Sunday, August 14, 2005

With the fall tv season rapidly approaching Teletoon in Canada has been giving us "sneak previews" of some its new programming Sunday nights. Last week's preview was for Carl Squared. Carl Crashman is your typical teenage boy until he accidentally acquires a clone of himself. Now Carl finds much of his time is taken up with trying to keep the existence of his clone secret, and dealing with the strange situations the other him causes. Unfortunately some of the family dog's DNA got mixed in, so C2, as Carl names his clone, isn't an exact duplicate personality wise of the original. Not surprisingly C2 is the innocent and uninhibited side of Carl, that part of him, like any typical teenage boy, he tries to keep suppressed because those qualities aren't "cool." And of course Carl learns "important lessons" from the misadventures C2 leads him into.

In other words there's really not that much original here other than the clone. I can't say I'm a big fan of series that revolve around the whole hero has to cope with humurous misunderstandings concept. Ideas like that can work in individual episodes, but get frustrating when used all the time. So can the innocent who needs protection from his naivete idea, which is another concept that will see a lot of play in this series if the episode guide at Teletoon is anything to go on.(Some of the episode descriptions are kind of spoilerish, so beware if that kind of thing bugs you.)

Tonight's preview was for Delilah and Julius. Yet another entry into the teen spy/adventurer genre the title characters are a pair of teenage spies studying at a spy academy located just outside of Halifax. Children of spies themselves, both were orphaned at a young age. Now they find themselves following in their parent's footsteps, travelling the world to stop the forces of evil while hoping to find out more about the fate of their respective parents.

The obvious question is whether the world of cartoons, and Teletoon specifically, needs another teen spy/adventurer series right now. Teletoon has Totally Spies and Codename: Kids Next Door in its lineup. Kim Possible, although ended by parent network Disney, will continue in reruns for some time to come. And there's some overlap with series like Martin Mystery and some of the anime currently airing on various channels. I can't help but suspect Delilah and Julius will just be going over the same ground as other recent series, and a peek at the Teletoon episode guide shows at least a couple of episodes that sound very much like storylines that have appeared on other shows. On the other hand D&J deserves credit for coming up with a distinctive art style. Visually it has its own thing, and doesn't copy an existing series, or go for the "pseudo-anime" style of Totally Spies. And hopefully they'll go into a bit of background why the hippyish Big Al is the boss of a spy organisation.

Next week's preview is for The Life and Times of Juniper Lee. I'll be giving this one a pass, based on the ads.

While we're on the subject of cartoons I was disappointed to find out belatedly today that Cartoon Network has passed on a 3rd season of Megas XLR. Too bad. Its been a fun show to watch, especially when you get the inside jokes and cartoon references, such as the episode that parodied Leiji Matsumoto's classic Captain Harlock character. Although the ratings were good Cartoon Network decided two seasons of the series were sufficient. Given the plot of season ending two parter its reasonable to assume the Megas production crew weren't expecting it to get cancelled. Yet another one of those decisions that leaves you scratching your head, although its not unreasonable to assume that internal politics at CN we aren't privy to had something to do with it.

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