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Introducing DreamWorksTV

Technically, DreamWorks Animation has had a production branch for television since 1996, but the creators of ShrekMadagascar and How to Train Your Dragon are now getting their own channel.

Check out the “Welcome to DreamWorksTV” video below:

Now, you’re probably wondering, “What about Nickelodeon?” For years, DreamWorks Animation and Nickelodeon have had a strong partnership, with Nick being the host for several DreamWorks-inspired hit shows like “Kung Fu Panda” and “Penguins of Madagascar.”

I was wondering that too, so I looked into what DreamWorks has been up to this past year leading up to the announcement. It turns out they actually hired a former Nickelodeon executive, Marjorie Cohn, as their Head of Television. Cohn was with Nick for 26 years, and she’s joining two other Nick employees who are shifting to DreamWorks: Mark Taylor and Peter Gal.

dreamworkstv

Of course, this was announced unceremoniously last August, but the plan remains the same. DreamWorks wants a channel where they can produce new series based on their hit movie franchises, including the following:

  • Shrek,
  • Mr. Peabody & Sherman,
  • How to Train Your Dragon,
  • Madagascar,
  • Kung Fu Panda,
  • Turbo,
  • The Croods,
  • Rise of the Guardians,
  • Puss in Boots,
  • Monsters vs. Aliens,
  • Megamind,

And hey, maybe that list will also include Antz

The move makes plenty of sense as the market for computer-animated movies grows as competitive as ever, with Disney, Disney Pixar, Sony and Blue Sky all producing blockbuster animation movies around the same time each year. The market for television, however, has yet to be fully tapped in this author’s opinion.

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Sure, you couldn’t get away with producing CGI cartoons as the bulk of your programming a decade ago, but as the technology grows more efficient, the costs of making a great show like Nickelodeon’s Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius becomes an easier sell to investors and studio execs.

I’m having a hard time feeling sorry for Nickelodeon, if you can believe it. While I believe Nick has made some smarter moves in the last 10 years compared to their biggest rivals Disney and Cartoon Network, they’ve still dropped the ball when it comes to ramping up the production of good animated shows. With the exception of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, Nickelodeon has pretty much played it safe.

dreamworkstv

At the same time, the above trailer for DreamWorksTV admittedly looks like the same format: a mixture of cheap live-action dribble blended in with animated productions. It’s a decent business model, but we’ll see how the ratio between cheap and valuable shows truly match up in the coming months.

Oh, and don’t worry about the new channel’s relationship with Netflix. They’ve already signed (allegedly) broad content deals that will undoubtedly spread the word. Yet another area Nickelodeon has been slacking in.

dreamworkstv

In the end, I’m excited about the prospect of animated television experiencing a revival, especially when it comes to computer animation, and it makes perfect sense for a studio with such a rich library of movie content to be one of the evangelists.

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Top 7 Movies of 2012

Image Courtesy of Fanart.tv

This was a fantastic year for movies, so I just had to make a list. Keep in mind that these are the movies I personally enjoyed the most and may not be for everyone. I did leave out some great movies on this list, so I will be doing honorable mentions at the very bottom.

7. Rise of the Guardians (PG)

Image courtesy of catholicexchange.com

What? Pixar didn’t make my favorite animated movie list? Honestly, Brave didn’t even beat out Hotel Transylvania for me. I found it bland, boring, and ultimately underwhelming, especially for a Pixar film. No, Rise of the Guardians makes this list because it simply was the most enjoyable animated film I saw this year. It could have easily been a contrived mess, cashing in on the exciting premise of seeing Santa, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost and the Tooth Fairy fighting the Boogeyman. Thankfully, the movie has some great storytelling behind it thanks to the series of books it’s based upon, making it an action-packed kid’s movie with some interesting, sometimes deep themes. Plus, it was great to see The Sandman actually being the “strongest” of the guardians. Definitely glad I went out and saw this one.

