The Tom and Jerry Show will premiere Wednesday, April 9th, at 5:30pm (ET/PT) on Cartoon Network. It’s being pitched as “a fresh take on the iconic frenemies that preserves the look, core characters and sensibilities of the original theatrical shorts.” Unlike the original 6-7 minute theatrical shorts, which were produced during the 1940s-’50s, the new episodes will be 11-minutes each.
The show is exec produced by Warner Bros. Animation exec (and former Cartoon Network vice-president) Sam Register, and produced by Warner Bros. Animation in conjunction with producers Darrell Van Citters and Ashley Postlewaite at Renegade Animation.
This new series obviously can’t hold a candle to the original theatrical shorts by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, but one would expect that it would at least match or exceed the quality of the last reboot with these characters, Tom and Jerry Tales, which premiered in 2006. Sadly, from the looks of the sizzle reel above, it doesn’t appear to come close.
The preview that Warner Bros. has released is an aesthetic trainwreck from top to bottom. The characters lack any sense of volume, construction, or appeal; the animation and gags are poorly timed to the point of being illegible; and the art direction and layout is amateurish beyond description. How does a layout like the following one make it through the production pipeline? It’s so awkwardly composed that the viewer doesn’t even understand Tom is lying the ground. In fact, Jerry’s body goes underneath Tom’s body which implies that Tom is somehow floating in the air:
This living room layout features a piano that defies the laws of gravity and manages to stand upright in spite of misplaced legs. One could argue that this is a stylistic choice—and it’s certainly possible to push a layout even further—but the tangent-filled and perspective-challenged drawing suggests that the person who drew this scene struggled with the assignment:
If this is Cartoon Network’s sizzle reel, I shudder to think about the stuff that’s not sizzle-worthy. What’s on display in this reel doesn’t exhibit the basic graphic competency that is expected of a professional studio production in 2014.