Weekend Animation Round-up: The Clone Wars, TMNT, and WTF Happened to DC Nation?

By Noel Kirkpatrick

Oct 14, 2012

This week's round-up is a bit lighter than usual, as Cartoon Network has very suddenly and unexpectedly pulled the DC Nation Block—Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice—from its schedule, and according to the DC Comics and Cartoon Network Twitter feeds, the programming block won’t return until January. Consider this, as a friend of mine called it, a “Crisis on Infinite Saturday Mornings.”

Neither party has announced the reason for this sudden hiatus, or whose idea it was. But you know, a two-and-a-half month hiatus following two weeks of new episodes that started after a nearly three-month hiatus makes perfect sense. Really. It does. ON EARTH-2. I don’t get it. At all.


Star Wars: The Clone Wars S05E03: “Front Runners”

We were still on Onderon as “Front Runners” began, and the Jedi-trained rebels were beginning their campaign against the droids stationed in the capitol, Iziz.

I have always liked when The Clone Wars engages in urban battles; it’s a nice change of pace from wilderness or spaceships, because those tend to feel very same-y after a while, and the urban battles encourage a sense of place. And that sense of place was pretty important this week, as the episode dealt with rebels/terrorists (depending on which side you’re on, as the episode made clear) who were fighting on their home turf.

The episode didn’t take full advantage of that impulse, as the quasi-leaders of this little cell—Lux, Saw, and Steela (who became the full-blown leader at the end)—never felt completely attached to the setting they were in, at least emotionally. I say this because it strikes me as odd that no one said, of the big plan to knock out the power grid for the city, “But if we knock out the grid, won’t the citizens of Iziz lose their power, too?” For the episode’s talk about winning over a populace, the non-combatants seemed more than willing to give up some comforts for the sake of removing the droids.

Which I thought that King Rash, the Separatist ally ruling Onderon, would turn to his favor, but instead he just called Dooku for better reinforcements. Maybe he’ll still pull a PR attack in the next episode, but given that Dooku’s sending a new general to organize things (and perhaps take Rash out?), I suspect we’ll get more blaster battles instead.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles S01E04: “New Friend, Old Enemy”

Last week I posited that the latest incarnation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles could prove to be something in the vein of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic in how it uses an episodic conflict to teach a lesson or moral about, well, anything. "New Friend, Old Enemy" made gestures toward this notion, but didn't really stick the landing.

The turtles have, throughout all their various incarnations, struggled to gain acceptance among humans. Sure, characters like April and Casey Jones have become allies, but wider understanding is always elusive, no matter how much good the turtles do for New York City. It's natural for them to want to reach out beyond their clan—they're all pretty sociable, after all—so Mike's desire to become friends with Chris Bradford, a Chuck Norris-y martial arts celebrity, made sense.

I liked that this week's episode decided to use a social networking site (handily supplied by April in a very brief appearance) to make the connection with Bradford. Mike assumed that online "friendship" through the site translated into friendship in person as well. It was a step toward addressing current societal issues and trends that TMNT should take more of, in order to help differentiate it from its predecessors and make itself more relevant.

But the episode never fully connected all its dots. While Mike experienced, in an extreme way, the dangers of assuming that online friendship and real-life friendship were equal as he was captured by Bradford and Xever (Shredder's streetwise henchman whose fighting style has a hip-hop feel, of course), the link between the social networking site and the perceived friendship was never made explicit, leaving that particular message muddled.

On the upside, the show's humor is becoming a bit more confident (an important thing to have in a Mike-centric episode), and while the action sequences still feel a bit stiff (due more to the animation than anything else), I like that there's not a lot of cutting during them. Fights are shown in a medium or long shot, and all the moves are visible and animated, which gives them some energy. It'd be easy to cut them into pieces, and it would save money, so I'm glad that the series has decided against that style.

What did you think about this week's episodes? And since we're without our comic book superheroes for a while, would you like to see something in their places? (I'm not exactly keen on Dragons: Riders of Berk.) Perhaps a capsule review of some older animated fare? Or maybe something from the new fall anime season? Leave some ideas in the comments, and I'll see what I can do.

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  • wisperin88 Oct 20, 2012

    WTF this hiatus of DC nation is just remaping up the Marvel BS over on that other cartoon channel. And come lets be real here, do we really need any more Marvel cartoons? I mean spider-man has been down to death in Animation and this newest version just separates itself further from the comics.

    As for those with zero moral issues over media piracy we can still watch our DC episodes via THE MOTHER FRAKING PIRATE BAY! www.thepiratebay.org (the site which all good things reside, and some pretty nasty stuff too, dont let your kids create a user account ) www.utorrent.com (downloading program) http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html(best media player eva) for those that neeed the links.

  • MunirRahool Oct 17, 2012

    Well to be honest, while I always like the concept of Ninja Turtles, I never actually sit down to watch them regularly. I haven't watch the last movie came out years ago. Always thought I would pick it everytime I heard or see about Ninja Turtles but that day is not yet here.

    However this new Ninja Turtles, I am hooked up the moment I watch first episode. And I am liking it very much. It for me feels better than before. I am waiting to see how few regulars from past would join them.

