Farewell to Bloo… forever?

I have to confess that I haven’t been watching Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends lately. My kids have been favoring other shows, and if I’m going to fight them for TV time, it’s really not Foster’s I’m going to insist upon. (I have to at least pretend to be an adult, you know.)

But my understanding has always been that the show has been enjoying high ratings and rave reviews. As well it should; I consider Foster’s to definitely be amongst my top five favorite cartoons ever.

So imagine my surprise when I started clicking around online after a nice long weekend, only to discover that, apparently, the show will be wrapping up in February:

The last 5 episodes will air in 2009, and the last episode is titled, “Goodbye to Bloo.”

I went poking around on Toon Zone for more information, and found this forum thread, but not much else. I can’t believe the show is going to be over. It sort of feels like losing Teen Titans all over again.

I’m going to need cookies to get through this one.

Cartoon Network kickin’ butt and taking Emmys

I always thought that the Emmys weren’t announced until all the famous people put on their slinky dresses and got made fun of by Joan Rivers, but it turns out that some awards are announced prior to the televised event. Imagine! I mean, it’s almost like how many thousands of dollars of jewelry people can borrow is not actually the point. I was surprised, too.

Anyway, I am a bit behind, but last week the winners of the individual achievement in animation Emmys were announced, and Cartoon Network took plenty of the honors.

(Oh, by the way, the article also enlightened me as to the timing: “Because the awards are juried categories, there are no nominations; the categories might have one, more than one or no winners each year. There were no Emmys awarded in the voice-over performance juried area this year.”)

Check out the list of Cartoon Network honorees:

– Sue Mondt, art director for Cartoon Network’s “Camp Lazlo,” episode “Squirrel Secrets,” from Cartoon Network Studios;

– Dave Dunnet, background key designer for Cartoon Network’s “Good Wilt Hunting” (“Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends”), from Cartoon Network Studios;

– Narina Sokolova, background painter for Cartoon Network’s “My Gym Partner’s A Monkey,” episode “The Big Field Trip,” from Cartoon Network Studios;

– David Colman, character designer for Cartoon Network’s “Class of 3000,” episode “Eddie’s Money,” from Cartoon Network Studios;

– Phil Rynda, character designer for Cartoon Network’s “Billy & Mandy’s Big Boogey Adventure” (“The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy”), from Cartoon Network Studios

Other notables include Sang-Jin Kim, an animator on Avatar: The Last Airbender (okay, that one’s with Nickelodeon, but you can’t fault a gal for being pleased at Avatar getting some recognition), and Cartoon Network animators Sihanouk Mariona and Thomas Smith pulling down awards for projects with ShadowMachine films.

On a related-but-not-really note, I keep forgetting to mention that Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix (the recent hour-long animated movie) dominated the ratings for boys ages 6-11 on its premiere night (Friday, August 10th). I wasn’t all that surprised, but the press release I received about it used lots of exclamation points and a large font, so I guess it’s even more exciting than I thought.

Clearly, Cartoon Network is on a roll. Congrats to the Emmy winners, and let’s see what you come up with next!

2007 prime-time Emmy nominations announced

Yesterday marked the announcement of this year’s prime-time Emmy nominees, and so this seems like a good time to confess that I’m a total awards show junkie. Can’t get enough of ‘em. I mean, there are always shows I love which are overlooked by the awards committee(s), but sometimes the right show is recognized and there’s nothing quite like seeing something you really enjoy being recognized for the hard work that goes into it.

(The fact that you can also see a bunch of expensive dresses, outrageous hairdos, and funny commercials doesn’t hurt, either.)

Anyway, Animated News was on the scene immediately with the list of animation nominees.

Outstanding Animated Program (Programming Less Than One Hour)
Avatar: The Last Airbender – “City Of Walls And Secrets” (Nickelodeon Animation Studio)
Robot Chicken – “Lust For Puppets” (ShadowMachine Films)
South Park – “Make Love, Not Warcraft” (Central Productions)
SpongeBob SquarePants – “Bummer Vacation / Wig Struck” (Nickelodeon Animation Studio with United Plankton Pictures, Inc.)
The Simpsons – “The Haw-Hawed Couple” (Gracie Films with 20th Century Fox)

My take: I think Avatar deserves to win, but I don’t know that it will. There’s been a lot of buzz about Robot Chicken, and with the Simpsons movie about to come out—despite the series having been around forever—people are sort of rediscovering it. So I just don’t know.

