"Spike Gets Skooled" "Spike Gets Skooled"

Clips from Tomorrow’s U.S. Premiere of ‘Tom and Jerry Show’

The first extended clips have been released from The Tom and Jerry Show which premieres tomorrow, April 9th, at 5:30/4:30 Central on Cartoon Network. The two debut episodes are “Cats Ruffled Furniture” and “Spike Gets Skooled.” I wrote a couple weeks ago that the show “doesn’t exhibit the basic graphic competency that is expected of a professional studio production in 2014,” and these clips do nothing to dispel that notion. How a Warner Bros. series with classic characters ever made it to air in this form is a mystery to me.

  • sfzapgun

    The color design is a nightmare!

  • Gage

    There’s far too much dialogue in those clips for a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

    • Koda Motoi

      Have you actually even WATCHED the classic Tom and Jerry cartoons? Except for Tom and Jerry (Who both have moments where they talk in some fashion), most of the human characters tend to talk. Spike is often known to talk. Remember the baby sitter who did nothing but talk on the phone?

      • Gage

        Yes I have watched them, and yes the humans & Spike talk. But like I said, there is far too much dialogue in those clips for a Tom and Jerry cartoon. I don’t see what the issue is.

        Have YOU ever watched them? You must realize that dialogue is not a major feature of the original cartoons…

  • Karl Hungus

    This show was done “on the cheap” by Renegade Studios in Glendale. Now, Warner Brothers may have paid them a hefty sum to make this cartoon, but Renegade is an independent studio that did not offer a competitive salary or benefits and the work reflects the talent that they would attract with their offers.
    I remember a few years ago when they were sending out storyboard tests for this show. They wanted a large chunk of script storyboarded, and they wanted it fully posed out, and they wanted it to be timed out in an animatic, and they encouraged artists to add sound effects to the footage. Basically, they wanted artists to work very hard – for free – for the honor of being considered for a job at their tiny, low paying studio. Everyone in town had a good laugh about it and most threw the test in the garbage.

    • Brittany

      Wow, even though the clips aren’t very good for professional flash animation, this 2D student was thinking, “At least they gave jobs to flash animators” but from what you describe, not so much. :< The VFXs artists aren't the only ones that need a system overhaul.

  • kwert

    There’s web cartoons with higher production value than this.

  • William Bradford

    tsk tsk

  • Alan

    Just my personal opinion, but what is the point of this show?

    It’s got poor animation, design, composition, sound and the characters
    aren’t interesting at all and it’s like watching someone up on stage
    telling a bunch of jokes but forgetting the punchlines. I mean, even
    Teen Titans Go has it’s fan-service if nothing else.

    I can’t imagine if I was watching this aged 8, in 10 years or 20 years time
    going on YouTube and watching it back. I’d probably end up watching the
    original instead.

    It may sell the brand in the short term but it surely won’t stand the test of time. It’s a poor investment anyway I look at it.

    I’m glad when I was younger, I got to watch Oban Star Racers, Samurai Jack, Invader Zim, Gadget and the Gadgetinis, WITCH, Totally Spies,
    DragonBall and even Flint the Time Detective and yes the original Tom and Jerry before it was all replaced by terrible live-action and cheap Flash animation because it lead me down the anime route, to Akira, Studio Ghibli etc and became the reason I studied animation. All this puppet animation is uninspiring. (no offense to those who do it, but it’s my honest feeling, if it’s done as good as The Modifyers was though, then that’s a different story)

    Parents may object to certain content found in the original Looney Tunes etc, but like the artist behind Gorillaz said (Jamie Hewlett) when he was asked why he “banned Disney DVDs” from his kids he said, “I used to read them all the Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl, but not The Mr Men, because its badly written and badly drawn. I remember thinking, “Mr Men, great idea”, but they were so bad I couldn’t bear it. Most animated kids films nowadays are pretty awful.”, he apparently fed his kids a diet of Studio Ghibli.

    So I’d prefer my kids and if possible the next generation not be brought up watching cheap and largely pointless, mind numbing animation in equal respect to those parents who don’t want their kids being subject to a cartoon pig pointing a gun at a rabbit.

    Sorry for the rant!

    • Doz Hewson


    • Animator606432

      I agree except, I don’t get the Disney comment. Most of the artist, whom are well respected and talented, grew UP on those Disney movies. Plus, stuff like “Beauty & The Beast” are pretty amazing films all around.

    • Funkybat

      Not sure how Hewlett got from a question about keeping his kids from seeing Disney movies to a comment about “badly-drawn” children’s books, since no sane person can claim the classic Disney features were badly drawn, no matter what other criticisms they might have of them.

