Rovio’s Angry Birds gets more than Animated!

The inevitable had to happen: the game Angry Birds is also an animated series and the early episodes are looking no better than a Wile E. Coyote cartoon. They are mildly enjoyable but without expansion of this product’s world, this series does not have a lasting appeal. It needs a premise much like Penguins of Madagascar, with characters that audiences can grow to love. To see dim-witted dinosaurs face off in buffoonery is not all that appealing.

Maybe the creative team behind this animated series can evolve the product so Charles Darwin will not have fits. Aside from the established personalities that the game version extols, will any of these characters have speaking roles? Can the birds ally with other barnyard animals in their war with the pigs? They might in the talked about movie in the works, but will that even that take flight? A tentative date of 2016 has been set, but nothing has really been green-lit. Maybe the birds might finally go the way of the Dodo. In the world of gaming, fads and interest for some products can only sit at its height of popularity for so long.

The company Rovio has a brilliant marketing strategy: release the videos from within the game. As long as the software is updated, the ‘toons will be available 24/7. 52 episodes have been commissioned, and eventually they will become available on other platforms, like Comcast on demand, Roku’s set top boxes and Samsung’s Smart TV’s. Nearly every other country will get to broadcast this series and the US is left out. The main reason is that a distribution deal has not been made yet. The website VentureBeat reported that this series will air on FOX8 in Australia, JEI TV in Korea, ANTV in Indonesia, Cartoon Network in India, MTV3 Juniori and MTV3 in Finland, the Children’s Channel in Israel, 1+1 networks in Ukraine, Gulli and Canal J in France, SUPER RTL in Germany, TV2 in Norway, Canal 13 in Chile, and Gloob in Brazil.

So far, the only new innovation this series offers is in putting these characters in alternative universes so their war continues. Maybe they can be like the Muppets. Remember Pigs in Space? To see an Angry Birds version of Miss Piggy would just be oh-so adorable. That is, if Disney is willing to sell the license to use the likeness of the Muppets to Rovio.

But for avid cartoon enthusiasts, these two to five-minute shorts will have a limited appeal. To keep this series fresh will be tough. To keep audiences glued for more hijinks require an ongoing premise. And the premise can only be varied so much. Like those Warner Brothers Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog shorts, these animations are meant to diversions to give a chuckle to one’s day. Unlike the classic toons of yore, these modern takes offer nothing new to the concept pioneered by writers from the golden age of animation, like Michael Maltese (Tom and Jerry, Duck Dodgers) or Chuck Jones (What’s Opera, Doc?).

Writers Niklas Lindgren and Ian Carney have an uphill challenge. While Carney is a recognized name in the world of animation, very little of Lindgren’s works is well known. The delivery system of having these cartoons available only to gamers only overstates the obvious. The product is mostly to keep Rovio’s best game product alive and avoiding the fate of the being lost in the limelight. The product has to start changing its basic premise if it’s to stay fresh. Hopefully the new arcade-style games to come can give the birds more than just a few ruffled feathers. Maybe there will be leaping lizards to peck at too.

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  1. none of the characters talk, its just a lot of emotional sounds, grunts, screaming and ouching as far as I can tell from the trailer “Chuck Time”. I can’t see something like this becoming movie. If they don’t bring voices to the characters.. it will end at a bunch of one dimensional 5 minute shorts.

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