Exclusive: Third time and still charming for China IL’s Brad Neely

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Arguably, China IL was the show that helped usher in a bunch of changes for Adult Swim. Since the show has premiered, we’ve seen popular franchises like The Boondocks, Black Dynamite, Metalocalypse, and others fall by the way side in favor of new franchises are just as potent but probably way more deadly. China IL obviously, but also other new franchises like Mr. Pickles, Rick and Morty, and others continue to premier and churn out hilarity in bunches. Gone are the days where you waited sometimes at LEAST three years for a new season of Venture Bros. and in are the ages of early pickups and less waiting for new seasons of our favorite TV shows to start.

We’ve known China IL creator Brad Neely for a long time as well. Over the course of fours years we’ve seen a relatively unknown pair in Brad and Daniel Weidenfeld go from the new kids on the Adult Swim block, to that of veterans and near experts of their craft. Personally, I hear a lot of TV show creators talk about how ‘we are trying to come up with’ when they talk of development of content. With Brad Neely, the problem isn’t coming UP with content, it’s knowing what to trim so as to get under the 22-minute run times.

The only writer I can really compare Brad Neely to is Adam Reed of Archer. Both are guys that just constantly churn out content, and aren’t content with the status quo of finding comfortable formulas and executing for whatever number of episodes are ordered. China IL taking place in a community college, is ready built to be constantly changing, ”I have a problem with content generation. I might run out tomorrow, but now i have too much. We have too much we want to do, and we just keep pushing it out because we have so much to do. For example, we have Donald Trump’s kid coming in as a student voiced by Paul Scheer.  Now would we let that run for more than one episode? No. I get bored sticking around to one or two characters, so we just keep pushing out new characters. 

This season has a whole host of guest stars to lend a hand in making sure the characters stay fresh. New faces such as Kate McKinnon, Donald Glover as Transfer Billy, Ike Barinholtz and others guarantee that we should expect a lot of spice in China IL’s third season but of course balanced with returning favorites like Hannibal Buress as Matt Attack and Greta Gerwig as Pony. ”when it comes to writing for characters, I don’t like sequels, I like magic and mystery of a character where you don’t have to excavate. We’ve introduced characters before that may have not been all that authentic and were maybe a bit forced and would prefer to have something more natural.” Other new and returning stars for China IL Season Three include  Jeffrey Tambor, Hulk Hogan, Hannibal, Chelsea Peretti,  Gary Anthony Williams, Tommy Blacha, Christian Slater, Danny Trejo, Ike Barenholtz, Bob Balaban, Brooke Hogan, Dave Coulier, Zach Pearlman, Justina Machada, Andy Richter, Ryan Flynn, and Jason Walden.

I get a lot of aspiring TV show producers sending me pitch bibles where they have characters set in stone and then map out 10 episodes of arcs and what not of which they write FOR that character. A Brad Neely doesn’t think this way, ”We always put a lot of effort into consistency for our characters, but obviously we are keeping it fresh and pushing it. Every time I start up a new batch of stories, I have to constantly ask myself ‘’Is this right? DO I want to do this?’’ Each new set has to get me excited more so on how they are told not just what is being told. For example, we are having more fun with the story structures.”

The result is Brad Neely coming up with so much content, often times he doesn’t know what to do with it, ”we thought we had the right amount of content for season two, but we made too much and would have to heavily edit for time. Season three, we still have the issue of radio plays being very long. I over do a lot of episodes, but this season we have been more cognizant of the tonnage amount of content  and how to deal with it.” Eventually the amount of content mixed with the immense song-writing that is synonymous with the series ( Brad says to expect somewhere around 35 to 40 songs for season three, which is down from the 50 that nearly killed him in production of season two), came to a head and the result of this explosion was an idea for an hour-long musical special.

Metalocalypse has done one, now it’s China IL’s. The series is set to get an hour-long musical special starring Baby Cakes where he demands that he get a magical pet, like all other Disney Princesses. ”Once we recorded dialogue and had the radio play for the episode, we knew that we could either do a 22-minute episode with no songs, or double episodes with all of the songs. Either way, I knew we were up to the challenge, so we asked the network and they were 100 percent supportive. Creatively, Adult Swim has always been right there for us with people that come in and see scripts, rough copies, and are always very good with their notes. ” The hour-long episode will consist of 10 songs with a list of impressive guest stars all on its own including Rosa Salazar (Divergent) and Evan Peters (X-Men: Days of Future Past). ”Cat Powers in the musical is singing some of the songs.”

Admittedly, Brad Neely considers himself a bit of a control freak, especially when it comes to writing. Last season, there had been some experimentation with how the scripts/stories would come together, but this season make no bones about it…China IL is Brad Neely’s baby with enough charm that should warrant a fourth season pickup sooner rather than later.

China IL premiers Sunday April, 5th @ 11:30 pm ET/PT, check your local listings and watch a trailer below:

John Schwarz

John is the Chief Editor and Founder of Bubbleblabber.com. While at first a part-time project, Bubbleblabber quickly grew into a full-fledged operation and officially became a company in 2014. When John isn't running a business full-time, he likes to go to concerts and also spends time with his dog, Mitsy.