What the hell, happened?
Trying to launch a new animated series on a cable television network that isn’t Adult Swim is becoming increasingly difficult. The days of PR departments making sure at least a billboard gets posted so as to let people know that the new series is premiering are long gone, instead of hoping that any decent social campaigns will be the sole reason in which a series could take off. We’re going to do that article another day. In the meantime, let’s dig into Syfy network’s latest failed effort in launching a new animated series for adults…Alien News Desk.
The premise of the series is simple. Aliens news desk hosts Drexx Drudlarr and Tuva Van Void comment on events happening on Planet Earth to an audience of what, I’m assuming, are other alien species who want a 30-minute show about one civilized planet with commentary mostly geared towards the United States or “Oosa”. As a result, some of your typical comedy fair comes about as it pertains to the good old United States of America. Jokes about American politics, pop culture, and other hot topics usually follow a skewed commentary with an extraterrestrial purview.
For the most part, a lot of the jokes are somewhat similar to a bunch of jokes you’ve heard before from say Family Guy and the American political humor is all over late-night and really there’s not a lot of derivation here. A lot of Trump jokes and stuff you’d hear on Our Cartoon President. Even with strong vocal support from the show’s stars Will Forte (Drexx) and Heidi Gardner (Tuva), there’s only so much one can take from just two voices for the majority of the episodes before one is subjected to boredom. Real newscasts have your hosts and then they have this one for the traffic, this one for the weather, this one for the local cooking scene. With Alien News Desk we get a sprinkling of this, but it’s not all that consistent like a real news show would be, so there’s a lot of missed opportunity where we could’ve maybe seen more from the multiple aliens’ universes.
All in all, this is Syfy’s way of both capitalizing on their syndicated run of Futurama and possibly getting some Rick and Morty audience. With Futurama likely headed to FXX in the future following the Disney-FOX deal and then for the network to actually move this show to Saturday Nights at the same time in which Adult Swim likes to air it’s strong Toonami lineup, the network has failed miserably in it’s quest to try and launch an original animated series. Clearly, there was no marketing planned out not only for the lead out to the show but also in its delivery to eventually air it. Creatively, there are a lot of problems as well and the production behind it is odd as well. The show was created by Chris Prynoski, head of Titmouse studios, but produced by Bento Box Animation. This suggests to me that possibly behind-the-scenes there were logistical challenges that most likely permeated in the actual production of the show, ergo, Alien News Desk will probably have a quick exit back to orbit.