(Television History and Trivia)
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Victor Edward Swanson,
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- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 23 - - -
Since the start of the 2005-2006 season, I have been well aware of a television series for children--mostly young gals--entitled Bratz, but only recently have I really done some research to learn more about the series, having been unable to see the credits well at the end of episodes, which I have been able to see on The WB affiliate in the Detroit area, WDWB-TV, Channel 20, though the series is really part of the "4K!ds TV" block that 4Kids Entertainment supplies to Fox (in Detroit, the Fox affiliate does not air the block, so the WB affiliate does). The series is currently being shown on Sunday mornings on the station (in most of the markets in the country where the series is shown, viewers see the series on Saturday mornings), and since the start of this season the series has been shown mostly once each air date, but, sometimes, it has been aired twice on an air date.
"Passion for fashion"--that is one theme of the series. The series, which is a computer-animated series that has a 3-D quality to it, is mostly about a group of teenage gals. The main gals are members of a fashion magazine, Bratz, which they started, after one of them, Jade, had gotten fired from her internship at a magazine called Your Thing, the editor of which is a woman named Burdine Maxwell, and the Bratz gals, for one, end up in adventures involving celebrities, such as a gal named London Milton and a singer named Alonce. So far--in episodes aired--the gals have formed a rock band, called "Rock Angelz," have gotten lost on the way to a spa ("Wilderness Spa") and had an unexpected camp out at night (with, basically, nothing), and have gone to London. The Bratz gals go to Stiles High School, and the main "passion-for-fashion" gals are Cloe (a blonde gal), who is the beauty editor for the magazine, Jade (an Asian-type gal), who is the fashion editor of the magazine, Sasha, and Yasmin (an African-American-type gal). There are two young gals who are twins, who, for example, are Burdine's interns; they are Kirstee and Kaycee, and they are also called the "Tweevils." Yes, there are boys, and here are some names--Cameron and Dylan. The show is credited to Mike Young Productions and MGA Entertainment, and each episode runs 30 minutes (which does cover commercials and all the other filler that an episode can have). The voices for some of the young guys and gals in this series are done by Ogie Banks, Lacey Chabert, Kaley Cuoco (who was in, for instance, Eight Simple Rules recently), Soleil Moon Frye (who was in Punky Brewser as Punky in the 1980s), Olivia Hack, Josh Keaton, Tia Mowry (who was a regular in the series Sister, Sister in the 1990s), Dionne Quan, and Charlie Schlatter.
Let me provide more specific information about credits for Bratz, focusing on one episode, the episode in which the theme is hypnotism and an award. In the opening credits, the show has Isaac Larian listed as the executive producer, Liz Young listed as the supervising producer, Jennifer Klein and Michael Stoke listed as the writers, and Mucci Fassett listed as the director. In addition, the opening credits note that the show was "developed for television" by Peggy Nicoll, and, actually, that credit is shown twice on the screen, and that is a production error (you have a piece of information that you can use in a trivia question some day). The end credits are hard to read, but I can note that the voice credits are: Olivia Hack as Cloe, Tia Mowry as Sasha, Dionne Quan as Yasmin, Lacey Chabert as Kaycee, Kaley Cuoco as Kirstee, Soleil Moon Frye as Jade, and Wendie Malick as Burdine. The voices for the Tweevils and Dylan are not listed.
Here is commentary from me. The show, though it can be called "teenage girl fluff stuff," is pleasant and likable, and, certainly, some of that is because of the design of the characters--what the characters look like. Because of the writing, there are even cute moments and nutty moments in scenes, and, yes, there are "boy-crazy" moments. It seems to me that the show will be remembered by some people in the future, such as in ten years by young gals of today who saw the show, as certainly some people now remember an animated series that viewers first were able to see in the U.S.A. in 1994--ReBOOT.
