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Animaniacs (2020 TV series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Animaniacs
Animaniacs 2020 tv series cover.jpg
Title card featuring the Warner siblings (clockwise from upper left) Yakko, Wakko, and Dot
Also known asSteven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs
Genre
Based onAnimaniacs
by Tom Ruegger
Developed by
Starring
Theme music composerRichard Stone
Tom Ruegger
Opening theme"Animaniacs Theme (2020)" performed by Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille, and Jess Harnell
Ending theme"Animaniacs End Title" composed by Steve and Julie Bernstein
Composers
  • Julie Bernstein
  • Steven Bernstein
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes26 (86 segments) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Wellesley Wild
  • Sam Register
  • Justin Falvey
  • Darryl Frank
  • Gabe Swarr
ProducerJoann Estoesta
Running time22–27 minutes
Production companies
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Hulu
Release
Original networkHulu
Picture format4K UHD 16:9
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1
Original releaseNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20) –
present
Chronology
Preceded byAnimaniacs
Related shows
External links
Website

Animaniacs is an American animated comedy musical streaming television series developed by Wellesley Wild and Steven Spielberg for Hulu. A revival of the original 1993 animated television series of the same name created by Tom Ruegger, the new series sees the return of the Warner siblings, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot (voiced respectively by their original voice actors, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, and Tress MacNeille), and Pinky and the Brain (voiced by their respective original voice actors Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche).

The series was first announced in January 2018 with a two-season order and Amblin Television and Warner Bros. Animation producing; the series premiered on Hulu on November 20, 2020. The second season premiered on November 5, 2021, and a third season has been ordered.

Premise

Animaniacs focuses on the adventures of the Warner siblings, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot—three inseparable, irascible kids—as they embark on further adventures after being absent from television for 22 years, bringing with them the usual wackiness and mayhem they create while adapting to the changes and life of the 21st century. Episodes are composed of several shorts, with each episode consisting of segments following the adventures of Yakko, Wakko and Dot; the vast majority of episodes also include a segment featuring fan-favorite characters Pinky and the Brain—two lab mice, one of whom is intelligent and wants to take over the world, while the other is dim-witted and clumsy, often messing up his friend's plans.[2] Other recurring segments include The Incredible Gnome in People's Mouths, which focuses on an angry gnome that lives in people's mouths and speaks for them when they can't for themselves, Starbox and Cindy, which follows a miniature alien who is part of a fleet who want to destroy the Earth that ends up in the hands of a young girl, and Math-terpiece Theater, which involve dramatized math lessons taught by Dot.

Voice cast

Development

Conception

Early stages of developing the revival of Animaniacs at Amblin Television and Warner Bros. Animation began in May 2017. The interest in the revival was driven by a surge of popularity for the original show when it was made available on Netflix in 2016, plus numerous successful projects that have revived interest in older shows, such as Fuller House.[3] The revival was officially announced by the streaming service Hulu in January 2018 in partnership with Spielberg and Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. The broadcast rights for the new series also included rights for Hulu to stream all episodes of Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, and Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain.[4] Hulu considered the show its first original series targeted for families.[5]

Spielberg returned to serve as executive producer, alongside Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Digital Series, and Amblin Television co-presidents Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. The show was produced by Amblin Television and Warner Bros. Animation.[6] Wellesley Wild, a writer for Family Guy, was named the showrunner, while Gabe Swarr was named as co-executive producer.[7] In addition to Wild and Swarr, Carl Faruolo served as supervising director.[8][9]

Wild and Swarr developed the revival to be respectful of the original series as closely as possible. Wild stated "There's lightning in a bottle here and the first thing I'm going to do is keep that lightning in the bottle, vigilantly."[10][11] In addition, with the show's 20-plus year hiatus, Wild and Swarr believed that a good portion of their audience would be parents who had watched the show as children themselves and were introducing their own children to the new show; they wanted to create a similar Jurassic World effect due to the similar gap from the original Jurassic Park film, and thus partially inspired the series' introductory short being a parody of Jurassic Park.[12] Wild wanted to make sure to keep the same type of bi-level humor that the original show had, with more slapstick and visual comedy that would appeal to younger audiences, while having a higher level of humor that parents and adults would catch on to, often where some of the more risque humor could be included without evoking any censoring.[13]

