Cartoon Network revealed their 2011-2012 line up and list of shows last week. While not as impressive in number, the quality of shows announced may be their best line up in years. There were noticeably fewer movies and specials, but given the strength of their new and returning shows, thatâ€™s not a bad thing at all. I want cartoons on Cartoon Network, not movies. Some highlights include:
Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment continue their new media push with a smart announcement of a DC Nation program. Not many details were revealed about this brandingâ€”which is what Iâ€™m calling it for nowâ€”as it was never specifically referred to as a show.
Debuting in 2012 as a multi-platform franchise, DC Nation will be the exclusive home for original DC animation properties. Backed by the production, publishing and marketing resources of Warner Bros., DC Entertainment and Cartoon Network, DC Nation will be an on-air and online programming block populated with event programming, interstitials, exclusive behind-the-scenes of theatrical production and an insider look into the world of all things DC.
â€œDC Nation on Cartoon Network will be the first-ever dedicated broadcast destination to showcase the depth and breadth of the DC Universe,â€ said Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment. â€œWe and our partners at WBTV are thrilled that fans will be able to immerse themselves in DCâ€™s phenomenal stories, experience a wide spectrum of amazing characters and stay up-to-date on the latest happenings of the worldâ€™s greatest superheroes and their creators, both on-air and online.â€
Referred to as a program block, Iâ€™m betting weâ€™ll see Young Justice (returning for Season 2) and the new Green Lantern: The Animated Series airing together under the DC Nation banner. For now, Iâ€™d not get my hopes up for seeing a lot of original content airing under the DC Nation. Itâ€™s too costly to produce a lot of unique content, so I’ expect weâ€™ll see televised airings of DCâ€™s direct-to-video movies, the Showcase shorts, and promotional materials. A good example would be to think of what ABC Family does with their Harry Potter sneak peaks.
With the Green Lantern film coming out in a few months, look for Hal Jordan and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps to get a lot of attention with their new series.
Green Lantern: The Animated Series – Based upon the DC Comics super hero, the series is an all-new CG animated action series from Warner Bros. As Earthâ€™s Green Lantern, Hal Jordan is used to being in dangerous situationsâ€”but heâ€™s never faced anything like this! Set at the farthest reaches of deep space, Hal must face down an invasion from the Red Lantern Corps. Hal is soon joined by an all-new group of heroes on a mission to protect Guardian Space â€”and the Green Lantern Corps itself!
I expect this series will really show the depth of the Green Lantern Corp and truly span the galaxy. With the Red Lanternâ€™s being mentioned, you can bet weâ€™ll see other colors in later seasons if the show is successful. However, donâ€™t hold your breath for the Yellow Corpâ€”I guarantee that will be reserved for a follow up film.
Look for Ben 10 to evolve yet again, as Cartoon Network takes one of itâ€™s most successful original animated shows and reinvents it with a currently untitled new incarnation. Ben 10: Ultimate Alien was originally referred to as Ben 10: Evolutions, so we might see that title return. One sad note, with the recent passing of Dwayne McDuffie, Ben 10 has lost one of the driving minds behind the series. Iâ€™ll be interested to see how this show progresses into itâ€™s fifth incarnation.
New Ben 10 Series [Title TBD]: Ben 10 has been one of Cartoon Networkâ€™s most successful original series since first premiering on the network in January 2006. The franchise has since spawned four animated series, one animated movie, two live-action movies, a widely-popular consumer products line and has captured the imaginations of viewers on a global scale.
Cartoon Network is hoping that new and old fans alike will tune in for a revamped ThunderCats series in 2011. Early previews of the show have old fans excited, despite a few changes to entice younger fansâ€”like a younger Lion-O and Tigra. The anime style of the animation isnâ€™t all that different from the original series. I expect this one will be a big hit.
ThunderCats: The re-imagined animated series based on the beloved 80s classic tells the tale of a heroâ€™s epic journey to fulfill his ultimate destiny. On Third Earth, the kingdom of Thundera is being threatened by the evil sorcerer Mumm-Ra and young heir to the throne Lion-O embarks on a great quest to take his rightful place as king. The unlikely champion, joined by his faithful comrades Tygra, Cheetara, Panthro, WilyKit, WilyKat and his loyal pet Snarf, must work together to save their world from darkness.
Iâ€™ll mention two more shows real quick, before listing the rest of the new and returning shows. I’ expect a lot of fans of How to Train Your Dragon will be tuning in for the animated series of the same name when it debuts. This Dreamworks film is easily one of the best animated films of the past few years and eager fans of the film (and book series) should flock to the show.
How to Train Your Dragon: Based on the book by Cressida Cowell, DreamWorks Animationâ€™s new series rolls fire-breathing action, epic adventure and laughs into a captivating and original story. Hiccup is a young Viking who defies tradition when he befriends one of his deadliest foesâ€”a ferocious dragon he calls Toothless. Together, the unlikely heroes must fight against all odds to save both of their worlds.
Finally, I know my 7-year old son is like most others and heâ€™s crazy for the Lego Ninjago specials that are currently airing on Cartoon Network. Take the concept of Beyblade (which all elementary school boys are into right now) and combine that with Lego plus Ninjas and whatâ€™s not to love? This will be the one show your son(s) will be bugging you to watch or record.
Lego Ninjago: After a time of peace in Ninjago, our four Ninja heroes are about to face a new dangerous enemy. Lloyd Garmadon, son of their archenemy Lord Garmadon, has unleashed a new evil with unique powers. Soon his ambition to follow in his fatherâ€™s footsteps has put all of Ninjago in jeopardy.
Continue reading for the rest of Cartoon Networkâ€™s new shows, returning shows and specialsâ€¦