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‘Tom and Jerry Show’ Premieres April 9 on Cartoon Network

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.

  • JTennor

    Tom and Jerry Tales looks amazing. I don’t remember seeing those at all.

    This new series look awful. Looks like they are using similar tropes used by the new Mickey Mouse shorts, sans the artistic sensibility.

    • Paul M

      I had almost forgotten seeing ‘Tom and Jerry Tales’. Their opening sequence does look impressive, especially compared to the new series. Like ‘The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries’, it proves the classic look can still be done if there is enough talent and interest in doing so.

      • Marbles471

        I’ve seen a few episodes of Tom & Jerry Tales and I don’t think it’s very good at all. But I agree that the opening is very well animated.

  • Anonymous

    Is this animated in Flash?

    • Stone

      Tweened in Flash. It doesn’t deserve to be termed “Animated”.

  • Jason P.

    There was a lot of similar naysaying about The Looney Tunes Show when there was as much information about it as we have with the new Tom and Jerry here. What I can see looks much better than the Hanna-Barbera and Filmation iterations from the late ’70s and early ’80s (though that was a dark time for animation in general).

    • Roberto Severino

      At least Looney Tunes Show has much better animation than this, I will say that much. The animation here is just too, I can’t exactly say, but maybe distracting and unnatural to me. I’m really hoping that’s not the case when the show comes out.

  • I can’t tell too much about the timing from this reel but the expressions seem stiff, and the characters don’t stretch or change enough, too much tweening for a physical comedy show. And I really hope the sound effects are going to be much better than the ones in the video. I don’t know, I will have to watch an entire episode before I make any final judgements.

  • jonhanson

    Tom and Jerry is a very interesting case of trying to keep characters alive past their expiration date. Don’t get me wrong, the original shorts are still great but the beauty of the idea was the simplicity. A mouse, a rat, you know the rest. No words, maybe 4 characters max, lots of fun animated violence.

    Problem is the original creators pretty much exhausted the concept in the original run and now whoever gets the IP is forced to recycle the same ideas or try and switch things up at the expense of pretty much everything that made the series popular in the first place.

    • SarahJesness

      Agreed. I don’t think all reboots are bad and I don’t want to come off as someone who thinks so… But I don’t think Tom and Jerry really works for reboots. It’s a very simple concept, and there’s only so much you can do with it. For a reboot to not feel stale, one would have to pretty much make it a different show, just with the same characters, and even then, what’s the point?

      • jonhanson

        Exactly, I liked the recent Peabody and Sherman cartoon so I’m not against reboots on principle. But like you said later Tom and Jerry cartoons end up like hollow copies of the original or generic cartoons dressed up with Tom and Jerry iconography.

  • They seem to be going for modernism / simplicity. But everything looks way to flat and floaty.

    • Animator606432

      Yeah and…that kind of takes away a lot of the humor. The original and the Chuck Jones’ short had fluid enough animation to make the gags look elaborate. This just looks so static and boring. None of the gags even got a slight smirk out of me.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I’m still not a fan of that line-less look they’re going with here, I only wish that extra layer was put back in but I don’t suppose that would be an improvement at all.

  • Todd

    Yeah its flash…of course it will not look as good as 2D.

  • top_cat_james

    “Dismayed in Hollywood, U.S.A.”

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Thank you.

  • Dinosaur Tony

    Looks pretty dire… but I think they at least got the piano right, check the shape of the lid.

  • Steven Bowser

    Why oh why did they have to do it in Flash…it looks stiff and horrible… :/

  • Oh Dear..

    Suddenly the cgi-anime remake is starting to look pretty good. The visual design in this show is awful.

    However, the animation quality, as far as flash animation is concerned…is better than a lot of flash shows…sadly.

  • Beaker

    Flash is the worst thing to happen to animation. Everything looks like paper cut outs.

    • IJK

      This is different from old Hanna Barbera cartoons like Yogi Bear and Richie Rich how?

      Flash can be great if used properly, just like 2D. It can also look cheap and recycled if used improperly, just like 2D.

      • Funkybat

        It would be FINE if Flash or similar “symbol & tween” type programs were used to produce simple, flat animation. You could probably do a GREAT Flintstones, Yogi, or even Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon using these tools. Limited animation and these kinds of digital tools are made for each other.

