This Week in Animation: Stephen Colbert Bringing Animated Trump Series to Showtime

In This Week in Animation News, I’ll take a look at the previous week in the world of animation in order to get you caught up on everything you might have missed. It’s your one-stop shop for news regarding cartoons, anime, and animated web series. We’re talking movies, TV shows, digital shorts, and everything in between!

Hopefully you had a chance to check out all the ridiculous animation news that came out of San Diego Comic-Con, but if not, I’ve rounded a bunch of it up for you here. As for this week, we have updates on pair of animated comedy series from talented TV talk show hosts Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, though while Colbert’s Trump-slanted series is heading to Showtime, Stewart’s ambitious animated HBO show has gotten the ax. Elsewhere on the small screen, the full run of Disney XD’s Marvel’s Spider-Man origin stories is available online so you can see Peter Parker’s scientific approach to his new powers before the series debuts on August 19th.

Image via Disney XD

In the movie world, a new clip has been released for PUPPY!, which plays in front of The Emoji Movie this weekend. Also, the first trailer for Sony Pictures Animation’s Christmas tale The Star has arrived. And since I like to highlight indie animation studios whenever I can, I’ve also included some looks at projects debuting this week–like Heeldraggers and The Weeklings–as well as in-the-works project, The Wrong Rock. You might just find your new favorite series here!

For the latest animation stories we’ve already covered on the site this week, and for a little bit of leftover news from D23, take a look at the following links. Then, check out a selection of new stories below. Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!

RIP June Foray: Legendary Voice Actress Passes Away at 99

Before we get into this week’s news, I’d like to take the time to remember June Foray. The legendary voice actress with over 300 roles passed away this week at the age of 99. Fans will remember her best as the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel from Rock and His Friends The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, a role that lasted nearly 60 years and was even her last credited performance. Appearing on radio shows throughout the 1930s, turning in uncredited performances for Disney movies and animated shorts throughout the 50s and 60s, and voicing Granny in Looney Tunes for decades, Foray was a singular talent in the industry. She will be missed.

The news was revealed by Foray’s friend, Dave Nimitz, via Facebook:

Animated Trump Series Heads to Showtime

Via BC, we have word that Stephen Colbert is bringing a 10-episode animated series chronicling the alt-life of President Donald Trump and his cohorts to Showtime. The opening segment of the network’s special Stephen Colbert’s Live Election Night Democracy’s Series Final: Who’s Going To Clean Up This Sh*t? inspired the new series.

Colbert will executive produce the currently untitled project with an aim to premiere this fall. The plan is for a quick episode turnaround time in order to stay timely with current events, though the pace at which this administration churns out new content for comedians is tough to keep up with.

Here’s how Showtime described the project:

The fresh, cutting-edge comedy will present the ‘truish’ adventures of Trump’s confidants and bon vivants – family, top associates, heads of government, golf pros and anyone else straying into his orbit – intrepidly exploring their histories and their psyches, revealing insights into what makes them so definitively Trumpian. It’s a workplace comedy where the office happens to be oval; it’s a character study in search of character, as seen through the eyes of an imaginary documentary crew.

And Colbert himself weighed in on his take on the First Family:

I know a lot of people wanted to do this, and I’m honored that the Cartoon President invited our documentary crew into his private world. I’ve seen some of the footage, and I look forward to sharing the man behind the MAGA.

CBS Television Studios will produce. Executive producers also include Chris Licht (The Late Show EP) and Tim Luecke, who co-created The Late Show‘s version of Animated Trump; Luecke will also serve as the show’s animator.

Why Jon Stewart's Animated HBO Series Was Canned

While Colbert is getting his own animated series (of a sort) on a premium cable network, Jon Stewart is wondering what would have been with his own animated show on HBO. The short-lived project was scrapped for an over-ambitious plan, one that would see a new animated episode produced every day in order to stay apace with current events. Stewart and his team ultimately got the production turnaround down to two days, but it was still an untenable amount of stress for Stewart and the network.

