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Battle over Best Animated Program: ‘Futurama’ vs ‘South Park’

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  • Tom O’Neil
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    #327374

    THANKS to our forum poster “Macbeth” for contributing this fine article to us:

    http://www.goldderby.com/news/7022/emmy-south-park-futurama-archer-tmnt-entertainment-13579086-story.html

    http://shar.es/1n6rq1 

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    dosmax
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    #327376

    Great article! I agree it’s between Futurama and South Park, and I give the edge to Futurama too. The episode of South Park sets up a great story, but we don’t see the conclusion until two episodes later. Futurama has a self contained story that is funny, sweet, and inventive. Archer’s the dark horse, but I think Futurama has this and deservedly so.

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    Tyler The Awesome Guy
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    #327377

    Futurama should win.

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    Nick Spake
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    #327378

    This calls to mind the blog entry I wrote about the Ninja Turtles odds of winning, which I’ll shamelessly post below. 😉

    When the 2014 Primetime Emmy nominees were
    announced a couple weeks ago, the biggest surprise didn’t occur in
    Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Comedy Series, or any of the
    so-called “major categories.” It was in Outstanding Animated Program. As
    expected, “South Park,” “Futurama,” and “Bob’s Burgers” all returned to
    the lineup. After years of being one of the funniest animated ensemble
    pieces on television, FX’s “Archer” also finally broke into the race.
    The real surprise, however, was the show that took the fifth spot. It
    wasn’t “The Simpsons” or “Family Guy,” but Nickelodeon’s “Teenage Mutant
    Ninja Turtles” for “The Manhattan Project.”

    If you’re an award
    show junkie that follows the Emmy’s closely then you probably thought to
    yourself, “How did something as stupid as ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja
    Turtles’ pick up a Primetime Emmy nomination? A Daytime Emmy maybe, but a
    Primetime Emmy? Seriously, how did this happen?’” Well for one thing,
    the new CGI “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series actually isn’t all
    that stupid. Oh sure, it’s still about giant reptiles that eat pizza and
    practice Ninjutsu in the sewers. As ridiculous as the premise remains,
    though, developers Joshua Sternin and J.R. Ventimilia have delivered a
    truly compelling show that mixes action, drama, and comedy better than
    any previous incarnation of “TMNT.”

    When “Ninja Turtles” first
    rose into popularity in the eighties, older audiences all likely had the
    same reaction. “This is just a dumb fad that will never last.” Yet,
    almost thirty years later, “Ninja Turtles” is still one of the most
    popular franchises around. Is that because there will always be kids
    that are drawn to stupid ideas? Well yeah, why do think they keep
    watching “Power Rangers?” Unlike “Power Rangers,” however, “Teenage
    Mutant Ninja Turtles” is a franchise that’s shown considerable
    improvement over the years.

    While the concept originated in the
    comics by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, “Ninja Turtles” hit the
    mainstream market with the 1987 cartoon series. Like most cartoons at
    the time, the series primarily existed as a means to sell toys to
    wide-eyed children hopped up on sugar cereal. Where “G.I. Joe” and
    “Transformers” took on a more straight-faced tone, the people behind the
    “Ninja Turtles” cartoon seemed to know how ridiculous the premise was.
    As a result, “Ninja Turtles” played up its goofy, kid-friendly humor
    rather than hardcore action. The comedy itself often ranged from
    legitimately funny to insultingly corny. Nevertheless, James Avery’s
    Shredder and Pat Fraley’s Krang were always good for a laugh.

    Kids
    got a darker take on “Ninja Turtles” with the 1990 live-action movie.
    The film was pleasant to look at, had some well-choreographed action,
    and can be viewed today as a 90’s time capsule of sorts. In retrospect,
    though, we all know that the “Ninja Turtles” cartoon and motion picture
    aren’t necessarily good per se. They’re still a ton of fun to watch, but
    that fun derives more from nostalgia than quality. Obviously, they’re
    not in the same league of something like the best Disney animations,
    which hold up as great art without nostalgic glasses.

