Big news for anyone keen on more from Backseat Rebel.
Psychotown is a continuation of a series of single-scene shorts which first premiered in 2008, at the 4th edition of Mike Judge’s ‘The Animation Show’. While these sketches are brilliant (but unfortunately hard to find in full online), Backseat Rebel’s Nikos Andronicos emphasised that they’re approaching the FX installments with a much greater scope in mind:
“… the new stuff will be multi-scene and plot-driven, with some recurring characters and settings, heading more in the direction of an animated sitcom. We’ll still be playing with a heap of characters and structures, because they’ve pretty much given us free reign to experiment, but we want there to be some continuity in the series so that it can grow into a full-length show. I suspect that some of the original characters might be revisited…”
Meanwhile, it’s refreshing to hear that FX is allowing the team to keep the characters’ hilarious Australian accents, which were provided by Sydney sketch comedy troupe The Nice Guys. The decision was a surprise even to Nikos, but hopefully suggests American audiences are getting used to hearing foreign voices. As well as allowing the new episodes to stay as faithful as possible to the original vision, the longtime friends are clearly excited to collaborate again, with Nikos praising the “beautiful, chaotic harmony” that stems from working with people for years on end.
In fact, the earliest sketches for what would become Psychotown were originally written for The Nice Guys to perform, before animator Dave Carter had the idea for an animated short format and distinctive “cut-out-in-a-shoebox” visuals. Unsurprisingly for anyone familiar with our Bin Chickens profile from last year, Dave and Nikos will once again be sharing credits for writing, directing, design and music composition, although, thankfully “quite a few additional people” will be getting involved to ensure the duo don’t go psycho themselves. After all, the 11-part series is almost twice the length of its predecessor.
It’s promising to see Aussie adult animation creators gaining traction overseas given how little commissioning/distribution opportunities can be found Down Under; even the Fresh Blood program isn’t specifically intended for animated content. A breakthrough deal like this certainly doesn’t happen without the support of managers and legal teams, but it’s also a testament to how hard Backseat Rebel have worked at cultivating relationships. For instance, Nikos believes that the original Animation Show sketches were crucial to how well the series pitch was received for providing a clear proof of concept beyond words on a page.
While the team haven’t told Mike Judge their good news yet, they had nothing but praise for their “bad-ass [and] hilarious” old friend and would “give [their] right nostrils to work with/for/under/inside him, mow his lawns, whatever” (I, for one, would watch that).
In the meantime, hopefully we’ll have more Psychotown news soon.
Special thanks to Nikos Andronicos for being patient and answering a million questions.