        The problem is two-fold; for those of us with preconceived notions as to how limited animation “should” look, the best way to get sharp results is to almost completely ignore the built-in “tween” tools and use the program as a purely digital version of the original H-B process: lots of substitution of parts of the character with held “cels” for other parts, drawn smears and distortions for quick transitions, and lots of repitition of mouth shapes, eyes, etc. with very few drawn in-betweens. It will looks like a clean, error-free version of the kind of TV cartoons most of us grew up with.

        For those of us who are (most likely) Gen Y or younger, the orthodoxy of what 2D animation “should” look like is a lot less fixed, and the digital tween look is probably a lot less grating (if at all) for many of them. I am not a big fan of it, expect for a select group of shows where it is part of the defining aesthetic of the series, but it’s a perfectly fine way to do a new style of limited animation. What happens often is that the art direction on many of those productions is mediocre or worse, so it just makes the style seem worse and associates it with sub-par shows. There are examples of shows and shorts using these techniques that “work” from an aesthetic viewpoint, they are just the minority.

        • Marbles471

          I don’t agree. The digital tween is NOT “fine” and it never will be “fine,” even if it’s part of the standard frame of reference for kids and younger people now. (God, I’m only 31 and I’m already talking about “younger people?” Aigh.)
          Something that only exists as a cheap, artless shortcut will never, ever be anything but a cheap, artless shortcut, no matter how many people are used to it or not. And unlike the cheap shortcuts of yesteryear, which at least could claim that they had a human, organic element, digital tweening is inherently sterile, bloodless and cold.
          It astonishes and saddens me that so many in the industry have caved to it.

  • m(_ _)m

    haha, I thought that was a third-person shot of Tom about to pounce on Jerry, but he’s actually flat on the ground? that’s crazy.

  • Freddie

    The originals are timeless. Why not save money, time and the audience from this horror by showing re-runs instead of these abysmal reincarnations? Kids understand the old ones and will get to see quality animation.

    • jonhanson

      Say what you will about CN but they have been running the old cartoons pretty consistently. Tom and Jerry shorts are some of the oldest running cartoons you’ll find on their schedule besides Looney Tunes.

  • sfzapgun

    Just think, if this was on any other network but cartoon Network, they would have to lobby and beg for every one of those smacks, crashes, and slams. Maybe they will have to anyway.

  • mick

    Lose the budget, production length, skill and mindset of a situation 70 years ago and knock out something we all know and love… what could go wrong?

    This looks like it was made by restricted hands. Why not trust those hands to make something from the heart?

    It baffles me that the money men try to recreate classics by ignoring everything that makes them classics.

    • Roberto Severino

      I completely agree. Let some of the people working on this have their own cartoons and more tools to work with, I say. Why waste their talent as something abysmal looking as this?

  • Hankenshift

    Where’s the “animation?” It just moves around a lot, and is ugly.

  • Roberto Severino

    The characters just don’t look good in this Flash animation. I’m sorry. Pretty sure there are many talented people working on this but it just doesn’t do the trick for me.

  • Roberto Severino

    I think Looney Tunes Show was successful because they did just that. They updated the characters and added something new to the mix that hadn’t been done before with them and it worked out great for the most part.

    • jonhanson

      I think the difference between Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry is that the original Looney Tunes cartoons were more diverse. You’ve got a larger cast of characters, comedy that’s both physical and verbal, and a better foundation when it comes to types of stories told.

      Getting something really new out of Tom and Jerry would probably require giving them voices but that always feels wrong because it deviates so drastically from the original formula. The formula made them the beloved characters they are but it also means that any changes are such a hard sell that it’s really not worth it.

      • cetrata

        We all know how that worked out in tom and jerry: The Movie.

  • Joshua Boulos

    Of course, limited animation nowadays is well, limited. Things achieved in film today can some how not come close to the quality films made back in the. Golden Age for example. You can compare the animation in 101 Dalmatians to the animation in Regular Show.

    • Animator606432

      That doesn’t really make sense…with today’s amazing technology why would animation regress? You can make AMAZING animation with half as much money today. If you’re talking about styles..okay but that has nothing to do with quality.

  • Trevour

    The no-line design of the characters looked pretty interesting… then I saw them in motion and couldn’t watch beyond 3 seconds. It’s too bad all mass and fluidity is lacking in the animation. Based on that I would expect this as a supplemental CN web series, not a program for TV. The quality just fell down another few rungs over there.

  • R. I.

    Even Gene Deitch’s T&J shorts (generally reviled as they are) aren’t as bad as this. At least it’s better than Filmation’s “Tom & Jerry Comedy Show.”

