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

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.

Anyway...


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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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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?
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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.
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If DC can take their mismanagement of stories to the tv medium then may god have mercy on our souls...
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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.
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I'm the inverse, but we can agree on Damian, that weird little demon spawn.
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Yeah I heard the same. Did you look at the credits pic, they have Stephanie Brown as Wonder Girl.
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The coma's to note that Whitman was voicing both characters, not that they confused identities.
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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?
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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.
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Saw Young Justice. LOLed when Miss Martian lobotomized Aqualad. N-derrr...
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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.
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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!!!
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Ummm....you should really post a spoiler warning for comments like that. Especially considering the episode hasn't technically aired yet.
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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
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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.
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*passes cookies between himself and Jen* Yay, cookies!
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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.
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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. >: (
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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.

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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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I agree the fights in this week's TMNT started off Really stiff (I was even wondering if it was somehow a framerate issue) but towards the end of the first ninja fight, i'd say everything was flowing nicely and that final confrontation was beautifully done. (Not just in how it was animated, the strategy used felt so right, like they were truly ninjas and brothers)
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Firstly let me say thanks for expressing our frustration Noel. CN has no idea what they are doing here and its getting really annoying now having to deal with their constant hiatuses.



That being said, this was such a last minute change that CN forgot to take into account that the episode will go up on itunes. Anyone who wants to watch this episode can do so by downloading from itunes, streaming or finding it on the web.



I liked the star wars episode this week. This story arc is actually very interesting and curious to know where they go from here. I was a bit surprised about the power thing as well, the king should have really used that to his advantage.
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Adding to my post, Young Justice episode is good, it is one of those episodes that ties all the stories together before the finale. So the "reveal" like last season starts in this episode, check it out.



Green Lantern: The Animated Series wasn't all that good. The episode is cool but it is a bit filler-like even though we get to know more about the Anti-Monitor.
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Well thank goodness I wasn't the only one confused as to where Young Justice went! Honestly, of the shows in this article I care about YJ and Clone Wars (and I'm still not thrilled with YJ's "lets-put-every-superhero-known-to-DC-on-the-show" attitude). To be met with Johnny Test (or whatever that was) instead was a big unhappy boost to my Saturday.
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I really hate the CN right now. Even a good show can't survive this kind of juggling, there are more hiatuses than there are episodes. IF they keep screwing around like this Young Justice won't last, and it will be their fault.
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The episodes of Green Lantern The Animated Series and Young Justice that were supposed to air this week were put up on iTunes so you can check them out there.
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Won't be back until January? Are you f***ing kidding me? Did someone at DC made someone at Cartoon Network angry or vice versa? That's the only reason I can come up with at the moment.
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Bradford kinda looks like Chuck Norris. Can't fault Mikey for wanting to be friends with Chuck Norris.
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Stupid Cartoon Network pulling DC Nation last minute, and now it's for 3 months??? Did they forget that they're owned by the same parent company and it's in that parent company's best interest to promote that content as a door-opener to new audiences? Honestly, CN baffles me, they rerun a million different nonsense shows a week but Clone Wars and DC Nation get zero reruns.

Good call on this Clone Wars episode protagonists being disconnected from their locale - they never talked to any of the citizens, they didn't interact with one human on either side of the conflict, it was like watching a video game. The closest connection was when one of them (and I'm sorry, but in this episode Lux, Steela, and Saw are written interchangeably) mentioned not hitting targets that alienate the citizens of the city too often. This was a flat episode with nothing to say, it felt like a backdoor pilot episode of a show, where one token character will interact with the new show's characters - only here our token CW character didn't even interact, she just observed and winced at a burgeoning relationship between her semi-love-interest that she has barely interacted with in this story arc thus far. I also found it weird that they introduce the Onderonian king and his jailed predecessor and a sympathetic alien assistant and then give them virtually nothing to do, it had no connection to anything and felt like a dropped idea.

