CBC goes ultra cheap, and the old YTV wheeps all this week…end

This Saturday, after you’ve had a moment of silence to remember that day 9 years ago, watch some cartoons.

smile

In a cheap fashion that only the CBC could pull off, G2G: Got To Go, is their token “one show a year” pick up for their Saturday Morning Block. It’s some March Entertainment (Yam Roll, Chilly Beach, etc.) show that aired in Australia. It’s also about some girl dealing with an advice column. No one’s probably interested in that. I guess they’ll also pick up the second season of Cookie Jar’s Koreanimation Magi-Nation eventually. Although that’s currently not on the table.

It seems CBC may rebrand, or assimilate their older youth block, as the Outlet (“Here’s an outlet for annoying kids to submit their videos!”) seems to have died. I can’t say it was a shame though, as the last time the CBC put some effort into that block was when it was still The Void, and that effort paled in comparison to when it was The X.

The previously mentioned Three Delivery also premieres this Saturday at 1:30PM on YTV. This show is a tad interesting becase of when it was announced, and ended up airing. It was announced years ago as a YTV production. Given the subject matter, the time frame of announcement, and time frame of broadcast, gives me a suspicion this series was meant for bigger things than Saturday premieres. While there is no confirmation for this, and there has been no hint at it, I kind of suspect Three Delivery was meant as either a lead-in to Bionix, or a Bionix original itself. The series seems to be a semi-farce on the shonen genre, ala [adult swim]’s Perfect Hair Forever (although I hope it’s better than that), that wouldn’t really work outside the block. Given that a shifting in programming a Corus happened, and Bionix eventually died, it’s understandable how a YTV original series aired over two years ago in foreign markets before airing here. If my theory that the show was made for Bionix has any weight, it would explain why Corus is currently shunning the show. There is no mention of it on YTV’s website, or any of the programming highlights.

Sidekick continues to air new episodes on YTV, and I must say, I’m enjoying it. It’s nicely animated, and while it wasn’t the Funpak short that won, it was one of my favourites. Kind of cool to see something out of that all these years later.

Anyways, back to Birth By Sleep I go…

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What’s wrong with 4Kids?!

Well other than the fact the company has been in a financial hole for years, and had to kill, as well as sell off two of their own original productions (Chaotic, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

Toonzai, 4Kids Entertainment’s latest attempt to revitalize Saturday morning network television officially kicks off September 18, and their schedule is all kinds of wack:

CW4Kids

Tecnically this schedule isn't from the 18, but considering 4Kids had a fall preview, and only mentioned these shows, I can't imagine much will change.

Like Cubix, really? I realize that 4Kids could air a 40 minute PSA about Al Kahn telling kids to read each week, and that no one would notice since no one watches that timeslot, but come on. Cubix is a show that has a hard time maintaining its own continuity, and has aged horribly. The CG wasn’t exactly revolutionary when it premiered way back when, and is only hideous now. Might as well run Fighting Foodons for E/I or somethin.

While I understand that Yu-Gi-Oh! and Sonic X still bring in the ratings, despite having been in repeats for years, it’s a bit alarming to see them command such a high profile presence on a relaunched block. Especially when the only shows that’ll actually be premiering is an edited version (and by edited, I mean turning halos into orbs edited) of a series they’ve got second run rights to, and a 22 minute card commercial. You’re going to have to do much more than that to get eye balls on your block, and away from the likes of Cartoon Network, Disney, and Nick. Or for us Canadian peeps, Teletoon, Family, and YTV.

We do know they have more series in the pipeline. They picked up two series no one in the world has heard of earlier this year, in Tai Chi Chasers, a test Toei gave to South Korea, and Penelope, a toddlers series along the lines of Tanma and Friends (I know you remember this series). However, both series are seemingly scheduled for mid season premieres. Those are only two. The company in a conference call said they were in talks to obtain/distribute around 12 properties. While the company does dabble in work outside of entertainment, and showed us this by picking up the rights to a Japanese art exhibit, 2 or even 3 is a lot less than 12. A lot.