According to Wild, Spielberg was at every pitch meeting and insisted on maintaining most of the elements of the original show, including the original voice cast and orchestrated music, as well as producing the show as typical of most adult animated shows with a full writers' room in contrast to typical children's animated shows. Spielberg was also heavily involved throughout the storyboarding process to make sure that the show was heading in the right direction, according to Wild.[7][14] Both Wild and Swarr stated that Spielberg wanted the revival to feature more political satire, and they found a middle ground between that and being a children's show.[12]

The revival primarily features the return of the Warner siblings and Pinky and the Brain, with many of the other supporting characters from the original show not included in their own segments; in the case of Hello Nurse, this has been one of the first characters that the staff knew they could not bring back due to the changing sensibilities between the 1990s and 2020, according to Wild.[15] For the other main characters (such as Slappy Squirrel), though there were plans for them to return in their corresponding segments in early stages of development, they were discarded because, as in a similar manner to Hello Nurse, they wanted to update the reboot with a new set of characters that were more relevant, as in Wild's opinion, "a parody of Goodfellas" would be "so dated", thus giving them the opportunity to make spoofs of modern films, also due to that fact that in his opinion, some jokes will not be suitable for these segments; aside from making cameos (mainly in Good Warner Hunting), there hasn't been a word yet if these characters will return in the future.[16] Similarly, Dot was presented to be more reliant on her wits than being cute, an aspect Wild also believed would resonate better with current attitudes.[13] Similar to the DuckTales reboot, they also considered careful nods to other cartoon characters from related series or past Looney Tunes, but without losing the show's focus on the Warners or Pinky and the Brain. They had attempted to have a segment to feature Freakazoid from the show of the same name, but this fell through due to actor availability.[12]

Casting and music

The revival features Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, as well as Pinky and the Brain; Paulsen (as Yakko, Pinky and Dr. Scratchansniff), Harnell (as Wakko), MacNeille (as Dot), and LaMarche (as the Brain) were confirmed to be reprising their voice roles in October 2019.[17] Abby Trott was picked as a new voice artist on the team.[18] Steven Bernstein, composing partner of the late Richard Stone, and his wife Julie Bernstein, composed underscore and songs during the show’s original run. The Bernsteins scored the revival with a 35-piece orchestra, recording remotely after the COVID-19 lockdown.[19][20] A stable of songwriters, including Tommy Reilly and Roddy Hart, and Randy Rogel who wrote featured songs in the original series, compose songs in the revival. However, other key production personnel from the original series, like Tom Ruegger, were not asked upfront to help craft the series. Ruegger said he was later offered the opportunity to submit a script but declined, as "basically it would be like an audition and I just didn't feel comfortable auditioning for a show that I created".[10]

WaterTower Music released the first season soundtrack album of the revival digitally on August 13, 2021.[21]

Animaniacs: Season One (Soundtrack from the Animated Series)
No.TitleEpisodeLength
1."Main Title (Animaniacs)" (includes line "Execs must be crazy!" from Episode 7) 1:09
2."Pinky & The Brain" 0:41
3."Reboot It""Suspended Animation: Part 2"2:04
4."The Cutening""The Cutening"2:28
5."Limbs Fall Off""Close Encounters of the Worst Kind"1:04
6."Banana Hammock""Roadent Trip"1:55
7."Be Like Me""Anima-Nyet"1:14
8."Bonding""Ex Mousina"1:38
9."The Catch-Up Song""Suspended Animation: Part 1"2:04
10."Lakes Are Fun""Bride of Pinky"0:59
11."Suffragette Song""Suffragette City"3:04
12."I'm Gonna Eat'cha""Warners Unbound"1:44
13."Rap Battle, Pt. 1""Gift Rapper"0:43
14."Rap Battle, Pt. 2""Gift Rapper"1:14
15."Main Title (Anima-Nyet)""Anima-Nyet"0:41
16."Alien Chorus""Starbox and Cindy"0:41
17."FLOTUS, FLOTUS, What Do You Know About Us?""FLOTUS, FLOTUS, What Do You Know About Us?"2:09
18."A-Zit""A Zit!"2:40

Production

Initial storyboarding work started around July 2018.[22] Paulsen confirmed that voice recording had begun around May 2020.[23] The music was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Bernsteins coordinating with each musician individually from separate locations to assemble the final pieces.[24]

The original designs (left) and the new look of the Warners in the revival (right)
The original designs (left) and the new look of the Warners in the revival (right)

