Friday, May 27, 2016

Action League Now! A clever, goofy take on the superhero genre...


Remember when Nickelodeon was good, when there were clever non pandering shows that had smarts as well as jokes. One of these shows from this era was KaBLaM! It was a variety show with mini-shows like Prometheus and Bob, and Life with Loopy. Both shows have their bragging rights, but one show always stood out to me, mainly because I had problems watching it due to characters calling each other names constantly, but more on that in a bit. That show was known as ACTION LEAGUE NOW!

The show premiered in 1995 on All That! It was released around the same time as another Toys to Life mega franchise was ready to come out. I think we can all figure out what that was. It stared a crew of 5 action figures on their arch nemesis the Mayor, who was also an action figure. Everyone in the series was an action figure or a doll of some sort, there was no human characters of any sorts. The series follows the action league as they do a task when some hilarious hijinx ensue, and they do fight a rogue's gallery of enemies. It was later picked up for a whole series in 1996 on Nick's KaBLaM! keep in mind that in 1996 the comic book/superhero genre was in an all time high which it wouldn't top for over a decade, so it was novel to see comic books and superheroes in a cartoon back in the day.

The characters in this series were The Flesh, who was super strong, and Super Naked, He had as much d**k and a** as a namekian. He was the definition of dumb muscle. He may be the strongest of the team but he was super immature and stupid, he says words like Ouchies, Oopsies, and Yummers, also did I mention he has no clothes on? He was created from a Conan figure. There was also Thunder Girl, who flies... like Thunder, She appears to be a parody of Wonder Woman, She can fly, but is as dimwitted as the rest of the team. One of the ways she wasn't as bright as the rest of the team is that she has super human strength, but sometimes forgets she has it until the last minute. Her body's a mix of a Sindy Doll and a possibly She-Ra doll. Stinky Diver is a former navy commando with an attitude as bad as his odor. He's one of the smarter heroes, but he is kind of a smug a-hole. He's kind of like the Batman of the team, with no powers, but a huge arsenal of tools. He likes being near toilets. He was inspired by a 1994 GI Joe Shipwreck Figure. And finally out of the main 4, there's Meltman, with the power to... Melt. He's the weakest member of the team. He always wants to fit in, but is not strong or bright enough to do so. There was one episode where he grew human size an did stuff on his own. he appears to be based off a GI Joe figure as well, though no one knows which. With every hero team must come allies and enemies. Allies include The Chief, the hot tempered mentor of the action league, Bill the Lab Guy, A mad scientist who could help or hurt the action league depending on the day, and Justice, a Dog. There was also the villains, Including the corrupt Mayor, Hodge Podge, Roboflesh, Smarty Pants, and the Red Ninja.

As far as a technical standpoint, the show was filmed in Chuckimation, a version of stop motion that involved throwing the toys around. Common Gags of the show include the Characters going on the road and being mutilated, Going in a blender and being mutilated, Being mutilated in other ways, and more. There's also celebrity cameos from NFL Players, to the rock band Kiss, and while not voiced by them, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. This is the kind of superhero thing that Hancock wanted to be, but just couldn't, Dumb Heroes failing at every task that they do. The characters do call each other names, but they're rather Tame (idiot, moron, etc.), I was 10 and autistic, I got myself in trouble constantly, by (among other things) throwing names at people. I Still didn't know what a C**t or a P***k was.

After KaBLaM's end in 2000, The series separated on it's own series in 2001 for 12 compilation episodes, each with a common theme like movies, characters in the show, etc. There was a Burger King promotion in 1998, as well as a short from the series premiering before the Good Burger Movie in 1997, and that's about it for Action League Now! Well worth looking up (you can find episodes legally along with the rest of KaBLaM on Mark Marek's website), time capsule of a bygone age. This has to be my favorite Pre-Spongebob Nicktoon. See if you can spot the action figures from this series on my blog Background.

 Yoshiette 1: Stop talking about and saying Action Figures, I take offense to that...


YE1: Where's the button to turn off the recorde... Oh there it is...



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