009 for a second season. The hit CG-animated series from creator George Lucas and Lucasfilm Animation takes viewers to the front lines of an intergalactic struggle between good and evil with favorite characters such as Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padmé Amidala, along with brand new heroes like Anakin’s padawan learner, Ahsoka.
· Chowder: In Marzipan City, the Mung Daal Catering Company cooks up the most oddly delicious food where aspiring young chef-in-training Chowder falls into all sorts of fantastic mis-adventures. The series is from creator C. H. Greenblatt at Cartoon Network Studios.
· The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Raised by Bubbie the talking whale in the bubbling splendor of the sea, young Flapjack rescues an old pirate, Captain K’nuckles, whose tall tales tangle up and consume Flapjack with an unquenchable desire for adventure. Creator Thurop Van Ormon produces the series at Cartoon Network Studios.
· The Secret Saturdays: In this comedy-action series created by Jay Stephens, Doc, Drew and Zak Saturday are a family of world-saving adventure scientists called The Secret Saturdays who are part of a network of scientists who protect the world against all the underlying evil. The Secret Saturdays is produced by Porchlight Entertainment.
· Batman: The Brave and the Bold: From Warner Bros. Animation comes the latest interpretation of the classic Batman franchise. Our Caped Crusader is teamed up with heroes from across the DC Universe—Blue Beetle, Green Arrow, Aquaman and countless others—to deliver nonstop action and adventure with a touch of comic relief.