Wild said of the look for the series, they initially explored various different styles drawn by a variety of artists, but recognized that the original series had its own series of differences in how the Warners were drawn due to the different animation studios. In reviewing those, they found that the episodes produced by TMS Entertainment were generally considered the best and Wild described their work as "The construction is so good; they have so much control."[25] After doing a deep dive to identify the factors that made the TMS portrayals of the Warners work, the team behind the revival were introduced to Genevieve Tsai, an artist working on Warner Bros. and Netflix's Green Eggs and Ham series, who also had been a fan of the original show. Tsai helped to take the details from the TMS deep dive as well as other research into past works that had inspired the original show such as older Looney Tunes shorts, and developed the new look for the Warners, generally more angular and following the same approach TMS had used.[25] They crafted a set of rules alongside the models for the revised characters that they then used when they sent the show off to be animated by seven different studios: Yowza! Animation in Toronto; Tonic DNA in Montreal; Titmouse, Inc. in Vancouver; Snipple Animation Studios in Manila, Philippines; and three studios in Seoul, South Korea: Digital eMation, Tiger Animation, and Saerom Animation. WB Animation in Burbank otherwise handled the pre- and post-production of all episodes.[14] In additional to the character model updates, they wanted the background art to feel like paintings but avoiding some of the stylings of the 90s, like exaggerated curved features.[25]

Paulsen said in an interview that, within the revival, the Warners are aware that they have been off the air for over 20 years.[26] The episodes were prepared in 2019 and the writers had anticipated for events in 2020, but some ended up being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the planned 2020 Summer Olympics.[27]

Broadcast

The first 13 episodes of the revival premiered on November 20, 2020. The second season of 13 episodes debuted on November 5, 2021.[28][29] On October 11, a first-look clip was released during the Animaniacs panel at the 2020 New York Comic Con, parodying Spielberg's own Jurassic Park with a caricature of Spielberg in the role of John Hammond having "reanimated" the Warners. The clip was introduced as the cold open from the first episode of the revived show.[7][30] On October 12, 2020, the names for the first episode segments were leaked.[31] The trailer was released on October 21, 2020.[32] On October 10, 2021, nearly a year after the first season teaser, a second season teaser appeared at the 2021 New York Comic Con, this time satirizing saturday morning cartoons of the 1980s, specifically Thundercats, Transformers, and G.I. Joe.[33] Season 2 was, perhaps erroneously, initially released under a TV-14 rating; it was later reverted to TV-PG.[34][35]

The show also aired in Canada on Teletoon. It began with a four-episode marathon on the evening of November 20, 2020, before easing into a permanent time slot of Saturday mornings the following day.[36]

Hulu ordered a 10-episode third season in February 2021 bringing the series up to the total of 36 episodes.[37]

The show became available to stream on HBO Max in Latin America and Brazil[38] on August 14, 2021.

In Australia, the show became available on Stan on September 1, 2021.

Episodes

Series overview

SeasonSegmentsEpisodesOriginally released
14213November 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
24413November 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)

Season 1 (2020)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
11"Jurassic Lark"Scott O'BrienLucas Crandles & Timothy NashNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)[b]
"Suspended Animation, Part 1"Scott O'Brien & Katie RiceJess Lacher & Andrew BarbotNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)[b]
"Of Mice and Memes"Scott O'BrienKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)[b]
"Suspended Animation, Part 2"Scott O'Brien & Katie RiceKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)[b]

(Cold opening.) Steven Spielberg reintroduces the "reanimated" Animaniacs with a spoof of one of his most famous movies.

  1. After 22 years of being off the air, The Warners return to the Warner Bros. studio and venture across the movie lot to see all the new changes that happened while they were gone. After singing about everything that happened in the past 22 years, the Warners are amazed by the new changes.
  2. Brain tries to create a meme to take over the world.
  3. While exploring the movie lot, The Warners find out lots of old shows have been rebooted and decide to sing a song about current reboots and the practice of rebooting. Despite this, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot believe that reboots are shameful and thought that it won't work for them, just before they got a sellout check from Hulu for the reboot. The Warners then agree to enjoy their new life while it lasts.
22"Warners Unbound"Katie Rice & Adriel GarciaJess Lacher & Andrew BarbotNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"How to Brain Your Dragon"Katie Rice & Adriel GarciaGreg White & Wellesley WildNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Suffragette City"Katie RiceJess Lacher & Andrew BarbotNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)

