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Here’s A New Look At ABC’s Upcoming Hybrid Series ‘Imaginary Mary’

The lead cartoon character in ABC’s upcoming live-action/cg hybrid series, Imaginary Mary, has an updated look, as revealed in this new ABC trailer:

The mid-season replacement, which has a nine-episode order, also has an official launch date now: March 29.

As mentioned a few days ago, the animation portions are being overseen by Patrick Osborne, director of Disney’s Oscar-winning Feast and the currently-Oscar-shortlisted Google film Pearl. The animation studio hasn’t been announced, but online sources indicate that it’s being produced by Zoic Studios in Vancouver.

The show stars Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg, Friends With Benefits) as Alice, a “fiercely independent career woman” whose life is turned upside-down when her imaginary childhood friend, Mary, reappears to offer her advice on a relationship with a divorced father who has three kids. The imaginary friend is voiced by Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live).

Imaginary Mary comes from the team behind the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs: Adam F. Goldberg (writer/executive producer), David Guarascio (writer/executive producer) and Doug Robinson (executive producer). ABC Studios is co-producing the series with Sony Pictures Television and Happy Madison.

After the show’s test pilot was produced last year, ABC requested changes on the animated character, which has since evolved into a rounder, cuter, moppet-like creature without big teeth or lips. Here’s a comparison between the first version of the character from the test pilot (bottom), and the updated version that will appear in the series (top):

  • The show itself still doesn’t look that great, but yeah the imaginary friend has much more appeal now. What the hell were they even thinking with that last model?

  • Son of Zorn and now this? As strange as it may seem, I think it’s great ABC introducing these unique animation-mixed concepts. Let’s keep it up.

    • mechasus

      Son of Zorn was a FOX product.

  • Lizz Hickey

    the older model is hilarious and strange —- honestly love that one way more

    • schwarzgrau

      Exactly! The new one looks incredible generic in comparison

  • Tre

    Getting an air of less creepy ‘Drop Dead Fred’, but the character is cute.

  • Rae

    the old model looked like something from an off-brand soap ad
    tbh, i hope this does well

    • white vader

      It looked like a hairy Adipose from Dr Who to me! With a bit of the aliens from Home.

  • Roberto González

    I still don’t know if the other ‘Osborne’ , Mark Osborne, is planning to make the Bone movie as a full animated feature or a combination of life action and CGI. Watching this I immediately thought of Bone for some reason. She’s a cute white cartoony creature although not so simmilar to Jeff Smith’s creations. But it’s the right amount of cartoony, not too realistic. If they are going to approach Bone as an hybrid I would like to see something like this.

    I like the look of these series but the execution doesn’t seem too great. But yeah, the creature looks cute. I guess it’s basically female version of Ted.

  • GS

    This was funnier the first time…when it was called Ted.

  • mechasus

    At first, the trailer was kinda meh until the imaginary friend showed up. Rachel did a great job, (and to think she’s known for Debbie Downer) as did the animators, and it seems they saved the best lines for her. I’ll try to make a note to catch this when it comes out.

  • Jack Newman

    The new design is much better.

    Also, this isn’t the first time Jenna Elfman has interacted with an animated character.

    • Dave 52

      Yeah, the last time she interacted with animated characters Daffy Duck fired.

  • Tony

    The new design is not just cuter, it’s also more expressive. The character now looks like it could hold its own against experienced actors.
    The problem with the old design is the same as with many hybrid films like Yogi Bear and The Smurfs; the model designers feel like they have to make the characters ultra-realistic, negating the appeal of the simplicity of the original designs. In this case, a more cartoony design is appropriate, as Mary is supposed to be a childhood imaginary friend, with no need to be realistic.

    • Mermaid Warrior

      Yeah, the expressiveness is the main appeal to me. There’s a big difference in the gifs. In the old one, she just has this generic expression, but in the new one, she looks annoyed. And the new design, complete with being “cuter” and having more cartoony expressions, feels more like something a kid would come up with.

  • TogusaRusso

    Replace this with Tracer and let her actualy rewind time.

  • Mermaid Warrior

    The redesign is much better. The old one was a little creepy and off-putting, and not as expressive.

    I really love the concept of the show, but the trailer doesn’t make it look all that interesting. I might check out an episode or two.