Now, HBO programming president Casey Bloys is detailing just why the project fell through. THR had his quotes from the ongoing TCA 2017 event:

You think about it like a pilot or development — you take a swing and hope it works. In this case, it didn’t work. And you move on … Once Jon realized that he could get close on the animation, what he realized also was in terms of the quality control and in terms of the writing, when you’re putting something out a couple of times a day, the quality control still has to be here. It just got to a point where it was like, is this worth his time? Is this worth our time? We kind of thought, ‘You know what? It was a good try, but ultimately not worth it.’

Hopefully Colbert’s series will have better luck getting off the ground.

 

'PUPPY' Teased in a New Clip ahead of 'The Emoji Movie'

The new animated short, PUPPY!, directed by Hotel Transylvania‘s Genndy Tartakovsky, will be debuting in theaters tomorrow attached to The Emoji Movie. In the short, the residents of Hotel Transylvania find their world turned upside-down when youngster Dennis gets a surprise monster-sized pet!

Image via Sony Pictures Animation

First Trailer for 'The Star'

The Sony Pictures Animation Christmas story The Star tells the tale of Bo the Donkey (Steven Yeun) and his animals pals. He’s joined by:

  • Keegan-Michael Key as Bo’s ambitious bird sidekick, Dave the Dove
  • Oprah Winfrey as Deborah the Camel
  • Kristin Chenoweth as Mouse
  • Tracy Morgan and Tyler Perry voicing camels Felix and Cyrus, respectively
  • Kelly Clarkson voices Leah the Horse
  • Aidy Bryant stars as a lamb named Ruth
  • Gina Rodriguez plays Mary with Zachary Levi starring as Joseph
  • Patricia Heaton voices Edith, a weary mother cow
  • Mariah Carey is singing and co-writing the title song

In Sony Pictures Animation’s THE STAR, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.

Image via Sony Pictures Animation

Stop-Motion Short "Preetha's Poem" Revealed as Part of Netflix's 'Daughters of Destiny'

“I am that girl who shoots bullets into the sky and makes doorways of freedom, hope and relief.” “Preetha’s Poem,” a stop motion video illustrating a young girl’s desire to escape the Indian caste system, was released today by Netflix for its original documentary seriesDaughters of Destiny. Brought to vivid life by female-run NYC animation studio Mighty Oak (who specialize in hand-made animation techniques), the visual poem takes shape with silhouettes that visualize the pain of a mother and her young daughter’s wish to pull her out of despair. Daughters of Destiny launches today on Netflix.

Daughters of Destiny is a 4-part Netflix original documentary series that chronicles the lives of five girls from Indian families who are among the so-called “Dalit” caste and most impoverished communities in the world. The series witnesses the girls grow up  (ranging in age from 7 to 23 over the course of the 4 episodes) while they are raised at Shanti Bhavan, a unique co-ed residential school in Tamil Nadu.  The expectation for these girls and all the children who attend Shanti Bhavan is that they must grow up to support themselves, lift their families and communities out of poverty and contribute to the larger world.

 

Directed by Academy Award® winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth (Freeheld, Best Documentary Short, 2007), the series highlights the struggle of students as they strive to define themselves, re-define gender and class and create a new future for the generations that will come after them. The strength and power of the girls’ own storytelling and dramatic experiences over the 7 years of filming from the gates of Shanti Bhav, into their homes brings viewers through their stories of family, love, loss, hard work and courage. An original music score by Academy Award® winning composer A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire, 2008), punctuates this emotional journey.

Watch All of 'Marvel's Spider-Man' Origin Stories

Peter Parker is on a field trip to Oscorp when he accidentally gets bitten by a radioactive spider.

After suffering some side-effects from his spider bite, Peter Parker decides to use the scientific method to figure out what is happening to him.

Peter Parker hypothesizes that his body is developing super powers and begins testing them out.

Peter Parker predicts that his new abilities could bring him fame and fortune and begins to seek out a way to make a name for himself.

The new and improved Peter Parker makes his official debut by entering a wrestling competition.

