Welcome to the ninja packed edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. Here’s what’s topping today!
Randy Cunningham, a mild mannered 9th grade student, turns ninja! He’s kicking his way toward his long awaited debut. Angie beside the TV show on Disney XD, what are viewers looking for as the ninja warrior waits for his time to strike?
Angie Angelfish (At Toon Zone HQ)- Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja,” an action-packed, animated comedy series that follows the adventures of an unlikely hero who, with his super human ninja suit, the ‘NinjaNomicon’ (an 800 year-old Ninja guide) and the help of his best buddy Howard, finds himself as the one thing protecting his school and the world from certain destruction, is set to premiere on Disney XD. A special preview will air MONDAY, AUGUST 13 (9:00 p.m., ET/PT) with the series premiere on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 (7:00 p.m., ET/PT). New episodes will premiere Monday through Thursday (7:00 p.m., ET/PT).
Created and executive produced by Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas (“Scooby-Doo”), “Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja” stars an award-winning cast: Ben Schwartz (“Parks and Recreation,” “House of Lies”) as Randy Cunningham, Andrew Caldwell (“Transformers,” “Hannah Montana”) as Howard Weinerman, Kevin Michael Richardson (“The Penguins of Madagascar”) as Willem Viceroy III, John DiMaggio (“Futurama”) as Hannibal McFist, Dave Wittenberg (“Stitch!”) as Bash Johnson, Jim Rash (“Community”) as Principal Slimovitz, Tim Curry (“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”) as The Sorcerer, Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”) as Mrs. Driscoll and John Oliver (“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”) as Coach Green.
The multiplatform roll-out is as follows:
Saturday, August 11
Full episode preview of “Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja” is available on WATCH Disney XD.
Monday, August 13
A full episode preview of “Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja” follows the premiere of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living “TRYathlon” special (9:00 p.m., ET/PT). In the episode “Last Stall On The Left,” Freshman Randy Cunningham discovers the ‘NinjaNomicon,’ which reveals that he has been chosen to be Norrisville’s newest Ninja. Armed with his power-packed ninja suit, he faces his first battle with McFist ’s monster Krakenstein, while juggling his new secret identity and being there for his best friend Howard.
Directly following the preview on air, “Last Stall On The Left” will be available on iTunes as a free download.
DisneyXD.com launches a “Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja” page featuring a new side-scrolling platformer game, “Randy Cunningham: Punchocalypse,” with intense action and high flying ninja moves.
Wednesday, August 29
“Enter the NinjaNomicon” activity launches on DisneyXD.com/Randy, allowing players to take control of Randy within the NinjaNomicon. In the activity, an evil force has scattered the pages of the NinjaNomicon and thrown it into chaos, and it is up to the player to put them back in order. Players will be able to access a special power in the activity called “Cold Rage” that can be used in the “Randy Cunningham: Punchocalypse” game.
Friday, September 14 – Sunday, September 16
Jason Dolley and Bradley Steven Perry (“Good Luck Charlie”) host the nightly programming lineup on Disney Channel and give viewers a “Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja” sneak peek and highlights of the new series.
Monday, September 17
Series premiere (7:00 p .m., ET/PT) – In the episode “Got Stank,” after triangle-playing band geek Bucky is benched for showboating, he is ‘stanked’ by the Sorcerer’s noxious gas which turns him into a crazy monster creating mayhem at Norrisville High. Randy must learn the secret to saving Bucky who has fallen under the influence of the evil Sorcerer’s powers by destroying the one thing Bucky holds most dear.
At DisneyXD.com/Randy, all five levels of the “Randy Cunningham: Punchocalypse” game will launch. Players take on the role of Randy, who equipped with his battle skills and ninja gear must rescue best pal Howard from their rivals.
Tuesday, September 18
“Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja” episodes available on WATCH Disney XD, Disney XD Mobile VOD via AT&T U-Verse, Sprint and Verizon; along with iTunes, Xbox Live and Sony Playstation. Select episodes will be available on DisneyXD.com.
Thursday, September 20
A new episode of “Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja” will be available on WATCH Disney XD.
With the Penguins leaving to parts unknown, the future of movie-based TV shows is in doubt as this report from Toon Zone says that without the flightless spies, there’ll be a empty spot unless things go right as The Huntsman analyzes:
I have long been a proponent of movie-based animated programs. Perhaps I am unusual in that regard, but if I like a movie, I would like to see as much of its world as possible. Sure, it might not be as excellently portrayed on a TV budget, but at least you get to see its characters long after their theatrical star has burned out. That notion, however, was far more relevant when Disney held the torch. With a few exceptions, they only turned their movies into animated programs once they realized that any future movies based on the property would only be direct-to-video titles. That’s what makes the new torchbearer, DreamWorks Animation, so intriguing. They are actively striving to turn as many of their movies into animated programs as possible, while simultaneously striving to keep new sequels based on those properties in the theaters. Suffice to say, that has muddied the waters exponentially.
