First Impressions: Spaceballs: The Animated Series

Filed under: , by: Grundy the Man

I have many treasured memories of my childhood that are courtesy of Mel Brooks. On numerous different occasions, I can remember sneaking over to a friends house to catch a viewing of Blazing Saddles or History of the World Part I. But of all of the Brooks' masterpieces, none did I enjoy more than Spaceballs.

When it was announced that Mel Brooks was bringing a Spaceballs animated series to television, I was ecstatic. Then I heard that is was going to be on G4. Suddenly the eager excitement that I had been feeling was gone, being replaced by a skeptical feeling of doubt. The only thing that saved my interest was the fact that I trusted Mel Brooks and his keen sense of humor. Has his humor gotten better with age, or is this one last desperate attempt to cash in on his legacy?

I don't know why, but the animation style is not what I expected. It reminded me a lot of the Comedy Central series, The Venture Brothers. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but I was hoping for something that had higher production values, to go along with the rich history of the film. In fact, it shares quite a few characteristics with The Venture Brothers, except for one key component, It wasn't funny. Sure there where little bits thrown in here and there, as a nod to the movie, but lacked the direction necessary to make the plot even minutely interesting.

The worst part about the whole thing is that there is not an original piece of content anywhere to be seen. The first two episodes that I had recorded were retellings of The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars Episode I respectively, with several gags from Spaceballs interspersed throughout, to keep things interesting. The original setting of the film has also been seemingly discarded, in favor of adopting whatever location best fits the scatter shot storyline. After all the bastardization is done, all that you are left with is a bland storyline, that is distilled of any comedic value whatsoever.

While they say that it was written by under the direction of Mel Brooks, It seems to miss the boat on his cleaver brand of humor, irony, and wordplay. Everything seems like a gratuitous joke about breasts or asses, with little regard for the context in which it is being said. Everything seems to be taken a bit further than is really necessary, which also bothers me immensely.

Though Mel Brooks, Daphne Zuniga, and Joan Rivers all return to voice their original characters, the magic of the movie is no longer there. I wish them the best of success in the future, but they may have to venture on towards cancellation without me. I don't appreciate having all of my childhood memories tarnished.

If you are still interested in the show, check out the promo for Spaceballs: The Animated Series: