Streaming columnist NICK OVERALL reveals an after-hours, animated humour-based cartoon platform that’s strictly for adults.
MANY remember a time getting up early on a Saturday morning for the weekly dose of “Looney Tunes”. Now it seems at least a third of those who can recall such a past-time instead watch cartoons at midnight on a Friday.
Welcome to “Adult Swim”, the “night-time identity” of Cartoon Network, an after-hours, animated, humour-based platform, strictly for adults.
It’s a hub of the offbeat, weird and alternative. Spend a hot minute on their website and you’ll be sucked into a surreal and stylised sea of streaming. Not just television shows, but podcasts, music, games and much more, all instantly available and accessible.
While “Adult Swim” has been around since 2001, the quirky undertaking has found major success in its constant expansion and continuing evolution. If there’s one sure-fire window into the future of entertainment consumption, this is definitely it.
This week saw a return after a mid-season 4 break of the gem in its crown, the animated streaming phenomenon “Rick and Morty”.
Even if you haven’t watched it, those names probably seem familiar. That’s because of the show’s knack for stirring up news, ensuring it’s the hot topic of conversation or trending in your feed.
You could be forgiven for thinking “Rick and Morty” sound suspiciously like a certain ’80s time-travelling, DeLorean-driving duo: a crazy old scientific genius takes his grandson on inter-dimensional adventures where they wind up in all kinds of cosmic situations. Despite the homages to beloved sci-fi classics, it’s definitely not for the kids.
The show is notorious for pushing boundaries. Jumping between philosophical and juvenile, the controversy that inevitably trails behind means there’s as many who love it as love to hate it.
In the famous words of 19th century American showman and circus owner PT Barnum: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”.
Not dissimilar to what we’ve seen with “South Park” (again, which you probably know even if you’ve never actually watched), “Adult Swim” thrives on the ability to make you say: “What the actual?”, the shock value accounting for much of the recognition factor.
To give you an idea of the originality of this mishmash of mediums, in one of the newest episodes of “Rick and Morty”, a spoof fictional advertisement at the end of the episode gives a link to a website. Turns out if you type that domain name into your computer in the real world, it’s a “portal” to the show’s official website where more content is there to greet you.
This is a genius way to keep people engaging even after the credits roll and is setting the bar for viewer expectations in the streaming world.
Netflix not missing the beat picked up “Rick and Morty” to watch on their platform, too.
THAT streaming giant has also had major success again this week with another of their slickly produced documentaries at the top of the trending pops.
“The Last Dance” focuses on basketball superstar Michael Jordan and his journey with the Chicago Bulls. Emotional and inspiring, its popularity is no doubt in part due to the current big ball-shaped hole in our non-sporting coronavirus lives.
OVER on Stan, in the last week there’s been the release of “The Great”, a comedy/drama series chronicling the rise of the 18th century Russian monarch “Catherine the Great”.
Trust me, this is no time for eye-rolling as we progress from cartoons to centuries-old documented fact. It’s written by Tony McNamara who took out the 24-carat, 13-inch man in 2018 for his screenplay for “The Favourite” – a film about poor dotty Queen Anne of England that I personally reckon more than deserved the top honour of its year.
This is the cleverness of McNamara’s work: the brilliantly executed weaving of comedy into period pieces making them widely accessible and hugely entertaining, this has certainly been the case for me. I have a hunch that’ll greatly please the historian of note in my own family.