Fall TV Season: Adult Swim adds a soap opera, crime parody and animated blaxploitation
The answer is, "Probably not," judging from the six new series announced late Wednesday for the nighttime cable block, which shares channel space with Cartoon Network. The shows are scheduled to start rolling out this summer.
Adult Swim, which has grown into a programming powerhouse aimed at irony-loving young men, also announced 10 returning series during its upfront presentation in New York. Those include veteran hits "Robot Chicken," "Metalocalpyse," "Squidbillies," "Childrens Hospital" and "Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1," the adventures of talking food formerly known as "Aqua Teen Hunger Force."
New offerings include "NTSF:SD:SUV," which takes the ever-present crime procedural and turns it on its head. The show -- translated it means "National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle" -- follows a team of crack government agents protecting that beachside town from the likes of Mexico, Canada and Guam. Like its over-earnest network forerunners, "NTSF" promises ripped-from-the-headlines stories. At least once during the 15-minute episodes, though, expect someone to rip off his sunglasses and deliver a trite line of cheese-filled dialogue. The cast includes Paul Scheer, Rebecca Romjin, Rob Riggle and Kate Mulgrew.
"Black Dynamite," an animated series based on the cult favorite blaxploitation flick from 2009, continues the title character's ongoing battle against kung-fu masters, drug-dealing pimps and The Man. It comes from "Boondocks'" Carl Jones, with voices of the original film's stars (Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson, Kyn Whitley and Byron Minns). It will air next spring.
There's "Jonny Quest" and a little "Spinal Tap" in another new Adult Swim show, "The Venture Bros. Special -- From the Ladle to the Grave: The Story of Shallow Gravy." The animated docu-style series centers on the meteoric rise, inevitable fall and comeback attempt of heavy metal band the Venture Bros. Oh yeah, and there's a robot. Premiere date's July 24.
Two other new shows center on pairs of brothers, with "China, IL," following a couple of college teachers who are legends in their own minds, and "Tight Bros," whose characters are on a quest for "fat beats, hot chicks and tricked-out cellphones." But they never forget to say their prayers.
Other returning shows include Chris Elliott's "Eagleheart," an homage to Chuck Norris-style cop series; the witness protection program sendup, "Delocated," the stop-motion animated "Mary Shelley's Frankenhole," "Mongo Wrestling Alliance" and "Superjail!"
Adult Swim has a number of projects in development, network executives said Wednesday, among them a series from "Community" creator Dan Harmon, a live-action comedy from writer/producer/director Bob Odenkirk and an untitled series from controversial buzz band of the moment, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All.
-- T.L. Stanley
Photo: From left, Adult Swim/Cartoon Network President and COO Stu Snyder, EVP/GM for Cartoon Network Ad Sales & Marketing John O’Hara, Jay-Z, Adult Swim SVP programming and production Mike Lazzo, and SVP of Ad Sales Josh Feldmanat the Adult Swim Upfront 2011. Credit: Adult Swim.