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Review

Harry has seen all 13 episodes of Cartoon Network's Live Action Series TOWER PREP created by PAUL DINI!

Hey folks, Harry here with a dip into the Coaxial side of life. There's a new series debuting tomorrow night on CARTOON NETWORK by Paul Dini - For those of us that love the best of televised Animation & comic books, we've grown to trust in Mr Paul Dini. But what about live action? When you write for animated shows, you can often times find yourself pigeon-holed. However, in this case - it has worked out for Dini. At CARTOON NETWORK, they know how talented Paul is - and when he brought them his idea for a new Live Action show, they wisely listened. What is TOWER PREP? That's the driving question of the show. Paul isn't someone that dumbs things down for a kid audience, instead he aims high and hopes the kids are willing to jump to catch it all. Or that perhaps they'll revisit things as an adult and catch all the little things he's planted for their brains to soak up. Having seen all 13 First Season Episodes - I can answer that question. TOWER PREP is that complete rarity. A show starring High School age looking actors that not only, doesn't suck, but is one of the best shows on TV. With Glen Morgan (X-FILES) guiding the show with Dini - what you have is a show that all at once has elements of HARRY POTTER, THE PRISONER, LOST & classic silver age X-MEN. It does that, without ever being too much of any of those. Added throughout are some of Dini's specific fetishes, along with Morgan's. The fight scenes, especially as the show goes on, remind me of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES fight scenes. Just in the way they're staged. The show has genuinely shocking revelations, hurtful betrayals and some real teeth. And finally there's a show that's final shot of the final episode of the season, genuinely will make you go, WHAT THE FUCK, NO WAY!!! And you will be dying for the start of season 2, because... well, you'll see. The series starts off slow, introducing characters and building the relationships that you'll begin to care about once the stakes get raised, and they definitely get raised. But they're bound and determined to draw very clear characters that you care about. In the first four episodes, you really get to know the show's lead, Ian Archer played by Drew Van Acker. Who I kinda wish somebody took back in time and cast as Anakin, cuz his Ian Archer is closer to what I imagined pre-turned Anakin should have been. He has the ability to sense a second or two in advance of something happening. I refer to it as basically Spidey-Sense or what Daredevil has. Ian has no clue why he's there. Where there is. Nor who to trust. But he runs into three others that he comes to trust. There's CJ - the obvious romantic attraction for Ian, though you'd be surprised how many characters they'll bring at Ian. CJ has the ability to discern the truth from someone, through slight imperceptible changes in the body - and perhaps more, later. She's attractive & cute - with a chip on her shoulder. I LOVE HER CHARACTER STORYLINE over the season. Then there's Suki Sato - who has the ability to perfectly imitate any voice or sound that she hears. An incredibly helpful talent in a number of situations. All the technology of TOWER PREP has her last name on it, her father's company, she learns a lot this season. Then there's my favorite character, Gabe Forrest - played to utter perfection by Ryan Pinkston. Gabe is Paul Dini as a young man. Gabe's power is to bullshit you into doing his will. If you let Gabe talk long enough, you'll become his puppet. Gabe reminds me of a young Richard Dreyfus in his manner, though not at all visually. If you commit to the season, he will delight you to no end. Now, that thing that I love about the show is that this is a real school, the kids are being taught things, some of the episodes work like a week's worth of school and the defining assignment of that week - and how these four can use that assignment to work on their overall plan of escape. As it continues, characters we thought of as enemies are proven to be allies, as well as incredibly deceitful rat bastards. The school isn't some new place either, it has been around for quite some time. Some of the teachers were students, but there seem to be outside influences constantly interfering with the balance of figuring out exactly what is going on. Don't worry, you will learn the answers to many of the initial questions, but the goody goody of this show are the questions you have as a gift from the season finale. I thought that the show this season I would be crowing loudest about would be BOARDWALK EMPIRE, but outside of a stunning first outing by Scorsese... I'm still watching, but I am curious if I should be. This is a show that you can watch with the family, that is not painful, but rather invigorating. AND - if you don't have kids - if you're still young at heart in the least, this'll catch ya. I know that the notion of watching a live action show on CARTOON NETWORK, is something that none of us should necessarily be supporting. But then, I remember when LAND OF THE LOST jumped into my Saturday Morning line-up and how thrilled I was at the difference. But more than that, CARTOON NETWORK has put down money to support a live action PAUL DINI action/mystery/funny/emotional/quasi-mutant/paranoid/thriller show about the prep-school of our dreams and nightmares. It should be Prime Time ABC. Especially with Glen Morgan running the show. If you're a geek in good standing, there's only one place to be tomorrow night - and that is CARTOON NETWORK - watch all 13 and you'll really love it. I promise.

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 19, 2010, 1:21 a.m. CST

    PLANT

    by unkempt_sock

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 1:28 a.m. CST

    well you can't say I'm full of shit

    by HEADGEEK

    as I've spent most of this day on a toilet with diarrhea, so I could've fertilized Botanical Gardens solo earlier, but as of the writing of this, I'm dead empty.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 1:37 a.m. CST

    said the plant.

    by sways

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 1:45 a.m. CST

    You need an editor, Harry

    by Newbs

    Your punctuation is KILLING me.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 1:49 a.m. CST

    DINI!

    by sways

    You were the bomb on Clerks: The Animated Series, yo!

