Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Skyhawks (1969)

Independent producer Ken Snyder (Roger Ramjet) sold a pair of series to ABC in 1969. He'd obtained a license from Mattel to do a series based on their Hot Wheels line of toy cars, but his other series, Skyhawks was loosely based on the 50's live-action series, Sky King.

Skyhawks, unfortunately, lasted just one season due to poor ratings, while Hot Wheels was forced off the air due to FCC concerns about it being a glorified infomercial for Mattel. Michael Rye, who was the original cartoon voice of The Lone Ranger, but is better known to toon fans for his years of work on Super Friends, narrates the opening sequence, uploaded by Muttley16 to YouTube:

In case you wonder, the theme song was composed and performed by Mike Curb & the Curbstones. Too bad this show was lost in the mists of time, as it could pick up a new audience today if someone had the stones to acquire it.

Rating: B.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Animated World of DC Comics: Static Shock (2000)

Static Shock was shuffled in and out of the Kids' WB! lineup from 2000-2004, largely because the network had more series than room on their schedule allowed. In addition, with the network's Saturday lineup centered around Japanese import Pokemon, and later, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Kids' WB! was not about to give either one of those series any hiatus, so shows like Static Shock were rotated in and out, usually without any advance explanation.

One of the most popular episodes of the series was a 2-part season 3 episode that premiered in March 2003, a crossover with Justice League, which debuted several months earlier on Cartoon Network. Static was voiced by Phil LaMarr (ex-MadTV), who was also the voice of Green Lantern John Stewart on Justice League.

Here's the open:

Rating: A.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Toon Sports: Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics (1977)

To say that Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics was the centerpiece of ABC's All Star Saturday lineup in 1977 would be a gross understatement.

ABC had only 3 programs between 8 am (ET) & 12 Noon: The All-New Super Friends Hour led off, followed by Laff-a-Lympics, with the returning Krofft Supershow to keep the kids entertained until lunch. Laff-a-Lympics, as the title implies, was a parody of the Olympics, but at the same time, it allowed ABC to poke fun at themselves, having previously presented the short-lived Almost Anything Goes (and its Junior version) and the periodic Battle of the Network Stars specials, which had three-team formats, just as Laff-a-Lympics did.

Much has been made of the controversial decision to transform Mumbly, who'd debuted a year earlier as part of the Tom & Jerry Show, replacing the Great Grape Ape, into a villain as a member of the Really Rottens. The deal was, Hanna-Barbera had lost the rights to former Wacky Races villains Dick Dastardly & Muttley to game show moguls Merrill Heatter & Bob Quigley, who co-produced Races in 1968. Dick & Muttley wouldn't return until the mid-80's, when they appeared on Yogi's Treasure Hunt. To replace the cult favorite bad guys, H-B created the Dread Baron as an analog for Dastardly. Marvel Comics solved the problem in their Laff-a-Lympics comic book by explaining that Dastardly and the Baron were in fact brothers, something that hasn't really been exploited since. It could be said that Mumbly & Muttley might actually be related as well. Given what we know now, it can be assumed that Dastardly & Muttley's animosity toward Yogi Bear was supposed to have originated during the Laff-a-Lympics.

Jeffreyocoburn uploaded the open, which presents Snagglepuss in a yellow blazer similar to what ABC's sportscasters wore in those days, to YouTube:

And, here's another, this one for the complete 2 hour show, narrated by Don Messick:

The series is back on the air, currently running on Boomerang just for this week, something the network snuck onto the schedule with no promotion, and sharing space with the ill-advised 1979
Super Globetrotters series. Da Boom's programmers couldn't be bothered to run any advertising, but then the network is treated as a red-headed stepchild, even by their bosses!

Rating: B+.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Jabberjaw (1976)

If it was possible to give a shark the personality traits of two comedy legends, Jerome "Curly" Howard (Three Stooges) & Rodney Dangerfield, would that shark become a hero? Hanna-Barbera seemed to think so in 1976, with returning creators Joe Ruby & Ken Spears dreaming up such a concoction embodied by Jabberjaw.

