Theyyyyyy’re back: Warner Bros. Animation’s Jay Bastian on bringing back a classic to Cartoon Net

Bring on the slapstick. Again. Cartoon Network is gearing up to debut The Tom and Jerry Show on Wednesday, and I got the inside scoop from Warner Bros. Animation’s Jay Bastian, the creative exec in charge of the series.

Will you be revisiting any classic episodes?
Most of the shorts are perfect as they are. If we tried to recreate them, it wouldn’t seem as good. So we stay close to their classic dynamic so the show will be as evergreen as the shorts have always been. We’ve been tapping into recurring scenarios. We always point out Tom doesn’t actually want to eat Jerry. He may knock him over the head a few times, but they aren’t trying to kill each other. They’re to one-up each other. It’s more about sibling rivalry.

Do Tom and Jerry still look the same?
The look and feel is a very Hanna Barbera-MGM 1950s, but at the same time the way we’re approaching them does look a little flatter and more modern.

Toughest thing about bringing back a classic?
The biggest challenge we have is we are telling 11-minute stories, whereas the classic shorts are only 7 minutes. So the stories now are a little more involved. And there’s been a learning curve to figure out the best way to tell 11-minute stories with two main characters that don’t talk. That gets fleshed out into scripts; we have to write scripts for them even though Tom and Jerry don’t talk. We have one character in every short that does talk. Someone needs to talk to move the story along.

What’s your favorite T and J episode?
One of my favorites is when Spike has a birthday party for Tike, and Tom and Jerry come along and mess everything up…. Cartoon Network always says, Complex characters in simple situations. That’s where Tom and Jerry really shine. On the surface it feels like they are just doing ridiculous things, but they really are smart, developed, interesting characters. Put them into a simple situation, and see them thrive. I’m always impressed that writers and directors can still make Tom and Jerry running around a house feel new and fresh. Sometimes it’s just lightening in a bottle.

Related Stories

TV Land cancels Lopez and Throwing Shade

TV Land cancels Lopez.

TV Land has cut ties with two more original series, canceling Lopez after two seasons and late-night comedy Throwing Shade after one. In addition, the Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone-produced comedy, Nobodies, is moving to flagship Viacom scripted brand Paramount Network.

Julianne Hough lands pilot at Fox

Julianne Hough lands pilot at FOX.

FOX issued a put pilot order for comedy One Hit Wendy. Julianne Hough (Dancing With the Stars) stars as a singer who peaked at 18 and is now trying to guide her talented niece through the music biz.

Mashable sells to Ziff Davis for only $50 million

Mashable sells to Ziff Davis for only $50 million

Mashable was just sold – and it didn’t exactly fetch a hefty price tag. The digital media company was purchased by Ziff Davis, a publisher of gaming, healthcare, and tech content. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. According to the paper, Ziff Davis only paid about $50 million for the company. […]

Univision looks for minority stakeholder in Fusion Media Group

Univision looks for minority stakeholder in Fusion Media Group

According to a new report from Recode, Univision is looking to bring in a minority investor to support Fusion Media Group. Along with the Fusion TV network and a production studio, FMG consists of a number of digital media properties, including The Onion and most of the sites formerly owned by Gawker Media. (Univision bought […]

NBC Olympics’ streaming blizzard

NBC Olympics' streaming blizzard (Facebook)

NBC Olympics is lining up 1800 hours of live streaming coverage of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games from PyeongChang in February, marking a record for a Winter Olympics. In addition, PyeongChang will be the first Winter Games to offer live streaming of the NBC broadcast network, including primetime and primetime-plus programming as part of its […]

CynCity

Cynsiders

Instagram