With the number of cartoon shows geared toward adults — as well as the number of children’s cartoons that are enjoyable for all ages — it’s no mystery why cartoon web series have become popular. Many cartoon creators, some of whom already have network shows, have turned to the web for full creative freedom and the results are amazing. We’ve picked out four of our favorite series as a little starter kit.
Bee and PuppyCat
Although originally a two-part one off cartoon, Bee and PuppyCat raised funding last fall for a full series on Kickstarter and will be coming to Cartoon Hangover’s YouTube channel. The single episode follows Bee, a girl who loses her job, and her adventures with her pet PuppyCat, who is part-dog, part-cat. Created by Natasha Allegri and Frederator Studios (ChalkZone, Adventure Time), Bee and PuppyCat is equal parts weird, endearing, and hilarious.
Created by Pendleton Ward (the great mind behind Adventure Time), Bravest Warriors follows four teenaged heroes who go on adventures and save aliens by using their emotions. Bravest Warriors was also produced by Frederator Studios and runs on Cartoon Hangover. The series won a Shorty Award in 2013 for Best Web Show. Anyone who loves Adventure Time is sure to enjoy Bravest Warriors — with the added convenience of watching it all on YouTube.
Another Frederator studios cartoon, SuperF***ers is based on James Kochalka’s adult comic book series of the same name that was published from 2005 to 2007. The web series, which ran from November 2012 to May 2013, followed the SuperF***ers, a group of superheroes that never actually do any superhero work. Additional fun fact: Jaleel White, who played iconic nerd Steve Urkel on Family Matters, voiced the character of Percy.
One of the most popular cartoon series on YouTube is Simon’s Cat, created by British animator Simon Tofield. The web series follows a man named Simon and his cat (duh) through a range of hilarious antics that any cat-owner will find hilarious and relatable. The first episode launched on the show’s YouTube Channel a little over six years ago and has since been turned into four books, as well as a comic strip in the Daily Mirror.
Warner Bros. via Everett Collection
In the past year, we’ve seen many sci-fi films flop at the box office and in reviews. Most recently, Transcendence underwhelmed critics, science fiction buffs, and casual moviegoers alike. Though it may have looked like a gripping sci-fi thriller from the trailers, it ultimately tried to set up overarching themes and ideas that the film never fully accomplished.However, Transcendence isn’t the only film in the past year to disappoint sci-fi genre fans.
Science fiction releases from 2013 like After Earth, Oblivion, and Elysium failed to impress audiences and critics in the same way as the superhero box office homeruns like Man of Steel and Iron Man 3. So, can Hollywood sci-fi keep up with the burgeoning superhero genre?
Short answer: yes, but it’s becoming harder and harder.
There were, of course, highly successful science fiction films of 2013: Alfonso Cuarón’s Academy Award-winning Gravity, Spike Jonze’s Academy Award-winning Her, and Guillermo del Toro’s huge box office hit (if we're talking international numbers as opposed to domestic) Pacific Rim. These movies proved that the science fiction genre is not, by all means, dead. That being said, though, fans of sci-fi are starved for originality within the genre.
When Transcendence first debuted in theaters, it was likened to Her, as well as other, older films that featured artificial intelligence. Similarly, last year when After Earth, Oblivion, and Elysium premiered, they were also compared to older science fiction films as well as to one another. At this point, it’s almost impossible to look at a sci-fi movie and not question, “Wasn’t this a Twilight Zone episode?”
Gravity, Her, and Pacific Rim were successful because they had an original take on a genre that has been around for a long, long time. As this past year and a half has proven, fans may turn out for science fiction movies, but they also have higher expectations for the genre.
Hollywood cannot churn out any old movie about artificial intelligence and expect fans to flock to the theaters. We’ve seen far too many films with the same basic plot that unless the filmmakers innovate the idea enough, viewers will feel as if they’ve already seen the movie. However, as long as directors like del Toro, Jonze, and Cuarón continue to have fresh ideas, sci-fi films are not going anywhere.
