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Has Animation Domination Jumped The Shark?

by Charles Kenny
November 12, 2013 12:05 AM
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animation domination

Harken back the late 80s/early 90s. The world is a simpler place and animation was, for all intents and purposes, a simple form of entertainment.

Then suddenly, not one, but two explosive events coincided to give the technique the sorely needed kick in the backside it needed. On the one hand, The Simpsons managed to grasp the mantle of prime time animation that had last been held by The Flintstones. On the other, the holy trilogy of original Nicktoons took children's animation by force while mopping up the hipper elements of the adult audience.

All things being equal, it's been an interesting two decades for both types of show. The Simpsons managed to eclipse just about every other show on the planet in terms of quality and popularity and gave rise to other hits such as King of the Hill, Family Guy and Futurama.

Although never able to replicate the level of hysteria initiated by the Simpsons, cable cartoons were more than content to prove their metal through numbers, and diversity. Their quality has stood the test of time quite well; just ask any 90s kid.

That leads us to today's news that the broadcast network most dominant in animation, FOX, has announced that they are ordering a new series from stalwart creator, Seth McFarlane (and Mark Hentemann.)

Bordertown takes place on, you guessed it, the American border and given McFarlane's track record, probably features a nuclear family and at least on talking animal. The series was ordered partly as a result of American Dad moving to TBS.

News of such a move ought to paint a depressing picture in many minds.

If in doubt, just imagine that someone from five years ago watching Animation Domination this year would have no trouble recognizing the lineup. Now think how many new shows he or she would have to grapple with on Cartoon Network alone. Surely that should be cause for thought.

FOX has by far the best record when it comes to animation on a broadcast network and to give them the respect they deserve, they have persisted time and again with animation even if shows didn't quite prove to be hits.

However, with yet another McFarlane-esque show scheduled for the line-up, it's clear that Animation Domination has had it's 'jump the shark' moment.

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  • Tony | November 14, 2013 4:13 PMReply

    I don't watch any of the McFarlane shows. The only shows in the line up I watch are The Simpsons and Bob's Burgers. While I concede that the Simpsons have passed their peak long ago, it's still a funny, high-quality show, a reliable old workhorse that still delivers the goods, even if it no longer has the edge it used to have. As for Bob's Burgers, it's a welcome reprieve from the manic style of the other shows. I like its low-key, character driven humor and the improvisational, stream-of-consciousness approach to dialogue.

  • achtung | November 12, 2013 10:42 AMReply

    Spellcheck please. It's very annoying to read.

  • Alex D. | November 12, 2013 1:36 AMReply

    As you once pointed out to me, Charles, it's that networks want to pick things that have worked in the past. That's why Seth McFarlane "creates" shows that all feature a similar formula. That's all networks really want: a safe bet.

  • Charles Kenny | November 12, 2013 7:26 AM

    Yup, that's absolutely the case and so far it's worked for FOX. It's just the whole 'too much of a good thing is bad for you' aspect to creating yet another cartoon from the same person and how the block itself appears to be over the hill creatively.

  • Joshua | November 12, 2013 12:33 AMReply

    Or as it deserves to be known 'Limited Animation Domination'.

  • Roberto Severino | November 15, 2013 1:52 PM

    How about Urination Dominaton instead? I only watch Bob's Burgers and American Dad on the channel anyway. The rest of it is painful to watch.

  • Charles Kenny | November 12, 2013 7:22 AM

    I rarely watch anything on the block nowadays, but form what I have seen, that title is wholly appropriate.

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