Thursday, November 4, 2010
It was the Baaa-st of Times...
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the premier of Sheep in the Big City on Cartoon Network, my animated series featuring the adventures of a Sheep who'd hoofed it from the farm to the Big City to avoid the machinations of a Top Secret Military Organization (run by General Specific and his henchman Private Public) who wanted to use him as the main component of a Sheep-Powered Ray Gun. The stories ran between numerous sketches and spoof commercials for a the Oxymoron Product line ("with the power of an OX!") and every episode ended with 30 seconds of a Ranting Swede. (You can get a flavor for some of the sketches here)
If that makes no sense to you, you are in the majority. The show was canceled after 2 seasons.*
But during those 2 seasons we got to make weird cartoons and have fun doing it.
There are still a handful of fans at every book signing I do who bemoan the Cartoon Network not releasing the episodes on DVD and having to get their Sheep fix pilfered on the internet . Some even want to show me their Sheep tattoo. But it turns out the majority of my fan base seems to be in the Philippines, Nigeria, Brazil and India where the 'toon still runs. A Latvian even did her dissertation on the show. She got a C.
I wrote the shows with the occasional help of 2 funny writer/voice over actor pals, David Wain and Joey Mazzarino. The show starred Kevin Seal, Ken Schatz, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, James Godwin with occasional help from Ruth Buzzi and myself as the Angry Scientist. Animators Sue Perrotto, Karen Villarreal, and Tom Warburton directed the episodes and added their own flair to each one. Sheep is also where I started working with Pete List, the animator of many of the animated adaptations of my books.
Some more Sheepie links:
An in depth interview about the production.
An NYTimes profile.
Designer Robert Kopecky's backgrounds.
An NYTimes review.
My Checkov spoof performed by Brazilian students.
And here is CN's great promo for the show before its launch:
Promoting the show was great fun as in several interviews we teamed myself up with a real sheep as my co-creator.
I'd always said I wanted the show to be funny for 10 year olds and funny in 10 years and 10 years later I still hope somebody out there enjoys the weirdness of it all.
*For the record, Sheep was replaced by Mr. Warburton's Codename: Kids Next Door, a much more successful series. Because Tom had worked for me, he made me work for him, which I did as head writer of the show for 4 seasons before quitting to spend more time away from him, uh, I mean working on books.