With DePatie-Freleng's Misterjaw sharing space with the Pink Panther over on NBC, ABC decided they wanted their own cartoon shark. Unfortunately, Jabberjaw was cancelled after 1 season, as in addition to the titular shark being a hybrid of the two comedians in terms of attitude, he was also saddled with the stigma of his series being another carbon copy of Josie & the Pussycats, moreso than the more likely Scooby-Doo, who'd moved over to ABC that season. Jabber's main gig was being a drummer in a rock group, but we rarely get to see them perform. Maybe it's just as well, as bubblegum pop had been out of style for a while.

You all know the open, I'm sure:

The last time anyone saw Jabber and the band, Cartoon Network rebooted them as a reggae/punk ensemble a few years back in one of their lame interstital skits. If you watch Boomerang, you're bound to find it floating around. Kind of like Jabber himself.

Rating: B.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

From Comics to Toons: Cadillacs & Dinosaurs (1993)

Writer-artist Mark Schultz's series Xenozoic Tales was adapted for television in 1993 under the title, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, by which point Schultz had brought the book over to Marvel Comics from its original publisher, Kitchen Sink. Rather than produce Cadillacs themselves, Marvel licensed the series to Canadian animation giant Nelvana. Meanwhile, the company also passed on doing a book based on the TV show. Topps, better known for Bazooka gum and trading cards, had experimented with expanding into comics at the time, and aquired a license to adapt Cadillacs back to comics form. Weird, isn't it? Set in the 26th century, Schultz's vision may have been inspired by Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park before that became a movie. Sadly, Cadillacs was cancelled after 1 season, after which Nelvana would try again, this time with a different comics publisher, but that's for another time.

Here's the open to Cadillacs & Dinosaurs:

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Legend of Calamity Jane (1997)

Kids' WB! had made The Legend of Calamity Jane the centerpiece of its 1997-98 Saturday lineup, hoping that the toon noir art style that was popularized by Batman: The Animated Series worked on a show set in the Old West. Regrettably, the network got a sudden case of cold feet and cancelled Calamity Jane after just 3 episodes, and never brought it back to burn off the remaining 10, though the complete series would be played in other countries. Some blame the quick hook on poor ratings, excessive violence, or just plain stupidity on the part of network suits (likely, a combination of all three). Just a few years earlier, ABC had another Western toon, but with more of a comic bent to appease the media watchdogs. WB opted to push the envelope, recalling the Lone Ranger's initial foray into Saturdays more than 30 years earlier.

All I ask now is that you judge for yourself while you view this sample of the episode, "Slip of the Whip", one of three Calamity Jane episodes that did make it to air here in the US.

Rating: A-.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Brown Eyed Girl (1967)

From the archives of American Bandstand comes this classic by Van Morrison. The clip is taken from when reruns of Bandstand aired on VH1 some years back, and includes Morrison being interviewed by Dick Clark. Midnightleandro uploaded "Brown Eyed Girl" to YouTube:

Saturtainment: Name Your Adventure (1992)

In 1992, NBC went to an all-live-action Saturday morning lineup, producing virtually the entire lineup in house, most with the aid of producer Peter Engel, who already had the network's new flagship series, Saved By The Bell, which began its 4th season on the network. One of Bell's stars, Mario Lopez (now the host of the syndicated magazine series, Extra) was given his first taste of doing his own show, hosting Name Your Adventure, in which teens got the chance to fulfill their wildest dreams, which sometimes included meeting other NBC stars, such as Jonathan Brandis, the teen heartthrob from Seaquest D. S. V.. Adventure lasted three seasons, and Lopez was joined by actress Tatyana Ali (Fresh Prince of Bel Air) and co-host/director Jordan Brady. Submitted for your approval is a clip of Brandis' appearance on the show:

Too bad no one wants to try reviving this show.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

From Comics to Toons: Dick Tracy (1961)

If you've been watching Retro's Saturday cartoon block (check local listings), you're probably aware that one of the reasons that Filmation's classic series have had the moral lessons edited out is so Classic Media can add some of the other properties they own to the lineup in small doses. One of those is UPA's Dick Tracy shorts from 1961.

