Friday, December 16, 2016

On The Air: Justice League Action (2016)

After months of waiting, and having it premiere last month in the UK, Justice League Action is finally on Cartoon Network.

Tonight, the series made its American debut with a 1 hour season opener. Subsequent episodes will air on Saturdays, starting Christmas Eve, at 7:30 am (ET). Kinda early, I know, but ye scribe can remember waking up in time for Super Friends when it aired at 8:00 (ET) for several years in the 70's & 80's. Problem is, folks think CN is burying Action already when, as some have suggested, it can be coupled with the insanely annoying Teen Titans GO!, which CN is playing into the ground.

The other reason the two shows should be coupled lies in the casting. Khary Payton voices Cyborg on both shows whilst moonlighting, if ya will, on another comics-related show. Bet ya didn't know Payton's been in front of the camera lately on The Walking Dead.

Digression over. Fans will appreciate the casting of Kevin Conroy (of course) as Batman and Mark Hamill as not only the Joker AND reprising his role as the Trickster from both live-action incarnations of The Flash, but also as Swamp Thing. I guess it's something different. Diedrich Bader, who voiced Batman on Brave & the Bold, shifts over to Booster Gold. Sean Astin has been cast as Billy Batson/Shazam (to me, he'll always be Captain Marvel, but there are copyright issues with Marvel precluding the former Fawcett icon from using the name he originally had, and.....!).

The animation style will recall Ben 10 moreso than the 2001 Justice League series, with certain exceptions. I won't spoil things, other than to say that in this continuity, a certain hallmark makes a very brief cameo appearance, and won't be used again after the opener.

Here's a sample clip:



No, that is not Matt Ryan reprising as John Constantine. Damian O'Hare has that gig, though Ryan will be heard when the Justice League Dark animated movie comes out. Chris Diamantopoulos ("The Three Stooges") is Green Arrow. Well, they do want all except Batman to have some humor to them.......!

Fans will riot if CN wimps out on Action like they did with Beware the Batman three years ago. They hoped that Christina Miller's appointment as program director would solve the problems caused by her predecessor, Stuart Snyder, but it seems that it's out of her control. The blame, then, lies with Rob Sorcher, who's still at CN, and Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes, who has no clue what fans of shows like Action want, apparently, and doesn't care.

Some folks are already complaining about Hamill as Swamp Thing, perhaps because the character isn't meant to be so verbose. Blame the writers, not the actor.

Rating: A-.

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