As part of the annual dog-and-pony show that is network up-fronts, where new series are trotted out before advertisers and press, Cartoon Network has revealed (via Hollywood Reporter) that they have ordered eight new pilots for its after hours Adult Swim programming block, and among them are a new series from “Community” creator Dan Harmon, an animated series based on the ‘Harold & Kumar‘ franchise, and a project produced by “Dark Shadows“/”Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” writer Seth Grahame-Smith.
The ‘Harold & Kumar’ animated project, which was announced back in November, will star John Cho and Kal Penn, reprising their roles as the aimless, White Castle-obsessed stoners, and will be overseen by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, the screenwriters behind the film series (the last film, the brilliant, sadly marginalized “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,” came out last year). The ‘Harold & Kumar’ movies always had an exaggerated, more-than-slightly cartoony feel (in the last film, there was a whole section that was stop motion animated), so this feels like a good fit, especially with the leniency afforded a late night Cartoon Network joint.
As for the Harmon project, that is something called “Rick & Morty,” about “a genius inventor and his less-than-genius grandson and the life journeys they share.” Sounds like an agreeable mixture of “Up” and “The Royal Tenenbaums” (or something). It was co-created by Justin Roiland, a writer and actor who has appeared on “The Sarah Silverman Program” and Pen Ward‘s genius animated series “Adventure Time.” What makes this announcement really interesting (if you’re animation nerds like us) is that Harmon is doing an animated project without constant collaborator Dino Stamatopoulos. Stamatopoulos, who serves as a consulting producer on “Community” (he also co-stars as the dearly departed Starburns), has an extensive background in animation as the creator of previous Adult Swim series “Morel Orel” and current favorite “Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole.” It just seems weird that the two wouldn’t collaborate on an animated project.
Another interest project announced was “Rolling with Dad,” a half-hour series about “a brilliant but disabled man dealing with his much less intelligent family” (doesn’t this sound a little like the Harmon thing?). This project is from Seth Grahame-Smith and his producing partner David Katzenberg, who previously oversaw the MTV series “The Hard Times of RJ Berger.” We’re not quite as jazzed about this project as the other two, but since these are just pilot orders, who knows if they’ll ever make it to series (if Aaron Spring and Genndy Tartakovsky‘s amazing “Korgoth of Barbaria” can’t get picked up, god knows what will).