Tracy (Everett Sloane) didn't solve the cases himself. Instead, it was left to a rotating lineup of made-for-TV officers, including Go Go Gomez, who can be described not so much as a Mexican stereotype, but a human clone of Speedy Gonzales, and with good reason. The legendary Mel Blanc, who voiced Speedy, worked on this series, but it was another toon legend, Paul Frees, who was credited with doing Gomez for most of the series. Flattop has to deal with another ethnic stereotype in Joe Jitsu, who is unflinchingly polite, even in battle. 

Here's "Jewel Fool":

Part of the reason it's taken so long for these cartoons to return to the air is the use of the ethnic stereotypes. If these cartoons were rewritten today, they wouldn't be 4-5 minutes in length. Instead, they'd be more in a 30-60 minute format, especially with all the procedural police dramas on the air today. It would be another 10 years before Tracy would make his official Saturday morning debut, which wouldn't quite erase the stigma created by these shorts, but it was something worth watching. Unfortunately, whatever had been uploaded before from that era has been taken down.

Rating: B-.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Literary Toons: Fantastic Voyage (1968)

A year after their adaptation of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth was sold to ABC, Filmation struck again, this time with an adventure series loosely based---we think---on Isaac Asimov's Fantastic Voyage.

This time, the CMDF (Combined Minature Defense Force) is battling spies and common crooks instead of viruses and antibodies, as in the movie. As was the case with Journey, only one season's worth of episodes was produced for Voyage, which hung around until the spring of 1970 before being cancelled. 20th Century Fox, by virtue of having made the movie, also holds the rights to Voyage, which hasn't been seen since a brief cable run on the then-Sci Fi Channel (now SyFy) in the late 90's.

Ever-busy Ted Knight not only was the show's announcer, but also the voice of Commander Jonathan Kidd, the CMDF's leader. Hewey1972 uploaded the open, which includes a rare bumper before the opening credits roll.........

Rating: A.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Toonfomercial: Lovely Lady pantyhose (2010)

The following commercial began airing on Boomerang a couple of months back, and I assume it's so Cartoon Network Studios, which would inherit any outstanding licenses from Hanna-Barbera on Josie & the Pussycats, can renew the copyrights that go with those licenses. Here, Josie, Melody, & Valerie are doing an ad for "Lovely Lady" pantyhose, which actually doesn't exist. It's more along the lines of Nickelodeon's infamous Twip back in the day.

Yeah, I know, you might've expected someone like Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo to be the one modeling the hose, but maybe the folks at Da Boom figured that was too obvious, and the 'Cats were always drawn bare-legged (we think) in the comics and the old cartoons. I should note that the "Lovely Lady" ad has only aired in late night to my knowledge. Kelzkeli210 uploaded it to YouTube:

I think Boomerang's waiting to see if enough people like the ad before deciding whether or not someone like Daphne would be next.......

Rein-toon-ation: Dumb & Dumber (1995)

In the early to mid-90's, just about any movie Jim Carrey (ex-In Living Color) made was a bonafide box office hit. Three of them, "The Mask", "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective", & "Dumb & Dumber", were adapted into Saturday morning cartoons. Of those, The Mask went the route of Beetlejuice & Real Ghostbusters and had a weekday syndicated version produced along with the network show. Dumb & Dumber, the last of the three to make the transition, was also the last Hanna-Barbera series sold to ABC, which launched the program in October of 1995, as apparently there were some production delays that ultimately doomed the show.

In fact, in keeping with tradition, Carrey & Jeff Daniels didn't sign on for the cartoon, replaced by Matt Frewer (ex-Max Headroom) and Bill Fagerbakke (Coach, SpongeBob Squarepants), respectively. The cast also included Kathy Najimy (later of King of the Hill) and Bronson Pinchot (ex-Perfect Strangers). It should be noted that Fagerbakke was making his first inroads into toons at the time, as he was also moonlighting on Disney's acclaimed Gargoyles. Frewer had previously breathed new life into the iconic Pink Panther, but the weekday revival had done a quick fade due to lack of station interest.

