Spotlight on Cartoon Network

Conga line from musical episode of "Batman: The Brave and the Bold"I still watch cartoons and I’m not ashamed to admit it. My taste from when I was a kid hasn’t changed much (action/adventure FTW!) so I find the Fall and beyond slate from Cartoon Network and late-night imprint Adult Swim to be pretty stellar. Though the live-action flick Scooby Doo! The Mystery Begins, Hot Wheels Battle Force 5, and the second half of Ben 10: Alien Force have already started airing, there’s plenty more for mini-Misfits and mini-Misfits-at-heart to look forward to.

On Saturday (September 19th), Marvel Super Hero Squad, which features a gaggle of super-deformed superheroes fighting to protect the Infinity Sword from equally kawaii villains (lead by Doctor Doom) in a kid friendly way, premieres. Before you scoff, the series looks entertaining for adults too – like Animaniacs. The good guy roster includes Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Falcon, Silver Surfer, Ms. Marvel, Captain America, and yes, Wolverine. Expect to see more heroes (like Storm) and villains ranging from Fing Fang Foom to Loki with Stan “The Man” Lee providing the voice of The Mayor.

Do you like Robot Chicken? Do you like Voltron or any other vehicles-into-giant-mecha shows? In the peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate move of the century, Tom Root and Matthew Senreich brings us this story about the Titan Force Five team – pilots of spaceships that come together to form Titan Maximum…who’ve since been fired thanks to budget cuts. When one of their own tries to conquer the galaxy, the band must get back together to save humanity in the mega-mecha equivalent of a hooptie. Seth Green, Breckin Meyer, Rachael Leigh Cook, Dan Milano, and Eden Espinosa provide some of the voices.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars kicks off Season 2 with an hour-long premiere on October 2nd at 8pm. This season is being dubbed “Rise of the Bounty Hunters” so expect to see a lot of Cad Bane and his gang, the crew that appeared in Season 1’s finale “Hostage Crisis.”

October 18th brings the return of The Venture Bros. to Adult Swim. So weird, so dysfunctional, so violent, such good times. Behold the preview trailer:
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Sometime in October (I think), Batman: The Brave and The Bold quickly starts it’s second season absorbing a few episodes that were put on hold from the initial run. This is one of those pleasant surprise shows because I expected it’d be good but I didn’t expect it to be as awesome as it is. Look for well known and obscure characters like GI Robot, Firestorm(s), Captain Marvel & The Marvel Family, Omac(s), Metal men, Doom Patrol, multiple Flashes, and Starro to make their first appearances. In addition to the musical Neil Patrick Harris ep, there’s an episode featuring the voices of Adam West, Julie Newmar, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill. My mind is blown.

At some point in November, The Secret Saturdays returns to pick up on a heck of a plot-twist. Turns out the Big Bad they’ve been prepping to fight against is their very own cryptid controlling Zak Saturday. Much respect because cartoons rarely embrace that sort of storytelling.

Ben 10: Alien Swarm - Nov. 28thThe second Ben 10 live-action flick, also directed by Alex Winter, follows Ben (Ryan Kelley) as he helps the mysterious Elena (Alyssa Diaz) uncover a equally mysterious alien threat, much to the chagrin of Grandpa Max (Barry Corbin) and the Plumbers. Also starring Galadriel Stineman as Gwen Tennyson and Nathan Keyes as Kevin Levin.

Now that we’ve covered the near future, let’s take a look to 2010. The following shows are in various stages of development but all seem extremely promising. It’ll be some time until we get any sneak peeks or potential premiere dates but I’ll keep an eye out for you.

Tiger’s Apprentice
Based on the young adult best-seller by Lawrence Yep, this live-action adaption follows orphaned teenager Tom Lee who’s new guardian is Mr. Hu, a tiger that can take human form. I’ve never heard of the book (I’m aghast) but the concept is cool. And I bet it’ll actually have an Asian kid in the lead. Will wonders ever cease.

Sym-Bionic Titan
Genndy Tatakovsky (the genius behind Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Laboratory returns to CN with giant robots and teenagers. Three young aliens attempting to escape the war on their home world crash on Earth.

Ben 10: Evolution
Ben Tennyson, now 16 and his secret identity no longer secret, has a new Omnitrix and the added pressure of being an international star. Kids love him, some adults don’t trust him, and, naturally, aliens keep attacking the Earth.

Scooby-Doo – Mystery, Inc
The Scooby Gang relocate to the little town of Crystal Cove to disprove all the paranormal activities that have been going on for a very long time. It’s a shame they didn’t ask the locals first. This is the eleventh (!) version of the cartoon.

Generator Rex
Creative team Man of Action follows up the triumph of Ben-10 with this series. The eponymous Rex is a 15-year-old boy who’s infected by nanites that allow him to grow machines out of his body. Lots of other creatures sprung up from these nanites and an organization called “Providence” recuits him to track them down.

Firebreather
Duncan Rosenblatt is a normal, awkward high schooler…if you consider having a fire-breathing dragon as a father and a pre-destined mission to protect the Earth normal. It’s like Jake Long: American Dragon only good.

Unnatural History
Cartoon Network’s foray into live-action programming continues with this, their first non-reality based series. After traveling the world and adventuring with his anthropologist parents, Henry Griffen is moving back to America to attend high school. A very strange one at that. The press release describes it as an “action-packed blend of mystery and martial arts.” Hopefully it’s better than Disney’s Aaron Stone.

Prepped
Nerd-deity Paul Dini wrote and served as Executive Producer on the pilot of this mysterious series. When a rebellious teenager suddenly finds himself trapped at a prep school with no escape, he bands together an underground group to find out “what they’re being trained for” and how to get out. Ooooo.

Lots of action, isn’t it? Are looking forward to any shows in particular? Think I’m crazy for still watching cartoons? Finally glad for some toon-watching company? Any thing else you want to add?

About Tamara Brooks

A few things I wondered about as a kid: Why didn't Wonder Woman punch more bad guys in the face on the tv show?; How does Superman flying around the Earth turn back time?; Could someone really catch bullets with their teeth?; Why didn't the liquid bits of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man cause 3rd degree burns on whoever it landed on? Because melted marshmallow is up there with molten hot lava.