When his quest for fame results in personal tragedy, Peter Parker learns that with great power comes with great responsibility.

Peter Parker is accepted into Horizon High – a high school for brilliant young scientific minds. He struggles with the duality of his social life at school and hiding his secret identity of Spider-Man from everyone including his best friend, Harry Osborn, who attends the competing Osborn Academy for Geniuses. As Peter embraces his alter-ego, and battles against super villains like Vulture, Lizard, Doc Ock and Hammerhead, he is forced to watch Harry slowly descend to the wrong side of good and evil.

'Mech-X4' Gets an Animated Motion Comic

Armed with a new tech upgrade, MECH-X4 battles an old foe. With new monsters on the horizon, they will need all the help they can get!

The MECH-X4 adventure goes global, as the team battles a brand new monster in India.

MECH-X4 unleashes new modes for an unexpected adventure in China and Japan.

 

Ryan Walker mysteriously awakens MECH-X4, a giant robot built to defend Bay City against impending doom. When monsters begin to descend, Ryan recruits his two best friends and his brother to help pilot the robot that is their only hope of saving their town from mass destruction.

Image via Disney XD

Help 'The Wrong Rock' Get off the Ground

The teaser above, released in January of this year, gives an early look at the new animated tale from Michael Cawood and the Artella virtual studio platform. LA-based studio HEROmation has assembled a team of filmmakers and animators from around the world who bring their experiences working for major movie studios, indie operations, and video games on this new project, The Wrong Rock.

Martin the mushroom was born on the wrong rock. He overcomes enormous challenges to travel to a faraway rock where he hopes to be accepted.

 

This is a fantastic tale of the pure of heart overcoming bigotry. Anyone who’s experienced, sexism, racism, ageism, political or religious persecution will relate to this story. A character who’s passion is unlike the people who he grew up around, discovers a place he can be himself, but faces enormous obstacles to get there. Along the way he exposes the futility of the other character’s bigotry and bias and puts it all in perspective so that they can finally deal with the bigger issues in life.

To get a sampling of Cawood’s previous work, take a look at his short film Devils, Angels & Dating here. And if you like the look and sound of The Wrong Rock, keep an eye on the project’s website (linked above) for their new IndieGoGo campaign that’s active right now!

'Heeldraggers' Series' Debut Drops This Week

If you’re not quite feeling grown-up and are in no hurry to feel that way, perhaps End Cue’s new animated series Heeldraggers is for you. After getting a chance to check out five episodes early, I’m happy to say that the show feels like Daria for the current generation. The timing couldn’t be better since the MTV hit dropped 20 years ago, satirizing the grunge movement, socially-awkward adolescence, and Y2K dread. Heeldraggers is cut from the same self-conscious cloth. It follows a trio of just-out-of-college Millennials in New York City as they attempt to find love, employment, and the meaning of life.

Here’s how creator Emily Bernstein describes the project:

Heeldraggers is a coming-of-age story for people who are REALLY taking their time growing up, aka dragging their heels towards “adulthood,” whatever that means. They’re trying to reconcile the important, but boring voice of their inner adult with the spirit and curiosity of their inner child. With this project, I wanted to illustrate that growing up is a lifelong process-slash-disaster-slash-balancing-act of trying to do what you love but also pay your bills on time. Somewhere between obnoxious, self-adsorbed child and joyless zombie adult there has to be a happy medium. Right?

Head over to the Heeldraggers website to watch Season 1, starting Tuesday, August 1st at 12pm ET.

Meet 'The Weeklings'!

The Weeklings is a new web cartoon that’s arriving online in earnest Tuesday, August 1st. Each of the show’s characters take their name and inspiration from days of the week, and their personalities are as different as Monday is to Friday. (You might even spot some holidays, on occasion.) It’s a very cute idea and one of the few cartoons out there that will give you a hug (Thanks, Sunday!) and leave you with a smile.

If you liked the look of the teaser above, be sure to check out some character intros below, and follow along with the creators’ Instagram and Facebook accounts for updates!

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