Sunday, 23 December 2012

Adventure Time (But only Season One)

Adventure Time with Finn and Jake (But only Season One)

The Premise

Adventure Time is a western cartoon series created by a guy named Pendleton Ward, about a young human boy named Finn the Human and his best friend Jake the Dog, as the opening theme tune exposits. Like My Little Pony, Adventure Time is another cartoon aimed at a younger audience that captured the hearts and minds of the internet's collective mental age and went viral. Lots of people I've seen on the internet have become hugely infatuated with its characters, plots and general themes. Citing excellent character development, dark and mature themes and surreal character designs etc.

But what did I think of it? I thought it was ok, sometimes good, sometimes adequate, and the reason behind not liking it much much more, I suspect, is because most of the things people like about this series only come about during the very later seasons, I've read that the stories take a dark and dramatic turn in later seasons, with complex and realistic character motivations, but I'm not there yet, I'm still watching the earlier episodes where everything is a relatively straightforward children's cartoon besides a few mature jokes that slipped past the censors, which, considering most modern cartoons, would've been edgier to not put those jokes in.

The series seems ok at the moment, but honestly the only reason I've watched as far as the end of the first season is this upcoming dramatic turn I've heard so much about, it's cute, kind of unique and ultimately harmless but it's just not drawing me in. And what's more, the eventual dramatic turn and dynamic characters shouldn't take so long to kick in, because when I was like 5 years old, I watched Toy Story, and ever since then, and indeed countless years before then, stories that contain greatly written characters and mix lighthearted adventures with dramatic and even dark turns have always been the RULE rather than the exception in a good animated product. And I don't think that should be this series' only selling point, because I think that would be selling it short, it's not some bold new innovation, it's a fine example of how cartoons have always been evolving.

Like I said earlier, the series is ok, not bad by any stretch, which is why I'm going to say what DOES work. One of the things that struck me earliest is the fact that this, admittedly, is one of the only cartoons in ages has an actual child actor to voice somebody who's meant to be 12 years old (Finn the Human), this is what makes me look forward to the series' eventual dramatic turn, because I skipped ahead into a series 4 episode and the kid (Jeremy Shada I think his name is.) had a noticeably deeper voice that suits his growth in character and makes him a lot more believable, something I can't remember liking since I ploughed through Dragon Ball and took note of Goku's slowly deepening voice. The rest of the voices are ok. John DiMaggio, the voice of Bender in Futurama, voices Jake the Dog, which I noticed without having to look at the credits, he's the more distinctive of the voices besides Finn because he can be recognised quite easily in whatever he's in.

The Art

I also like some, but not all of the character designs. I think Finn the Human's design in particular is very inspired, especially with his iconic hat/balaclava/skinned bear thing. I also like the jointless limbs in all of the characters, it makes the Animation seem more free flowing and malleble and removes unnecessary complications. I think the best artistic choice though is the faces, Finn in particular has a very expressive face considering it's just two dots and a line, the lip syncing and the expressions he shows are also very unique and expressive, the exaggerations of certain emotions brings to mind Spongebob Squarepants or Arin 'Egoraptor' Hanson's 'Awesome Series' on Youtube. And as mentioned earlier, his voice actor really helps make him more believable, I think everything about his design is just top notch.

The other character designs however seem less interesting to me. All of the other characters are none-human, and generally just anthropomorphised inanimate objects, still with the same kind of face as Finn, but without a voice matching the face that sells it. Though this only applies to some characters, there ARE several characters who have designs that match their voices, such as the Lumpy Space Princess.

One last thing on the art that also pleases me is the fact that they reintroduced the Looney Tunes styled painted Title Cards to introduce the episodes, I always think those are a nice touch and it's a shame more cartoons didn't follow suit besides this one and Batman: TAS.

I do have one irk about the art however, and it's the fact that the lineart is all thin, this is almost certainly just a personal gripe but I've gotten very used to cartoons in recent days that have varying outline thicknesses depending of the various masses of the characters body parts. I dunno, it makes it seem like the characters have more depth to me.


Run of the mill but harmless plots, settings and characters, enjoyable art and Animation. I don't think that it will light anybody's world on fire over the age of the target audience and hasn't gotten ahold of the hype. If you're like me, overage and paying close attention to the hype, well I'm just waiting for it to surprise me.