Here's the intro:

Sadly, the series didn't have a long shelf-life, cancelled after 1 season. It did, however, start the trend of current cartoons celebrating general stupidity. As a comic plot device, that gets old real fast.

Rating: D.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Animated World of DC Comics: Superman (1988)

I was thinking of reprinting my original DVD review of this series, which I posted on my other blog, The Land of Whatever, around a year ago, but then, a fresh perspective makes more sense.

Superman returned to television in 1988 after 2 years away, following ABC's decision to end the Super Friends franchise after 13 seasons and almost as many format changes. Ruby-Spears, marking its 10th anniversary at the time, took over the license, and brought the man of steel back to the network where he'd made his Saturday morning debut 22 years earlier, CBS. There were changes aplenty, mostly coinciding with the rebooting of the iconic hero in the wake of DC's mid-80's event, Crisis on Infinite Earths. For one thing, Lex Luthor wasn't just a embittered criminal scientist anymore. Instead, he was repackaged as a smooth-talking millionaire industrialist whose philanthropic efforts on behalf of Metropolis were fronts for his criminal operations. Veteran voice actor Michael Bell gave Luthor the smooth con man charm, a total 180 degree turn from the bitter, eternally angry Luthor viewers had grown accustomed to in the past. Beau Weaver was the new voice of Superman, after Danny Dark had essayed the part on Super Friends throughout its run. If there was one thing the hero and his most famous nemesis had in common, it was a good taste in women. Supes, of course, has Lois Lane. Luthor's new moll was secretary/live-in girlfriend Jessica Morganberry, who was about as sharp as a dull razor blade, if you get my drift.

Despite appearing in the open, Titano, the Super-Ape, was never used. The producers might've hoped he would be used, but it never came to pass. What killed the series, in the opinion of some fans, was the inclusion of a back-up feature, the Superman Family Album, commissioned by then-head of children's programming Judy Price for educational purposes. The Family Album traced the development of young Kal-El from his arrival on Earth to his high school graduation. One of these days, I'll post one of those Family Album shorts, just for kicks. As it was, Superman's return to Saturdays was short-lived, as the series was cancelled after 1 season.

Here's the open, narrated by former Super Friends announcer Bill Woodson, to YouTube:

Rating: A-.

Bad TV: Wheelie & the Chopper Bunch (1974)

Legendary animator Tex Avery first came up with the idea of giving cars sentience, that is, the ability to behave like you and me. In 1974, Hanna-Barbera, looking for a hit series for NBC, thought they had one with Wheelie & the Chopper Bunch. Wheelie got the requisite comic book adaptation (from Charlton), and board game (Milton Bradley), and maybe a lunch box, but that was about it.

Wheelie was a car who was unique in that he didn't talk, while the other sentient vehicles on the show did, including his girlfriend (whose voice was that of actress Judy Strangis). Frank Welker was the voice behind Chopper, and also provided the sound effects for Wheelie.

Here's the intro:

I've looked at a couple of syndicated reruns over the years, and, well, the concept reeked of desperation. H-B had 4 series bomb out on NBC in the previous two seasons, and this would make it 5 in 3. Could they try this again, in the wake of Pixar & Disney's "Cars" (and its upcoming sequel)? No, I don't think so. A friend and I have postulated the idea on a message board of rebooting the series with human characters and an extreme sports theme. It'd certainly make more sense than trying to remake the original, whose hero was incapable of human speech.

Rating: D.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The New Adventures of Zorro (1981)

Filmation was undergoing a period of transition in the early 80's. Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, had been in perpetual rerun for a number of years, but CBS kept him around long enough to share an anthology package with two other legendary heroes, The Lone Ranger and Zorro, the latter of whom made his return to television in 1981, with the other two series' episodes being trimmed in order that all three could fill a hour-long block. Small wonder, then, that The New Adventures of Zorro was cancelled after 1 season, and was one of the last to have the famous producers' wheel in the opening credits.