Speculation is that they’ve run into a bit of a snag in the contracts side. But this is the same speculation that thinks 4Kids is secretly gaining the television rights for Battle Spirits, Soul Eater, Pretty Cure, and just about everything in between.

My nightmare is that come mid season Dragon Ball Kai will go out of season and into repeats, as well as Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds to be replaced with Tai Chi Chasers, and Penelope. Leaving the block with only 2 shows premiering once again. Great.

In related news, Toonzaki.com, 4Kids uncut animation web portal seemingly will launch on 9/10 if you believe the official site. Now, I don’t know if that means September 10, or September 2010. However, internet detectives have found key words such as One Piece, Naruto, Macross, Pretty Cure, and more in the code. Interesting.

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TV Update

Toonzai

Ttttttttttooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnzzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiii!!

Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of updates recently, but that’s due to a lack of any real news…

Toonzai on the CW4Kids will be having a special fall preview event this Friday at 4PM. It seems the preview event will be hosted by Sonic the hedgehog. Well, remember, it’s for the kids. Hopefully they’ll announce some new shows there, because as it stands the new block is almost entirely repeats outside of Dragon Ball Z Kai, and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds.

I do expect them to announce Tai Chi Chasers, and Penelope to be mid-season shows well before Toonzai formally launches on September 18.

YTV is also finally going to premiere new episodes of Beyblade Metal Fusion this Saturday (12PM) after a long hiatus since late June (they’re kicking it off with an insane amount of Beyblade episodes this week. I don’t know why they pulled the show from airing new episodes for this long, as it wasn’t a production issue. New episodes of the series have been airing in foreign markets for a while now. In fact, Cartoon Network in the US will be in the 30’s before YTV even starts the teens, despite YTV premiering the show more than a month before.

Other than that, nothing much to report on. This week I should finally have the “Crash and Burn” page completed, as well as possibly some Youtube stuffages. Also expect the forum to get a make over soon, as well as a few new touches to the blog. In the mean time, read about me complaining about this year’s FanExpo.

Note: Like always, all times EST.

The Death of the Canadian Dub

Lately the idea of a Canadian voice cast tackling the world of anime hasn’t been all that big. There are a few reasons for that; a strong Canadian dollar, the current anime industry’s economics, and a lack of desire to get a dub to help ensure a show gets a broadcast up here.

Before we go into the why, we need to see how bad it really is. The three main cities in Canada that do the audio production for anime are (in the order of body of work) Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Of those three, the only one confirmed to be working on anime projects is Toronto with Beyblade: Metal Fusion and Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders.

The west coast took the largest of hits. Vancouver’s Ocean Productions (also known as Ocean Group and Ocean Studios) was one of the largest houses that once took most of the work in all of North America. Now, in 2010, the last dub they produced was for Viz, in the shojo title NANA. NANA’s first DVD set was released in September of last year. Ocean currently doesn’t have any announced projects. Previous Ocean dubs include InuYasha, Death Note and Black Lagoon. The Vancouver scene is the home to many acclaimed voice actors such as Brad Swaile and Scott McNiel.

Located in Calgary is Ocean’s sister studio, Blue Water. They’re the lesser used of the two and have historically only been hired to do low budget work. While their output has been cut back, they’re still active. Recent titles include HunterxHunter, Deltora Quest and Pretty Cure. Previous dubs include Zeta Gundam, G Gundam and the alternate English versions of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball GT.

The Toronto voice acting scene is the least used of the three in Canada. You can list all the titles dubbed in the city on a single sheet of paper. Its claim to anime fame is the dub of Sailor Moon. Toronto is the least hit of the three. In fact, as the other two are losing work the Toronto scene grows. But there’s a saying that goes like this, “You can’t lose what you don’t have”. That saying is pretty accurate for Toronto anime voice work, as very little has been done there outside of the failed Toei USA/Geneon tag team plus some of Nelvana and DiC/Cookie Jar’s backlog. As I mentioned earlier, the only anime work being done in the city is Beyblade, and Bakugan. Which to be fair, is more than what the city was home to a few years back, though it’s important to note that both of those shows are Canada-Japan co-productions.