      I think concerns about kids not appreciating “good animation” if they are brought up on bad animation are overblown. Like most kids’ taste in food, their taste in art and film will grow over time. While you should make a point of showing kids art and animation you think is of high quality, if they happen to also enjoy schlocky cheap stuff for a time, let them. I grew up loving not only Disney features, but cheaply-done stuff like Scooby-Doo (including the more poorly-drawn later series from the late 70s/early 80s.) and Filmation shows and even throwaway licensed character/gimmick one-season affairs from Ruby-Spears. I tended to enjoy shows based on the characters and scenarios, I could tell the drawings were not at Disney level, but I didn’t care. It also didn’t stop me from enjoying Looney Tunes, original Mighty Mouse, Tom & Jerry, or Woody Woodpecker cartoons.

      Point is, kids will probably discover magnificent stuff on their own if it’s out there, and they almost certainly will appreciate it (if not as pre-teens, as teens or 20-somethings) if they are purposefully exposed to stuff like Ghibli, classic Disney, Roger Williams’ work, or any number of fine independent animators who work mainly in short film or other media. It’s THOSE artists, the smaller studios and one-person outfits, that really need us to help spread the word about. It’s almost too easy to see great Disney or even Miyazaki films, a little harder to find foreign and indie animation unless you go digging for it.

  • Alex Vvedensky

    You have to admit that script is actually not that bad. I mean I found the second clip actually funny and fresh. I don’t think there was a story like that in the classics. Better than the Tales at least in my opinion.

  • Andy

    In all fairness, they kept Tom’s design as the classic one we all know and love. It may look nasty, but at least they didnt make him a hip, street-wise talking cat with clothes or something.

  • Tim Hodge

    I worked freelance on this show as a storyboard artist. The test handout went something like this: “We like your portfolio, so we’re going to give you an assignment. But to make sure you’re a good fit for the show, after two or three days, show us your progress. If we like where you’re going, you’ll continue. Otherwise we’ll pay you for your time and thank you just the same.” The ‘test’ was more like a paid audition. All fair and above board.
    All in all, I boarded around 8 episodes.
    I loved working on the show. While the scripts were more talky than I would have preferred, the shows are funny and full of classic slapstick. I relished the shows where Jerry uses dynamite on Tom.
    My experience was different from Karl’s (posted below). Renegade paid fair and on time (a plus for freelancers like me). It was a flat fee per episode, so if you work at a good pace the pay is up to scale. If you drag things out, it would affect your weekly take home.
    Yes, I cut rough animatics as I boarded. I worked in ToonBoom Storyboard Pro, so that was an easy task. Sure it added about a day onto my schedule, but SB Pro is very intuitive and I got faster as I went along.
    It was one of my favorite projects of my freelance career.
    As for the entertainment value of the show. Like anything, individual tastes will vary. Personally, I got a kick out of it. As you can see, the style is new, but there is definite respect for the source material. What matters is what its intended audience will think of it.

  • Teodor Ajduk

    when disney do this-everyone approved
    when renegade do this-everyone is shocked

    • Inkan1969

      When did Disney do this?

      • Teodor Ajduk

        only backgrounds are better at mickey mose shorts, story and animation /Judging by these clips/ are more ‘sophisticated’ ;) at renegade

    • Mike

      It’s a slap in the face to the new Mickey Mouse shorts to even imply that they’re comparable to this dreck.

  • Rufus

    Personally, I’m waiting for the “Clutch Cargo” reboot.

  • Awful.

    Absolutely hideous. Renegade Animation and everybody involved in this should be embarrassed.

    • CG Animator

      Why should everyone involved be “embarrassed”? Especially the talented animation staff at Renegade? They did the best they could with what they had.

      Almost every animator/storyboard artists/designer/director etc. will work on projects that aren’t especially good. Especially in TV animation. It’s part of working in this crazy industry. If you think every project you work on will be Pixar quality (in both story and animation) you are fooling yourself.

      And you know what? Who cares! Suck it up, be an adult, take what you can from that experience (good and bad) and move on. It may not be something to put on your demo reel because it’s not your best work (or maybe it is! There are plenty of bad TV shows and features with great work in them) but that doesn’t mean you need to be bitter and embarrassed about it.

      Many of the top animators today got their start working at Hanna-Barbara, Filmation, Ruby Spears, Nelvana, etc. where the budgets and production values were not very high. And the best of the bunch are not bitter or embarrassed about those experiences at all. They learned from those experiences, even though they were working on low-budget TV animation (you can ALWAYS learn something from even the worst projects), and took what they learned onto better projects.

      • Alan

        I think you give Renegade too much credit. I’ve looked at their portfolio and none of it is impressive to me. There are better indie works on YouTube done with no budget by a single person. They simply don’t attract talent, nor do they foster it as described by others already.