  1. The Warners play Greek gods and put Odysseus through the wringer.
  2. In medieval times, Brain tries to conquer the kingdom by defeating a dragon.
  3. On the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, Dot takes on Washington to ensure that cartoon characters have the right to vote.
33"Gold Meddlers"Brett VaronGreg White & Wellesley WildNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Pinko and the Brain"Brett Varon & Katie RiceStory by : Jess Lacher & Andrew Barbot
Teleplay by : Kathleen Chen, Brian Polk & Wellesley Wild
November 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Math-terpiece Theater: Apples"Adriel GarciaJess LacherNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)

  1. The Warners compete in the Olympic Games against the egotistical athlete Nils Neidhart.
  2. In 1953, Brain disguises himself as a politician and attempts to blackmail all the others to ensure he is the only one remaining.
  3. Dot dramatically teaches a math lesson involving apples and a thief named Nancy.
44"Bun Control"Scott O'Brien & Adriel GarciaJess Lacher & Andrew BarbotNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Ex-Mousina"Scott O'BrienGreg White, Lucas Crandles & Timothy NashNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Bloopf"Erik KnutsonKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)

  1. The Warners deal with a bunny infestation on the studio lot, brought forth by rabbit breeder Dwayne LaPistol.
  2. Brain invents a robot "son", who then turns on him.
  3. The Warners debut a new app.
55"Good Warner Hunting"Katie RiceLucas Crandles & Timothy NashNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"No Brainer"Katie RiceKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Ralph Cam"Katie Rice, Dave Thomas, Adriel GarciaJordan VandinaNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)

  1. The Warners are stalked by a deranged hunter obsessed with collecting the characters of the original Animaniacs series.
  2. Pinky and the Brain break into the NSA to retrieve a phone message containing their latest plan to take over the world after Brain develops short-term amnesia and cannot remember it.
  3. A typical work day for Ralph T. Guard is caught on camera.
66"The Cutening"Brett VaronJess Lacher & Andrew BarbotNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Close Encounters of the Worst Kind"Brett VaronGreg White, Jess Lacher & Andrew BarbotNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Equal Time"Brett VaronJess Lacher, Andrew Barbot & Wellesley WildNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)

  1. Dot gains the ability to turn everything super-cute, which goes horribly wrong after 28 days. The siblings managed to do something gross by licking a pigeon to reverse the spell. It works, but they end up with half-pigeon bodies instead leaving them a whole new problem to deal with.
  2. Pinky and the Brain attempt to gain the attention of alien life to have the aliens help them take over the world.[c]
  3. The Warners present various ads for third party candidates, which ends horribly wrong as Russians take over the campaign, hijack the system, and somehow swapped out Wakko with a drone.
77"Warner She Wrote"Erik KnutsonStory by : Kathleen Chen & Brian Polk
Teleplay by : Jess Lacher, Andrew Barbot & Wellesley Wild
November 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"France France Revolution"Scott O'Brien & Adriel GarciaStory by : Andrew Barbot
Teleplay by : Kathleen Chen & Brian Polk
November 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Gift Rapper"Scott O'BrienLucas Crandles & Timothy NashNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)

  1. The Warners attempt to solve a dognapping on a train.
  2. In 18th-century France, the Warners accidentally start the French Revolution, while trying to stop their own hunger. After convincing Marie Antoniette to say her rumored phrase, "Let Them Eat Cake", the Warners put Antoniette on house arrest in her palace, until she is slated for execution.
  3. While preparing for another adventure, The Warners end up on a set for rapper Jay-Pac Le East's new music video; when Jay-Pac claims to be better than Shakespeare, Yakko is prompted to school him in the hip-hop ways of the Bard. At the end of the sketch, Pinky and the Brain make a cameo appearance, having been the DJ the whole time.
88"WhoDonut"Katie RiceGreg White, Jess Lacher & and Andrew BarbotNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Mousechurian Candidate"Katie RiceStory by : Jess Lacher & Andrew Barbot
Teleplay by : Kathleen Chen & Brian Polk
November 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Starbox and Cindy"Katie RiceJess LacherNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)

  1. Wakko attempts to find out who ate his donuts.
  2. Brain runs for president and genetically alters a female lab mouse to be the ideal First Lady.
  3. Minuscule alien invader Starbox attempts to escape the grasp of a little girl named Cindy so he can send the signal for an invasion of Earth.
99"Here Comes Treble"Brett VaronKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"That's Not the Issue"Brett VaronStory by : Ben Warheit
Teleplay by : Brad Deprima
November 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Future Brain"Brett VaronKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"The Incredible Gnome in People's Mouths"Adriel Garcia & Brett VaronAndrew Barbot, Jess Lacher & Wellesley WildNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)

