Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Misanthrope, An Elementary Student, And Something Archie Comics-esque But Dark And Dirty

I never was cool. The young'uns now frequently remind me I'm old. Some have taken to asking me what it was like when I was "alive." On the other hand, I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up, and I need to know what the young'uns will be talking about, so I pay attention to weird elements of pop culture. I'm betting that I'll be listening to many discussions about two new Fox animated series.

According to the New York Times, Fox will add two new animated series to its summer line-up.
The block will have its debut with two new shows: “Axe Cop,” an anime-influenced series based on a Web comic written primarily by an elementary-school-age boy (with his older brother’s assistance), and “High School USA!,” which takes an Archie Comics-esque exterior and infuses it with dark, dirty humor. (The first episodes of each will be broadcast the Sunday before, July 21.)
The anime series may draw only the the usual suspects as viewers, but High School USA! features art that hews close to the classic Archie series may develop a more devoted following; the young'us are fond of "dark, dirty humor."

Fox's version of Archie, Betty, and an apparently blonde Veronica (From NYT)
Fox will also gain viewers by giving up some control:
In contrast to typical network series, Fox owns this content, which also means it free to distribute it however it like, or to let viewers do so. A signature of the High-Def Web site will be a simple GIF maker so fans can put together their own clips of the shows and share them on social media. Plenty of television shows do well in the GIF ecosystem, but generally those GIFs are made illegally.
But High-Def writers and animators are working with these sorts of sharing opportunities in mind — “moments inside the shows that become GIF-able moments,” Mr. Weidenfeld said. He speaks about the form like a zealot (“I have a vision for how our audience can engage with our content”) as well as an industrialist (“Especially because there’s no audio, it’s just an ad — all it is, is a promotional tool”).
No word on whether Fox will base broadcast episodes on fans' clips. Unless, young'uns change drastically between now and the first broadcast, the fans' creations may be too risque for network TV.

I will spend some time watching both because I'm certain students will. I'm not sure I'll do a lot of laughing.


David Montgomery said...

"Axe Cop" is hardly an anime series, and I'd even question the Times' description of it as anime-influenced. One of many, I suppose. But it's far from swimming in anime tropes. It's mostly just the pure imagination of a 5-year-old kid run through the guiding filter of an adult. It's sort of lost a little of the oomph from the early episodes — possibly a result of the fact that the kid is now 7. Check it out at (down at the moment).

Kal Lis said...

It's still down, so I'll check it out tomorrow. My knowledge of web comics isn't as wide as it should be, but I don't remember any of my students mentioning the series. I usually hear about a few every year.

I'll take your word for it that it's not anime influenced. I used the term anime to avoid another hyphen.

David Montgomery said...

That said, it's possible the animated series draws more an anime than the webcomic. I haven't seen more than a few teasers from the cartoon.