    The biggest
    problem with both the show and movie was the serve lack of distinctive
    leading characters. As mentioned before, this was an era where kids
    shows were solely made to mass-produce toys. Because of this, it was
    customary to simply color coat characters instead of giving them
    distinguishing personalities. That’s not to say that the four Ninja
    Turtles didn’t have some differences. As the title theme song written by
    Chuck Lorre goes, “Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines, Raphael is
    cool, but rude, Michelangelo is a Party Dude.” But aside from those
    slight character traits, they were all basically the same
    interchangeable turtle that spouted dated slang like, “Cowabunga.” The
    only things that honestly set them apart were their weapons and the
    colors of their bandanas. Maybe that’s why the voices constantly got
    mixed up.

    It
    wasn’t until the 2003 reboot that the Ninja Turtles started to emerge
    as individuals. The turtles each had the key traits they were given in
    the previous cartoon series, but those traits were all significantly
    expanded upon and given more depth. Never before had Ralph seemed more
    badass, nor had Mikey been more of a wiseass. For the first time, you
    could tell the difference between the four based on personality and not
    bandana color. The showrunners set out to explore to dynamic between
    this unlikely family, producing some legitimate drama.

    Speaking
    of drama, this was easily the most adult incarnation mass audiences had
    ever seen from the Ninja Turtles. As far as kid shows go, it was
    probably the darkest we had gotten since “Batman: The Animated Series”
    and “Gargoyles.” Sure, there was no blood, but there might as well have
    been as Leonardo is stabbed through the shoulder and Baxter Stockman
    loses a body part per episode. As for the Shredder, let’s just say that
    compared to the 1987 series it’s like “Dark Knight Rises” Bane VS
    “Batman & Robin” Bane. The show never went too far with its more
    adult approach, though. The creators always knew this was “Ninja
    Turtles” and that the show had to be fun for kids above all else.

    While
    it was equally fun and dramatically involving, the 2003 reboot wasn’t
    without its share of dud episodes. The final “Flash Forward” and “Back
    to the Sewers” seasons can pretty much be skipped altogether. Still, the
    show was a massive step forward for this franchise with sharp animation
    and sophisticated storylines. The original cartoon’s sheer camp value
    has made it a more definitive version in the eyes of popular culture.
    Nevertheless, 2003’s “Ninja Turtles” is undoubtedly the superior series
    in terms of quality, revealing that this franchise could be more than
    just colorful junk food.

    When
    it was announced that a third “Ninja Turtles” animated series was in
    the works for 2012, I had a hard time getting even remotely excited. We
    had already gotten a campy cartoon with the 1987 series, a gritty
    cartoon with the 2003 series, and a made for television crossover movie
    that brought everything full-circle with 2009’s “Turtles Forever.” There
    was no reason to reboot “Ninja Turtles” yet again. After binge-watching
    the first season, however, I stand corrected.

    You know how
    some people have argued that if you took the best parts from the old
    “Spider-Man” movies and the new “Spider-Man” movies you’d have the
    perfect “Spider-Man” film? That’s kind of what Nickelodeon has done with
    the new “Ninja Turtles” animated series. The show flawlessly combines
    the joyful humor of the 1987 cartoon, the darker tone of the first
    movie, and the strong character dynamics of the 2003 reboot. The newest
    “Ninja Turtles” goes beyond barrowing from previous incarnations,
    though. Nickelodeon has worked in a number of it’s own inspired
    signatures, including some Beauty and the Beast styled romance, ongoing
    parodies of “Star Trek” and anime, tragic back-stories, spot-on
    voiceover work, morals that tie into the story without feeling forced, a
    brilliant twist towards the end of season one, not to mention the
    catchiest rendition of the classic theme song you’ll ever hear.

    This
    is also probably the most self-aware interpretation of “Ninja Turtles,”
    noting how improbable it is for Donatello to fight off alien technology
    with a stick. The animation itself is a unique blend of various
    different styles, creating something incredibly likable to watch. That’s
    more than can be said about the pointless 2007 CGI movie, which just
    looked like footage from a video game. In many ways, the new “Ninja
    Turtles” has become everything the “Kung-fu Panda” animated series could
    have been, finding just the right balance of silliness and drama.

    Nickelodeon’s
    “Ninja Turtles” is not only a prime example of how this franchise has
    evolved, but also how children’s TV shows have evolved. Granted, the 80s
    and 90s brought us a number of wonderful cartoons that still hold up
    like “DuckTales” and “Pinky and the Brain.” But let’s face it, there are
    just as many cartoon that don’t hold up as well as we remember. Is it
    blasphemous for me to say that “Pokemon” is actually kind of annoying?