As the second most expensive film ever made by 20th Century Fox (the first was, of course, Avatar), X-Men: Days of Future Past had to fund their epic, time-travelling, mutant-Sentinel battle-filled movie somehow. To this end, the X-Men partnered with some major brands for a wide range of product promotions. The results were some interesting commercials and plenty x-tremely obvious puns.
When we say “interesting commercials,” we mean those ads for Carl’s Jr. featuring someone other than Jennifer Lawrence in the Mystique getup. Obviously, that wasn’t the only strange thing about these videos: watching close-ups of Quicksilver and Colossus eat their X-tra Bacon sandwiches was equally strange.
One of the better product promotions is Pringles Xtra chips because at least fans were given access to exclusive promotional images and videos on the Pringles site with a code from the products. Plus, who doesn’t love Xtra Sour Cream & Onion chips?
For fans that love X-Men and chocolate covered pretzel’s, FLIPZ released collector’s edition pretzels. The three flavors include: Mystique Mint Chocolate, Wolverine White Chocolate, and Mutant Milk Chocolate. We couldn’t make this up if we tried.
If you bought a Schick razor with the X-Men: Days of Future Past logo on it, you became eligible for a “free” exclusive t-shirt. At least this product promotion makes sense, although we have yet to see a tagline about Wolverine using Schick razors to keep his sideburns in top form, which is a seriously wasted opportunity.
Mountain Dew & Coke Zero
Covering both major soda companies, X-Men: Days of Future Past partnered with Mountain Dew (which is owned by Pepsi) and Coke Zero. Both promotions included special editions Mountain Dew and Coke Zero bottles as well as sweepstakes.
For UK fans of X-Men, the new movie partnered with Virgin Trains to celebrate the film’s release by holding a contest to give away tickets to the London premiere. It might be kind of a stretch, but maybe this makes sense: the movie is about time travel, trains help people travel…
Since X-Men had food, soda, razors, and trains covered, they obviously needed a hotel partner as well. That’s where Wyndham came in. Their loyalty program, Wyndham Rewards, offered an X-Treme Reward of dinner and a movie in honor of the Days of Future Past release.
With Orphan Black back on BBC America for its sophomore season, it’s time to revive the Clone Club! Ever since Orphan Black premiered over a year ago, the sci-fi show has garnered a cult following and bewitched viewers all around the world — even members of Hollywood like Wil Wheaton, Patton Oswalt, and Orlando Jones (who all appeared on BBC America’s The Cloneversation to promo the new season). Now that the show is back — and better than ever — let’s talk about of favorite clones, all of whom are played by Tatiana Maslany. Beware spoilers, newbies!
7) Katja Obinger
We really didn’t have time to know Katja before her untimely departure from the world (which is our nice way of saying she was murdered), but from what little we saw, she could have been an interesting addition to the club.
6) Beth Childs
Even though Beth only appears in Orphan Black alive for all of maybe two minutes, her lone scene is what hooked many viewers into the show and deserves its due. So, here’s to you Beth Childs, your death scene is crazy and we love it.
5) Rachel Duncan
Unlike many of the other clones, we don’t know very much about Rachel except that she’s a total ice queen (and we get a bit of a sociopath vibe from her). However, we’re dying to see more of her perfectly cut bob and icy glare this season.
As the craziest clone (like, certifiably insane), Helena is certainly fun to watch on Orphan Black — and by “fun” we mean “actually stressful” because she might die and/or kill off one of the other clones, or Kira, or someone else we love like Felix, Paul, or Art.
3) Sarah Manning
She may be the main character of Orphan Black, but she’s not our favorite clone. She does, however, provide some of the craziest and most entertaining scenes in the show like when she ate soap in the series premiere or bashed her way through a wall in the Season 2 debut.
2) Allison Hendrix
Between her neurotic paranoia and her friendship with Felix, we love Allison’s character a lot. She’s funny, she’s sweet, she’s scary, and she puts a whole new twist on the idea of desperate housewives living in suburbia.