I'll return to this series at a later date and see if there is some truth to the hype that I haven't encountered yet.

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Premise

I started watching Haruhi Suzumiya first out of boredom, then out of intrigue, then finally out of interest. It took a while for me to realize I kind of liked it, but it was worth it up until that point.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, I'd like to say, is a slice of life kind of Anime (I.E, a series based around the amusing lives of High Schoolers.), but I'm not sure it even counts as that, the story goes to too many places to be considered a slice of anybody's life. The story chronicles the life of a seemingly ordinary high school student named Kyon, if that shockingly generic summation leads you to believe that this Anime is yet another generic high school anime, you'd be quite wrong, as Kyon, unlike a lot of protagonists, is not a loveable idiot or a shrinking violet kind of nerd, instead he's a sarcastic, 'seen it all' kind of character, whose morbid curiosity with the eccentricities of fellow classmate Haruhi Suzumiya leads Kyon to becoming friends with her.

After their meeting, Kyon learns of Haruhi's goal in life, to befriend an alien, a time traveller and/or a psychic and hang out with them, of course, none of these exist as far as either of them know, but Kyon nonetheless inspires Haruhi to form a school club around her obcession. After gathering three students for their club, the main cast is assembled.

What I like about the cast is that they're not merely generic Anime character archetypes, they're several generic Anime character archetypes, making them oddly distinct. All of them have their obvious tells, but also have completely different tells. I wish I could be more specific with this, but I had nothing spoiled when I watched this anime, so I'm trying to keep that to a minimum, because it'll certainly improve the experience.

What I can tell you though, is that all 13 episodes are all full of colour, character and warmth, yet in parts with a surprising amount of realism, along with a few twists that I myself barely believed when I was watching it, along with an ending I totally expected, but was definitely satisfying.

When I first attempted to discern which Anime I would write about, my choice was either this or Lucky Star, both are similar genres, have similar setups and even similar characters (I suspect because they were both done by Kyoto Animation.), but I decided to talk about this one because if I were to talk about Lucky Star in full, I'd mostly be talking about how the art's a nice change, the characters are funny, but there's no real shockers in it, whereas Haruhi has all that and much more. Lucky Star has a more laid back story where not much of anything goes on, which can be better for some viewers, but not for others. I personally like both, but I like a good story which is why Haruhi wins for me

The Art
Quite unusually, the art is pretty detailed for such a short and lower profile anime, the bright colours and lighting are what makes the world of this series come alive. If this series had a dark, grim tone to it, the visual aesthetic would be rather distracting for me, but the look goes with the tone of the characters and story, that is to say, not a bad bone in either. The animation is always something I rarely have much diverse criticism for when it comes to Anime, lots of shots where the only animation is the lip flaps on the speaking character, and the occasional fluid and dynamic shot, though in fairness, there are more of those than I expected, which is definitely a point in its favour.

One thing I did want to talk about with the art though, is the fact that there's art at all. If you were to recount the introductory episode to somebody without telling them it was an anime, they might think that, besides the Generic Anime Cliche characters, there's little reason for it to not be live action, as everything that happens could quite reasonably be filmed. But that isn't the case at all, the animation and the art, neither more than the other, help add to the surreality of the series, despite it's seemingly ordinary setup, and as I said before the way everything looks helps it to come to life much more than if it were literally live action. It kind of reminds me of Simon Pegg's TV series Spaced, I always felt that would've been improved it it were animated, you may not get this but watching Haruhi Suzumiya I definitely get some cartoony, Spaced vibes from this series.

If you're looking for a new Anime to get into, look no further, my one critique I can think of of this Anime is that it's definitely not for people who've never watched other Animes, it's length and Japanese-y tone make it more of a series you'd watch in between other series. But, I doubt that wouldn't be a problem since most people who have heard enough about it to watch it are no doubt well travelled in that area.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Young Justice

The Premise
Around this time last year I was gearing up to prepare myself for the finale of Smallville, which is a TV series about the origins of Superman which some clever berk decided should be stretched to ten seasons long, as we were promised mainly for the series to seem more intergrated into the DC Universe, with promises of Darkseid, Booster Gold, Superboy, and the Blue Beetle amongst other new characters without he finale ending with the appearance of Superman. In my opinion, I was expecting too much of the show and because of this it failed spectacualrly for me. Because up until then, while the series was still worth watching, it was never much for obeying its source material. The only adaptations of a comic universe I can remember where it felt like a universe rather than a series of stories in its own disconcerted world are on two occasions.

