Droids

1985’s Star Wars: Droids Gets An Updated Intro?

Well, friends. In all honesty Star Wars: Droids has received a fan made update to the classic 1985 intro. With Al Scott’s student work placing this during the time of 2015’s The Force Awakens. Having said that it of course means that BB-8 is now tagging along with C-3P0 and R2-D2!
Droids

I stumbled across this video the other day although in fact it was released back in May of 2016. I really like what Al was able to accomplish with his reimagining for the Droids opening. Using the legendary “Trouble Again” theme song by The Police’s Stewart Copeland works rather well with the threats to the Droids by Captain Phasma and the First Order as well as Unkar Plutt.

Moreover I truly wish that Disney might think about resurrecting the ’85 television series. I believe that with the popularity of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and of course Star Wars Rebels – it’s time for a return to Star Wars: Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3P0…and BB-8.

From his YouTube Page, Al said of the student project:
“…this is a contemporary reimagining of the cartoon “DROIDS” from the 1980’s! This newly imagined version of “Droids!” follows the day to day adventures of C3P0, R2-D2, and BB-8 as they constantly find themselves in trouble again avoiding the First Order, Bounty Hunters, Scavengers, and helping the noble Resistance further their cause across the galaxy!


Now while it’s nice to think about what a new animated series might be like. I would be remiss to not mention how much of a fan I was of the 1985 show. Certainly that puts me in the miniority as many fans of Star Wars seem to not look at the show as fondly as I do. Then again I also am a huge fan of the Droids that populate the movies, comics, animated series, and games. Even in my youth there were cases where I cared more about R2 or even the likes of 2-1B than Chewbacca.

I hope all of this has got you thinking about the 1985 animated series now. Which has yet to receive a DVD or Blu-Ray release, by the way. Because the Retroist has you covered with episode 59 of his podcast – in which he is joined by R2!
Retroist Star Wars Droids Podcast

These Itty Bittys Have Got the Touch!

These Itty Bittys are also “more than meets the eye.”

You’ve got your cheesy jokes, I’ve got mine.

Random Visit

I was at the mall recently, which isn’t much of a stretch, being female and all. My mall visits wouldn’t be complete without a quick stop in Hallmark. I usually try to avoid the store unless I am buying a gift, because I’m always bound to find something I don’t need, but really need to have.

For the uninitiated among us, that’s an impulse buy. The only difference between myself and most women is that other women usually splurge on shoes, clothes, and purses. My impulse buys are usually of the fun variety. And if that isn’t geek enough, nothing is.

Anyways, shopping…

I’ve been collecting in dribs and drabs from Hallmark’s Itty Bitty collection, ever since I bought my mom a Mickey Mouse Itty Bitty as part of her birthday gift in 2014. Since then, I’ve collected a few myself.

Someone will construct fan fiction around this photo.

What had started (at least, as far as I can recall) as Disney characters soon became characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC Comics, The Muppets, Rainbow Brite, Star Wars, and various other licensed properties and classic films, soon gave way to these “robots in disguise,” disguised here as mini plushies…

“Itty Bitty” Robots In Disguise

That’s right, the Autobots and Decepticons continue to fight in their newest form, and, well…they’re cute.

“Cute” and “Transformers.” Not really something you’d normally see in the same sentence, right? Well, for this purpose, you’re seeing it!

These adorable additions to the Itty Bitty line are, in fact, smiling Transformers characters – Hallmark is offering up a few of the most important characters…

That’s right – Bumblebee, Megatron, Optimus Prime, and Soundwave. All plush, all tiny, and (almost all) smiling. It is mind-blowing yet not surprising for these little toys, since (with a few minor exceptions) they all smile.

When I was shopping on the particular day I came across these, I had spotted Ant-Man in one of the various bins holding the Itty Bittys. I only meant for him to be an impulse buy.

And Optimus Prime was smiling up at me, and he melted my heart.

To steal a line from Star Wars (and reconfigure it slightly), he was the robot I wanted.

To steal another movie line (this time from Jerry Maguire), he had me at hello.

It was an impulse buy that more than met the eye, the wallet, and the happiness factor.

Those are the best kinds of impulse buys. :-)

Be sure to take a look at the rest of Hallmark’s Itty Bitty collection, which now includes pretty much anything you can think of, and a few fun surprises and treats thrown in.

Including Clark Kent.

It (Allegedly) Stinks!: Exploring the Underappreciated Charm of “The Critic”

*Watching the “Readability monitor* (Sigh) Such a critic.