As for what else you could cover here, I suppose you could try to watch Transformers Prime on The Hub website, but I think it's about to go into season break. I don't think reading about an older show would be that interesting unless it is directly related to the new material being reviewed. You could try Superjail and Robot Chicken reviews from the Sunday prior as filler, plus the Venture Bros. Halloween special is coming up very soon.
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Well, the lack of Clone War reruns I get (it's 20th Century Fox, so their slice of that aftermarket pie is smaller), but like you, I've never understood their lack of reruns for the DC Nation shows. (Then again, DC doesn't have a great media strategy anyway. "Yes, Starfire was super popular on Teen Titans, especially with young girls!" "Make her a sex doll in the new Red Hood comic!")

It's been a while since I've seen Lux's first appearance, so I honestly can't remember if Rash and his now-jailed predecessor were in that episode or not.

I don't get Hub or XD (I catch Avengers through Amazon Video), so their shows are difficult to fold in.
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Clone Wars isn't 20th Century Fox, it's Lucasfilm / Lucas Animation and CGCG as producer and Cartoon Network as distributor (the movie was Warner Bros as distributor). Still, it's not entirely in their hands so I guess that could explain it, but one would think growing an audience would be more important than single-use rights.



DC has a media strategy? I'm shocked anybody could think they'd do *that* on purpose. ;-) I was just reading an article yesterday about Starfire and her effect on children going from the '80s to the Teen Titans show to ridiculous naked posing boob-implant lady.



Rash's first appearance is in this episode, although technically he appears for a moment in the flashback at the beginning of the previous episode.



Hub shows' full episodes are on the Hub website, hubworld.com , but they only have the 2 most recent episodes in full, so it's still pretty challenging (although it might be interesting to see how clear a newcomer's view would be in the middle of a story arc). Looks like the Disney XD shows are the same way on the website. I didn't realize Avengers was current on Amazon, I thought they waited until the season was over before putting them all up. I pity kids actually interested in this material having to struggle to find these shows - and these companies wonder why they can't put a stronger hook on target audiences.
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This is what I get for making assumptions, thanks for the correction. :)

DC does have a media strategy, sometimes. Remember when the New 52 Catwoman launched at around the same time as Arkham City and the Catwoman short on the Batman: Year One DTV? Everything there was male gaze-tastic! SYNERGY!

Yes, Avengers is normally up on Mondays. Typically Young Justice and Green Lantern appear within a day or so on Amazon as well, but other times it takes a week. It's really spotty. (I don't use iTunes, though I may make an exception this week.)
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I like "Riders of Berk" but it doesn't fit with the line-up. It's more "lesson of the week" than a "serial". So mad about DC Nation. I know "Beware The Batman" and "Teen Titans GO!" are premiering next year. Are they going for a two-hour block? Or maybe they want a smaller gap between the end of GL and YJ and the start of BTB and TTG??
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I thought since it was the 20th birthday of Cartoon Network I thought that's why they pulled but pulling it till January doesn't seem right. Somethings going we as viewers don't know about. I wonder if money is involved.
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That little bit of scheduling planning is the only thing I can think of, but even that seems semi-nonsensical since they announced a whole string of episodes for both shows, and it appears that showrunners had no clue this was happening. Even they woke up on Saturday to find their shows not running. The entire thing seems super-shady.
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Yea and "super-shady" is never a good thing. Unless it's a mystery thing and the super-shady turns out to be a good guy and the real bad guy is the guy who looks wholesome and nice.
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Very annoyed when I didn't see YJ on my DVR yesterday >< And then CN's just like a few hours later: "Good news everyone! DC Nation will be back in January!"



https://twitter.com/damnyouwillis/status/257217035434602496



Think this guy expressed my feelings the best.



I mean, this is especially annoying for Young Justice fans, I think, since they've basically aired a few episodes at a time with super long hiatuses in between. Its one of the best shows on that channel so I dont get the bad treatment.



Anyways, other than Adventure Time, dont have any other reason to watch CN till then
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I thought my TV had broken! I was like, "...Riders of Berk? What? Maybe I changed the channel by accident?" (In my head, Riders of Berk is on Nick, not CN.) Nope. Oh well. Gave me an hour to vacuum, do some cleaning, pay some bills.
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