        Unlike Trigger in Japan, who had a budget of just $382,000 and with the use of ameteur animators they had to train along the way produced something as visually impressive as Little Witch Academia which is now held in high prestige along with Kill la Kill. (Spongebob is $500,000 per episode)

        There is an old Flash toon called Shuriken School I remember which looks much better than Tom and Jerry Show. It’s more of a hand-drawn animation with the odd tweening as opposed to full puppet animation, but it benefits from having great composition, easy to read expressions and decent timing (not the best) which at least gives the characters some weight.

        What’s missing from Renegade is that old essential, squash and stretch. Look at how Jerry rolls on the ball and then slams into that ladies leg, he looks as hard as a rock. In the classic, he probably would have slammed into the leg, squashed, but came out with an inprint in his face or something to accentuate the impact. It’s doable in puppet animation, but it’s not present here unfortunetely.

      • DangerMaus

        People who think this is poor quality animation and design obviously haven’t watched very much TV animation from the Seventies and Sixties.

  • JWLane

    ICK! The rendering looks like outsourced explainer video.

  • lefty

    so you are saying a child’s cartoon is juvenile, bland and redundant? sound right about where it should be for a cartoon geared toward children.

    • Alan

      What age group of children though are you referring to? My nine year old cousin watches Thundercats (2011), Avatar the Last Airbender, Legend of Korra, Naruto, Pokemon, Yugioh, Sonic X, Ironman and Ben 10. They are hardly juvenile, yet they manage to capture a wide range of audiences.

      The problem with cartoons today in the western markets is almost all of them are geared towards children.

      Seeing Cartoon Hangover on YouTube is refreshing, when the Bravest Warriors had that line in one of their episodes “nice fingering Beth” – “thanks”, I did what I hadn’t done to a cartoon for a long time, properly laughed. I rewatched Oban Star Racers a few months ago, in one of their earlier episodes there is the old bar gag. Molly was at a bar drinking lots of milk (shes a kid don’t forget) and the barman says, “I think you’ve had enough miss” when she asked for one more. The point is these are jokes only an older audicene will understand. Isn’t this what made Looney Tunes, Flintstones, Top Cat, Regular Show etc so successful? by reaching out to wider audiences?

      • Hankenshift

        Most of those Japanese cartoons are for very young children as well, albeit sometimes (but not always) a bit higher quality. Sadly, the writing is juvenile and the storytelling is as weak.

    • Hankenshift

      Since when have Tom and Jerry cartoons been made for kids? Oh…NEVER. Skip these, and all that japanese kiddie crap on tv and go right to the original Tom and Jerry (and the WB) cartoons and you’ll see what cartoons made for adults look like.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Still not a fan of that non-outline look they gave these guys, they just look like blobs to me.

    • Funkybat

      The “no outline/colored outline” look would work better if the backgrounds had a different saturation level and/or texture. As it stands, everything feels like it’s on the same level.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Seems like the only people who get to draw on this are those in the storyboard and design dept.

  • Yann

    It’s so… flat.

    • Funkybat

      Doing more to separate the characters from the backgrounds would do a lot to up the viewability. The “everything on the same level” effect makes it hard to focus.

  • Megan

    Or you wish studios and shows have budgets to allow the animators to draw – its not like the people who are animating on this show just decided not to do it.

    • Alan

      These studios have no long-term view with their work and instead try to sell something in the short term. In otherwords it’s a product for sale rather than a work of art or comedy.

      Japanese anime directors try to make a work last for 100 years. This gives the studio a constant revenue stream to make more works. At least that’s what I understand after watching a bunch of Production IG interviews/behind the scenes. Ghost in the Shell is going to go on for at least another 50 years or more. This gives them leverage to take risks and hire many more animators. Indeed, some animators are saying they wish more people got into animation, because “there is so much work that needs doing” and the Japan government now has a tranining program for it. Triggers ‘Little Which Academia’ being one of the results from it.

      This Tom and Jerry? I can’t say, but I’d rather buy my child Sherlock Hound or something. I mean, look at how long the original Tom and Jerry lasted, still seen as a source of animation study, still rated highly on Netflix etc and shown as the cartoon highlight on my cables on-demand service alongside Ben 10 and Adventure Time.

  • Roberto Gonzalez

    I actually find it decent. Not great or anything but I think its watchable and not so terrible when you acept the limitations. These clips actually give me a better impression than the reel.

    But instead of doing this Renegade Animation should be doing a whole show of Elmo Aardvark. That was brilliant!

