Animated Discussions
by Rudy Panucci and Melanie Larch

This is a huge weekend for television animation, as we get treated to a bevy of fresh, first-run episodes of classic shows, and an overnight treat of classic anime. Here’s your guide to a cartoon-filled weekend:

Miyazaki Redux on TCM

Late Friday night/early Saturday morning, Turner Classic Movies is running a double shot of Hayao Miyazaki classics, Princess Mononoke, from 1997 and 1998’s My Neighbor Totoro. We wrote about these previously, and they’re well worth staying up late, or setting your timer to record. Princess Mononoke starts at 2 a.m., and My Neighbor Totoro follows immediately thereafter.

The End Of The Justice League?

Justice League Unlimited wraps up its run Saturday night at 10:30 p.m. on Cartoon Network. This series has been one of the best animated treatments of the super hero genre ever, and it’s a shame the way Cartoon Network has shunted it around the schedule and buried it. They recently started running it on their sister Boomerang, which is great for those of us who want to tape them all without commercials, but it’s also a pretty strong statement that Cartoon Network never planned to support the show. Boomerang, of late, has become a graveyard for shows that the CN execs don’t like.

However, this series finale is a fitting one, with a huge climactic battle between the good guys and the bad guys, with the fate of the Earth hanging in the balance. There are strong rumors that the League will be brought back as a series of 90-minute “movies.” We can only hope. This is the classiest super hero cartoon on the air.

Fox Sunday

Sunday night, we get a nearly-three-hour block of animated programming from Fox, spoiled only by the series finale of the “I didn’t know that was still on the air” Malcolm In The Middle. A Simpsons repeat opens the night at 7 p.m. The season finale of King Of The Hill follows at 7:30, and then a fresh episode of The Simpsons, revolving around intelligent design, airs at 8 p.m.

At 9 p.m., we get a first-run episode of Family Guy, and at 9:30, the season finale of American Dad, which details a plot to kill George Clooney.

(adult swim)

The Sunday cartoon blitz continues at 11:30 p.m. over on Adult Swim with a new Robot Chicken. Then at midnight, there’s an episode of the wretchedly unfunny Minoriteam. The real treat of the night comes at 12:15 a.m. — the first of three unaired episodes of Moral Orel. These three episodes were pulled by Cartoon Network’s Standards and Practices department, and could not be shown until now. Considering that the episodes of Moral Orel that did make it to the air included included Orel reanimating the dead, getting hooked on crack and getting genital piercings, we can’t wait to see what they thought crossed the line. The remaining two “lost” episodes should air in the following weeks.