Not The Simpsons

Anyway, now that you know how I feel about that Readability monitor…

If you watched enough primetime cartoons in the 1990s (other than The Simpsons, of course), “it stinks!” may sound familiar to you. And many believe it to be a direct spinoff of The Simpsons (and they’re so wrong!).

This show it comes from, you ask?

The Critic!

Before There Was Family Guy

In the 1990s, one primetime cartoon was king, and that was The Simpsons. There was nothing quite like it at the time, and it ruffled quite a few feathers. Bart Simpson was every parents’ worst nightmare, and the example that moms used when they said “this is not how you will behave!” Because my mom allowed my brother and I to watch the show, I never understood why so many other kids could not, and why parents were in such a tizz over The Simpsons. And that show was supposed to be family-friendly – I can’t imagine what the people who got their panties in a bunch over The Simpsons felt when they saw Family Guy a few years later.

If you guessed they got their panties in a bunch AGAIN, you’re right. Pat yourself on the back, you’re so smart!

Picture it, a Brief Time in 1994 (and 1995)…

Between that time, in 1994, Al Jean and Mike Reiss, who were previously showrunners on The Simpsons, decided the time was right for another primetime sitcom, but not of the family variety. The premise, you ask? The life of a New York film critic named Jay Sherman. That’s it. He’s a film critic, he’s balding, fat, has a child, is divorced, and has a Siskel and Ebert type show (called with all originalness, Coming Attractions) where he watched trailers for upcoming films. The movies he reviews are spirited parodies of actual films that you’ll immediately figure out if you’re familiar with movies of the time.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiryercg53SAhUJQiYKHYL_DoQQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fthecritic.wikia.com%2Fwiki%2FComing_Attractions&bvm=bv.147448319,d.amc&psig=AFQjCNEqc-Ck9gcv4BGSDSuac4pQRP1bOA&ust=1487623536718562

And they were hilarious! Who didn’t want to see Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Rabbi Cop, Clint Eastwood make another Dirty Harry movie, a Raptor smoke a pipe, or Dennis the Menace shoot up Mr. Wilson?

A Critic(al) Response

In theory, The Critic seemed like a great concept. It was funny, witty, and was floated as a “love letter to New York.” Plus, Jon Lovitz had name recognition and seemed like the perfect person to have his own series. So this should have been a hit, right?

Nope.

Like the tagline Jay Sherman used to describe the movies he was forced to watch and review, people were not fans. The Critic started off on ABC in January 1994, but moved to Fox in its second season. Despite improving ratings, the show was cancelled after two seasons, and twenty-three episodes. For several years in the mid-late ’90s through its Fox airing and later Comedy Central reruns, this was regular viewing for my brother and myself.

Since I had no idea (at least, initially) that this show began life on ABC, I assumed it was premiering on Fox because of the crossover episode of The Simpsons, when Jay hosts a film festival in Springfield. Oh, and he badmouths MacGyver. I’ve never forgotten that. :-D

Original Run

The show originally premiered on ABC in their Wednesday night lineup beginning on January 26, 1994, but was cancelled after 13 episodes.

Uploaded by VHSgoodiesWA…and proof that this show aired on ABC.

The show promptly moved to Fox for the 1994-1995 season (airing all those original episodes during the summer explains why I thought it only aired on Fox). It followed The Simpsons on Sunday nights (a respectable timeslot), but was cancelled after the second season. A move to UPN never happened, and with no network to pick it up for a third season, The Critic was officially done.

Old Soul Approved

Admittedly, I’ve always been an old soul. Don’t get me wrong – I was your typical kid when it came to toys and cartoons, but I loved primetime sitcoms growing up. As far back as I can remember, I watched many of the “important” ones that ’80s babies grew up on, and even at a younger age, I liked the humor. As an adult, I have not spotted one sitcom I liked as a kid and cringed over it. Ok, except for Small Wonder. I now see why my mom was so weirded out by that show.

Where The Simpsons was low-brow and played to the “everyone can relate” stance, The Critic took a satirical approach to humor, parodying movies by combining different movies, lightening up some, darkening others, and parodying high-profile stars of the time. The movie parodies were brilliant – the “clips” were movies any smartass would love to see. And then there was the Orson Welles parodies – Maurice LaMarche is brilliant. Just sayin’.

Uploaded by seinfan9

The feeling of audience commonality to The Simpsons was parodied in one episode. Jay Sherman was often depicted as elitist and smart, but it was his over-the-top dramatics that made him funny and endearing to this “old soul.” I always liked the humor of the show, even at 11-12 years old. The movie parodies were the highlight for me.

