Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Animation: Archer, FLCL, and Cartoon Brew

Here's another quick set of recommendations for recent animated television series and some interesting animated shorts. 

Archer: Season One on Netflix
Archer: Season Two on Hulu
Netflix: Set amid the world of international espionage, this irreverent animated comedy from the FX network revolves around the exploits of smart-mouthed superspy Sterling Archer (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) -- code name: "Duchess." For Archer, taking on top-secret missions around the world is a breeze compared to dealing with his fellow agents, notably his overbearing mother, Malory (Jessica Walter), and his ex-girlfriend Lana (Aisha Tyler).

Archer is the latest series from Adam Reed, best known for his work on Cartoon Network Adult Swim series such as Sealab 2021 and Frisky DingoArcher also features the voice talents of H. Jon Benjamin, a veteran of such series as Home Movies (Coach McGuirk), Dr. Katz (Ben) and another current series, Bob's Burgers (Bob Belcher).

Some may object to this recommendation in an animation entry since Archer might qualify as what Chuck Jones called "illustrated radio" (in reference to stiff Hanna-Barbera television animation). But what can I say...I think this is a funny, entertaining show.  A good short interview with Archer creator Adam Reed can be found at The Onion's A.V. Club

FLCL on Hulu
Edit 4/23/11: FLCL on Netflix Watch Instantly
Hulu: Naota's a bit quirky, but he can still pass for normal. Haruko's totally quirky and she'll never pass for normal. When she runs over Naota with her motorscooter and brains him with a bass guitar, his world doesn't get turned upside down - It gets incredibly weird. There's nothing else in the world like FLCL. This one's going to change your life.

In contrast with Archer, FLCL is often jarring in its often flamboyant and over-the-top animation style.  Currently Hulu has only the first two episodes out of the total of six episodes.  In the event that Hulu does not end up posting the remaining episodes, the series was just re-released on DVD and Blu-ray last month.

Animation historians Jerry Beck and Amid Amidi have a wonderful website devoted to animation at Cartoon Brew.  In addition to being a wonderful resource for animation history and recent animation news, the website also has a feature called CBTV, which showcases recent animated shorts, often from student filmmakers.  I encourage you to bookmark their website and continue to check in for new work; meanwhile, here are a few of my favorites from their recent posts.

“The Cyclotrope” by Tim Wheatley

The Cyclotrope from tim Wheatley on Vimeo.

“Hotcorn!” by Juan Pablo Zaramella

Hotcorn! from Juan Pablo Zaramella on Vimeo.

“Inception” in 60 seconds, with paper cut-outs by Wolfgang Matzl

“One Minute Puberty” by Alexander Gellner

One Minute Puberty from bitteschö on Vimeo.

“Orpheu’s Pony” by Michael Fragstein

Orpheus´ Pony from Michael Fragstein on Vimeo.

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