Firstly, at least chronologically, was the DC Animated Universe, I.E, Batman: TAS, Superman: Tas and the Justice League cartoons, which were all interconnected. Admittedly I've not finished watching all not of them (Which is something I must get round to.) but those stories all felt like they happened in the same universe, which is something rarely added to comic adaptations. Secondly was the Avengers film universe, but that's a story for another day.

Another thing I can now add to that list is Young Justice, a fairly recent cartoon series that manages to give the feeling of being part of a whole universe of trouble, without actually being followed on from any other specific adaptation, which was the first thing that struck me about this series that made me instantly like it.

Young Justice' s story is as follows: the sidekicks of the DC Universe, Robin, Kid Flash, Speedy, Aqualad, and later a few others, are tired of not being treated as equals by Justice League members such as Superman, Batman or the Flash, (You know your head's up your arse if you're angry the world's greatest detective and a demigod don't think you're up to their ridiculously high standards.) so they design to form their own team out of rebellion, only to be then accepted into the Justice League as their own Black Ops type team.

The series as far as I have watched it is about the main characters trying to learn about teamwork and seems to suggest that one day Robin will be the leader of them all, which did seem a bit Smallville-ish at the time, but at least they didn't think they were being subtle about the suggestions. Their villains generally seem to be low level villains they believe they can defeat easily before being revealed to be controlled by somebody that far outclasses them.

The thing I like about the series, besides the fact that the world of the story feels like it exists beyond the characters we're following (Which is more than I can say for a lot of things.), is that the characters are the kind of character that'd be interesting to watch even if they were in a sitcom drawn by Jackson Pollock rather than a superhero cartoon, which is practically the trademark of any good Superhero adaptation in my opinion.

(Incidentally, if anybody thinks I talk about the premise too much, lemme know, if anybody reads these that is.)

I barely feel like I need to talk about the art in this series, all I need to say is that it's incredibly nice to look at, each frame looks like a panel from a comic, and with rather similar composition too, just take a look at what I mean. (Yes, I decided I ought to add images to these reviews so you don't have to take my word on things.)

Every frame looks like that, the art is so crisp that it might be crippled if drawn by terrible animators, but thankfully no such fate befell Young Justice. It seems to be joining Thundercats 2011 in that it clearly draws its art style from Eastern Cartoons despite being a Western Cartoon with only the eyes giving it away, the exception being that Thundercats was animated by a Japanese Studio, whereas Young Justice was animated by Warner Brothers, which makes sense, since they appear to have animated every excellent western cartoon ever, the DC Animated Universe being but one example, and Freakazoid being another, (Upon examining Wikipedia, it seems they did in fact co-produce Thundercats along with the Japanese 'Studio 4C'.).

The actual animation is nothing spectacular, but it definitely does its job, though after comparing a scene from Thundercats and a scene from Young Justice, I notice the actual animation being practically identical. So if I had to give Young Justice one complaint, it would be that the art isn't quite as good as Thundercats, which has slightly more excellent art by a small increment.

Such good animation and art might still be crippled by the writing not allowing the animators to show off their animation skills , this being my one complaint with Death Note, which is an excellent series, with excellent animation, and excellent writing, we just don't see the animation too much since the characters sit still a lot. This is thankfully not an issue is there are roughly equal parts idle scenes and equal parts dynamic scenes to give us a treat.

In total, all I can say is that even if you aren't a connoisseur of animation like I seem to be, or even a conoisseur of DC, I'd reccomend it to anybody with the slightest interest in cartoons at all, it'll certainly surprise you as it did me.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Neon Genesis Evangelion (Not exactly new I know.)

Having not watch any new anime recently, I decided I may as well do an oldy that everybody's familiar with but may not have seen, Neon Genesis Evangelion. Said to be one of the greatest animes in the world by literally nobody I know, NGE is the kind of thing I hear is good and try to like but I can't convince myself I enjoy it, even if I force myself.

