billydilley_springer billydilley_springer

Aaron Springer Gets His Own Disney TV Series ‘Billy Dilley’

Veteran TV artist Aaron Springer, long recognized in the industry for his strong cartooning skills, is finally getting his own TV series. Billy Dilley’s Super-Duper Subterranean Summer will premiere on Disney XD in 2017, the network revealed last Friday.

The comedy series follows Billy Dilley, an “eccentric science-obsessed seventh-grader,” and his lab partners Zeke and Marsha, who discover a magical world beneath the Earth’s surface during their summer break. Jessica McKenna (Comedy Bang! Bang!) will voice Billy, Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) as Zeke, and Catie Wayne (Animalist) as Marsha. The series is based on a pilot that Disney TV Animation announced in 2014.

Springer first gained attention for his raunchy CalArts student film Baby’s New Formula (1995) which screened in Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation. In the late-1990s, Springer developed his skills at Spumco on projects like A Day in the Life of Ranger Smith, the early online series Weekend Pussy Hunt, and the Bjork music video “I Miss You.” (Disclosure: In the early-2000s, Springer also drew a cover and a few interior comics for a zine I used to publish called Animation Blast.)

His industry credits include Spongebob Squarepants, Samurai Jack, and more recently, Disney’s Mickey Mouse shorts, but he may be best known for his projects which never made it past the pilot stage, such as Adult Swim’s Korgoth of Barbaria and Cartoon Network’s Periwinkle Around the World, both of which found cult followings over the years. Those projects can be seen below:

Whether Springer will be able to incorporate his unique sensibilities into a Disney children’s series remains to be seen. Another recent Disney series, Pickle and Peanut, has proven that there’s some space for experimentation within the studio’s TV department, yet a children’s series still feels like a compromise for a creator like Springer with a proven track record for quirky, freewheeling, adult-leaning cartoons.

Along with Billy Dilley, Disney TV Animation also announced a greenlight on a second series last week: Country Club, about the adventures of country boy Cricket Green in the big city, from brothers Chris and Shane Houghton (Harvey Beaks). Rob Renzetti (Gravity Falls, My Life as a Teenage Robot) will executive produce, and the Houghtons serve as co-executive producers.

The network also ordered a season three pickup for Daron Nefcy’s Star vs. The Forces of Evil and a second season of the short-form comedy series Two More Eggs by Mike and Matt Chapman.

  • At this point, I wouldn’t want anything to do with Disney TV Animation, given their higher up’s propensity to cancel series willy nilly (see what happened to Craig McCracken this week with Wonder Over Yonder). They’re a dangerous studio and network to wheel and deal with.

    • James STanley

      I agree. Given the kind of shows they’ve rapidly alternated from in the last couple of years, I doubt the network can even agree on what kind of programming it wants for its viewers in the long run. I mean you’d think they’d take a page from CN and start exploring new boundaries.

      Still if all goes well, then maybe one or both of the new shows can fill the Gravity or Wander shaped holes in our lives.

    • mechasus

      I have to wonder if it’s fair to call this the FOX of animated kids/family TV.

    • MrManguy

      Wander was never really that big of a show compared to other cartoons like Gravity Falls, Phineas and Ferb, or Star. It sucks that it’s been cancelled, but it’s just one show, I think you can deal with it.

  • Patrice Jean-Baptiste

    Don’t know how to feel about any of these honestly. I’m still sad GF is gone and WOY is going away, but ehh I’ll see what they’re all about.

  • ea

    This is probably what Steven Universe would look like if it was more cartooney and less animesque.

  • Coolerguy

    I really hope that someday some serious Action-Adventure animated shows return. The industry is really succeeding at keeping western animation in a box. Now the only thing that is actually worth watching is anime.

    • Patrice Jean-Baptiste

      yeah, sucks that shows like Young Justice, Tron: Uprising didn’t last well, but the way action-adventure animated shows are going to last are

      1. they’re limited to 11 minutes an episode.
      2. They have to be comedies first.
      3. They can’t have serialized stories, for syndication purposes.

      • Gray Stanback

        The first two of those are definitely true. But if you look at a lot of today’s comedy-adventure cartoons–especially the ones on Cartoon Network–you’ll see that they do have serialized stories.
        Think of Adventure Time. It started out as a series of random, standalone comedy episodes, but gradually acquired a timeline, a mythology, etc. Even though the series is a comedy first, and each episode is only 11 minutes long, you still get ongoing story arcs like Finn looking for his father or the romantic arc with Flame Princess.

  • Kyle_Maloney

    A few years ago they were are the top of their game, now the only thing they really have going for them in the lion guard in my opinion. How did we go from Gravity Falls to this?

    • Fried

      “How did we go from Gravity Falls to this?”
      You must have already seen the new series. I guess it must not be good since you’re speaking so negatively about it. What don’t you like about it? The writing, the designs, the voice acting?

      Or maybe you’re purely going off this one promo image as a representative of the final product. You know promo images are drawn during, or sometimes months before, the pilot is made? They’re actually made for pitch meetings so they’re VERY early concept art. Gravity Falls looked horrendous too, maybe you forgot. Ever see clips of the pilot? Or Grunkle Stan’s early design? Not too far off from this.

