“SuperMansion” on Crackle
The best episodes of Cartoon Network’s late-night, Adult Swim series “Robot Chicken” have always been the superhero specials. When the stop-motion spoofers behind “Super Chicken” concentrate their nerdy humor on Marvel and DC heroes, the jokes fly fast and furious. So it’s good to see that someone has had the presence of mind to allow the show’s producers to focus their attentions solely on people in capes.
“SuperMansion” is a new series debuting this weekend on online streaming service Crackle. Crackle (originally known as Grouper) was purchased by Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2006 for a stupid $65 million. Since then, it’s been the home of Jerry Seinfeld’s web series “Riding in Cars With Comedians,” it was used to broadcast “Days of Our Lives” in Australia, and it produced the sequel no one asked for Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser. Other than that ... well. But starting Thurday, Oct. 8, Crackle will air its first animated series, the 13-episode comic book parody “SuperMansion.”
The series concentrates on elderly superhero Titanium Rex (voiced by “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston). Rex still has his Superman-esque powers, but he’s dealing with aching hips and creeping senility. Also, he’s saddled with a distinctly C-list group of crimefighters known as the League of Freedom. There’s late-night avenger Black Saturn (Tucker Gilmore), who’s really not much good before 9pm. There’s genetically engineered (and clothing averse) cat-girl Cooch (Heidi Gardner). American Ranger (Keegan-Michael Key from “Key & Peele”) is a recently revived World War II hero (and casual racist). Brad (Tom Root) is a drug-addicted bruiser. And the redundantly named RoboBot (Zeb Wells) is too busy having an existential crisis to help out much. This hapless group of heroes allows the show’s creators the opportunity to serve up endless Avengers/Justice League-inspired parodies.
While battling over-the-hill villains and accidentally destroying national landmarks (all in a day’s work), the League attracts the attentions of Congress. A subsequent investigation finds the group’s out-of-control budget a problem. To add to their woes, the League is assigned a “military grade” accountant to keep expenditures in check. Also, RoboBot is considering converting to Judaism.
“SuperMansion” isn’t exactly a deep show. It spends most of its time making light of the usual costumed crimefighter tropes and exhausts its remaining minutes serving up a few raunchy punchlines. It’s not as funny as “The Tick,” but it’s got way more laughs than 20th Century Fox’s recent Fantastic Four outing. The voice cast is high-quality, with Key crafting the best jokes and Cranston doing a more-than-credible crusty old man. Basically, if you’re a fan of the action figures come to life in “Robot Chicken,” then “SuperMansion” will hammer away on much the same juvenile funny bone.