ReBOOT was a computer-animated series that had a 3-D quality to it, and it was a series that was probably more watched by young boys than by young gals, though it seems young gals did watch the show. Alliance Communications and BLT Productions put together ReBOOT which began to be shown weekly on Saturday mornings on ABC-TV on September 9, 1994, and the series was seen on ABC-TV during two seasons, and then it was shown in syndication as part of the "Power Block" block of programming distributed by Claster Television starting in the fall of 1996 (the "Power Block" was a group of four series that was devised so that one series aired each weekday, and, in Detroit, the "Power Bock" started out with Beast Wars: Transformers on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, ReBOOT on Thursday, and G.I. Joe: Extreme on Friday), and, later (beginning in April 1999), ReBOOT was shown on The Cartoon Network. (In this edition of T.H.A.T., I will not give a full explanation of the first-run life of ReBOOT.)
My purpose of talking about ReBOOT is to make you remember or let you learn about ReBOOT and to pass along some trivia questions, which will be answered in the next edition of T.H.A.T. ReBOOT, which had a noticeable computer-based theme, took place in Mainframe, a place in cyberspace. One of the particular places in the series was "Dot's Cafe." Who ran Dot's Cafe? One of the main characters in the series was a boy. What was the name of the boy? The boy was not "Bob," whom the boy looked up to. Bob, the boy, and the person who ran the cafe were the main heroes of this series. Often, the boy was scooting along on a flying surfboard-type thing (or a flying skateboard-type thing) and having to deal with bad guys and bad gals, and Megabyte was certainly one of the bad guys. A shapely gal who wore a mask and whose name began with an "h" was certainly such an evil gal. What was the name of the gal to whom I refer in the previous sentence?
Other series for children have had that computer-animated 3-D quality, at least somewhat like that of ReBOOT or that of Bratz, and I now talk about some, only noting about when each first appeared in the country. BeetleJuice, which Fox TV offered affiliates on a stripped basis beginning in September 1991, was a partial 3-D-like show (the 3-D style was used in the opening sequence of the series), and The Trans Formers: Generation 2 (as I list it because of what the title looked like, as opposed to Transformers: Generation 2, which is what you will probably see it listed as in publications) was offered in syndication as a weekly show by Claster Television in the 1992-1993 season, and it had an opening sequence that had 3-D-type animation. The Bots Master was shown in syndication during the 1993-1994 season, and this series had a 3-D portion, and to see the 3-D portion, a person had to have a pair of 3-D glasses, which could be picked up for free at, for instance, Kay Bee Toy Stores. Beast Wars: Transformers, which was completely done in 3-D style, began to be shown in syndication in September 1996, and it was part of the "Power Block" of programs from Claster Television (by the way, the series was known as Beasties in Canada). The Fox Family Channel, which is now called ABC Family, had Donkey Kong Country beginning in August 1998, and the computer animation was done by Medialab (of France), and the series was produced in association with Nelvana, which was a Canadian company. Mainframe Entertainment was the guiding force behind War Planets, which began to be shown in syndication in the fall of 1998, and during the 1998-1999 season, some children saw Voltron: The Third Dimension, a weekly series, and the 3D animation for Voltron: The Third Dimension was produced by Netter Digital Entertainment. During the 1999-2000 season, Roughnecks: Starship Toopers Chronicles was a syndicated series. During the 2000-2001 season, the "Kids WB!" block (the Saturday-morning children's block of programming) had Max Steel, which was a series put together by Foundation Imaging and Columbia TriStar Television. In late 2001, children began seeing Cubix: Robots For Everyone (listed in program listings as only Cubix), and at first and for a while, it was part of the "Kids WB!" block (later, it showed up as one of the shows for the "Fox Box," the program block that 4Kids Entertainment was putting on Fox TV). Starting in September 2003, PBS made Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks available to PBS-type stations, and this program, focusing on Piggley Winks and his friends, came from Mike Young Productions and Entara (which was a company in England). And in January 2005, The Cartoon Network began to run Pet Alien, which focused on a boy named Tommy Cadle, who lived in a lighthouse--with aliens.