Neon Genesis Evangelion is a story about a weedy, depressed, depressing, socially absent, pathetic young boy as he sits around a series of building very pointedly not piloting the giant robot everybody wants him to. I hear the main story arc besides the aforementioned giant robots is the main character (Shinji)'s battle with depression and his eventual defeat of the extremely vague enemies. As is obvious, I haven't watched it all the way through, I stopped at episode 8 because the sight of the poor sod felt like it was dragging me down with him, which si the main reason I stopped watching.

Shinji is an, unusual choice for the protagonist of a giant robot series, but the writers have taken a lot of unusual choices, which to be fair, I do admire because it was either this or be much more similar to other giant robot animes. But as I said, Shinji, to me, was painful to watch, mostly because he reminds me of myself, or to be accurate, reminds me of what I hope I'm not. So in a sense, he is a good role model because he makes you feel so tough. For the eight episodes I watched, he stepped into the cockpit of a giant robot once, maybe twice, and the rest of the time he just sat in a room whining about his life.

Thing is though, we don't actually know why Shinji acts the way he does, I'm sure from a certain point of view, Shinji is a well written, realistic character, but he's hard for me to care about him when I have no clue why he acts the way he does toward the world, something that friends of sufferers of Avoidant Personality Disorder would find very familiar, or again, if I looked in a mirror. I'm told he overcomes his characters flaws later on in the story, but the arse was bored off me up until then, and I don't believe that "It gets more interesting later." can be said about a TV series, in a film or other form of standalone story, the "Good bit" would arrive much quicker, and might even excuse the earlier parts, but works against it when it's a series, which are meant to individually entertain you. The episodes I watched just felt like an extremely long half of an extremely long film that never quite got to the point, because there was virtually no difference in between the episodes besides the opening and closing credits.

Moving on from the story, the animation was much smoother than what I'm used to of its genre, but then again, this was animated by Studio Gainax, who, as far as I know, have a great track record of good animation, however, as the story moves so sluggishly, the animation is only noticeable and lively in the giant robot sections, where I'd swear it ran at double the framerate, the speed of the scenes. The animation talent is wasted on most of the story, but thankfully, two of my favorite amines were both made by Studio Gainax, and they both make full use of their talents.

The character designs were very bland, which isn't the insult it appears to be, because as the main characters act a lot like real people (Albeit boring people.), having them actually look like real people certainly makes a lot of sense, all the characters are Japanese and accordingly have largely black hair beyond the occasional inconspicuous character. Also to the series advantage is the designs of the EVA (The giant robot(s).), because the fantastical element of the series is REALLY fantastical, if you looked at them without context you wouldn't even suspect they were from a super robot series, which was certainly uplifting. And as I mentioned earlier, the one fight scene I remember was very fluid as a result of the characters designs in addition to being well animated, so if Neon Genesis Evangelion has been collected into a film length compilation I'd happily watch it and maybe enjoy it, the series however, is just not for me.

Make no mistake, if there's one thing you take away from what I'm saying, it's not that I think Neon Genesis Evangelion is a bad anime, far from it, I know it has an audience, and I can see why. The characters I suppose are well written, just well written as boring, which is what some people can be. The designs I suppose are fitting given the above, the characters with realistic personalites are not drawn with technicolour anime hair, but the more oudlandish characters tip a toenail into that category. I believe a great deal of thought went into this, however I don't believe it's for me.

In summation, this anime is (Probably.) a great character study if you're into that sort of thing, but if, like me, you're looking for impossible, thunderous characters in frequent battles, seek elsewhere. Exactly where I myself found this I'll explain in detail at a later date no doubt.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Thundercats 2011

The 2011 reboot of Thundercats is what I was watching along with Highschool of the Dead to balance out watching My Little Pony man-wise. It's definitely just as mature, if not more mature than HSOTD because there are virtually no panty shots, and the violence is less over the top. But then again, Thundercats is a western cartoon about anthropomorphs and HSOTD is an Anime about ordinary high school students whacking zombies, they definitely cannot be simply compared.