  • Tony

    Having watched the whole show, I have a few points to add:
    I think the look is okay. The backgrounds remind me of Maurice Noble’s work on the Chuck Jones Tom and Jerrys, but without his flair and color sense. As for the Flash cut-out style animation, while it doesn’t hold a candle to the original shorts, there is far worse animation on other shows (like Johnny Test, which followed this). At least there’s an effort to stay true to the original designs.
    My main problem is that they just can’t get the timing and pacing right. At eleven minutes each, the shorts have a little more slack to them, they’re not as jam-packed as they should have been. There are some well timed gags here and there, but no overall sense of escalation.
    FInally, the music. None of today’s cartoon scores have the level of sophistication that Scott Bradley brought to the original Tom and Jerry shorts. I don’t mean just the lack of lush orchestration, I mean that the use of “mickey mousing” is too rote, too on the nose. Bradley knew how to use pharsing and motifs, and when to hold off on playing for every single step and move the characaters make.
    Overall, I give it a B-. Not the worst version of the characters, but far from being a replacement for the originals.

  • Roberto Severino

    I’ve seen better looking animation on Newgrounds and those bright colors. Ugh!

  • Mister Twister

    Cool! Another thing to ignore!

  • HH
  • markus

    is this a joke?

  • CG Animator

    Sorry, but I don’t see the “abomination” everyone is talking about. Yeah, it was obviously done on a very low budget but the artists at Renegade (many of whom come from traditional animation backgrounds by the way) did the best they could in the time they had. I don’t see how this is any worse then any other low-budget Flash show.

  • Steven Bowser

    I know that there is drawing going on, but by looking at the animation you can tell that a lot of it is just click-and-drag. It looks stiff and flat.
    Real frame-by-frame hand drawn animation has much more vitality and flexibility to it. This is just cheaper.

  • Argonaut

    Hard to believe we can have a conversation about the limitations of limited animation and nobody mentions the only thing that really matters. The budget. No doubt the money spent on this show was a small fraction of the budget of previous reboots of these characters, such as for the Tom and Jerry Tales (from Cartoon Brew’s previous post about the show.)

    Like the VFX industry, the studio bankrolling the show here has all the cards and all the power- and naturally the tiny studios that are competing for the work are clawing to get the project. And more often than ever before, the only way to land a large project like this is to bid low. REALLY low. The first place to lay blame here is at the feet of the company at the top of the pyramid that puts up the money- not the hired studio that’s scrambling to somehow get the show done on that tight budget. If you want quality, well, that costs money. As a result, in an effort to make the show cheaply, my understanding is nearly all the animation and some other work was outsourced to a small studio in Canada.

    Does the show look as good as traditionally animated classic cartoons? Um, no. But then those animators decades ago didn’t have to animate all the characters in each shot, plus inbetween all the character animation themselves, as well as ink, color, create the effects, inbetween the effects, comp the scenes together with the backgrounds and also do the camera moves, all by themselves, on upwards of a minute a week of animation. EACH ANIMATOR. On any of the previous projects this is being compared to, how many hands touched and were involved with every shot, and how much time did they have to get each shot done? As we all know, traditional animation is alot more expensive than Flash.
    That is, unless you use a small army of overseas labor helping out at low labor rates (as they did
    in Tom and Jerry Tales). People say why not just draw everything? Well, you’re certainly free to do that, if you can do close to a minute per week of FINISHED animation. Can anyone here can do that, on an action show like this, all by themselves?

    We’re comparing a handmade classic Ferrari to a modern economy car that was cranked out as fast as possible on an assembly line to keep costs down. Gee, why dont manufacturers make every car, entirely by hand? Hmm, I wonder why?

    Even a comparison to Tom and Jerry Tales doesn’t really seem right- With names like Eric Goldberg on the payroll, I’m thinking many of these artists are getting paid a bit more than an average entry-level flash animator. The crew on Tom and Jerry Tales was at least three times the size of this new show’s crew, too. More artists = bigger budget. The money spent wisely on expensive talent on Tales was saved elsewhere on the heavy lifting grunt work of a small army of a couple companies of overseas artists (working who knows how many hours per day in whatever work conditions) cranking out the final footage. There were 8 animation timers on Tales. How many could this show afford? Is anybody really surprised all those shortcuts up front in the budget are visible in the final product?

  • Steven Bowser

    I don’t think there’s anything good about Flash animation. It looks stiff and lifeless to me. It bothers me because it compromises the integrity of hand-dran animation by cheating it. It LOOKS drawn because its flat, but it really isn’t drawn. It’s really just clicked-and-dragged around and the characters are really just 2D CG rigs.
    If you’re going to do hand-drawn animation, then you should draw it. Flash animation like this is incapable of making believable forms that look fluid and lifelike. It just looks like flannel or something.
    Anyways, I rant about this stuff a lot. Sorry if it offends any Flash animators out there. I just think we can do better. :/

  • Jumping threw hoops

    Yuck ! cant believe I had to take a test for this .Im glad mine got lost in my computer before I handed it in .And too think I had already did 6 Tom and Jerry tales shorts previous …And Im not bragging about that lol .Wow if your not gonna do it right. Don’t do it at all . people had work and thats a plus ……”Right “??