So far, I have not made clear the type of computer animation to which I refer in this edition of T.H.A.T.. The computer animation is generically known as "CGI" animation, and "CGI" animation is more specifically known as "computer-graphics imaging" animation. The CGI-animation systems used to make the television series that I have talked about gave all the television series a 3-D quality (think of the quality that the theatrical movie called Toy Story had).
Let me explain more about "4K!ds TV" and the "Fox Box." Fox TV began offering affiliates a children's block of programming (in essence, a cartoon block) on Saturday mornings in September 1990, and the block of programming ran for three hours, and the block was known as the "Fox Kids Network." Over the next ten years or so, shows came and went. In January 2002, it became public knowledge that 4Kids Entertainment (a production company and program distributor) had won the right to program the Saturday-morning children's block for Fox TV. In the fall of 2002, the "Fox Box" appeared, and that was the name of the block of programming now controlled on a daily basis by 4Kids Entertainment. On January 22, 2005, the block of programming became known as "4K!ds TV" (as it was seen on the screen) or "4Kids TV!" (as it was described in written material), and this season, the block of programming is known as "4K!ds TV" (or "4Kids TV!"). Basically, 4Kids Entertainment is leasing the time for the "4K!ds TV" block from Fox TV, and the block is really part of the Fox TV network, though the block may not necessarily air on a Fox affiliate.
By the way, I have yet to see a good article about Bratz in the any of the television-listings publications that I see regularly, such as TV Guide, and there are probably many reasons none of the publications has had a good article, one of which could be that the managers of a publication are covering too much of the same thing.
In previous recent editions of T.H.A.T., I talked about or reviewed the new TV Guide, and when I wrote the last material about TV Guide, I had no plans to soon talk about TV Guide again, but since then, I have had to change my mind. When I received the edition of TV Guide for January 30-February 5, 2006, I said to myself, "Not again." I like watching Grey's Anatomy (which is sort of like Ally McBeal in a hospital), which is fluff-like entertainment, and, in essence, the main theme of the cover for the edition of TV Guide for January 30-February 5, 2006, was Grey's Anatomy, as noted through a photograph featuring two of the performers of the series, Justin Chambers (who plays Alex) and Katherine Heigl (who plays Izzie). You should ask: "What is the problem?" The problem is it was the third cover since the new version of TV Guide began to be published (the first of which was the edition for October 17-23, 2006) that had Grey's Anatomy as the main theme of the cover; the edition of TV Guide for November 7-13, 2006, had Patrick Dempsey (who plays Derek) and Ellen Pompeo (who plays Meredith) on the cover, and the edition of TV Guide for December 19-25, 2005, had Patrick Dempsey as the main face of the cover. I believe, since 1953 when the very first edition of TV Guide was published, TV Guide has never given so much main-spot coverage to one show on covers in such a short amount of time (about four months) as it now has given to Grey's Anatomy--between 1953 and when the new edition of TV Guide began to be published, the makers of TV Guide had not focused so much on one show or a few shows, being people who, it seems to me, wanted to be seen as non-committal to one series or a few series and treat all series equally (a quality that, I think, is good for a publication focusing on the television industry as a whole).
Now, let me talk about whether or not there is a close relationship between Grey's Anatomy and TV Guide. This season, Grey's Anatomy is produced by The Mark Gordon Company, Touchstone Television (which is a unit of The Walt Disney Company), and Shondaland. TV Guide is directly owned by Gemstar-TV Guide, (which is partially owned by News Corporation, which owns, for one, Fox TV network and which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch). That is all that I can say.