Now raises the question of why. Well, it all comes down to money: who’s got it, who doesn’t and how much.
The death of anime distributor Geneon Entertainment was a major loss for the Canadian voice acting community. Geneon, along with Viz and Bandai were the only major R1 companies that used Canadian talent. When Geneon, one of the largest anime distributors in North America went down, it shook the entire industry. They were one of the few companies that still dubbed everything they licensed. Their demise was a precursor for events to follow.

With Geneon dead came the realization that the North American anime industry was in a severe decline. Studios began to cut back heavily on the titles they picked up. This is especially true for Bandai Entertainment. Once a major force in the anime industry with a large variety of titles being released annually, to today. Bandai Entertainment is a company who can’t release a series without it being delayed multiple times. They have only a small handful of titles that are ongoing, and of that handful, few are receiving a dub.

Viz is an interesting company. They’ve paid for countless dubs, yet have only partially released them, or have never released them at all (Uncut Blue Dragon and Zoids: Genesis, I’m looking at you). The company has always prided itself as a manga company and never an anime studio, so it wasn’t a leader in quantity of products released. But now things are at an all-time low. Viz’s current lineup of ongoing series consists of just Bleach, Naruto and Pokemon (of which they distribute for Pokemon USA). None of those are dubbed in Canada. They do have InuYasha: The Final Act in the pipeline, which has a Canadian dub.

With the few companies that still outsource audio work (as Funimation and Sentai Filmworks do their voice acting in-house in Texas) releasing such meager amounts of content, price wars were bound to happe, and they did. Bang Zoom Entertainment, located just outside of Los Angeles, California, has reportedly slashed their recording costs by such a large margin that they’re receiving the bulk of the dub work now. That leaves the other big voice acting cities (Vancouver, Calgary and New York) to pick up the scraps. But why can’t Ocean and Blue Water be price competitive? Well, the loonie is preventing that.

Many of the Canadian dubs we’ve seen over the years were only produced because our dollar was so low that it allowed foreign companies to get their work done here cheaper than in the US. However, the loonie has soared due to the US dollar taking a beating, meaning the Canadian studios lost their price advantage. Now with American studios cutting production costs to record lows, there’s simply no real reason to send work up here. Especially since a Canadian dub no longer means a Canadian broadcast.

Ever wonder why Canada got an alternate dub of Dragon Ball, Z and GT? Well, those alternate dubs were all produced in Canada. Being that they were produced in Canada, they counted as Canadian content and would help fill in the CRTC’s mandate of Canadian programming. This would encourage broadcasters to pick up anime with a Canadian dub. Just think about it, what were some of the first older youth oriented anime series to air on YTV? Escaflowne, Gundam Wing, InuYasha and Gundam SEED. Guess where all those shows were dubbed at? Ocean Studios in Vancouver. In fact, most of the anime series YTV has aired over the years had their English audio work done in Canada. The problem is that YTV isn’t biting anymore (I’ll explain why YTV isn’t biting in the future). While I doubt many Canadian dubs were done solely with the intention of getting a Canadian broadcaster interested, it sure didn’t hurt. Getting on a TV channel means more exposure and more exposure means more fans and more DVDs sold.

Despite having written over 1000 words of doom and gloom, it’s not that bad for the actual voice acting talent. While anime work has decreased significantly, there’s been a much greater increase in foreign demand for Canadian animation, as well as an increase in video game work. That said, some of the more prolific Canadian voice actors have either opened an at home studio, or have moved to the US to get more roles. The anime industry in North America is on the cusp of a rebound, and eventually our dollar will go back to its normal power, so this will be a temporary downturn.

Family Channel Fall 2010 of “Yep, that there is a schedule”

Famiry Channer

Even Selena Gomez can't save this channel

I don’t know why I take this abuse. Well, to be fair, I expected this to be all kinds of terrible. So, here we go.