Thundercats 2011, is a reboot, much like My Little Pony, of an old saturday morning cartoon but with a modern twist on it. Though since I haven't seen the 1980's series I couldn't tell you what exactly these modern twists are, but it definitely feels more recent. The story so far is thus, Lion-O (I call him Lionel because that's how everybody seems to pronounce it.) is the prince of the Thundercats, the Thundercats being a sort of feline noble family, and he's out to avenge the death of his father Claudus who was killed by an ancient enemy of theirs called Mumm-Ra, a sort of bat/wizard/demon type creature, who leads the Lizards against the Cats and wipes out the kingdom of Thundera (Presumably the land the Thundercats rule.) using their superior technology to overcome the Thundercats magical powers. Though the plot has an overarching story of stopping a specific villain, the series is still laid out across a series of standalone stories which tie into the overall story.

My main problem with Thundercats is that most of the things I gave away up there happen withing literally the first two episodes, and the following six it seems like the story is half over. The story so far has been paced incredibly fast, so fast that I myself have had to rewatch them so I can remember who's who and what they're all currently doing, which is quite bad if I rewatch it out of confusion rather than intrigue. Lionel for example changes from being a wide-eyed idealist concerned with myths and being compassionate towards his natural enemies the lizards, to being a natural born leader and acting as if he always was in the first three episodes, I personally think that he should've transitioned over the course of the entire series rather than three episodes, because he doesn't seem like he has a lot of character growth left to go through, and the series has barely started yet.

Another problem the pacing brings is that the other 4-5 main characters (Tygra, Panthro, Cheetara, and the Thunderkittens.) barely have screen time to themselves, this gets to a ridiculous extreme in episode 8 when the other characters literally aren't even in that episode and they have roughly the same amount of lines as normal, it makes me different to care about anybody besides Lionel/O because they're all one dimensional. One excellent example of this is in episode three, after the introduction of the Thunderkittens, at the start of the episode, they ask to tag along with Lionel, Cheetara and Tygra (What with their home destroyed and their species endangered in the course of a day.) and Lionel tells them they can't join them since he believes they'll slow them down, then at the end of that episode, he says something to the effect of "We're not going to babysit them, so it's a good that we've learned they can take care of themselves.", even though their entire contribution to that episode was appearing, eating all the dinners and not getting killed by a Kraken type thingy. In the following episodes I'm certain they have more fingers and toes than lines of dialogue.

Not to say that the story isn't enjoyable though, the actual concepts behind the stories are interesting, the lessons they teach Lionel are relevant and, whilst very fast paced, are interesting and entertaining to watch if you're willing to pay attention to it.

Now onto the animation. One of the first things I said to myself when I observed the animation was "There must be a mistake, I accidentally watched an Anime instead of a western cartoon.", because the visual style and animation is very reminiscent of a modern anime, only the lack of Anime eyes let you know that this was a western production, except that's a lie because the studio in charge of the animation is in fact the Japanese company Studio 4°C, which would certainly explain a lot, me presuming the studio had creative input. This is definitely a good thing because the visual style of Eastern Animation with the more fluid characters of Western animation, and combined with excellent backdrops, makes it a treat to watch, just to see where the main characters will go next.

Since the animation is very good, I can't really speak about it for longer than a paragraph, so I'll just conclude by saying that I will personally continue watching Thundercats, because while I have many complaints about the way it's written, there's still a lot to like about it, most of all being just the premise of anthopomorphic cats fighting with swords to save their kingdom. If that doesn't do it for you, it's certainly very nice to look at, it has a kind of Avatar: The Last Airbender kind of look to it, and I've heard it's a similar type of adventure series by people who've watched that too.

What I'm saying is, if you like your adventure cartoons, and are willing to ignore the slightly clumsy pacing and characters, I recommend Thundercats, if you're an animation student like me, I also recommend Thundercats for the simple fact that not a lot of western animations nowadays look like this, but if you're indifferent toward cartoons, Thundercats will not change your mind.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Highschool of the Dead.

I began watching this originally as a counterpoint to becoming interested in My Little Pony, because where as that is a bright and colourful cartoon with a lighthearted tone and lots of humour, this is a dark and gritty cartoon with dark tones and good old fashioned Zombie bashing.

