A couple weeks ago, a party was held in Hollywood. It was a wrap party, celebrating the end of production on one of the most important animated series of our time: Adventure Time. The award-winning series is now on its tenth and final season, and in honor of its conclusion it seems fitting to go back and explore the impact the show has had on television animation.
To fully understand the impact of Adventure Time, we need to understand the world of the late naughts, prior to 2010. To put it lightly... those were not kind years for television animation. The three major players - Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel, and Cartoon Network - had only limited offerings. Live-action youth sitcoms were beginning to dominate. Cartoon Network in particular attempted to roll out a programming block in 2009 titled "CN Real", dedicated only to live-action reality programming. Nickelodeon was trying to find something that would stick as well as Spongebob could, but programs like Fanboy and Chum Chum failed to garner strong views. Disney Channel meanwhile had been given over to programs like Jonas and Suite Life; Phineas and Ferb was one of the few noteworthy animated programs near the end of the decade.
Enter into the scene Pendleton Ward, a graduate from the California Institute for the Arts. In 2006 he made a short titled Adventure Time. By November 2007 it garnered over a million views, having spread around the Internet. Ward took his idea to Nickelodeon and pitched it as a show, but found himself rejected. He then took it to Cartoon Network, where his pitch was accepted. The first episode aired April 5, 2010, to an audience of 2.5 million viewers. From there, the show has continued to receive popularity and praise. Adventure Time has received major nominations every year it has aired, and won several Emmy Awards and Annie Awards.
So what is it about Adventure Time that makes it so special? One part of its appeal lies in the wacky off-the-wall world. The main stars are a human named Finn, voiced by Jeremy Shada, and his loyal shape-shifting dog Jake, voiced by John DiMaggio. They encounter characters like an Ice King, a vampire, a lumpy space princess (a blob whose name is literally Lumpy Space Princess), a bubblegum princess, a lemon, a living video game console... and the list goes on from there. It's an environment full of "fun and excitement" and "pure imagination."
At the same time, Adventure Time manages to handle more complex and deeper themes. Characters are not just paper cutouts, but deeper people who we get to explore and discover more about. Critics have praised it for talking about things like mental illness and loss. There has even been an academic interest in the show: for example, Emma Jane published an article in the Journal of Children and Media in which she described the ways that Adventure Time handled gender roles. The balance of wackiness with headiness has helped keep the show entertaining and intriguing for its audience.
It's a balance, in fact, that has redefined the industry. Adventure Time is often credited with sparking a new television animation renaissance. In fact, alumni from Adventure Time have gone on to make excellent shows of their own. Patrick McHale, a director on the series, went on to create Over the Garden Wall. Rebecca Sugar, a writer and storyboard artist, became the showrunner on the hit series Steven Universe. Ian Jones-Quartey (OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes), Skyler Page (Clarence), Julia Pott (Summer Camp Island), the list goes on. Besides alumni though, other channels saw the success of Adventure Time, realized that cartoons were still a viable crowd-pleaser, and took a risk on series like Gravity Falls and The Loud House. Everyone wanted to recapture the magic of Adventure Time, and it has led to some truly great works.
With the show's production officially stopped, and the last season airing, it's safe to say that all cast and crew should feel proud for taking part in something so important. Adventure Time has not only inspired fans, but breathed new life into an entire industry. Its impact will not be forgotten, and whatever the crew move on to next will surely be spectacular.
Time for another monthly round up of animation news! Let's get down to buisness.
1. DreamWorks Animation Names Chris DeFaria as new president
Chris DeFaria, formally the president of Animation and Innovative Technology at Warner Bros Pictures has been taped to become president of DreamWorks Feature Animation Group. DeFaria will have a heavy workload, overseeing DWA's strategy, development, production, innovation, technology, and business affairs. He will be reporting to Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley.
Read more HERE.
2. Zootopia wins Golden Globe
Zootopia took home the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature this month. The film follows a bunny (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) and fox (voiced by Jason Bateman) as they adventure through a metropolitan area. The film scored major points for their sloth's working at the DMV scene. There are even talks about the film being turned in to a tv series! Did you agree Zootopia's Golden Globe win?
Read more HERE.
3. Wes Anderson to produce Animated Film
Wes Anderson's new animated film Isle of Dogs has officially begun production in London. Per usual, Anderson has enlisted an A-list cast for his next film, just to name a few, Bill Murray, Bryan Cranston, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, Yoko Ono, and Edward Norton will be joining the film. Anderson has not released a film since his critically acclaimed The Grand Budapest Hotel. We can't wait to see whats in store!
Read more HERE.
4. Women in Animation still have hurdles to face in the Animation Industry
Even in 2017, Animation remains a male dominated industry. After a study showed that 99% of animated films by DreamWorks, Disney, Universal, Fox, and Warner Bros are directed men, people begun opening up a dialogue on how to create more diversity in the animation industry. The fascinating, yet alarming topic has resurfaced after The Hollywood Reporter's Animation Round Table issue comprised of only men.
Read more HERE.
5. Eric Miller Animation Studio Store
Did you know you could make custom Eric Miller Animation Studio merchandise on our site? Check out our shop page to make everything from custom hoodies to iPod cases!
Start creating HERE.
Eager to make waves in the Animation industry too? We can help you do that! Head over to our CLIENT PROJECTS page and let us know how we can work for you!
Check out this Month's Animation News Round-Up to see which movies will be making it to the big screen (and small screen!) and which TV shows are being put to bed.
1. Sony Pictures to release Emoji Movie
Sony Pictures Animation is set to release EmojiMovie: Express Yourself on August 11th, 2017. The film has already enlisted, James Corden, TJ Miller, and Ilana Glazer as voices for the movie. The film will follow the life of an emoji that is capable of expressing more than one emotion. He is determined to become normal, so with the help of his emoji friends, he sets out to become one-emotional in his town of Textopolis!
Read More Here.
2. Adventure Time coming to an end in 2018
Cartoon Network has announced that Adventure Time will be coming to an end in 2018. The Emmy and Peabody winning series will be ending after 8 years after beginning. Creator of the show, Pendleton Ward, said “Adventure Time was a passion project for the people on the crew who poured their heart into the art and stories. We tried to put into every episode something genuine and telling from our lives, and make a show that was personal to us, and that had jokes too! I’m really happy that it connected with an audience for so long."
Read More Here.
3. Archer to End after Season 10.
It's true, the Emmy Winning show, Archer will be ending after its 10th Season. Archer Creator, Adam Reed announced on an episode of "Murmur" podcast his plans, which were initially to end the show after 8 seasons, but which its success, decided to extend it for two more seasons. Which hit animated show will we see next from FX? We're still not sure.
Read More Here.
4. Fox to Develop Animated Indian Family Show
Fox has purchased the rights and bought the script to animated comedy series "Eleven Little Indians", created by M. Night Shyamalan and Alex Carter. The show will feature 3 Indian Families and how they have and are accustoming to American Life. This will be Shyamalan first stab at comedy, he is largely known for his supernatural films The Sixth Sense and Signs. Carter, on the other hand is a veteran comedy writer, he has previously worked on Family Guy and earlier this year he sold a live action family comedy My Bad Parent to Fox.
Read More Here.
5. Episode 3 of MagicMeeMees was released on YouTube!
Last but not least, the 3rd Episode of MagicMeeMees has been released on YouTube and we can't wait to hear your thoughts! This Halloween themed episode follows the MagicMeeMees on an adventure in Holidayland. We've loved working with MagicMeeMees and The Future of Play teams on these webisodes and hope you enjoy!