Remember Majority Rules? It was a live action series made for Teletoon that had nothing to do with animation. Which, I must say was a genius move. Well, in a truly genius move, the series was dropped by Teletoon, and now has a new home, Family Channel. At least we know who we can blame for having the show air on Teletoon, right Astral Media? Just in case you’ve forgotten the series, he’s a run down:

Fifteen-year-old Becky Richards learns that high school politics are nothing compared to the real thing when she wins the election to become the new mayor of her hometown in Majority Rules. The show premieres on Family on September 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT and will continue to air at 9 p.m. ET/PT on weekday evenings, Monday to Thursday.

In other cheap Cancon live action news:

New Canadian series, Connor Undercover premieres on Family Channel on September 17 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT. Helicopters, double agents and triple crosses are all found in this spy series that follows 15-year-old Connor Heath, whose life is changed when a beautiful president’s daughter is sent, for her own safety, to live with his family. Connor Undercover stars Max Morrow, Lola Tash and Jordan Francis and will air Friday nights at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.

I usually would add some snarky comment here, but the following are Disney shows I have no clue about. I’d rather not have a giant quote of this stuff, but I don’t have the desire to write summaries of this stuff myself.

New Disney shows on Family this fall include Fish Hooks, the inventive animated comedy series set inside a giant fish tank in the centre of a pet store. The show sneak peeks on September 3 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT and will air on weekends at 8 a.m. ET/PT from September 25. Bringing an interesting twist to the high school sitcom, Fish Hooks features the voices of Kyle Massey (Cory in the House) and Chelsea Staub (JONAS).

The live action Disney comedy, Pair of Kings, stars Mitchel Musso (Hannah Montana) and Doc Shaw (The Suite Life on Deck) as fraternal twins who discover they are the successors to the throne of the tropical island nation of Kinkou. Pair of Kings premieres on September 17 at 5:30 p.m. ET/PT with a special two-part episode and will air in its regular timeslot of weekend mornings at 11 a.m. ET/PT as of September 25.

In Disney’s Shake it Up!, premiering later this fall, best friends and dance students CeCe Jones and Raquel “Rocky” Blue are on their way to new and fun adventures when they get their big break as background dancers on a local TV show.

Returning series with new episodes include The Suite Life On Deck, Special Agent Oso, and The Secret World of Benjamin Bear.

This channel really doesn’t have much.

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Teletoon Fall 2010 Lineup of “What the heck?”

I’ve been trying to put it off, but alas, I said I’d cover this, and here I am. Let’s start with Teletoon. Rather, Teletoon At Night…

Teletoonatnight

Teletoon's late night older audience block returns this fall with some new tricks.

Teletoon@Night is the block that replaced Detour. However, @Night is cut from the same cloth as Detour, and Cartoon Network’s [adult swim]. They’ve only picked up two new series, and are finally launching their pilot project.

The standout for not only @Night, but all of Teletoon is Archer. Archer is a highly acclaimed animated series produced for the FX network in the US.

Archer

Archer is apparently good, watch this.

ARCHER
Premieres October 2010 at 11 p.m. ET/PT
Network Premiere • 10 x 30 min
Archer is the story of suave master spy Sterling Archer, who deals with global crises along with a slew of personal issues, including an overbearing mother/boss and a career-fixated ex-girlfriend. Boasting the less-than-masculine code name of “Duchess”, Archer works at an international spy agency with other highly-trained employees who aim to confuse, undermine, betray and royally screw each other.

They’ve also picked up The Dating Guy, an original series that I kind of have to ask, “why?”.

THE DATING GUY
Premieres October 2010 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT
World Premiere • 26 x 30 min
The Dating Guy is a cocktail of dating, sex and friendship. Following four 20-something friends, Mark, Woody, Sam and VJ, the series exposes their romantic, working and every day struggles as they attempt to find love or some kind of “happy ending”. From the ins and outs of dating a werewolf to the subtleties of seducing a virgin porn star, the series gives a no-holds-barred eclectic and comical view to the world of dating.