  1. While performing a sketch, the Warners butt heads with the music conductor, after the former insults the Warners.
  2. The Warners appear on a news show and get on the host's nerves.
  3. Brain's future self arrives to aid him in taking over the world.
  4. A man is transformed into an angry gnome and makes a living by hiding in people's mouths to speak for them, usually with disastrous results.
1010"Anima-Nyet"Scott O'BrienLucas Crandles, Timothy Nash & Wellesley WildNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Babysitter's Flub"Scott O'BrienKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"The Warners' Press Conference"Adriel GarciaJess Lacher, Ted Mulkerin & Wellesley WildNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)

  1. After discovering a Russian bootleg version of their show on TV, the Warners head to Russia to complain.
  2. Brain must battle a toddler who has swallowed a meteorite that is necessary for his latest plan to take over the world.
  3. The Warners have a press conference about the episode, which ends with Dot trying to give hints about Season 2, to which the studio is furious with the press for trying to uncover classified information.
1111"Phantomaniacs"Katie RiceWellesley WildNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Fear and Laughter in Burbank"Katie RiceKathleen Chen, Brian Polk & Greg WhiteNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Bride of Pinky"Katie RiceGreg White & Wellesley WildNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Things That Go Bump in the Night"Katie RiceKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)

(Cold opening.) The Warners haunt a television set in a parody of Poltergeist.

  1. In a parody of It, the trick-or-treating Warners encounter and torment a spooky clown named Nickelwise. Nickelwise tries and fails to capture Yakko, Wakko, and Dot's souls. During Yakko's encounter, he barely gets his soul taken but Dot and Wakko show up and save him just in time.
  2. In a parody of Frankenstein, Brain fashions a monster to frighten a village into submission, but the monster and Pinky fall in love.
  3. A group of monsters are huddled together in one pitch-black space.
1212"A Zit!"Brett VaronLucas Crandles & Timothy NashNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"1001 Narfs"Brett VaronKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Manny Manspreader"Brett VaronAndrew Barbot & Jess LacherNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)

  1. Dot is horrified when she discovers a zit on her face, only to find that her zit has feelings and aspirations himself, even though zits like him only last for a mere week.
  2. In medieval Baghdad, Pinky and the Brain attempt to steal the Sultana's stallions to take over the world, but end up telling stories to entertain her in a parody of One Thousand and One Nights.
  3. While out to see a movie, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot deal with a manspreader, whose lack of sense regarding personal space proves to be quite a nuisance. After seeing the film, the Warners head for home on the bus, but are confronted by the same manspreader again.
1313"Hindenburg Cola"Erik KnutsonStory by : Eric Branscum
Teleplay by : Lucas Crandles & Timothy Nash
November 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Roadent Trip"Scott O'BrienStory by : Joe Saunders
Teleplay by : Lucas Crandles & Timothy Nash
November 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)
"Flotus, Flotus. What Do You Know About Us?"Adriel Garcia and Dave ThomasJess LacherNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)

  1. The Warners attempt to find a can of the rare soda Hindenburg Cola for an ailing Dr. Scratchansniff.
  2. Brain constructs a self-driving car, but ends up getting trapped inside it.
  3. Dot sings about First Ladies throughout history, but must frantically rush through the second half of the song due to time constraints with Yakko and Wakko's help. While Dot manages to scrape through, she ends up forgetting Bess Truman in the process, ending the first season.

Season 2 (2021)

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title [40]Directed byWritten byOriginal release date
141"Rome Sweet Rome"Katie RiceLucas Crandles & Timothy NashNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Backwards Pinky"Katie RiceKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Wakko’s Short Shorts: Now Loading"Brett VaronTimothy Nash & Lucas CrandlesNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)

  1. In Ancient Rome, the Warners tangle with Emperor Nero.
  2. Pinky and the Brain attempt to use Brain's teleportation machine to travel to the Smithsonian to steal the Hope Diamond, but end up conjoined together.
  3. Wakko waits endlessly for his new video game app to load.
152"Please Submit"Brett VaronKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"The Flawed Couple"Adriel GarciaJames ButlerNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Everyday Safety"Brett VaronWellesley Wild & Ted MulkerinNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)