1) Cosima Niehaus
Whenever Maslany is asked which clone she relates to the most, she always answers Cosima (though, probably not simply because they both talk with their hands). Well, Cosima is our favorite too. We love her brains, her fashion sense, her snarky remarks, and her relationship with Delphine. So, basically, everything.
20th Century Fox Film/Sony Pictures
There has, and always will be, speculation of a big screen crossovers between Marvel's characters from the Avengers, X-Men, and Spider-Man movies. Hopes remain, despite the fact that these properties are owned by three different studios, and that these studios have explicitly told fans not to expect real crossovers any time soon. But a new post-credits scene in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, promoting X-Men: Days of Future Past, has renewed the discussions.
Don't get too excited yet. Variety reports the Days of Future Past plug in Spider-Man 2 has nothing to do with crossover, and is simply an advertising deal between Fox and Sony in regards to their contracts with director Marc Webb. Basically, it’s a shared custody agreement: Webb signed a directorial contract with Fox after the success of 500 Days of Summer, and in order for him to direct The Amazing Spider-Man for Sony, the studio agreed to promote Fox’s big X-Men release. Although it’s not the deal fans were hoping to hear about, it’s a step — a very, very small step — in the right direction.
The fans’ discussion had serious vigor back when Marvel’s The Avengers became the biggest blockbuster success of 2012. In the comics, Wolverine and Spider-Man are part of the Avengers team, so fans were wondering if the two superheroes would make an appearance at some point within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While that is still unlikely in the foreseeable future, Marvel and Sony did sit down to discuss the possibility of including the Oscorp tower in The Avengers as a promotion for the then upcoming release of The Amazing Spider-Man. They couldn’t reach a deal because it was too late into the production of the film, but it showed that both studios were willing to come to the table for a discussion.
Even though the Days of Future Past post-credits scene in Spider-Man 2 is a marketing ploy — and a concession on Sony’s behalf for stealing Webb away from Fox for the Spider-Man series — that doesn’t mean fans can’t take heart in the deal.
If Sony, Fox, and Disney/Marvel are willing to discuss crossover promotion between their franchises, that’s the first step toward an actual crossover. Remember, these studios will do whatever makes them the most money. Although they each have enough material to keep their separate franchises going for quite a long time, someday that could be a crossover.
CBS/Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Those who went to see Bad Teacher in theaters thinking it was the second coming of Bridesmaids were sorely mistaken. Instead of a hilarious female-centric comedy with heart and compelling characters, Bad Teacher was just more mindlessly raunchy humor. It was not well received to say the least, which is why a TV adaptation had us puzzled. But, after the premiere last week, we’re enjoying the Bad Teacher TV comedy much more than the movie.
Within the very first episode, the show creates a more balanced character in Meredith Davis (the bad teacher played by Ari Graynor). Although she’s still a bit of a gold digger, she has some heart, too — she helped boost the confidence of some less popular girls at her the high school where she works.
While the movie only really scratched the surface of its main character — Elizabeth Halsey played by Cameron Diaz (who is helping to produce the show along with its star) — the TV series will have much more time to delve into the main character. Twelve more episodes in fact.
Similarly, the movie focused entirely on Elizabeth’s quest to land her ideal man, Scott Delacorte (played by everyone’s ideal man, Justin Timberlake). However the first episode of the show gave as much time to how Meredith became a teacher and fit into the school as her ploy to shop for hot dads through a career day event. Although the golddigging aspect of the main character can be funny, the moments where the show focused on their bad teacher’s non-romantic plights were more entertaining.
Although the television show may not paint Meredith as bad as Elizabeth — there certainly was no scene of Meredith smoking marijuana in her car outside of the school — they have the potential to create a more dynamic and likable character. The fish out of water aspect, in which Meredith finds herself as a teacher with absolutely no qualifications except that she graduated from high school, is the most interesting aspect of Bad Teacher. If the TV series continues to explore that side of the show, they’ll create a much funnier and more entertaining comedy than the film turned out to be.
