There is so much on television these days, in the age of streaming, it is hard to keep up. The days when we had only three networks, and we pretty much knew what was on each of them every night of the week are long gone. One thing is the same, though. It is always a joy to stumble on a show that you haven’t seen before, a great show that just blows you away, that sinks its claws into you and won’t let go.
Parris and I found one just last week; an animated series called BLUE EYE SAMURAI.
I hardly know where to start on this one. Once we started watching it, we could not stop. Binged the whole thing in three nights, and I am already hungry for the second season. They are doing some amazing things with animation these days, as series like LOVE, DEATH, AND ROBOTS have shown… and this is coming from a kid who was weaned on the classic Disney features (my favorites being PINOCCHIO and DUMBO, but really, I loved them all — the originals, please, not these “live action” rehashes). Even so, BLUE EYE SAMURAI has the most gorgeous art that I have ever seen. The story is terrific as well. Set in Japan during the Edo period, it is violent, visceral, sexy (and more than a little kinky in spots), with amazing action sequences and a cast of well-developed characters, colorful and complex and real. Flawed heroes, villains who are more than cartoons (though they are cartoons, being drawn, after all).
It reminded me of some books I read… what was the title of that series, now? Something about a song…
Ah, never mind…
BLUE EYE SAMURAI is very much its own thing, and it is magnificent. Even if you don’t normally watch animation, give it a try. It’s terrific. If you like my own stuff, I think you’ll love it.
As it happens, HBO and I have our own animated projects, set in the world of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE. None of them have been greenlit yet, but I think we are getting close to taking the next step with a couple of them. When this last round of development started a few years back, we had four ideas for animated shows, with some great talents attached. Writers rooms and summits, outline and scripts followed in due course… but, alas, two of the original projects were subsequently shelved.
(Those of you who have read my reports in years past may recall that I prefer to say “shelved” rather than “killed,” as nothing is ever dead for good in Hollywood, and a project put on the shelf one year can be taken off the shelf a few years later). (( I still have hopes of presenting the stories that we shelved in another form, perhaps as graphic novels)).
Work on the other two animated projects continues apace, however…and meanwhile, we have moved NINE VOYAGES, our series about the legendary voyages of the Sea Snake, over from live action to animation. A move I support fully. Budgetary constraints would likely have made a live action version prohibitively expensive, what with half the show taking place at sea, and the necessity of creating a different port every week, from Driftmark to Lys to the Basilisk Isles to Volantis to Qarth to… well, on and on and on. There’s a whole world out there. And we have a lot better chance of showing it all with animation. So we now have three animated projects underway.
Will any of them make it to air? happen? No way to know. Nothing is certain in Hollywood. But if it does happen, with one or two or all three shows, I hope we can make them as good as gorgeous and gripping as BLUE EYE SAMURAI. We will for damn sure try.