HBO Max Orders New ‘Adventure Time’ Kids Series

WarnerMedia’s upcoming SVOD service HBO Max is reviving the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning animated series “Adventure Time.”

The service, which launches in spring 2020, has greenlighted four new one-hour specials titled “Adventure Time: Distant Lands” that will premiere exclusively on HBO Max, with the first two set to debut on the streamer in 2020.

These four new specials will continue the “Adventure Time” stories that introduced unlikely heroes Finn and Jake, best buds who traversed the mystical Land of Ooo and encountered its colorful inhabitants.

“The enchanted world of ‘Adventure Time’ has mesmerized viewers and critics alike as Finn and Jake right wrongs and battle evil,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max, in a statement. “The addition of these specials to the HBO Max kids and family programming lineup is sure to make kids everywhere say ‘Slam-bam-in-a-can!’”

The first two specials, “BMO” and “Obsidian,” are set to premiere on the streamer in 2020 followed by “Wizard City” and “Together Again.” “BMO” follows the lovable little robot as there’s a deadly space emergency in the farthest reaches of the galaxy. “Obsidian” features Marceline and Princess Bubblegum as they journey to the imposing, beautiful Glass Kingdom — and deep into their tumultuous past — to prevent an earthshaking catastrophe. “Wizard City” follows Peppermint Butler, starting over at the beginning, as just another inexperienced Wizard School student as mysterious events at the campus cast suspicion on him and his checkered past. “Together Again” brings Finn and Jake together to rediscover their brotherly bond and embark on the most important adventure of their lives.

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“’Adventure Time’ was a groundbreaking series and a creative playground for so many talented creative artists,” said Rob Sorcher, chief content officer, Cartoon Network Studios. “Producing ‘Adventure Time: Distant Lands’ for HBO Max will allow our studio to explore this beloved world in an all-new format.”

Created by Pendleton Ward and executive produced by Adam Muto, “Adventure Time” garnered numerous entertainment awards. “Adventure Time: Distant Lands” is produced by Cartoon Network Studios.

‘Double Dragon’ and ‘The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog’ Racing to DVD From MVD

Two 1990s animated TV series based on Sega game franchises, “The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Double Dragon: The Animated Series,” are coming to DVD Aug. 13  from MVD Entertainment Group and Invincible Entertainment.

“The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog” is coming in a six-disc set featuring all 65 episodes. In the series, Sonic the Hedgehog is on the run with his faithful sidekick Tails to outpace the despicable Dr. Robotnik, foiling his plans to “robotize” and enslave the population of Planet Mobius. Jaleel White (“Family Matters”) is the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog. The release comes in time for the bow of a Sonic the Hedgehog theatrical live action movie starring Jim Carrey and James Mardsen.

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The entire series of “Double Dragon” is coming to home video for the first time on three DVDs. In the animated series, a martial-arts master and his twin brother fight. Billy and Jimmy Lee are twins separated at birth and raised by opposing factions. Following the Code of the Dragon, “never to harm others intentionally and not fight if one can help it,” Billy trains to become the Dragon Master by his 18th birthday. Billy Joins forces with policewoman Marian Martin and together they fight to protect The City from the Shadow Warriors, a criminal organization led by the mysterious Shadow Master, who secretly instructs Jimmy Lee in the dark ways of the Black Flame. Can long-lost brothers reunite to become the legendary Double Dragon?

 

Nickelodeon Celebrates 20 Years of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ With 200-Episode DVD Set

Nickelodeon is celebrating 20 years of “SpongeBob SquarePants” with a special DVD collection, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Best 200 Episodes Ever!, comprised of two box-sets, available exclusively on Amazon Prime Day July 15.

The DVD collection will be available nationwide at other outlets Aug. 27 from Nickelodeon and Paramount Home Entertainment.

Each DVD set comes with the special-edition 20th anniversary “SpongeBob SquarePants” poster, which was created specifically for Nickelodeon for San Diego Comic-Con and features all 760 characters and creatures that have ever appeared on the show.

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The DVD collection contains SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Next 100 Episodes and features every deep-sea adventure from the first 200 episodes of the series.

Netflix Makes Deal with Russo Brothers for Animated Series Based on ‘Magic: The Gathering’

Netflix is joining forces with Joe and Anthony Russo, Wizards of the Coast, and Hasbro’s Allspark Animation to bring the game franchise “Magic: The Gathering” to the screen for the first time in the franchise’s 25-year history with an animated series of the same name.

The Russos (Avengers: Infinity WarsAvengers: Endgame) will oversee the creation of a new storyline and expand on the stories of the Planeswalkers, the franchise’s magic-wielding heroes and villains. They will also executive produce the series.

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Created in 1993, the “Magic” franchise has connected with more than 38 million fans over the last 25 years and has been published in 11 languages and played in over 70 countries. Fans currently experience the series through the tabletop trading card game, the digital game Magic: The Gathering Arena, a New York Times bestselling novel, a comic book series and professional esports league.

The “Magic: The Gathering” animated series will feature creative talent from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, “Batman: The Animated Series,” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” Firefly, “Agent Carter,” Ultimate Spider-Man and the Lego movies.

“We have been huge fans and players of Magic: The Gathering for as long as it has been around, so being able to help bring these stories to life through animation is a true passion project for us,” said Joe and Anthony Russo in a statement.