  1. The Warners are harassed by living internet spam.
  2. With Pinky and the Brain missing, Nora must fill the time slot by showing failed, never before seen Pinky and the Brain pilots, all being parodies of iconic classic sitcoms.
  3. In a parody of 1980's safety videos, the Warners give some questionable advice.
163"Rug of War"Erik KnutsonKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Run Pinky Run"Erik KnutsonJames Butler & Brad DeprimaNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"The Hamburg Tickler"Erik KnutsonKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)

  1. After winning the contents of a storage locker in an auction, the Warners find the Bayeux Tapestry and travel inside it.
  2. In a parody of Run Lola Run, Pinky must acquire $100,000 to save Brain, who is being held hostage after the bag with the money he was going to use to buy a rare isotope to power his latest invention is mistakenly switched with a bag belonging to an old lady.
  3. Dr. Scratchansniff tells the Warners a story about a monster to discourage them from lying.
174"Ralph World"Katie RiceWellesley WildNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)[d]
"My Super Sour Sixteen"Katie RiceKathleen Chen & Brian Polk, Jordan Vandina and Wellesley WildNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)[d]
"How to: Brain Take Over the World"Katie RiceJames Butler & Brad DeprimaNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)[d]

(Cold opening.) A spoof of the opening to HBO's Westworld, featuring Ralph "under construction".

  1. Nora recruits the Warners to sing at her daughter Cora's 16th birthday party in exchange for fixing their leaky tower.
  2. Pinky does a "How to" livestream of Brain concocting his latest plan for world domination.
185"The Warners Are Present"Brett VaronKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"The Pinktator"Brett VaronBrad DeprimaNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Know Your Scroll"Brett VaronJames ButlerNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)

  1. While at an art museum, the Warners cross paths with a performance artist.
  2. Brain attempts to go undercover at a dinner party for world dictators to plant a listening device to gain access to their intel.
  3. When the company picnic is cancelled due to rain, the Warners try to find something to watch on a streaming service.
196"Yakko’s Big Idea"Erik KnutsonLucas Crandles & Timothy NashNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Mouse Congeniality"Erik KnutsonTimothy Nash & Lucas CrandlesNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Rejected Animaniacs Characters"Erik KnutsonWellesley Wild & Ted Mulkerin & Jordan VandinaNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)

  1. Yakko gets an idea for a new invention, and pitches it to his siblings, ala Shark Tank.
  2. Brain has Pinky enter into the "Miss Everything Pagent", which is being held in the same building as a summit of world leaders, so Brain may infiltrate and spray them with a potent nerve agent that will render them susceptable to his commands.
  3. The Warners revisit some rejected Animaniacs characters.
207"Yakko Amakko"Brett VaronLucas Crandles & Timothy NashNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"The Longest Word"Katie RiceKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Happy Narfday!"Katie RiceJames ButlerNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Magna Cartoon"Katie RiceLucas Crandles & Timothy NashNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)

  1. Yakko is tormented by an unseen, mischievous animator, ala Duck Amuck and Rabbit Rampage.
  2. The Warners each explain what they believe to be the longest word in the English language.
  3. Brain is forced to celebrate Pinky's birthday, the one day a year they don't try to take over the world, but when he finds a key ingredient for a plan, he must keep it a secret from Pinky.
  4. The Warners sing a song about the Magna Carta while tormenting King John of England.
218"Wakkiver Twist (part 1)"Brett VaronLucas Crandles & Timothy NashNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Plight of Hand"Brett VaronKathleen Chen & Brian Polk and Wellesley WildNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Wakkiver Twist (part 2)"Brett VaronLucas Crandles & Timothy NashNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)

  1. In a two-part parody of Oliver Twist, the Warners reclutantly join a criminal gang led by the villainous Fagin (played by Dr. Scratchansniff).
  2. After being zapped with one of Brain's inventions, Pinky's hands are given a mind of their own.
  3. The story continues when the Warners continued to work with Fagin, but then they end up betraying him and getting him arrested after being discovered during a heist.
229"What is That?"Erik KnutsonTed Mulkerin & Wellesley WildNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Mouse Madness"Erik KnutsonLucas Crandles & Timothy NashNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Christopher Columbusted"Erik KnutsonTimothy Nash & Lucas CrandlesNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Fake Medicines"Brett VaronWellesley Wild & Kathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)

  1. The Warners find an object and try to figure out what it is.
  2. Brain uses a device to go back in time to accurately bet on the outcomes of basketball games, in order to raise enough money to buy an island lair.
  3. The Warners question Christopher Columbus' discoveries.
  4. Yakko and Dot review the side effects a new perscription medication has on Wakko.
2310"Exercise Minute"Brett VaronWellesley Wild & Kathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Reichenbrain Falls"Katie RiceKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Targeted Ads"Brett VaronWellesley Wild & Ted MulkerinNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Starbox and Cindy 2"Katie RiceGreg White, Jess Lacher & and Andrew BarbotNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)

(Cold opening.) The Warners lead a mandatory exercise break.

