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It's Show Time! The Fall TV Preview
(continued from page 1)

Manny the Uncanny sets off in his 30-foot motor home to discover the off-beat sights around America. © The Walt Disney Company.
Also new for the fall season is What's the Diff?, an interactive interstitial broken into four short viewings per hour. Every viewing, two "snapshots" pop up with seemingly identical frames of animation; and viewers must quickly detect the slight differences between the images. Returning interstitial segments include the award-winning Great Minds Think For Themselves, hosted by the Genie (voiced by Robin Williams) from Aladdin, the CG-cartoon Tube Dwellers, the zoological-themed Flynndiggery Do! and Flipbook. And for fans of Ms. Munger's Class, which was taken off the air as a result of legal complications, there is a similarly-produced interstitial, tentatively titled Cafeteria, which will premiere later in the fall season.

BKN (Bohbot Kids Network)
Launched on August 29 across 92% of the United States, BKN is poised to become the nation's fourth broadcast kids network. Two distinctly branded broadcast services will air a total of 24 hours of animated programming per week. The flagship BKN service, "Bulldog TV," will offer action-based animated series targeting boys 6-11, while the second service, BKN II, will target a broader audience encompassing both boys and girls 2-11. Broken into two-hour programming blocks on weekdays, as well as Sunday, the cartoons on the schedule are primarily older syndicated shows such as Mummies Alive!, Double Dragon, Street Sharks, Jumanji, Sonic Underground, Beakman's World, and Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys. However, Bulldog TV does have two new original series - Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths & Legends and the CG-animated Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles. "It's far and away the most advanced CGI work ever seen in an animated TV series," says Starship Troopers co-executive producer Jeff Kline. Using motion capture and other techniques, Kline says that there was a major emphasis on doing believable human characters and mouth movements, an area where other CG-animated series have previously faltered. Continuing the legacy of the novel and feature film, the series follows the ongoing galactic adventures and teenage hardships of the Starship Troopers - Rico, Dizzy and Carl. Kline describes the series best as "Beverly Hills 90210 goes to war in space." However, the show's most interesting aspect may be its novel approach to storytelling. Starship Troopers is being produced in a way so that each week's worth of five episodes will be a self-contained story arc that takes place on a different planet. The last two weeks of the forty-episode series are planned as the climactic final war campaign on Earth. With its detailed computer animation and unique story structure, Starship Troopers is one of the more ambitious animated series to debut this fall.

Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles
© 1999 Adelaide Productions, Inc.

The Eye network continues with their all-NELVANA, all-educational strategy in an effort to attract the lowest ratings possible. The three-hour block features three returning shows -- Anatole, Flying Rhino Junior High, and Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend -- along with three new shows, Blaster's Universe (based on the educational CD-ROM series), Rescue Heroes (about a team of emergency response pros), and New Tales from the Cryptkeeper (teaching kids valuable life lessons in a scary way).

Four of last season's five animated primetime shows are returning this fall -- The Simpsons, Futurama, King of the Hill (all three airing in a Sunday evening block starting at 7:30 PM ET/PT) and Family Guy (Thursdays at 9 PM ET/PT beginning September 23, after a special show on September 19). While not on the fall schedule, Will Vinton Studios' The PJs is currently in production on its second season and will have a midseason premiere, presumably with Gary & Mike, another stop motion series that Will Vinton is producing. Taking a cue from the long-running Simpsons tradition, all the Fox cartoons will feature a plethora of celebrity guest voices this season. Entering its 11th season, The Simpsons will welcome guest appearances by Mel Gibson, Lucy Lawless (Xena, Warrior Princess), Ed Asner, John Goodman, Henry Winkler (The Fonz), Tom Arnold, homerun champ Mark McGwire, Access Hollywood news hosts Nancy O'Dell and Pat O'Brian, Jay North (the live-action Dennis the Menace), magicians Penn & Teller, the ever-perky producer/spokesman Dick Clark, Don Cheadle, Garry Marshall, Gary Coleman, Butch Patrick (Eddie on The Munsters), and Elwood Edwards (voice of AOL). Additionally, keep an eye out for the return of Apu's wife, Manjula (Jan Hooks), and mobster Fat Tony (Joe Mantegna).

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Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine contributor by sending an e-mail to editor@awn.com.