Outstanding Animated Program (Programming One Hour Or More)
Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends – “Good Wilt Hunting” (Cartoon Network Studios)
Hellboy Animated: Sword Of Storms (Starz Media with Revolution Studios)
Secrets Of The Deep (Impossible Pictures with Discovery Channel)
Camp Lazlo – “Where’s Lazlo?” (Cartoon Network Studios)

My take: If Foster’s doesn’t win this one, my faith in a just deity will be shaken. I know I went into that one already loving Foster’s, but Good Wilt Hunting was even better than I expected it to be. To me, it’s the clear front-runner. But I don’t get to vote. (Which is a travesty in and of itself. Clearly.)

The 2007 Emmy Awards Show will air this year on Sunday, September 16th at 8:00 PM. Mark your calendars and get ready to make fun of famous people. (Oops. Did I say that last part out loud? My bad.)

Any similarities are… Imaginary?

Tropfest. Proudly proclaiming itself to be the world’s largest short film festival, Tropfest draws in filmmakers from all over the world to present their original works. (The fact that it’s held in Australia is just a bonus.)

Anyway, Tropfest is a big deal. And this year the big winner was one Steve Baker. Right now Baker should be basking in the glory of his win, but instead, he’s been under fire. Now, before you click on that link? Let’s see if you, brilliant reader, can figure out why.

Baker’s winning short is entitled An Imaginary Life. (A lot of people are fans of a little show called Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.)

Baker’s protagonist, pictured above, is imaginary. And his name is Andrew. He’s blue. (Fosters’ protagonist is imaginary, named Bloo, and blue.)

Baker’s piece is Flash-style animation. (Foster’s is Flash-style animation.)

It certainly sounds… coincidental… but I think film ick got it right:

There are plenty of differences between the stories, notably that Imaginary Life adopts a pseudo-documentary aesthetic (well, as far as an animated film can) which is very different to the graphic, classical stylings in Foster’s Home.

As much as I’d hate to see Craig McCracken getting ripped off, I think Baker has done so only by accident, if at all.

Tropfest officials seem to agree; their released statement said:

During the initial pre-selection period, the possibility of perceived similarities was identified by the festival but, after subsequent checks with the filmmaker, we were satisfied that An Imaginary Life was an original work that met all entry requirements.

Steve Baker, the director of the winning film, is a three-time finalist of Tropfest and a filmmaker whose integrity and body of work is respected by John Polson and the entire Tropfest team.

Congratulations, Mr. Baker. When you have some time, you might want to check out Foster’s Home. I think you’d enjoy it.

Friday bits and pieces

I’ve been meaning to do a round-up of a few items relating to stuff that’s been posted previously, so today seems as good a day as any to do that. Don’t you always want to read the answers to all of your burning questions before you head into the weekend? Of course you do!

We have a winnah… actually, three of them

Waaaaay back in October I brought your attention to the Design Your Destiny Yu-Gi-Oh! Contest over at 4Kids Entertainment. Remember that? Since then, people keep wandering over to that entry and leaving plaintive comments asking about the results. Well, it turns out that the folks at 4Kids have finally announced the winners and put up the winning drawings. (My son and I agree that Tongue Twister is the most deliciously disgusting of the creatures.)

More Cartoon Network Upfront announcements

The announcements about upcoming plans for Ben 10 were just a slice of all the exciting Cartoon Network plans that were revealed in New York City this week. Both Newsarama and ToonZone have been awesome with their coverage. My favorite news (besides the Ben 10 movie news, that is)? Plans for the upcoming Cartoon Network Invaded:

Foster’s Bloo will send a message out to space causing the Cartoon Network universe to be invaded by all manner of aliens. Every Friday in May, an alien will arrive in a new episode of one of that block’s group of programs to raise havoc or something else, culminating with an all-out alien invasion on Memorial Day.

(I’ve never looked forward to Memorial Day quite so much….)

Some actual animation, finally

Remember my ambivalence over Jerry’s Seinfeld’s Bee Movie? I’m warming up to it. The latest trailer may have helped; the animation is clean and I think i can now say I much prefer Seinfeld in his animated form.

Sometimes they get it right

Today is the much-anticipated opening of Bridge to Terabithia, and I peeked through my fingers while looking up the reviews. Have they done it? Did they manage to take a great book and turn it into a great movie, or did they take a great book and turn it into pulp?

I’m breathing a sigh of relief, and buying us tickets online right now. I can’t wait to see it.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!