  1. Brain attempts to infiltrate the International Space Station to turn it into a weapon, but his plan is foiled by an old adversary.
  2. The Warners use a computer to generate targeted ads for the viewers.
  3. Starbox attempts to escape Cindy's clutches during bath time.
2411"A Brief History of History"Erik KnutsonLucas Crandles & Timothy NashNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"The Incredible Gnome in People’s Mouths: Gerard"Erik KnutsonJess LacherNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"The Prisoners Dilemma"Katie RiceKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Math-terpiece Theater: Beach Balls"Brett VaronJess LacherNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)

  1. Yakko explains the history of the world to a race of aliens.
  2. The Gnome helps a senior citizen stand up for himself when his pudding is stolen.
  3. Pinky and the Brain are kidnapped and taken to an island to aid a group of supervillains in their plan.
  4. Dot teachs a dramatic math lesson involving beach balls.
2512"Warner’s Ark"Brett VaronJess LacherNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"The Apology"Brett VaronKathleen Chen & Brian Polk and Wellesley WildNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"Narf Over Troubled Water"Katie RiceKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"The Warner’s Vault"Katie RiceWellesley Wild and Jess LacherNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)

  1. During the time of Noah's Ark, the Warners pick up a bunch of stranded mythical creatures on their own ark.
  2. The Warners make a video to apologize to their viewers, but can't remember what it is they did.
  3. In 1965, Pinky and the Brain attempt to create a chart-topping song, so they will be invited onto The Ed Sullivan Show, where Brain will use a special bowtie to neutralize the fathers of America, leaving the youth to turn to him for paternal guidance.
  4. The Warners go into the film archives to revisit some of their old cartoons.
2613"80’s Cats"Katie RiceWellesley Wild & Ted MulkerinNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"All About The Benjamin"Katie RiceMatt PabianNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
"23 and WB"Katie Rice and Adriel GarciaKathleen Chen & Brian PolkNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)

(Cold opening.) The Warners star in a parody of the opening of the 1985 cartoon ThunderCats.

  1. In the 1700's, the Warners work as apprentices to Benjamin Franklin.
  2. After taking a DNA test, the Warners discover they are related to the CEO. However, in the end, it is revealed Nora is related to Ralph T. Guard, who is promoted to Chairman, leaving Yakko, Wakko, and Dot to question if they consider themselves family.

Home media

The first season was officially released on DVD on June 1, 2021, by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment through Studio Distribution Services.[41] In April 2021, the first season of Animaniacs was released on iTunes and Amazon Prime Video.[42][43]

Reception

Critical reaction

The first season of the show received generally positive reviews from critics who praised the voice acting, musical score and animation. On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season received an 81% "Fresh" rating and an average 7.15 of 10 reviews score based on 37 reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "Charming and chaotic, if slightly too caustic, Animaniacs is a delightful revitalization of a beloved series that's fun enough to make up for any early fumbles."[44]

Some critics felt that the revival of the series lacked the same charm that the original show had, which was attributed to the lack of any of the original production staff on the new show, as well as the influence of more recent animated shows like Family Guy on the show's approach.[45][46] Alan Sepinwall of Rolling Stone said that while the revival maintains the humor for the Pinky and the Brain shorts, the shorts with the Warners were not as well done as the original series. Sepinwall said, "Where their powers of exasperation once made them unstoppable, now they're the ones who seem impotent and irritated by the people and culture around them.", a factor he attributes to the lack of the original producers' involvement with the revival.[47] Variety's Caroline Framke said that the series focused too much on trying to lampoon current and political events, a measure exacerbated by the fact that the forward-looking writing approach was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of simply parodying the entertainment industry in general, and left the show "more of a sour aftertaste that keeps it from being as effervescent as it once was, and could be."[48] The A.V. Club's Danette Chavez gave the first season a C+, stating that "when Animaniacs remembers to have fun, it makes for lively, occasionally impressive, viewing" but felt that the balance between satire and silliness was off, with many of the parodies that targeted modern issues lacking subtlety.[49] Beth Elderkin of Gizmodo said that the revival did not have the same "biting" satire as the original, with some jokes having to be explained to some degree to the audience, and that the show felt that it held on to trying to be a product of the 90s, and thus did not have a clear target of what audience it was trying to please.[50]