For what it's worth, actor Henry Darrow (ex-High Chaparral) was the voice of Zorro in this series, but a decade later, he'd co-star as Zorro's father, Don Alejandro, in a live-action revival that aired on the Family Channel. Darrow replaced another TV legend, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (ex-The F. B. I.), who'd left after 1 season.

Thecurseofcapistrano uploaded the open to YouTube:

Rating: A.

Saturtainment: Happening '68 (1968)

Not content with what had become an institution, American Bandstand, anchoring ABC's Saturday lineup, Dick Clark added a 2nd series, Happening '68, as a companion piece. As noted last time, Mark Lindsay, lead singer of Paul Revere & the Raiders, was tapped to host the series. While Happening was cancelled after little more than a year, in effect folded into Bandstand to signal the end of Clark's little experiment, Lindsay would forge a solo career of his own before rejoining the Raiders for 1971's "Indian Reservation". Here's Mark, introducing a performance by Sundown Connection:

Regrettably, this is the only other clip of the series I can find, after posting "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival last time. A pity, considering that it represents a footnote in musical history as it relates to television.

Rating: B--.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Proud Mary (1969)

Most folks are split over who had the more definitive version of "Proud Mary". Was it Ike & Tina Turner? Or was it Creedence Clearwater Revival?

One of the first 45's I bought 2nd hand after moving to my current downtown home was, in fact, CCR's version, which is a personal favorite. I bring this up because "Proud Mary" is being represented here in this clip from the March 1, 1969 episode of Happening '69 (formerly Happening '68, of course), a short-lived companion series to Dick Clark's better-known, more iconic American Bandstand. Singer Mark Lindsay, of Paul Revere & the Raiders fame, was the host. We won't see Mark in this clip, just CCR performing "Proud Mary". Videosolution uploaded the clip to YouTube. One of these days, I'll find some more Happening clips and talk more about the show......

Monday, February 7, 2011

Saturday Morning's Not-Yet-Forgotten Heroes: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993)

To most people, Haim Saban was originally known as 1/2 of the composing team, with Shuki Levy, behind the theme songs to most of DIC's hit series of the 80's (i.e. Inspector Gadget). However, Saban had formed his own production company around that same time, and began importing series from Japan and other countries to the US, mostly for Nickelodeon. In 1993, Saban made his most significant acquisition to date, obtaining the rights to a popular Japanese franchise for use in America. Right before Labor Day that year, Fox launched Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which, at the peak of its popularity, aired 6 days a week.

Here's the intro:

After three seasons over two years (yeah, I know it's weird), Saban began the practice of reformatting the series every year, with new titles and casts, mostly for merchandising purposes. The Rangers remained on Fox until 2002, when the franchise moved to ABC and cable half-sister, ABC Family. ABC Family dropped the Rangers in 2008, and ABC followed suit in 2010, after Saban had reacquired the franchise from Disney, which prompted the change in networks in '02. 2011 brings a new Rangers series, which will air on Nickelodeon.

Meanwhile, the success of the Power Ranger franchise can be chalked up to a number of factors, including the mixture of Japanese and American footage, as well as the use of school bullies Bulk & Skull as more comedy relief than anything else. The Japanese footage, with the over-the-top dubbed dialogue, might remind some of the campy early efforts of the Kroffts back in the 70's, which might also have been an influence.

Rating: B.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Super President (1967)

Originally published on 8/7/10 in my other blog, The Land of Whatever:

In the wake of Batman's runaway success, it seemed just about anyone could become a superhero in the mid-60's. DePatie-Freleng, after creating the comedy super-team The Super 6 a year earlier, went to another extreme with Super President in 1967.

In the real world, Lyndon B. Johnson was our President at that time, but no one could envision him in spandex for obvious reasons. Hence, our fictional President in this series was James Norcross, who, according to the narrative at the start of the show, was given super powers in a cosmic storm, enabling him to shift his molecular structure into steel, rubber, "or whatever the need requires". The prolific Paul Frees, the voice behind Boris Badenov (Rocky & His Friends) and numerous other characters, voiced Norcross, and also read the narrative. The stories were short, about 5-7 minutes each, which was normal back in those days.