  • George Comerci

    You know what WOULD be nice? If CN just showed the original shorts, instead of making new ones.

    • Jonathan Wilson

      Um, they still do…
      CN has kept “Tom & Jerry” on their schedule since the channel started.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    It’s for the best.

  • Carson Maitland – Smith

    What about Be Cool Scooby Doo

  • MaskedManAICN

    In a post Itchy and Scratchy world, Tom and Jerry show probably be retired.

  • CTM

    Why does nobody seem to understand slapstick anymore? Hanna-Barbera Tom and Jerry wasn’t funny because of violence it was funny because of inventive and brilliantly timed violence. There was a setup, anticipation, and a creative payoff. This is just stuff falling on people for the sake of stuff falling on people. But of course according to producers that’s all classic animation ever was.

    • Marbles471

      Exactly. That’s what’s so damning about so many (not all) revival attempts. They have all the ingredients except the ones that TRULY matter—-the expert timing and characterization-driven animation. It’s bad enough when WB cartoons have weak timing and animation that doesn’t serve the characters, but with Tom & Jerry, it’s the worst of all, because more than any other Golden Age series (except perhaps Road Runner), that’s what made it work. That’s what kept it from being Herman & Katnip. Hanna and Barbera knew how to set something up and time it just perfectly, down to a science, and they had animators who understood that science, and understood their characters.

      While these things are impossible to match exactly today, I believe in my heart that it’s possible to come much, much closer than Tom & Jerry Tales did or that this new series looks like it’s doing.

  • DornerTheDarkKnight

    This is on the air in my country and I really enjoy the humor in it, but if you didn’t like the look of the trailer, which to be honest isn’t breathtaking, even tho its not Aqua Teen Hunger Force-looking either, seeing the show it-self won’t change your mind.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Actually it had, it aired on Fox Family Channel, though we only ever saw the first season 15 years ago.

  • Marbles471

    I love the way the characters LOOK, (especially Tom), but I don’t like THE look. If it were for something else, perhaps. But seeing THESE characters, who were birthed and prospered in the era of full-bodied, fully animated, fully fleshed-out animation, in such depleted settings is hard to stomach. And more importantly, it doesn’t serve them.
    Digital tweening is a monster that has eaten up the animation world and is slowly dissolving it in its vile stomach. I hate it. Some of it is definitely better than average, and I will admit that this is in that category. But it’s still impossible to disguise its robotic origins, and robotic is the last thing any animation should be if its goal is to create life.

    Tom & Jerry Tales attempted to replicate the full-bodied look with animation as good as you can probably have on television, but they were missing the most important ingredient of all—-good timing. The few episodes I’ve seen are just bangs and bonks and explosions—-and they all just roll by with a fill-in-the-blanks type of feeling. Why? Because the timing isn’t sharp. There’s no rhythm. There’s no tempo variation. And so nothing has the impact it’s clearly meant to have.
    Some of the timing in this trailer looked funny, but it could be the cut of the trailer—-you just can’t know yet. If this has the same mushy timing as T&JT, than it won’t be an improvement and in fact will be a step down.

  • Marbles471

    Oh—and one more thing. Another ingredient that most of these revival attempts overlook—–the sound effects!

    The MGM animation studio had, hands down, the most hilarious sound effects the cartoon world has ever known. They may not have had the sheer variety and kooky personality of the WB ones, or the bemusedly goofy charm of the Disney ones, but they were SO FUNNY. Their bangs, crashes, bonks and explosions were the best because they were all so over the top. Even that splash sound they always used was funny. How can a splash be funny?! It’s a splash! But somehow theirs was funny in and of itself.

    Tom & Jerry, more than any other cartoon series from that time, is subliminally identified with its soundtrack, because the music and sounds were such a key part of the not just the humor but of the entire ambiance of that world. Without those sound effects, or at the very least, new ones created in that same spirit and intended to have the same impact, a revival of the characters is not going to hit the right notes.

  • Roberto Gonzalez

    Tom and Jerry Tales was fantastic when directed by Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone and some of the movies like A Nutcrackers Tale or Tom and Jerry and The Wizard of Oz looked almost like something Hanna and Barbera would have done.

    This doesnt look so good.

  • kayoteq

    . My friend learned how to do architectural designs by studying the details of old MGM Tom and Jerry cartoons. Dare I say this looks Filmation-ish?