Paste's Joseph Staniclar spoke more highly of the show's take on political and contemporary topics, saying that while it may rely too heavily on modern references, "it's refreshing to see the show's satire actually take political stances instead of falling into the crowd-pleasing 'both sides'-isms many modern comedies now take."[51] Ethan Anderton of Slashfilm also stated that the new show heavily references political commentary, but, as with the original series, praised that the show equally targeted aspects across partisan lines, and that "no one is safe from the buffoonery and mockery of Animaniacs."[52] Jesse Schedeen, writing for IGN, gave the first season an 8 out of 10, writing, "Animaniacs is a mostly witty and faithful update to an old favorite. Despite the march of time and a flashier coat of paint, the new series plays remarkably similar to its predecessor. Yakko, Wakko, and Dot's misadventures are still a hoot, and the Pinky and the Brain segments help add just enough variety to keep each episode humming along. Some fans may lament the loss of so many classic supporting characters, but the emphasis on the big guns has its clear benefits. Animaniacs is a concentrated blast of cartoon nostalgia that any Fox Kids or Kids' WB veteran would do well to check out."[53]

The Verge's Joshua Rivera stated that the show's approach to satire of the entertainment industry, political topics, and modern culture done in the same style as the original show did not hold up well, considering newer animated shows like Family Guy, BoJack Horseman and Rick and Morty that had more innovative ways to present such satire.[54] Kate Cox of Ars Technica said that with some of the repetition of humor between episodes and the lack of cast variety, the show does not lend well to binge viewing typical of streaming services, but otherwise still has the original show's trademark comedy and that "it has the seeds of a great show in it."[55]

Controversy

The show's first episode has attracted controversy for a background joke in the first episode. During the "Reboot It" song sequence, two posters are shown referencing the nursery rhyme and Internet meme "Johny Johny Yes Papa", Johnny 2: Telling Lies and Johnny: The Beginning, the former of which features Johnny Depp in the title role. The series had aired a few weeks after Depp lost in his lawsuit against The Sun related to publications of allegations of abusive treatment of his ex-wife Amber Heard, which led to Warner Bros. asking Depp to resign from the Fantastic Beasts franchise and replacing him with Mads Mikkelsen. People voiced their outrage on social media about the unfortunate juxtaposition of Depp's image and the "Telling Lies" subtitle, calling it an unfair jab at the allegations, leading to petitions and social media campaigns to boycott Animaniacs.[56] According to Paulsen, the series had been animated before the legal battle among Depp, Heard, and The Sun had begun, and that the reference was only poking fun at the nursery rhyme.[57]

Awards and nominations

Year Association Award category Nominee Result
2021 Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Children's Program Nominated
Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Tress MacNeille as Dot Warner Nominated
Outstanding Voice Directing for a Animated Series Sara Jane Sherman Won
Outstanding Music Direction and Composition for a Preschool, Children's, or Animated Program Steven Bernstein and Julie Bernstein Nominated
Outstanding Original Song for a Preschool, Children's, or Animated Program Jess Lacher, Andrew Barbot, Roddy Hart and Tommy Reilly "Suffragette City" Won
Outstanding Editing for a Daytime Animated Program Ryan Burkhard, Mark Jeffery Miller and Philip Malamuth (shared with Hilda) Won
Outstanding Individual in Animation Karl Hadrika Won

Notes

  1. ^ Animation for the series is outsourced to Yowza! Animation, Tonic DNA, Titmouse, Inc., Snipple Animation Studios, Digital eMation, Tiger Animation and Saerom Animation.
  2. ^ This episode was aired during a Twitter Live on the Animaniacs Twitter account on November 19, 2020, ahead of the premiere of the first season.
  3. ^ The original episode had included what was intended to be a fake phone number, but revealed to be a real phone number for a phone sex line. Hulu pulled the episode temporarily twice to remove and replace the number with a true fictional phone number.[39]
  4. ^ This episode was aired during a Twitter Live on the Animaniacs Twitter account on November 4, 2021, ahead of the premiere of the second season.

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External links

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