Where I live, I have stored on shelves or in boxes editions of TV Guide for the Detroit area that were published between the early 1980s and the most-recent edition published and have stored in boxes partial editions of TV Guide published between the early 1970s and the early 1980s ("partial editions" means only the color sections of magazines, which include the covers), and in the room in which I type up my editions of T.H.A.T., I have editions of TV Guide that were published between May 1997 and today. Let me make a survey of covers for TV Guide for a period of time covering 17 weeks between May 1997 and October 2005, and I will pick the period at random. My random pick has acquired 17 editions from the edition for July 10-16, 1999, to the edition for November 6-12, 1999. Here are the main themes of the covers of those editions: (the first) Chris Rock and his new special; Jeremy Mayfield and NASCAR; no specific show; John F. Kennedy, Jr.; Alyssa Milano and Charmed; guys starring in action shows, such as Walker, Texas Ranger; Cher; Herman Moore (a football player for the Detroit Lions) and the NFL; various series coming back for the new fall season); Faith Hill (the country singer); various new shows for the fall season; Melissa Joan Hart; Katie Couric; 50 greatest characters in TV history; Once and Again (a series); Pokemon (a series for children); and (the last) Regis Philbin and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? My survey shows (and you can verify my findings by looking at the covers) that no one show received particular attention over the period or received the main-focus spot on three covers.
"For the record," I must note a recent change in the new format for TV Guide. If you look at page 57 of the edition of TV Guide for February 13-19, 2006, you will see there is a program grid related to the 8:00 a.m. to noon period of weekdays, and that means the managers of TV Guide decided to increase the coverage given to some channels during the day (the past editions of the new TV Guide did not have any information about any channels for the time period of from 8:00 a.m. to noon). That means TV Guide is slightly better than it was.
As usual for an edition of T.H.A.T., except for the first edition of T.H.A.T., I have to pass along answers to trivia question answers posed in the previous edition. The first answer is related to the TV-movie entitled Bye Bye Birdie, and the answer is Vanessa Williams played Rosie Alvarez (this Vanessa Williams is the singer/actress who also has been listed on some television programs as "Vanessa L. Williams" so as not to be confused with another actress who has done work on television, Vanessa Williams). The next answer focuses on "Adam Goldberg," who has been a co-producer on a television series this season, and "Adam Goldberg," who has been actor in a television series this season, and the answer is really a two-part answer--covering Still Standing (for the co-producer) and Head Cases (for the actor). The answer to the "Christopher Lloyd"-themed question is Out of Practice. To get a right answer to the "Don Mitchell"-themed question, a person has to say, "Ironside," which was a detective-type show that focused on Robert T. Ironside (played by Raymond Burr). Now I say that Tom Snyder's television show was called Tomorrow and Tomorrow Coast-to-Coast. "Captain Adam Fuller" and "21 Jump Street"--these are the answers to the "Steven Willaims"-themed question, which was a two-part question. Deborah Adair appeared in Finders of Lost Loves, which also featured Tony Franciosa, who, by the way, died on January 19, 2006. The Lee Grant-inspired question has Still Standing for an answer. The Richard Van Dyke/Dick Van Dyke section of the previous edition has Bones for the answer. The 1984 Doug Henning show was called Doug Henning's Magic on Broadway. The David Brenner who had a question associated with his name has been listed as a "construction coordinator." And the last question, which was about Richard Lewis, has to be answered with--"supervising producer."
Last year at this time, ABC-TV, CBS-TV, NBC-TV, Fox TV, PAX TV, UPN (or United Paramount Network), and The WB were the main commercial broadcast networks in the country (PBS was the main noncommercial broadcast network). Officially, on September 25, 2005, PAX TV was transformed into i (the Independent Network). In January 2006, it became public knowledge that the owners of UPN and the owners of The WB were going to shut down UPN and The WB in the fall of 2006 and the two sets of owners were going to jointly run a new broadcast network, The CW Network, starting in the fall of 2006. (The WB was launched on January 11, 1995, and UPN was launched on January 16, 1995.)
Maybe over the last few weeks, you have seen news stories about what the shutting down of UPN and The WB and the creation of The CW Network means. I have seen stories, and before I saw the stories, I had already come up with what the shutting down of UPN and The WB and the creation of The CW Network means. None of the stories that I have seen have talked about i. When I think about i as it is distributed in the Detroit area (getting carriage on WPXD-TV in Ann Arbor) and the changes that will take place because of the creation of The CW Network, I wonder if i will get better placement or additional placement in the Detroit area, either on the station that is now The WB affiliate or the station that is now the UPN affiliate.
And so goes the television business!
copyright c. 2006
Date published: February 10, 2006
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