Up Yours, King Zarkon!
“Titan Maximum” on Cartoon Network
If you’re a fan of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block, then you’re probably a regular viewer of “Robot Chicken.” Over the seasons, that stop-motion-animated pop-cultural mashup has skewered just about every sacred cow from your childhood (provided your childhood fell sometime between 1970 and 1989). Plenty of people can produce a funny parody of Star Wars (well, not the makers of “Family Guy,” but anyway). It takes a special group of evil nerd geniuses, however, to even remember what the hell the “Shirt Tales” cartoon was about. Creating an amusing skit about it is just the icing on the cake.
Now, a number of the brains behind “Robot Chicken” (notably producer / co-head writer / director Tom Root, executive producer / co-creator / writer / director Matthew Senreich and executive producer / co-creator / writer / director Seth Green) have graduated to a single-topic, animated, sci-fi sitcom. Though it’s not a direct spoof of any specific show, “Titan Maximum” draws heavily from the pantheon of ’80s kid TV. Much like “Voltron: Defender of the Universe” and its ilk, “Titan Maximum” is about a team of teenagers who pilot futuristic, color-coded spaceships and occasionally unite to form a giant robot and fight alien invaders.
In this particular future world, however, the planet-saving team has been disbanded due to budgetary reasons. Years later, the team’s core (the cocky leader, the spunky girl-next-door and the slutty party girl) must reunite in order to fend off the threat of their now-evil ex-teammate (the mysterious rebel). With a precocious little brother and a monkey janitor filling in the staffing gaps, the team cranks up its decommissioned, rustbucket robot and battles a series of city-destroying threats.
The show’s better-than-your-average-anime voicecast includes Seth Green and many of his young Hollywood cohorts from “Robot Chicken,” including Breckin Meyer, Rachel Leigh Cook, Dan Milano (any “Greg the Bunny” fans in the house?) and Billy Dee Williams. Given Green’s connections, there’s every reason to believe future episodes of “Titan Maximum” will feature some impressive guest stars.
While the voicecast is on par with the previous show, the stop-motion animation in “Titan Maximum” is a considerable step up from “Robot Chicken.” Of course, much of the “joke” in “Robot Chicken” is bringing old action figures to life. The recycled toy box look is just part of the atmosphere. Creating all-new character models gives “Titan Maximum” a much more fluid look. Of course, the jokes are still just as juvenile. Bleeped-out curse words make up most of the punch lines here. Given the more plot-driven nature of “Titan Maximum,” the show doesn’t feature quite the same rapid-fire sense of humor as “Robot Chicken.” Nonetheless, if you grew up with this sort of show, you’re sure to milk some laughs from this “adult” re-envisioning. Giant robots and penis jokes? I’m ready for more.
“Titan Maximum” premieres Sunday, Sept. 27, at 12:30 a.m. on Cartoon Network.