And, as with most cartoons of the period, there was a back-up feature, Spy Shadow, in support of Super President. Shadow's protagonist, secret agent Richard Vance, was given the ability to summon his own shadow as a separate entity. Yeah, it sounds pretty lame now, but in 1967, logic didn't figure into a lot of television programs. It was all about letting your imagination run wild. Ted Cassidy (ex-The Addams Family), who, like Frees, was also doing voice work for Hanna-Barbera at the same time, voiced Vance and his Shadow, using his more natural speaking voice for Vance, the same voice that would later recite the opening narration to the live-action Incredible Hulk (1978-82).

Like Super 6, Super President was a ratings failure for NBC, and there are those that will claim that President is one of the worst cartoons ever because of its flimsy premise. Believe me, there have been worse to come down the pike in the 43 years since. Could it be redone today? Under the right circumstances, and with a creative team that has a better understanding of how to convey the story, maybe, but realistically it probably is well served remaining in the vaults, never to return. I pitched an idea on a message board on a while back that would solve the problem of a Presidential superhero in this day & age, but that's all it is right now, an idea. Which is how they all get started, for better or worse.

Edit, 4/21/20: Here's the episode, "Man of Steel":

Rating: C-.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Saturday Morning Ringside: WWF Superstars of Wrestling (1986)

When we were kids, the then-World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) had a regular presence on weekends. In the mid-80's, they actually came up with marketable titles for their weekly programs. What used to be known as Championship Wrestling was rechristened Superstars of Wrestling (later shortened to Superstars, a title revived two years ago for WGN America). Vince McMahon, long before he rebooted himself as the devious corporate baron in charge, was the play-by-play announcer, and assigned retired grappler Gorilla Monsoon the same task on Wrestling Challenge (formerly All-Star Wrestling). The genius pairing of Monsoon & manager-color analyst-house comic Bobby Heenan was a perfect counterpoint to McMahon's over-the-top announcing, regardless of who had to share the booth with him.

Let's take you back to 1990. Future Hall of Famers Roddy Piper and the Honky Tonk Man are in the booth with Vince:

As Monsoon would say, this wasn't a feast for the eyeballs, but it was escapist fun. A few years later, McMahon began transitioning his programming to cable, and thus the weekly squash matches showcased on this program and Challenge became a thing of the past. In time, McMahon would relaunch his syndicated programming under different titles, but pulled them from syndication again by 2005.

Rating: B--.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Celebrity Toons: Back to the Future (1991)

In the late 80's & early 90's, producer Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment was cranking out animated series with a little more frequency than the studio's live-action feature film output. Amblin partnered with WB for a trilogy of hit series: Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, & Pinky & the Brain. 1996's Freakazoid!, another Amblin/WB collaboration, would make this a tetralogy, given the minimal usage of Pinky & the Brain on that series. Amblin also worked with Universal to adapt two feature film franchises into animated series. 1987's "An American Tail", for example, begat Fievel's American Tales. When that series was cancelled by CBS, Amblin & Universal replaced it with an animated version of the "Back to the Future" movie series, set following the 3rd film. Here's the open to the cartoon:

Interestingly, the only cast members from the movies to fully transition to the cartoon were Thomas Wilson (Biff) & Mary Steenbergen. Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) served as the "host", introducing each episode, but in the episode proper, Doc's voice was done by Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons). Former soap star Josh Keaton (ex-General Hospital) landed one of his first toon jobs on this show, and would later have the honor of working on another icon---The Spectacular Spider-Man.

As you could tell from the clip above, the animation wasn't that great. In fact, Universal wouldn't have much luck with toons until a couple of years later. Michael J. Fox, who played Marty McFly in the movies, probably wasn't interested in the cartoon, hence Amblin hiring David Kaufman to play Marty, but Fox would give toons a go with a Disney movie a few years later. I for the life of me can't ID the artist covering Huey Lewis & the News' "Back in Time", which I think comes from the first film. Scientist Bill Nye made his debut here as well, with some short segments that would lead to him landing his own live-action series.

Rating: C.