I sorta knew who Jon Lovitz was at the time (thanks to A League of Their Own). His is a voice you can’t forget, and his haminess works perfectly for Jay.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjNobH_gp3SAhVGRyYKHWlqBvUQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fvillains.wikia.com%2Fwiki%2FDuke_Phillips&psig=AFQjCNHrWIYFLd55U3_v78q0QVPqCH0u7Q&ust=1487623348012497

“All hail Duke, Duke is life!”

The only other character I laughed at as hard as I did at Jay was his boss, Duke Phillips, and while I knew who Charles Napier was (but not until much later), I didn’t think that was his real voice! Duke’s characterization was that of Ted Turner – a media conglomerate owner who rules with an iron fist.

And What About Those Movie Parodies?

Yeah, what about them?

Uploaded by Random Comment

There are many more amazing parodies, and this merely scratches the surface. There’s this…

Uploaded by KnightedFrog

This…

Uploaded by Kanaru2

And this!

Uploaded by YoKozo

These, and the many other parodies of the movies…not bogus!

Availability

The show aired in reruns on Comedy Central (where I watched it after Fox cancelled it), has been in syndication during the last decade, and made the trek to TV-on-DVD in one set with all 23 episodes, including the ten-episode Flash Animation webseries (2000-2001). The set is available on Amazon for a respectable price of $14.99. And yes, I own that DVD set.

And In Closing…

The Critic was one of those gems that lacked the proper respect in its time, but still holds up well despite its age. It had a great sense of humor that paved the way for the humor of Family Guy, and all of the shows that would follow in that vein. Ahead of its time? Maybe. Classic? Definitely!

How could anything with that distinction stink?

It is impossible!

Would You Like To Enjoy Breakfast at Jellystone Park Every Morning?

Imagine being able to have breakfast with Yogi Bear, Pixie and Dixie and the rest of the gang in Jellystone Park. Every morning! This Jellystone Park plate and Pixie and Dixie bowl set, which was made in the 1960s, makes this possible.
Jellystone Park

My husband loves all things pop culture, just like I do. He has fond memories from his childhood of eating from this plate and bowl set. I was amazed to discover that his mother still had it and it was in excellent condition.

My husband enjoyed being able to see the familiar Saturday morning cartoon characters on plates and bowls. He has fond memories of his mom telling him that he was not finished until he could see Pixie and Dixie at the bottom of the bowl.

These characters first appeared in the late 1950s and early 1960s. My husband and I saw them as kids as Saturday morning cartoons re-runs.

The plate has Yogi Bear, Ranger Smith, Quick Draw McGraw, Blabber Mouse, Snooper, Hokey Wolf, Ding-A-Ling Wolf, Mr. Jinks., Quick Draw McGraw and Baba Looey, Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss, Yakky Doodle, Pixie and Dixie.

On the plate, Ding-A-Ling is helping put up the sign and Snooper is carrying a bowl of food. Baba Looey, the Mexican burro, Huckleberry Hound, and Snagglepuss are putting the tablecloth on the table. Blabber Mouse is carrying Yakky Doodle in a pink flower pot. Pixie and Dixie are wrapping a present.

I’m a big fan of the Hanna Barbera cartoons. I feature them regularly on my blog, Between the Pages. Check out this Snagglepuss Cake and these amazing Flintstone Cakes and Scooby-Doo Cakes and this Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons.

Zim Animation Teases 3D Intros To He-Man And More!

You might remember Zim Animation from the post I shared on Halloween two years ago. It was a 3D computer rendered version of the intro to the classic Real Ghostbusters cartoon. But that wasn’t the only bit of awesome retro inspired 3D work that Zim Animation has produced.

Why back in 2014 he in fact delivered the 3D intro to the 19802 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

It appears that Zim Animation though is more than willing to keep bringing us 3D versions of popular animated series. To prove this the Vancouver, Canada based animation team have put together this short teaser. With the idea in mind that they will eventually include short clips – mashed together with various classic characters. Like the Thundercats, Masters of the Universe, and Batman.
Zim Animation

One can hope that in addition we might see some of the Transformers included as well! Furthermore is it too far a stretch to believe that G.I. Joe might make up the roster of retro cartoons to make the cut?

Without further ado here is Zim Animation’s 3D Remake Mashup!

With what we could see in that teaser – I assume this new project will look like someone is flipping channels. If you want to help support Zim Animation in this new project, you can totally visit their Patreon Page. Moreover make sure to check out the awesome rewards for pledging your support to this endeavor. Reward such as first looks at the work in progress and communication with the animators as well!