  • Mantis82 Oct 15, 2012

    Supposedly DC lost the rights to characters such as static, icon, and rocket which feature in young justice, including yesterday's episode and in future episodes, DC probably wanted to deal before weekend, couldn't make deal, so pulled at the last second and now trying to do legal damage control before airing it

  • noelrk Staff Oct 16, 2012

    I also saw that passed around in comment sections, but didn't find a link about the Milestone characters being lost. (Admittedly, I only performed a cursory search.) I think that's pretty likely as well.

  • JT_Kirk Oct 16, 2012

    I don't know about that, not only are there no google or news results for it at this juncture, but what would it have to do with Green Lantern being pulled as well, not to mention the DC Nation shorts content? If it was that much last-minute, why not throw JLU on in YJ's place?

  • noelrk Staff Oct 15, 2012

    One blog's floating a quasi-viable theory that the DC Nation pull might've been DC's doing, not CN's (potential SPOILER for Young Justice in the article): http://www.theouthousers.com/index.php/news/118541-itunes-airs-new-episodes-of-dc-nation.html (Though this doesn't explain pulling GL, but they must just want the shows to air together as much as possible.)

    If true, it's just further proof that DC's media strategy is incredibly slipshod.

  • edmasterchaos Oct 16, 2012

    If DC can take their mismanagement of stories to the tv medium then may god have mercy on our souls...

  • prowly Oct 16, 2012

    Wow, that's crazy. I happened to like Spoiler, and to a lesser extent, Cassandra. I certainly like them better than Damian.I'm just not a fan of his.

  • noelrk Staff Oct 16, 2012

    I'm the inverse, but we can agree on Damian, that weird little demon spawn.

  • jaden84 Oct 15, 2012

    Yeah I heard the same. Did you look at the credits pic, they have Stephanie Brown as Wonder Girl.

  • noelrk Staff Oct 15, 2012

    The coma's to note that Whitman was voicing both characters, not that they confused identities.

  • iFerrets Oct 15, 2012

    I would like to see Dragons: Riders of Berk added; I've been watching it. I'm also disappointed with missing Young Justice. CN also did irrational scheduling for the second season of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated - a new episode was shown each day, seven a week and it was during the Olympics. I just looked and now they're showing the odd numbered episodes, one a day for season two then will start showing season one but in random order?!? This doesn't make sense for a serialized show. Are they just trying to get folks to buy the season DVD's?

  • noelrk Staff Oct 15, 2012

    My concern with Riders of Berk on Saturdays is simply that they'd be reruns. Could possibly fold in the premieres on, what, Wednesdays? We'll see. Still trying to sort out alternatives and what to do.

    And CN's mentality is largely driven (in theory anyway) that their target demos don't care when something airs, so long as it airs. This, of course, isn't true. Disappointed kids are disappointed kids. And with a wider array of options available now, kids don't glue themselves to other channel all morning.

  • Bullwinkle520 Oct 15, 2012

    Saw Young Justice. LOLed when Miss Martian lobotomized Aqualad. N-derrr...

  • noelrk Staff Oct 15, 2012

    Yeeeaaaah. I'm with tv_worm, a little spoiler warning would've been good there. I'm not a spoiler-phobe (and don't consider them show-ruining), but others don't share my mentality.

  • prowly Oct 15, 2012

    You knew that was coming though. I mean, she's been out of control with her powers and thinking she can do whatever she pleases. Oops, now you just scrambled your friend's brain. Superboy looked understandably pissed over the abuse of her powers, so I think there will definitely be some major stuff going down soon. Superboy will probably out Miss Martian... she'll blame Nightwing for keeping everyone in the dark, but in the end, she'll still be responsible for her actions. Martian Manhunter will need to return ASAP though in case she decides to alter everyone's memories. Martian justice!!!

  • tv_worm Oct 15, 2012

    Ummm....you should really post a spoiler warning for comments like that. Especially considering the episode hasn't technically aired yet.

  • Mantis82 Oct 15, 2012

    Saw young justice episode on itunes, hope they keep this up and post them every week and cartoon network doesn't figure it out, really great episode

  • Montana_Katana Oct 15, 2012

    So, I'm not a big animation watcher and don't really "get" cartoons. I grew up with a brother who was a HUGE fan of all things animated and I've heard several cartoons-aren't-just-for-kids-the-good-ones-are-for-adults rants. That being said, seeing the weekend animation roundup always makes me smile. Whoever's responsible for starting this column deserves cookies.

  • noelrk Staff Oct 15, 2012

    *passes cookies between himself and Jen* Yay, cookies!

  • slayme3 Oct 15, 2012

    Sup fellow DC Nation fans - The new eps for both Young Justice and Green Lantern are now available on itunes (as well as the usual places) - guess Apple didn't get the memo that Cartoon Network were going to be tools about the new eps - so enjoy these - the Young Justice one is particularly awesome.

  • prowly Oct 15, 2012

    Tools is exactly right. They made us wait nearly 4 months for episodes 8 and 9, then went "lol 2 more months for episode 10, k?" Jerks. >: (

  • Writerpatrick Oct 15, 2012

    You should probably do Dragons: Riders of Berk because it's animation that's on right now. A journalist can't be picky. And there's plenty of anime coverage at Anime News Network, although if you are going to cover anime it should be stuff that's actually airing on NA TV.

  • noelrk Staff Oct 15, 2012

    So I can't be picky about the shows, but I can be picky about any potential anime coverage because it's covered by other sites or doesn't appear on TV channels in the U.S./Canada (but is legally available through other platforms)...?

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