      • Kyle_Maloney

        I don’t think I need to, the character deigns speak for themselves.

        And Grunkle Stan aside, I don’t think the pilot looked nearly this repulsive.

        • Fried

          “I don’t think the pilot looked nearly this repulsive.”

          100% wrong on that.
          But considering you’re going to disregard a show based on it’s concept promo, I guess it’s fine if people disregard your opinion.

          • Kyle_Maloney

            Wrong based on what? I would still absolutely watch that version of gravity falls. Yes its rough (many pilots are), but still watchable.

          • Fried

            Yes, because you’re already extremely biased and know Gravity Falls is good since you have 40 episodes to go by. Aaron Springer is an extremely talented cartoonist yet you completely throw all that out the window because the promo image doesn’t look great.

            It’s this toss-away attitude that have caused people to shift into the mindset of “We want new, but really what we want is stuff exactly like Steven Universe and Gravity Falls” so when something ISN’T like that, it gets completely overlooked. Pickle & Peanut, Uncle Grandpa, even the entire first season of Wander was completely negated by people because it didn’t have the deep lore or mature themes as the popular shows right now. It’s not until it’s too late did it get noticed.

            If you’re not willing to give stuff a chance, don’t even bother with pilots to begin with. Just keep watching the same old thing you know for sure is good because it’s popular.

          • TBUOIS FROD

            I like the goth teen and the girl, but it does look like a bootleg version of chowder. Which is not entirely surprising, considering that this guy worked on modern spongebob. Though he also worked on Korgoth, so I don’t know what the fuck happened here. And I know this is a promo shot, but at the same time, I highly doubt this is gonna improve.
            Sigh….and just when Disney animation on tv was getting good, two of the best series they had get canceled, and the one that DIDN’T, hasn’t even AIRED it’s second season. Man, fuck television.

          • This is his own personal drawing style. He collaborated with Genndy Tartakovsky for Korgoth.

  • Don’t forget Aaron’s other student film, the screwy A Sunday Stroll (1997):

    • FM Hansen

      Looks like SPUMCO on crack, but still had some good laughs. Nice to see animators cut lose like this now and then.

  • Tigercat919

    It’s hard to gauge Disney at this point. Sure, they appear to allow their creators a little more freedom but they are also really picky on what they will and won’t do. I’ll be curious as to what they do in the future. Maybe they might want consider something that targets a more teen audience like Regular Show or something inspired more by anime like Steven Universe.

  • Lizz Hickey

    i’m really excited for this show. aaron is really talented. disney is lucky to have him.

  • Gray Stanback

    Well, we’re going to be getting a Big Hero 6 TV series next year, not to mention the return of DuckTales.

    • Barrett

      I’m looking forward to both of those shows, but I think the larger point is people are concerned about Disney TV not being as supportive as they could be of new original series, neither of which DuckTales or Big Hero 6 strictly are. Gravity Falls was amazing, and it ending makes sense. But Wander Over Yonder deserved more, and while it’s good to see Star being supported, it just hope some of the other new shows are given a chance to grow.

    • Casey Butler

      Thats’s true! I forgot that Big Hero 6 are going to have a show of their own. And I also forgot that Ducktales was coming back for a reboot! I am defiantly looking forward to those though. Sorry, I don’t usually watch TV that much like I used too. It’s just this show in particalr looks like something I wouldn’t want to watch!

  • FM Hansen

    Just watch Korgoth pilot. I That was awesome. I had forgotten all about that one. It may have been silly and sexist (on purpose) but story wise, it was a great pilot.

  • Rafał J. Kiszkiel

    Speaking of past projects like Korgoth and Periwinke, Aaron also made this short (or should I say, another pilot) for scrapped “The Cartoonstitute” project, which was in a similar vain as “What A Cartoon” Show; . That’s were pilots for “Regular Show” and “Uncle Grandpa” came from. Aaron’s short on that program ws called “Baloobaloob’s Fun Park”. (KIND-OF-SPOILER! I especially like the middle part of it in 3:22-4:44 with multidimensional traveling through with (mostly) 80s styles of background music)

    • Barrett

      I’d never seen this before. I liked it, though it’s pretty out there for a pilot to a potential series. (I also dug the brief visit to a Korgoth-like realm, complete with troll.) I can see several elements that remind of of things later seen in Gravity Falls, so at least we can take comfort in Aaron’s influence coming through in more widely-known things he’s worked on, if not headed.

    • Василь Керімов

      What an amazing short! Don’t know if it would work so well as a basis for long-running series but as a stand-alone it was hillarious, funnier still because of the voice-over framing it as a “brand-new episode starring Andy and Jeff”.

  • wikcat
  • James STanley

    Oh, that reminds me… when is Disney gonna release SVTFOE season 2 anyway? The show seems to have a weird habit of being renewed even before a season premiers. Is Disney even taken ratings into consideration with this renewal? Because they sure are taking their sweet time with the Haitus.

  • mechasus

    These guys seem to have a thing with shows set during summer break, given Phineas and Ferb and Gravity Falls.

    • katrinamyla

      I think it makes things easier to write more different types of stories for kid protagonists if they don’t always have to deal with them being in school. Summer is a big chunk of time and there are more possibilities for things to happen.