So let’s talk about a show that really hasn’t made much of a splash yet. Seth Meyers’ of SNL’s Weekend Update new superhero cartoon The Awesomes.
The show is fairly new, with only six episodes uploaded so far. It’s pretty boilerplate superhero stuff, too, but with a little more attitude than one might expect.
Our heroes are the D-List of their world. They’ve inherited (more or less literally) the mantle of being the world’s protectors from a previous Justice League type of group who’ve done such a great job at stopping villainy that they’ve felt it’s OK to retire. The band was led by one Mr Awesome, and featured such lofty heroes as Perfect Man, who it appears is a Superman clone with ego issues. With the disbandment of The Awesomes, Perfect Man thinks that he is capable of stopping any lingering super crime on his own, and to be honest, it looks like he may be right.
This brings us to Prock (a combination of Professor -Doctor) who is the son of Mr Awesome, who has been a constant disappointment to the elder hero. Prock has no apparent powers except his mighty intellect which is hampered by self doubt. Prock also has the ability to stop time for everyone but himself, which he mostly uses for soliloquies and nervous ramblings concerning the aforementioned self-doubt. Prock feels that the team should go on, and with the help of his best friend Muscle Man, manages to convince the retiring hero to allow him to carry on the tradition of the Awesomes team.
The other charter members of the Awesomes all quit, as does their staff and support crew, with the exception of Concierge, a Pepper Potts type character who didn’t say “not it” fast enough. With her help, Prock manages to assemble enough members to keep the team going.
Fans of comics and the DC Animated Universe will recognize several archetypes in the remaining team members:
- Impressario – A Green Lantern analog with serious Mother issues
- Sumo – A nine year old boy who essentially Hulks out and becomes one of the strongest heroes in the world
- Gadget Gal – More Black Canary than Black Canary. She’s a Golden Age hero who gets rejuvenated and is able to fight as her young self again. She doesn’t have any powers, but she can turn any item into a weapon in no time.
- Frantic – Your basic speedster, it’s hard to say which Flash he’s the most like, but I’m going with Impulse
- Hotwire – An electricity based energy projector, and probably the one with the least direct analog. As the series has progressed, she’s gotten much more interesting.
- Muscle Man – Big, dumb, and strong.
Meyers’ voice cast consists of his fellow Saturday Night Live cast members, both current and past, including Bill Hader as the the villainous Dr. Maloccio – a mind dominating evil presence who plans to take over the world.
The show is, as I said above, pretty boilerplate stuff. In terms of plot you’ll recognize many standard superhero tropes. However the show doesn’t take itself too seriously as you might imagine. It’s full of humor, sometimes forced, but also full of heart.
It’s like Meyers really wants to write a serious show, but he’s been pigeon holed as a humorist and this is his way of breaking out. There’s a lot of good stuff going on here, and it’s worth watching. As the show is progressing it’s gaining momentum, the jokes are getting funnier and the stories more engaging. It’s also pretty self aware; when the heroes find themselves in a parallel world, they acknowledge that it’s going to be a right of passage, and that any superteam has to meet its evil counterpoint at some point.
Final conclusion – it’s no Venture Brothers, but it’s worth giving a chance. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed once you’re a few episodes in.