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“Gravity Falls” Sneak Peek Tonight

A few weeks ago I was invited over to Disney Television Animation and had an advance look at their new series Gravity Falls. And tonight you can have a peek, too. The Disney Channel will air a special preview tonight (6/15) at 9:55pm ET/PT.

The Disney TV group is on a roll. I was impressed with Motorcity and blown away by Tron Upsrising, but closest to my heart is the humor on this show. Creator Alex Hirsch (from Cal Arts, and previously on Flapjack and Fish Hooks) has successfully channeled some kind of mash up of Goosebumps and Jay Ward–leaning more towards Ward–with a very funny, smart, not-necessarily-aimed-at-kids subversiveness in the writing and the direction. While I’ve been down on most new shows these days (Pen Ward’s Adventure Time is clearly an exception in this era), Gravity Falls takes on tried and true kids’ tropes and turns them inside out (sometimes literally). The series itself begins regular airings on Friday, June 29th, at 9:30pm. Check out the sneak peak tonight, and let us know what you think.

So consider this an unabashed plug. Check it out. It’s a good “creator-driven” show. The premise follows a pair of city kids who are sent to spend the summer with their eccentric uncle who runs a tourist trap called The Mystery Shack. The cast includes Jason Ritter, Kristen Schaal and Linda Cardellini. Below are a few story board images and a photo of me (click to enlarge) during my recent visit with series creator Alex Hirsch, Disney TV’s Eric Coleman and director Joe Pitt.

  • Caged Wisdom

    You convinced me as soon as you mentioned Kristen Schaal and Linda Cardellini. Will definitely be TiVoing this tonight.

  • I really can’t make a decision on this until I actually see the entire first episode, but I will say that the animation looks beautiful and the sound is great too.

  • Mike Russo

    I really miss duck shows.

    • I miss Disney cartoons that LOOK like Disney cartoons.

      • Why should Disney cartoons be limited to one style? Why can’t the creator make the show look however he or she wants it to look?

      • That is a good point, and I agree that working in many styles is a good thing. I just have a soft spot for Disney’s previous “house style” and it bugs me to see Mickey, Donald, Goofy and DuckTales just fade into memory. Guess I’m just a bit of a nostalgia buff.

      • The Gee

        To be fair though, both approaches could be done.
        There could still be ones like Debbie wishes to see and ones that are “creator-driven” styles.

        Who knows for sure. Something more could come down the pike and I guess everyone would be happier.

      • they are missing to me, also

        last cartoons are more bad producton design than ‘styles’

    • Funkybat

      I too dearly miss the early “Disney Afternoon” era. Almost everything Disney TV did between 1985 and 1995 was great; creatively, stylistically, and story-wise. Things change, and I stopped watching what was left of the “Disney Afternoon” by the late 90s. I figured I was no longer their “target market” but the fact is, even if I had been 15 or 20 when the Duck shows and Tale Spin came along instead of a tween/teen, I would have loved them anyway. I doubt if I had been 10 in 1997, I would have fallen in love with the Dalmatians TV series or the Mighty Ducks.

      I’ve watched a few of the newer Disney shows over the last decade, and found the ones that seemed most worthwhile either “felt like” the kind of action/adventure shows that dominated the early 90s Disney (Kim Possible) or took things in a very new direction while still being funny (Teacher’s Pet.)

      Shows like Teacher’s Pet or even Fillmore proved to me that Disney TV animation didn’t have to stick to the old mold to be good. I want to see 2D TV animation thrive, with interesting characters and stories. I will check out “Gravity Falls” and “Wander Over Yonder,” and hope for something great. Even if both are fantastic, I’ll still miss the kind of “traditional” Disney shows that came out of the late 80s and early 90s. Just goes to show how special they are that they stand the test of time more than most 80s and 90s cartoon series.

  • It’s hard to believe that Disney Channel now has three creator-driven cartoons. Before the debut “Phineas and Ferb” that would have been unthinkable.

    And yes, “Gravity Falls” looks fantastic. I can’t wait to check it out.

  • Jon

    Looks like a mix between Fox Trott and Camp Candy! Can’t wait!

  • Well, ever since Coleman moved from Nickelodeon to Disney, there’s been a shift that’s not exactly coincidental.

    • GhaleonQ

      Indeed. We know that there’s no shortage of supply or demand; we just need the right mediators to let good stuff through.

  • Sarah J

    Ah, THIS is the show I kept seeing ads for! A website I use has a thing where you can get virtual currency if you watch ads and I kept getting 3 minute videos that were nothing but short, looping clips from this show. There was never any text or audio to indicate what we were supposed to be getting from the ad.

    Those ads really put me off. I just got really annoyed that I was getting three-minute looping videos of a “gnome puking rainbows” and “Haha, look! Butt island!” with no indication as to what they were supposed to be advertising. But seeing the ad and description, it looks like this show might be decent. Maybe I’ll give it a chance. At the very least, I like how it signals a possible change in direction for Disney Channel where they play more than just “boring teen superstars”.

  • Ursaring93

    Here un-geoblocked for any who doesen’t live in the US like my-self; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB7uoL8p1U8 . Looks like very funny show, will definitely check it out if I get the chance (again, I don’t live in the US).

  • D

    Just saw the 1st episode, gotta say this show looks very promising. I liked the style of cartooning on display, nice to see some cartoon characters influenced by Pendleton Ward and other Cal Arts Alumni rather than The Simpsons and Family Guy. The show also had a good sense of humour too, really character driven and absurdist. I hope Disney really sinks their claws into this and keeps it around for a while, its the first cartoon in a long time to remind me of the shows from my youth.

  • That was rather fun! Best of luck for the rest of the show.

  • Numbstruck

    this has to be the best Disney cartoon out right now. I liked phines and ferb but they repeat that show so much. The Tron cartoon not a fan of the animation I watched the first episode not really into it, and motor city is okay I’ve watched all the episodes so far,but it’s not really keeping my attention I do enjoy the look of it and the characters I don’t think I like the character voices.

  • Michael Rianda

    Thanks for the kind words jerry! Glad you liked the show. Just wanted to let everyone know the first episode is free on iTunes to watch whenever. Thanks again!

  • Maya

    I’m not listing this as a complaint but that boy has the voice of a 20 year old man. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Still looks like a fun show though.

  • ScoJo

    Great show!

  • Confusion

    I loved the first episode. The characters were likable and quirky, and the humour was top notch. I’m also really fond of how smooth all the characters look, as well as the gorgeous background artwork. It’s a great aesthetic.

    Lots of awesome toons on TV in recent years.

  • Mark R.

    I like the three expressions in the photo looking over the shoulder of the artist. You can tell it’s the critic, creator and producer.

  • Just watched the premiere episode (it’s available on iTunes for free) and it’s rather enjoyable with good characters, funny situations, and clever storyline.

    I’ll keep this in my radar. It’s one of the few new TV cartoons that has my interest.

  • Appealing designs. I like.

  • I caught this the other night.

    It was pretty good. I liked the character designs, and the gags with the “Sascrotch” and the gnome vomiting rainbows were nice mature touches.

  • Jerry, are their any other cartoons today that are on the air that you enjoy, besides Adventure Time (not that I don’t like AT. In fact it’s probably my favorite cartoon that’s on today, alongside probably Regular Show)?

  • Tony

    How does a nine year old out of CalArts get their own show with a phone call from a Disney honcho??? What am I missing here? And what’s with the Fish Hooks eyes again??