The CW Network
Teen dramas tend to be riddled with clichés: love triangles, happy endings, and the idea that good and evil are black and white, the list goes on. However, The CW’s newest sci-fi series, The 100 — an adaptation of Kass Morgan’s young adult novel of the same name — has begun to break down many of the typical teen drama tropes even though the show is still relatively young. And it all culminated with one specific moment on the series that proved we weren't just watching your average teen drama.
The most important element of Jason Rothenberg's series is in its deconstruction of the love triangle (Writer’s note: I really hate love triangles) in such an interesting way. Instead of portraying two girls fighting over one guy (or even vice versa), The 100 depicts two girls who didn’t know about each other coming to terms with the choices made by that one guy — without blaming each other. Since it isn’t the focal point of the show, this particular love triangle successfully moves past cliché status.
Even beyond the question of cliché, what’s fantastic about the love triangle is that the viewer doesn’t know whose side to take. Each character is both right and wrong, good and bad at the same time. These contrasting characteristics can be found in every single person on the show, which helps the viewers to see these characters as real people.
However, the revelation of the love triangle is not the moment that really helped The 100 become more than a teen drama. Too often, television shows are afraid to kill off characters because they don’t want to anger or alienate fans. Of course, there are exceptions (Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead), but in teen dramas there’s the added insult that most character deaths seem unnecessary or unearned.
The 100 doesn’t fear killing off any number of characters and manages to do it in a way that makes each death impactful. At the end of the third episode, one of the main characters is killed off — murdered by a fellow regular. It’s so sudden, but as it happens, the viewer realizes the show has been leading up to it throughout the whole episode. It also has repercussions for the other characters that change the entire trajectory of the show.
But that's not even the moment where the show surpassed our expectations. The scene we’re talking about comes in Episode 5, when The 100 manages to pull off a particularly massive death scene — that is made even more brutal as half the characters rush to prevent the deaths and completely fail.
Any other series would have allowed the characters to save the day, leaving the viewer with an optimistic feeling. But The 100 takes place in a futuristic dystopia and this moment reminds viewers that an unhappy ending is just as likely as a happy ending. In this moment — as well as all the scenes leading up to and since this moment — viewers are reminded that a CW show can be more than your typical teen drama, which is why we’re completely addicted to The 100.
Not everyone may be a fan of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) on Game of Thrones, but there’s no denying that she’s one of the most relatable characters. Despite that we may live in the real world while she lives in a world of kings and dragons, sometimes we can’t help but feel as if Sansa is our spirit animal. These are just a few of the many reasons that’s true.
Our Siblings Are Annoying, But We Love Them
Of course, the Stark kids may fight — just like we all fight with our siblings — but at the end of the day, they love each other as much as we love our own family. Unfortunately for Sansa, she doesn’t get the chance to truly appreciate her siblings before they’re taken away from her.
We All Regret Our Childhood Crushes
For some of us, our childhood crush may have been the weird kid on the playground; for Sansa, it was Joffrey. We won’t even try to pretend that we had it worse than Sansa, but that doesn’t mean we regret our crushes any less.
You Can’t Hide in Your Room All the Time
No matter how much you may want to lock yourself up at home and binge-watch some Netflix, sometimes you have to go out and face the world. For Sansa, this means facing all the politics and backstabbing in King’s Landing. For us, it means facing all the politics and backstabbing at the party of a girl you barely know, but who will call you out on Facebook if you don’t go.
Sometimes You Need to Dig Deep for the Strength to Not Slap Your Ex
Seriously, have you tried hanging out with your ex when they’re parading their new significant other around like a trophy? It’s unbearable. Either fight fire with fire, or pull the strength to remain civil from somewhere deep within yourself. If Sansa can restrain herself in front of Joffrey, then you can too.