Their pilot program begins in October at 11:30PM. They have nine pilots, from Angora Napkin, to Space Knights. For a full run down on each of the pilots, check out this link.

Returning series include Robot Chicken, and American Dad. Futurama, and King of the Hill will be back, but it seems they will be cylcing their current episode order.

That’s really all I have to stay about Teletoon’s day time schedule. Like wfsdfsdjkfgsdf, they’re producing a live action tv-movie. Ugh.

Ok, I won’t cop out this early. That TV movie is all part of a movie block Teletoon will call Big Ticket Movie. At least the rest of the features they have are animated. Although, it’s mostly a certain talking dog.

They must love that talking dog, as they’ve picked up Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated.

SCOOBY-DOO! MYSTERY INCORPORATED
Premieres Thursday, September 9 at 6 p.m. ET/PT
New Series • 26 x 30 min
Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and their talking dog Scooby-Doo are back, solving mysteries in the spooky town of Crystal Cove, a sleepy coastal village that boasts a long history of ghostly sightings, werewolves and glowing deep sea divers. Once again, the team must try and find an explanation for these other-worldly occurrences.

As previously mentioned, via that exclusive deal with Marvel, Teletoon will be airing the new Avengers cartoon series. Having seen a bit of the animation myself, I’d wager that you could probably skip this one. Or at least keep the theme song on mute, unless you like modern era Sonic the Hedgehog music…

Avengers

Dem be there some ugly key art son.

THE AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES
Premieres Fall 2010
New Series • 26 x 30 min
When the planet is threatened by Super Villains, time traveling conquerors, alien invaders, mythical monsters or mad robots bent on the total destruction of humanity, the Avengers assemble. From Iron Man and Captain America to Thor and The Incredible Hulk, the earth’s mightiest heroes come together to protect the planet from menaces.

New original series include the Totally Spies spinoff series, and another live action hybrid. But why? The companies who own Teletoon both have venues well equiped to handle these series (YTV, and Family). Ugh.

It's like Team Galaxy got 5 years younger

THE AMAZING SPIEZ!
Premieres Monday, September 6 at 4:30 p.m. ET/PT
New Series • 26 x 30 min
Lee, Megan, Marc and Tony Clark are tightly knit siblings who juggle their family life with intense international spy missions. Outfitted with next generation gadgets and super cool vehicles, the young Spiez! secretly travel around the world and confront the most outrageous villains ever.

Then there’s Skatoony, I’ll let the description speak for itself.

SKATOONY
Premieres Thursday, October 28 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT
New Series • 13 x 30 min
Adapted from the U.K. version of the innovative children’s quiz show, Skatoony is a Hollywood Squares-inspired animation and live-action show for kids, featuring real-life kids and an assortment of well-known animated characters from other TELETOON original productions. Hosted by Chudd Chudders and his sidekick announcer The Earl, this series features contestants competing in four side-splitting trivia-based rounds to win bragging rights and a terrific prize.

Returning series include Ben 10 (with Ultimate Alien), The Super Hero Squad Show, The Secret Saturdays, Batman: The Brave & The Bold, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Hot Wheels: Battle Force 5, Stoked, Total Drama World Tour, Bakugan: Gunadalian Invaders, Johnny Test (ugh), Jimmy Two Shoes, Spliced and Chowder.

On the RETRO side of things, you can expect literally the exact same as what you’ve got now. As they’ve yet to announce any new shows.

At the very least, it looks like they’ve dropped Majority Rules. But we haven’t seen the last of that show (you’ll find out why in a few days).

Stay tuned for the Family Channel fall highlights, hopefully I’ll stay sane while writing that.

YTV announces Fall 2010 programming, grown men shouldn’t cry

Dragon Ball Z Kai

Because adding Dragon Ball Kai makes too much sense.

Clearly I was asking for too much. Today, YTV parent company, Corus Entertainment announced its Fall 2010 programming skid. Boy, it’s not pretty if you like Japanese animation.