“Working with Joe and Anthony, Wizards of the Coast, and Netflix on such a universally cherished brand is a real highlight for our studio,” stated Isaac Krauss, CEO of Octopie, which will oversee production of the series. “Our goal is to not only tell a compelling story leveraging ‘Magic: The Gathering’s’ incredible body of work, but to also push the medium and perception of storytelling through animation. This series will cross the genres of suspenseful thriller, horror, and drama with deeply developed characters the likes of which are not often seen in animation.”

“More fans are enjoying ‘Magic’ now than at any time in its 25-year history thanks to the enduring popularity of the tabletop game and our latest release War of the Spark, as well as the incredible success of our new digital game, Magic: The Gathering Arena.” said Chris Cocks, president of Wizards of the Coast, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with Joe and Anthony Russo to bring ‘Magic: The Gathering’s’ rich and diverse cast of characters and worlds to Netflix in a way that will delight our many fans and those new to the franchise.”

“’Magic’ is a beloved global franchise with a massively engaged fan base that has only continued to grow over the last 25 years,” said John Derderian, head of anime programming for Netflix, in a statement. “There’s no one better suited to bring this story to audiences around the world than Joe and Anthony Russo, whose talent for genre storytelling is unmatched, as demonstrated by their central role in creating some of the biggest box office hits of all time.”

Batman: The Complete Animated Series — Deluxe Limited Edition

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Warner;
Animated;
$112.99 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Voices of Kevin Conroy, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Bob Hastings, Robert Costanzo, Loren Lester, Mark Hamill, Arleen Sorkin.

The classic “Batman: The Animated Series” has never looked better thanks to a remastering that makes the series shine in high-definition. Although designed to be dark, the show nonetheless presents a dazzling array of color that gives new life to these heroes and villains of comic book legend.

This is an essential addition for any Batman fan’s collection.

The show was developed in the early 1990s to take advantage of the popularity of the Tim Burton “Batman” movies. While it shares some music and a darker edge, the show really stands on its own, and is considered by many to be the definitive on-screen adaptation of the character. About the only limitation it faced was that the network sensibilities for shows aimed at younger viewers at the time precluded how the show depicted violence, and restricted the depiction of blood and gun use.

The distinctive style is reminiscent of the Fleischer “Superman” shorts from the early 1940s, and itself spawned an animation franchise that came to include new “Superman” and “Justice League” cartoons, not to mention the cult-classic “Batman Beyond” reinterpretation of the character. (Thus far, the “Justice League” has been the only other DC Animated Universe series released on Blu-ray.)

The set includes 109 episodes from the series spanning four seasons, including the final 24 that were produced under the “New Batman Adventures” label with a modified design aesthetic. As a bonus, the set includes the theatrically released Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and the direct-to-video spinoff Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (the discs are the previously released Blu-ray versions of each).

In addition to a bevy of legacy bonus content that includes audio commentaries and making-of featurettes from the previous DVD releases of the show, the new Blu-ray also comes with a bonus disc containing the new hour-and-a-half “Heart of Batman” retrospective documentary, in which the show’s creators and cast reflect on developing the series and the qualities that gave it such an enduring legacy.

Hulu Expands Fox TV Content Deal With Animated Hits

In a deal that further expands its licensing agreement with 20th Century Fox Television Distribution, Hulu has added all 13 seasons of Emmy Award-winning “King of The Hill” exclusively to its service.

In addition, the company has locked in the exclusive post-broadcast streaming rights to Emmy-winning comedies “Bob’s Burgers” and “Family Guy,” as well as “American Dad!,” and all episodes of library series “The Cleveland Show” and Emmy-winning “Futurama.”

Hulu is now the exclusive subscription streaming home to the largest offering of animated programming from 20th Century Fox Television, according to the service, as well as animated shows from other content partners including “South Park,” “Rick and Morty,” “Robot Chicken,” “Adventure Time.”

Disney’s ‘DuckTales: Destination Adventure’ DVD Arrives June 5

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment June 5 releases its second DVD compilation of episodes from the new Disney XD/Disney Channel “DuckTales” reboot series, DuckTales: Destination Adventure!

The first DVD, DuckTales: Woo-oo!, released in December, was relatively sparse, featuring the show’s 44-minute pilot episode and six “Welcome to Duckburg” marketing shorts. The new volume includes six episodes from the first season, though they aren’t the first six episodes after the pilot and aren’t presented in airdate order: “The Beagle Birthday Breakout!,” “The Living Mummies of Toth-Ra!,” “The Impossible Summit of Mt. Neverrest!,” “The Spear of Selene!,” “The Missing Links of Moorshire!” and “Beware the B.U.D.D.Y. System!”

The show stars David Tennant (“Doctor Who”) as trillionaire globe-trotter Scrooge McDuck, joined by his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie (voiced by Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz and Bobby Moynihan), their uncle and Scrooge’s nephew Donald (Tony Anselmo, who has been Disney’s official voice for the character since 1985), plus stalwart characters from the original series such as Launchpad McQuack (Beck Bennett), Webbigail “Webby” Vanderquak (Kate Micucci) and Mrs. Beakley (Toks Olagundoye).

In addition, Lin-Manuel Miranda guest stars as the voice of Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera, a.k.a. Gizmoduck, in “Beware the B.U.D.D.Y. System!”

The DVD also includes two bonus episodes from the 1987-90 “DuckTales” series: “New Gizmo-Kids on the Block” and “Ducky Mountain High.” This is the first time these episodes are available on DVD as they are not among the three DVD volumes of episodes previously released from the original series.