You may remember in my last review we discussed the two genes in all animations – they either have good animation/bad writing or bad animation/good writing. Well today, I’m going to take that up on a higher level, by a fair comparison of two shows who, some argue, are identical to each other.
Let’s find out, shall we?
The shows we have in mind are “Little Howard’s Big Question” and “ROY” – two shows which share some similarities. They both feature an animated character living in the real world and use clever animation/live-action blending tricks...and are both being shown on CBBC. Sure, there’s that, but now we start to tear them apart with their differences and to further my animation/writing thingy.
LITTLE HOWARD’S BIG QUESTION
This series, created by comedian and animator Howard Reed, started off as a human/cartoon double act on such
First difference between Little Howard and Roy is Little Howard is animated on computer using Flash and/or ToonBoom (I’m not completely sure). This allows plenty of tweened animation to be performed with slices of frame-by-frame animation if necessary, for say mouths or walking movements. This gives the little chap a rather inferior look, to some possibly cheap.
But the true brilliance of this series comes from the writing – the basis for the series is Little Howard (with a nifty air horn) asking Big Howard a pondering question and they spend the next half hour working it out through research then testing their theories. It’s like Sooty meets Tennessee Tuxedo; it’s informative with interesting facts, but at the same time tremendously witty with plenty of in-jokes for adults to enjoy and the usual slapstick for the young ‘uns to giggle at. The real fun is seeing how they work out the answer and doesn’t require them to talk down on the kiddies like they’re brainless moons. Cartoon pleasantry with historical/scientific/natural facts sandwiched amongst mayhem and fourth wall smashing. YEEAH, BRILLIANT!!
Amongst the wild stuff that goes on, there are a few key characters that join “the Two Howards” to be helpful to their question or add more to the story. Mother the Computer, who provides all the useful facts for our heroes to learn from, Roger the Pigeon, their on/off agent with a habit of nicking the show’s budgie…er, budget…and Dorris the daredevil little granny who isn’t all that she seems. Another clever trick with LHBQ that I’ve picked up is how every object suddenly becomes “animated” whenever Little Howard grabs it.
Granted, it’s no work based from Disney or Warner Bros, but in the end this little series has earned biiiiig reception from his fans – and I mean that for both Howards. Where else would you learn “why we can’t fly”, “would the dinosaurs ever come back” and “what’s the world’s most dangerous food?” :)
And now we start to move onto
While the animation of
Talking of characters, unlike Little Howard, several of the cast just seem too one-sided and samy, some already covered from previous kid-related shows – the jealous older sibling, the love interest, the deceiving, unfair Headmaster and the spiteful, snobby school bully. Unless any of these receive further development on who they really are instead of who we assume they are, then I’ll just have to be content.
Another problem to work from is with so much live action footage to work from, it kind of slows the series down a bit when the only lively character is
So while I do give top props to the animation team for their smooth animations and clever live-action/animation blendings, I secretly wish we didn’t have to focus so much on
So there you are – two shows who appear and sound similar but actually aren’t. I hope you’ve enjoyed this interesting insight and that you may have learnt a thing or three. Oh, and I also wish both Howard and Roy the best of luck for their futures in animation and TV land.