6. Dark Knight Rises (PG-13)

Image Courtesy of Gawker

What a great way to conclude a trilogy. I have to admit that I wasn’t as impressed as everyone else with The Dark Knight, but I more than appreciated how well they crafted such a phenomenon. I had my doubts that DKR would even manage to come close to meeting expectations fans had for this film, but I was pleasantly surprised. Put simply, the movie did it for me. It had plenty of flaws and gaping plot-holes, but it was still an enjoyable ride from start to finish, and they managed to end the trilogy in a way that pleases pretty much everyone. I call that a win.

5. Les Miserables (PG-13)

Image Courtesy of aceshowbiz.com

What more can I say besides the fact that Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman were so good at their roles that absolutely everything else I disliked about the movie pretty much meant nothing because, holy crap, I got to see some of the best acting of the year done to a musical. See this in theaters while you can.

4. Chronicle (PG-13)

Image Courtesy of Best Movies Ever News

What a fantastic movie this turned out to be. At a time when we’re getting bombarded with the “handheld camera” style of filmmaking (Paranormal Activity 4 anyone?), I was relieved to see a studio really nail it with Chronicle. The movie already wins points on not being an adaptation or sequel. It was just an ambitious project that was filmed extremely well and ended up being one of my favorite movies of the year. It worked because it was simple and well-executed with believable characters and, of course, the powers these kids used evolved from entertaining to epic, making the final battle scene one of the best superhero finales I can say I’ve seen.

3. Ted (R)

Image Courtesy of filmofilia.comI hate Family Guy these days. Ever since the end of season 6, I have been extremely disappointed with the show and have completely given up on it. Sure, I watch episodes every so often to “check-in” and see if the show has managed to fix whatever it is that they broke. Hasn’t happened yet, but maybe that’s why I enjoyed Ted so much. Seth McFarlane, the mastermind (and pretty much every voice) behind Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show produced this movie, and it really was like the spirit and humor of past Family Guy were revived. Ted was easily the most funny movie I saw this year, and the reasons it worked go beyond the humor. Just look at how they handled Mila Kunis, who we probably should have hated but ended up empathizing with. The casting was the most well-done aspect of this film, with Ted becoming one of this year’s biggest new stars. Not bad for a teddy bear.

2. Skyfall (PG-13)

Image Courtesy of Collider

I’ve been an avid fan of the James Bond franchise since I was old enough to watch them back when Goldeneye came out. To be honest, however, I haven’t enjoyed a Bond film (with the exception of Casino Royale, though even that was disappointing in part) since The World is Not Enough back when I was just 9 years old. The charm and mind-splitting plot of James Bond just hasn’t been there until we received Skyfall, a Bond movie that finally took some serious risks. They say that Bond films are most successful when they reflect the taste of the times. This is why Cold-War, macho villainy, and gadget hi-jinks were so popular back in the baby boomer days. Now, we’ve finally received a Bond film that adapts to the audiences of today. It was a fantastic action film that utilized the gritty realism and introspection we have come to expect thanks to Christopher Nolan. The villain ended up being the best movie villain of the year, I’d say, thanks to a brilliant performance by Sam Mendes. Just the fact that Skyfall actually took the risk of showing us a more emotional Bond without polarizing what makes him iconic is a testament to how well this film was made. 

1. The Avengers (PG-13)

I just enjoyed this film the most, okay? It wasn’t the most well-made film that came out this year. It wasn’t the best story. It didn’t have the best special effects. It didn’t have the best characters. Still, this was the most fun, escapism movie I saw this year. I lost myself in watching some of my favorite movie heroes fighting alongside each other against my favorite villain from their string of movies. I laughed and cheered alongside hundreds of people watching this movie, which is an experience I’ll never forget. When I think back, I waited four years for this movie, starting with Iron Man, so I easily could have been disappointed if just one of the characters fell flat. Not the case. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and The Incredible Hulk lived up to my expectations perfectly. Thank you Marvel Studios.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Argo
  • Lincoln
  • Django Unchained
  • The Hobbit
  • Cabin in the Woods
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Wreck-it Ralph
  • Looper
  • Life of Pi

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

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