Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Pilot Reels - Promising Too Much
Here's the opening from Ned's Newt, which was developed and produced at Nelvana during my tenure there (1993-ish to 1997). The show came from - and animation done by (the late) Andy Knight and Mike Burgess for Red Rover Productions Limited in Toronto.
Before I go any further - I want to say that I LOVED this pilot and still do. It's great. It's hilarious. It tells you everything you need to know about the show. And that's the problem.
It's too damned good. The series couldn't live up to the promise of the pilot.
First, the audio that is on this show opening is NOT what was on the pilot film. In the original, whenever the Newt spoke, canned TV and movie dialogue came out of his mouth - he'd learned to talk by watching TV. It was everything from Wilma Flintstone to John Wayne. Hilarious - but due to rights clearances, they'd never be able to do that on the show. They settled for an actor doing impersonations - which was okay and PRACTICAL - was about a mile below what they showed in the pilot film.
Likewise, the design and quality of the animation was top notch. Brilliant - but unsustainable on an episodic TV budget. They promised too much.
While the series did run a full three seasons in production - in my opinion, it never lived up to the potential of the pilot film. There was nowhere to go but down.