    There’s
    still undoubtedly a lot of pandering crap out there aimed at kids
    today. At the same time, however, never before have we gotten more kid
    shows (and movies for that matter) with grown up appeal. The ongoing
    storylines and running gags seen in “Adventure Time,” “Phineas and
    Ferb,” “The Legend of Korra,” “Gravity Falls” and of course
    Nickelodeon’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is proof of that. If you
    still think everything marketed to kids nowadays is automatically
    inferior to the shows of yesteryears, you’re either getting old or maybe
    you haven’t grown up much at all.

    Considering
    all of the above, it’s actually not that surprising that “Ninja
    Turtles” earned a Primetime Emmy nomination. If anything, it’s
    encouraging that the Academy of Television would recognize the show as
    serious entertainment. Does that mean “The Manhattan Project” is bound
    for Emmy gold next month? Probably not, especially since it has to go up
    against “Futurama” for its touching final episode and “South Park” for
    its epic “Black Friday” story ark. If anything can be taken away from
    this nomination, though, it’s that you can never judge a show based on
    its exterior. Every ridiculous idea has potential to produce something
    magnificent, even one called “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

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    BrokenFan
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    #327379

    I literally finished catching up with the last season of Futurama and while it’s not their strongest season or the strongest finale (see: The Devil’s Hands are Idle Playthings), the finale was really touching. I’ve been a long time fan of the show and it’s kinda bittersweet to see it go away forever. 

    So I think Futurama has the edge, last time to reward it. I mean give the show an emmy for surviving 3 cancellations.  

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    CanadianFan
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    #327380

    Nice article!

    It’s very weird that Archer (Vice) would finally get nominated for a season that a lot of people turned on. Maybe Veep should change its name and get that voting bounce as well…

    I hope Futurama wins for their series finale.  

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    espnfan
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    #327381

    Sorry, but can someone explain to me (or try to guess) how in the World the Simpsons was not nominated?  I was shocked considering they had just come off of one of their best and most publicized episodes ever, the Lego episode.  I know these nominations are not based soley on one episode, but after how many consecutive nominations ( I believe 19) I thought they would have been a shoe-in.  All the press and publicity from that episode should have propelled them to another nomination.

    Even though they may not be fully deserving, I am kind of hoping Archer wins here.  After three years of ridiculous snubs, I kind of hope Archer gets the recognition they deserve.

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    Charles Bright
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    #327382

    Sorry, but can someone explain to me (or try to guess) how in the World the Simpsons was not nominated?  I was shocked considering they had just come off of one of their best and most publicized episodes ever, the Lego episode.  I know these nominations are not based soley on one episode, but after how many consecutive nominations ( I believe 19) I thought they would have been a shoe-in.  All the press and publicity from that episode should have propelled them to another nomination.

    Sometimes the voters just don’t respond the episode selection like two years ago when South Park was snubbed when they submitted the subpar episode “Cash for Gold.” They also may have felt that the episode was just a shameless plug for The LEGO Movie and as creative as the animation style was, that alone doesn’t win Emmys or get shows nominated. I am hoping that Archer wins because it’s about damn time it get some recognition, although I’m predicting Futurama will actually win. 

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    Charles Bright
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    #327383

    Sorry, but can someone explain to me (or try to guess) how in the World the Simpsons was not nominated?  I was shocked considering they had just come off of one of their best and most publicized episodes ever, the Lego episode.  I know these nominations are not based soley on one episode, but after how many consecutive nominations ( I believe 19) I thought they would have been a shoe-in.  All the press and publicity from that episode should have propelled them to another nomination.

    Sometimes the voters just don’t respond the episode selection like two years ago when South Park was snubbed when they submitted the subpar episode “Cash for Gold.” They also may have felt that the episode was just a shameless plug for The LEGO Movie and as creative as the animation style was, that alone doesn’t win Emmys or get shows nominated. I am hoping that Archer wins because it’s about damn time it get some recognition, although I’m predicting Futurama will actually win. 

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    Denis
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    #327384

    Futurama wins it in a landslide, if South Park had submitted “World War Zimmerman” the race would be over, but they screwed up, and, will, lose.

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