January 17, 2008

TV Preview: George of the Jungle

Cartoon Network is prepared to unveil the latest addition to their primetime line-up. That addition is none other than George of the Jungle. The series first premiered on Teletoon in Canada back in July of 2007 and has already aired 26 half hour shows, each show being comprised of two eleven minute episodes. It should be noted that the episodes are not airing in the same order as in Canada, although it is not serialized and the order does not ultimately matter. The series is set to debut January 18 at 7:30PM Eastern time with a pair of episodes entitled "Brother George" and "Rebel Without a Claw." Now guess what? I have seen them both! Exciting stuff, no?

For those of you who are not familiar with George, he is a Tarzan-like character whose mind is that of an inquisitive child. He is always finding mischief around the jungle, much of the time causing it himself. Jay Ward created the character back in the 1960’s, the man behind a number of memorable cartoon characters including Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right, and Cap'n Crunch. Besides a memorable toon, George came complete with catchy theme music. The theme music was revived eleven years ago when Brendan Fraser brought George to vivid life in a big screen film that actually wasn't all that bad. Anyway, George has been tweaked and reimagined for a new generation in this new cartoon.

I have seen both of the premiere episodes, and it is kind of fun. It is animated in a blocky, simplistic style that is reminiscent of shows like Samurai Jack and Powerpuff Girls. There are probably others, but I just haven't seen that many of their shows lately. Overall, it was kind of fun, not much to it, but it had some laughs and is sure to hold the kids attention. Sadly, while it provides a few laughs and is fast paced enough to never be boring, in retrospect, George of the Jungle is rather bland and uninteresting. It feels like a squandered opportunity that exists as a distraction, never reaching beyond the expected.

"Brother George" finds our hapless hero as the chosen warrior of a number of jungle critter clans, destined to do battle with the chosen ones of the other clans. This could prove to be a difficult charge, considering it would require a self beating. Of course, everything works out in the end with a comedic encounter that is supposed to subvert the original need for a chosen warrior.

The second half of the premiere, "Rebel Without a Claw," is the superior episode of this initial offering. The story is nothing new and you are likely to see the ending coming well before the final shot appears. It is centered on George's penchant for helping the smaller, more helpless critters of the jungle in their continuous battle with the larger predators. George has a great idea to help them get along, while his friends, Ursula and Magnolia, have an idea of their own. The implementation of these ideas has the opposite of the desired affect.

Yes, it is moderately entertaining and has enough momentum to never be boring. I don't think it will come anywhere near the status of the original. That said, let the kids have at it, it is harmless entertainment, and they just may like it.


Anonymous said...

I love everthing you said about george of the jungle, but you did say one thing that did stick out. When you said '' I don't think it will come anywhere near the status of the original'' you pretty much just said it's not as good as my generations. I respect your opinion, but try thinking of what this generations wants.You and me both know that George of the jungle 2007 has more rich comedy. And what i mean by rich comedy is that the show makes jokes of what's going on today, and also makes jokes about the differences of this generations George to your generations george. Even though there are some major differences, this is a reallty good show. I'm not saying it's the best. All I'm saying is that it's equally as good,better, or worse than your George of the jungle, Because that's anyones opinion for that generation.

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