Saturday, September 19, 2009
Cartoon Network has begun airing the Super Hero Squad Show, an animated series based on a comic book series based on a line of action figures sold in an attempt to duplicate the success of larger action figures which were based on comic books.
At present, we've seen the first two-thirds of the first two episodes: we couldn't find the conclusion to either on Youtube, where we typically forage for such things. Frankly, it doesn't seem to matter.
The Middle Room has long collected Super Hero Squad action figures, and will continue to do so, despite the lackluster program.
The Super Hero Squad did not impress us. In feel, it reminds us of animated series that were made in eighties. Not the ones you're thinking of, but rather the ones you've forgotten. The characters are absurdly childish; the plots painfully simplistic.
There are some who will excuse this with the explanation that it was made for children. Such apologists should be dismissed. It has long been - and shall continue to be - the position of The Middle Room that children are capable of appreciating intelligent entertainment. If you doubt this, we refer you to the success of Batman: Brave and the Bold.
From the early footage, it appeared the Super Hero Squad Show would feel like children playing with toys. But that would imply a degree of inspiration and whimsy that's entirely absent. Rather, the show is a collection of caricatures tied together with a disconnected string of fart jokes and halfhearted voice acting.
The writers, presumably in an effort to please the longtime Marvel fans watching, have peppered the series with dozens of characters, monsters, objects, and references to comic history. But these feel cheap and empty. Even when Stan Lee was even brought in to voice a character, the result felt more like a forceful nudge than a loving nod.
On top of everything else, the animation is abysmal. Perhaps over time the show might improve, though we sincerely doubt it. In truth, we'd prefer it were put out of its misery as soon as possible, before it sullies the toy line any further.
At present, Marvel has two exceptional animated series: Spectacular Spider-Man and Wolverine and the X-Men. With Hulk Vs. and Next Avengers, they've finally built a direct-to-DVD studio which is releasing movies worth tracking down. And their live action movies are absolutely fantastic.
We'd hoped that, somehow, this would surprise us the way Brave and the Bold did. But no such luck.
Oh, well. At least it's better than the episode of Iron Man: Armored Adventures we sat through.