The basic premise is as follows, whilst at school dealing with the same problems any Japanese high schoolers have, e.g. girl troubles, school and girl troubles in school, a Zombie apocalypse suddenly breaks out seemingly at the drop of a hat, forcing a group of friends (At least I think they were friends.) to band together to survive, led by Zombie-savvy Takashi (Or maybe that was his surname, I was watching the Japanese version with subtitles, it wasn't especially clear.), though the title is a misnomer as only the first few episodes actually take place inside their school, it goes to several places from there.

My initial problem with the series was that there were many random panty and boob shots, typical of an Anime for such a demographic, it's not especially amusing because it's happens during tense and serious scenes and is very inappropriate every time it does it, also the female characters all bounce like they have water balloons attached to their chests and will wiggle at the slightest movement. But this decreases in frequency as the series progresses, so it eventually is not too big an issue.

One of my favorite things about the animation is how satisfying the zombie bashing is, and this is definitely a cause of the animation because it certainly feels like the zombies are being bashed with great force, and it's not too much of a stretch to believe they were hit that hard, and thus has a great feel to it, unfortunately the characters gradually start using guns so this too lessens as the episodes go on sadly, the guns don't quite have the same impact, despite also feeling very real. I discovered that HSOTD was animated by Mad House, the same guys who did Death Note, which I'm also a big fan of, I always felt during Death Note that the skills of the animators were wasted on Death Note due to it being more about the characters and having few action sequences to make the most of. Though one thing that I wish they didn't bring from Death Note was the shaky cam animation which baffled me even then, because no matter how much they try to convince me I'm in the thick of the action, I still know it's a cartoon.

The characters aren't poorly written, and are at least distracting to watch during the breather scenes or episodes, and Takashi, the main bloke can even be thought provoking during scenes where he performs morally questionable acts to save himself from the Zombies. The others are kind of single trait characters, but as I said, can at least hold your attention.

Another problem is that so far, there are only 13 episodes, and there's not a lot of variation story-wise, I imagine this'll be fixed if there's ever a second season, if there isn't a second season, the ending will come as a disappointment because it doesn't quite have the same tone as the rest of the series and isn't the climactic, epic ending one would expect from an Anime about Zombies. Overall though, I would recommend this series if the panty-shots don't annoy you too much and you enjoy watching Zombies get bashed with sports equipment, Shaun of the Dead style. :D

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Yep, I did in fact watch this series all the way through. Yes it is a cartoon about ponies made for little girls with bright colours. But you know what? I like it, so shuddup!

There are many a reason why I like My Little Pony, the first thing I noticed was, as a fan of Animation, the series itself was very pleasing to look at, there were a lot of bright colours to amuse me, the characters themselves have incredibly simple yet great designs, and the actual animation itself was very smooth and varied ,such as the Ponies quadrupedic movement being very believable while still allowing for the occaisional anthropomorphism like holding objects with their front hooves on occaision. Though I was initially bugged by the fact that it has the telltale sign of being animated in Adobe Flash and looks like a webseries rather than a full TV series with a team of animators, but it works with the series.

The second reason I like this cartoon is that the creator, Lauren Faust (Previously involved in Powerpuff Girls and other stuff.) was a fan of the original series, but still thought it had huge room for improvement, which are important things to think during a reboot, you have to respect the series for what it was but still update it to modern values. This is why, in my opinion, series 5-6 of the new Doctor Who is much better written, because the creator loves the series, but knows it isn't perfect. Lots of the humour appears very self-aware and reminded me of cartoons such as Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Freakazoid.

The humour itself, to say it's written to make the target demographic of young girls laugh, are actually very funny. My favorite joke in the entire series is in one episode, where a horse drawn carriage is being ridden by another horse, the pulling horse then remarks "It's your turn to pull now.", made me actually laugh out loud. There are also a lot of jokes that could not possibly have been written for the target audience, such as the fact that one of the main characters names was unmistakably a jab at the Twilight series, or one scene which is a reference to Benny Hill, which can't have been seen by its audience, or another scene that seems to reference '2001' of all films.

And last but not least, the series, despite the title, is not overly girly, or even remotely girly, there are many episodes where the main cast could be replaced by male characters and the plot wouldn't be affected. And in addition, it isn't overly kiddy either, for the reasons mentioned above, as well as the fact that the overall message of each episode doesn't generally talk down to kids and never seems shoehorned in.

Well, that's my opinion on that, ad like many other fans, I await with baited breath for Series 2 to come out.