Wednesday, January 16, 2013

RR Tiny Toons

For this review, I'd like to have a look at one of my childhood's classic.
And it's been too long since I last reviewed a TV series.

They're Tiny and they're Toony, guess who?...

Name: Tiny Toon Adventures: Season 1 Volume 1
Created by Tom Ruegger
Original run 1990-1991
Genre Animated comedy

Western animation went through a sort of second Golden Age, a revival in the late 80s and early 90s.
The Warner Bros. Animation studios were brought back to a level of relevance they hadn't known for decades since the old short animated features from which the original Looney Tunes emerged.

While most will always remember the super hero cartoons like Batman and the Justice League Unlimited series, it was from Tiny Toons that all this began.

It all started when Warner Bros reopened their animation studio in 1989 after over a decade of silence.
First they worked on bringing back some classic proprieties.
And finally through a collaboration with famed film director Steven Spielberg, the studio went on to launch some new original material which would bring what some call "the animation renaissance", a boom in the animated genre that ran along the modern success of Disney movie pictures.

Tiny Toon Adventures started in 1990 after "The Looney Beginning" meta-pilot episode and ran for two years up until 1992 when the series ended production to support the much more demanding Animaniacs series which required the attention of all 5 main WB Animation studios.

Tiny Toon Adventures follows the adventures of "tiny" Looney Tunes (thus the title!) living in Acme Acres, home of the classic Looney Tunes where they attend the school of Acme Looniversity where Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and all the others teach other cartoon characters how to become funny!

Thankfully, most stories are actually pretty self-centered, and they don't all revolve around the school.
Most times it's standalone stories with unrelated plots, in true Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies fashion.

The main characters are sort of related to the classic ones. Such as Buster Bunny, Babs Bunny (no relation!), Plucky Duck, etc.
For every Wile E. Coyote or Pepé LePew you got a Calamity Coyote and Fifi La Fume respectively.

The greatest strength of the show was the way the cartoonist co-creator and headwriter Tom Ruegger and his writers were able to make the show revolve around slapstick, violence and pop culture. Frequent explosions, anvils falling from the sky and references to Hollywood were quite common.
Which truly made Tiny Toons a true successor to the original Looney Tunes.

The episodes were often composed of various shorter "vignettes".
The stories went from classic movie parodies ("Citizen Max" for Citizen Kane,..) to full-on musical episodes not featuring any voice to more traditional episodes with a moral at the end.
It was random, always different and surprising.

The casting united was as since then become frequent and classic voice actors to this day.
Babs was voiced by Tress MacNeille, Buster by Charlie Adler and let's not forget to also mention Joe Alaskey for Plucky - who went on to become the official Daffy for over a decade after that. 
Most actors did several other characters and they were chosen for their ability to cover a hundred voice and make impersonations. Quite useful on this show!

The music was mostly helmed by the great Bruce Broughton.
Spielberg actually wanted to use a full orchestra to give the series a true Looney Tunes-like quality even if Warner found that more expensive.

As the series continued, more and more animation studios were opened or contracted during the run of the show.
Sure, the quality couldn't be consistent all the time, depending on the team behind each sequences. So some bits were often retaken into production to keep a minimum quality level.

As the show progressed, the use of the oldies, Porky Pig & co, became a bit more frequent. Originally just distant mentors, they got more roles over the course of the show.

I really loved Gogo Dodo.

Tiny Toon Adventures went on winning several awards and became quite the success for Warner.
Which in turn helped greenlight several other cartoons such as Animaniacs (which replaced it) , Freakazoid, etc. And which made them turn away from Tiny Toons to support those new idea.

At least the commercial success made the show live on through other mediums.
It inspired several video games (see my other reviews, linked at the top of this one!).

And to this day, Tiny Toons' still airing in syndication on various channels, and that all across the whole wide world!

Overall, I truly love this cartoon series! It's fantastic! It still is pretty fun to this day, decades later, and I still enjoyed watching episodes after so many repeated viewings.

The show aged a bit, moreso than, say, Animaniacs or Taz-mania.

The entire series as been redistribute on DVD (I'm pretty sure you won't find it on Bluray, but I can't speak on that behalf...). The current releases have spread the Seasons into different volume. Season 1 is spread across two DVD sets. The 3 season-long series is now available across 4 Volumes. Then volume 3 is actually season 2, and volume 4 is finally season 3. WB seems to want to put their entire catalog on disc eventually. (See Duck Dodgers, another iteration of the Looney Tunes and another personal favorite of mine) Beware that there are some faulty discs for volume 4, check it out on and be careful when ordering online like I did!

This series is absolutely a Must Have for any fan of cartoons, Looney Tunes or simply good shows.

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Felixes!

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