They’ve picked up Victorious, the new Nickelodeon sitcom for kids from Dan Schneider (Drake & Josh, iCarly, etc.). I have nothing witty to say, here’s their description:

VICTORIOUS – NEW SERIES
Premieres: Friday, September 10 at 6:30 p.m.

Already a Nickelodeon hit, this half-hour live-action comedy follows the journey of Tori Vega (Victoria Justice), a 15 year-old girl who has lived in the shadow of her sister Trina – the “star” of the family. When Tori unexpectedly lands an invitation to attend the prestigious Hollywood Arts high school, she soon learns that getting in might be a lot easier than fitting in. Although she doesn’t recognize how talented she really is, Victorious follows Tori’s journey toward discovering that she’s born to be a performer and that entertaining people is what makes her happiest.

Because they want to make sure they don’t have too much Nickelodeon stuff on YTV, they also picked up Big Time Rush, another Nickelodeon show. One that’s not very popular, might I add…

BIG TIME RUSH – NEW SERIES
Premieres: Monday, September 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Meet Kendall, James, Logan and Carlos – four best friends from Minnesota who have been given the chance of a lifetime to join the glamorous L.A. pop music scene in Big Time Rush. But trading hockey sticks for hair and make-up isn’t always easy. Will celebrity life change these talented heartthrob teens forever? Produced in partnership by Nickelodeon and Sony Music, each half-hour of this live-action series features original songs performed by the group.

YTV also picked up Sidekick. Which seems to be a retooled version of the same Sidekick shorts that aired in Funpack (the shorts series that brought us Harold Rosenbaum). It’s from Nelvana, and it’s one of the few non-soul destroying pick ups.

SIDEKICK – NEW SERIES
Premieres: Saturday, September 11 at 10:30 a.m.

Produced in Canada by Nelvana Studio, this animated series follows young orphan Eric Neddles who lives in Sidekick, an animated world filled with superheroes and super villains. On the day Eric was to begin sidekicking for the greatest superhero of all time, Maxum Man, Maxum went missing – leaving this rookie with the task of making the world think that Maxum is still on the job. Since sidekicks aren’t good enough to be superheroes, Eric and his second stringer friends are always given the worst jobs, which mean they’re going to be the first projectiles thrown.

They also picked up the CW’s Life Unexpected. Which, while being a critical darling, wasn’t exactly a ratings power house. Although, what CW show could you say was?

Lastly, they picked up the new CG Babar cartoon (which we’ve known about for a while), as well as Kyle XY. Another ABC Family show that YTV picked up, another one that’s already been canceled. I swear, ABC Family is taking over the cable networks up here. Muchmusic and YTV have most of their original programming covered. For some reason, they’ve also allowed Fanboy & Chum Chum to air on YTV. It was better off left on Nick Canada.

You can expect new episodes of Sponge Bob, iCarly, How to be Indie (Ugh), That’s So Weird!, The Next Star (double ugh), Beyblade: Metal Fusion, Kid vs. Kat, In Real Life, and League of Super Evil. Which makes me wonder, does YTV even know they’ll be airing Three Delivery? Guess it’s just time slot filler. Or maybe they have some more announcements in store? Don’t hold your breath.

Some may read this post and wonder why I’m so critical of these pickups, given that YTV has moved away from anime in recent months for a more family friendly cohesive lineup. Well, that’s because in the past fall seasons, there wasn’t much to pick up. Sure, there was Gundam 00, but without Bionix, it had no venue. Sure, there was Soul Eater, but without a Canadian dub, and the fanservice, it was always going to be a hard sell. But this fall we had Dragon Ball Z Kai, something that’s been a hit in the past, and is proving to do so again. Then there’s Deltora Quest, which is based on a very popular book series, and has a Canadian dub. Then there’s InuYasha: The Final Act, a proven hit, with a Canadian dub. I felt those should’ve been picked up if nothing else. Unless they have some later announcements, this has truly been a brutal fall season for anime in this country.

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