Learning that Fairytales Aren’t Real Seriously Sucks
When Sansa first arrives in King’s Landing as a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed girl, she believes in all the folk tales and songs about princes who are valiant heroes. But then she gets to know Joffrey a little better. Everyone can remember the moment they realized Prince Charming wasn’t coming to the rescue and there’s nothing else to say about it except: it sucks.
With each season, fans of Game of Thrones tend to separate themselves into two camps: those that have read the book series on which the show is based, A Song of Ice and Fire, and those that have not. As someone who has labored through reading the first three installments of the series, I may be a bit biased, but I can at least admit that the gargantuan novels aren’t for everyone. However, if you’re still unsure of whether to read the books (I’ll try not to pressure you — but I still think you probably should), we’ve put together a helpful pro and con list.
Pro: You’ll Never be Spoiled
At least, in the context of Game of Thrones (it won’t help with House of Cards or Scandal spoilers). Anyone who started reading A Song of Ice and Fire after watching Game of Thrones probably did so in order to find out what happened next without waiting for a new season — at least, that’s why I did.
Con: You Won’t Entirely Appreciate the Show’s Shock Factor
The downside of never being spoiled is that you’ll also never be shocked. Sure, seeing how the Red and Purple Weddings were portrayed on screen was interesting for book fans (and watching the reactions of other fans was entertaining as well), but those scenes didn’t have the same impact for everyone who knew they were coming.
Pro: More Explanation of Westeros
We’ll grant you, the page-long descriptions of each house’s sigil and half-chapters dedicated to a rundown of a seven-course feast can be a bit tiresome, but with all the exposition comes a better understanding of Westeros. There’s also a map and reference section that explains the family trees so it’s a bit easier to keep track of all the characters than on the show.
Con: Some Aspects are Lost in Translation
As the recent debate over a particularly controversial scene in the third episode of Season 4 illustrates, many fans are at times disappointed (to put it lightly) with how the story is adapted. Reading the books allows viewers to better understand certain characters and scenes because there is more detail and context, but this also raises expectations for what we inevitably see onscreen.
Pro: Some Differences Are Fun
For example: Sansa and Shae’s relationship, Bronn teaching Jamie how to swordfight with his left hand, and Ros make no appearance in the books. These differences are fun for book readers because they provide a new and different take on the characters that they didn’t already have at their disposal.
Con: The Books Are So Long
There’s no getting around it. They’re long and dense and a serious commitment. But if you put in the time, A Song of Ice and Fire is definitely worth it.
Everyone enjoys a good love triangle, but lately in Hollywood they’re just about everywhere. Since Twilight and The Vampire Diaries first premiered, the love triangle has become standard operating practice on any teen drama series, or in any movie aimed at young adults. However, The CW’s teen drama, Reign, is beginning to break the mold.
The first 13 episodes of the show’s debut season heavily featured the romantic tug-of-war between Queen Mary (Adelaide Kane), Prince Francis (Toby Regbo), and Bash (Torrance Coombs). However after the first run of episodes — which was the original length of the show’s first season before it got a full order — ended with Francis and Mary’s wedding, the love triangle has almost ceased to exist and it has made the show even more exciting, enjoyable, and just overall better.
Sure, the Frary versus Mash debate was fun, but you know what’s even more fun? Watching an actual teen queen rule an actual country. There are many love triangles on television, but there are very few, if any, shows focusing on a queen struggling to to prioritize her country’s needs along with her duty to her husband. Game of Thrones slightly delves into these issues with Daenarys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), but Dany has yet to be both a wife and a queen — a Khaleesi, I should say — for an extended period of time.
In fact, if you think about all the movies and television shows that have built their success on love triangles — such as The Vampire Diaries and Twilight — or the feature film franchises that use a love triangle to drum up cheap publicity (looking at you, Catching Fire), Reign ditching its love triangle is rather subversive.
Instead of cashing in on the question of who will end up together and prolonging the show by not giving the audience an answer, Reign ended the debate with Mary and Francis’s wedding, and then moved on. The new storylines are bigger, better, and different than anything else on television, which truly separates Reign from the rest of the teen drama series pack in a fantastic way.