It’s all a matter of canon. When a movie gets turned into an animated program, things change. It’s an occupational hazard. The Disney cartoons from the 90s didn’t have to worry about that very much because, in most cases, there weren’t going to be any new theatrical movies. Kids would watch the original movie and then watch the cartoon, accepting any changes and experiencing the transition in a linear fashion. It may not have been perfect, but it made sense. With these DreamWorks cartoons, on the other hand, kids would watch the first movie, watch the animated program, and then watch the second movie. The changes between them are jarring, even for adults. I could excuse The Penguins Of Madagascar because it was handled strictly as a comedy, even if I did grow to like the show’s voice actors far more than their movie counterparts, but the ball was dropped big time.
It, too, was primarily a comedy, but unlike The Penguins Of Madagascar, they tried to give it some degree of continuity, though it was mitigated by the way Nickelodeon kept airing episodes out of order and aired new episodes sporadically. Unfortunately, the continuity didn’t really fit in with the movies and I’m not even convinced that they tried to make it fit. The characters’ relationships imply that it takes place shortly after the first movie, but because Po is naturally learning new things and gaining new abilities, it can’t fit in with the second movie and the canon becomes branched. If there were no more sequels, this wouldn’t matter, but the sequels largely defeat the point of having the animated program and it takes away from its entertainment factor to a large degree. Why should we be invested in seeing Po grow as a warrior if future movies don’t take his new growth into consideration?
So why, then, am I still excited for DreamWorks’ Dragons: Riders Of Berk? Because it appears that they have finally learned from their mistakes and are making an animated program that is simpatico with the movies; one that is, for all intents and purposes, a part of a non-branching canon. This is a very good thing. In a recent article about the show’s Comic Con panel, the show’s runners said that while each episode can be viewed as a standalone episode, it will build up the story and set things up for the theatrical sequel, promising that fans who have watched the show will be rewarded when they watch the movie. Additionally the series is using the movie’s voice actors for the main characters, and while the quality of its animation isn’t theatrical quality it’s still a huge step up compared to its Nickelodeon contemporaries.
Cartoon Network has kept a tight lid on the show’s production, so details are still scarce for a show that premieres in less than a month, but I’ve become more and more impressed with everything that I’ve seen. Some are concerned that the show will focus too much on discovering new dragons, similar to the mistake that the Lilo & Stitch series made when it focused each episode on a different alien, but the show’s runners have emphasized that a large portion of the focus will be on the relationships of the characters and their various adventures. There will be new villains as well as, yes, new dragons. Dragons are a key part of the franchise, after all. DreamWorks wants this show to succeed and they want to build upon what they already have, and I wish them luck.
That’s how it should be, after all. Effort, under the watchful eye of the studio to ensure that nothing in the show will contradict the movies. Now, I don’t expect that it will go down that smoothly; as I’ve said earlier, changes are an occupational hazard for movie-based cartoons. But if this show succeeds, it could set a tremendous precedent going forward. Since DreamWorks is currently working on a Monsters vs. Aliens cartoon and are pitching shows based on several other movies, it will be very interesting to see how things progress. We won’t have to wait long to find out, as Cartoon Network has scheduled a sneak peek of the series to air on August 7th at 7:30 PM. It will consist of the first two episodes, with the series premiering in full this September.
And for those of you who saw the 2-episode sneak peek last night, then you’re ready to experience the world of dragons as DreamWorks Dragons premieres this fall.
The Marvel Heroes may be ready to assemble again as Marvel Heroes 2 could start production very soon:
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joss Whedon has been hired on again as boss of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and their superhero pals for a sequel to "The Avengers."
The news came Tuesday from Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger, who said during a company earnings call that the filmmaker is returning to write and direct the sequel adapted from the Marvel Comics tales.
Iger also said Whedon is helping to develop a Marvel-based TV series for ABC. Marvel is a Disney subsidiary.
No details were provided on a start of production or release date for the sequel to Whedon’s "The Avengers," the year’s biggest hit with nearly $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office. But the film will have to get in line behind a busy schedule of solo sequels featuring "Avengers" co-stars.
Robert Downey Jr. is filming "Iron Man 3" for release next May, while "Thor" star Chris Hemsworth will have his own sequel out in November 2013. Chris Evans’ "Captain America" sequel will follow in April 2014.
The signatures keep on coming as 888 fans sign in. With some new episodes set to premiere soon through the rest of the year as well as the Penguins movie in summer 2015, many fans are hoping that Team Skipper will make up ground from late summer to next spring to end the show on a happy note. But don’t worry Penguin fans, we’ll fill in the blanks for you!
As we wish them good luck on their farewell tour set to begin soon, we started to think back this past Sunday on our news brief with Fish Head, but this breaking news might be a spoiler alert for sure. To find out, make sure you see him this Sunday, and I’ll keep close tabs on Batman in the box office. This is Gene Scallop for my entertainment report telling you rest assured TV fans, everything will be okay through next spring!