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 2:04 a.m. CST

    I read this whole damn article Harry

    by pushthebuttonmax

    and I have no fucking idea what the premise is. Way to go. Guess I'll just head over to Wikipedia.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 2:05 a.m. CST

    Been a fan of Pinkston for years

    by slimballs

    Dude should be a huge comedy star by now.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 2:20 a.m. CST

    CN has some seriously interesting stuff right now.

    by RedEgiraahgnal

    Even if they fail HARD with some of them (Mystery Incorporated anyone?), they are at least trying again. (Sym-Bionic Titan FTW!)

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 2:24 a.m. CST

    Wait a second. Ryan Pinkston...

    by RedEgiraahgnal

    Wasn't he Coconut Head in NED'S DECLASSIFIED back in the days?

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 3:22 a.m. CST

    Dini and Morgan

    by hst666

    are enough to make me check this out.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 4:22 a.m. CST

    boardwalk empire vs light comic related entertainment?

    by brabon300

    nothing wrong with family entertainment, but from the clip herc showed, seems that the entire cast were pulled from central casting<p>im sure its semi good, as dini is attached...but i would prefer something along the lines of the new xmen...where all the kids didnt look perfect

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 5:17 a.m. CST

    No thanks, no X-Tweens

    by CCon99

    I guess Cartoon Network is getting jealous of all those Disney Miley Cyrus like shows. Watch, in 5 years finding a Cartoon on the Cartoon Network will likely be as hard as finding a Music Video on MTV.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 5:21 a.m. CST

    Boardwalk Empire is awesome

    by American Mythos

    If you can say you're not sure you'll finish watching Boardwalk Empire's first season, but you out and out committed to a kid's show, then, well... WTF? I'm at a loss.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 6:55 a.m. CST

    All you needed to say was "Paul Dini"

    by rbatty024

    Remember, he not only did Batman:TAS, but he also oversaw the first (and best) season of Lost. In addition, he made the terrible Batman villain Hush kind of interesting.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 6:55 a.m. CST

    In case anyone is curious...

    by Gislef_crow

    The show airs at 8/7 central (opposite the lighter/frothier superhero shenanigans of No Ordinary Family). Although it sneak-preview premiered on the 16th. So thanks for giving us the heads up 3 days late.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Um what is this show?

    by vadakinX

    I read Harry's article but I still have no fucking idea what the show is about. I know about the characters but not the actual plot of the show.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Too much content for coax

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    ?

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 8:57 a.m. CST

    Which Title is worse? Cougar Town or Tower Prep?

    by JGer

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 9:05 a.m. CST

    Yeah, so a live action show

    by STLost

    on the "Cartoon" Network. <P> Brilliant. <P> And you saw what happened to music videos on MTV.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Is it really that hard to explain the show?

    by ZombieHunter

    It's like reading the incoherent ramblings of a guy who just saw a monster eating the wing of an airplane.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Stopped reading at Paul Dini

    by onezeroone

    Well, not exactly, but no other word was necessary. With Batman Arkham Asylum he did what I thought was impossible. In fact, two things that I thought were impossible. <p> 1. A game that nails the Dark Knight and his world.<p> 2. Top his work on Batman:TAS.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 10:05 a.m. CST

    Pedigreed indeed.

    by roguechef664

    Let this be better than the ending of Lost.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Just check it out and quit bitching . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    . . . if Harry had explained any more you douche-bags would be whining that he gave away too much.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 11:21 a.m. CST

    New on Comedy Central: KIDS WHO DIE OF CANCER

    by Fico

    $$

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 11:21 a.m. CST

    New on Food network: MOST DEADLIEST POISONS

    by Fico

    yes

  • There, that's the premise. Anyone could have looked it up in the time they took to complain about Harry not spelling it out for them.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 4:13 p.m. CST

    Loved Paul Dini's work for Batman and Superman.

    by JudasPriestly

    Maybe he should have a hand in the live-action Superman movie.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 5:25 p.m. CST

    Premise as I saw it:

    by Boober

    School for gifted youngsters run by people who want to nurture their powers/potential while containing their powers/potential with controls in place. The "why" (as in motives) is the mystery. It has a NEO/Trinity "first contact" moment. It has a "Xavier's school for gifted youngsters" feel. The Lost component: "Guys. Where ARE we?" The Harry Potter moment: Gryphs vs. Sliths thing.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 6:18 p.m. CST

    Are those really superpowers or just talents?

    by Raymar

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 6:24 p.m. CST

    Instead of Green Lighting this garbage, bring back JLU

    by CCon99

    Bring back JLU. Or how about getting Timm/Dini an X-Men animated series where the first season is just the original 5 and then 2nd season has the Giant Size X-Men tie-in.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Hmmmmm. This is the guy who didn't like INCEPTION

    by RICHARD_GERE_RAPED_MY_GERBIL

    I'm sure I can trust his opinion that a tween show on the Cartoon Network is much better than the Scorsese endorsed, quality HBO drama "Boardwalk Empire".<p>Of course I can!

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 6:51 p.m. CST

    What is TOWER PREP?

    by slickjohnny

    I still don't know. Can anyone point me to a review?

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 8:48 p.m. CST

    nit-pickin' wankers

    by yabory

    always nit-pickin. dini has done no wrong. the show is officially set to record. though i do agree that i'm wary of cartoon network doing shows that are not cartoon. it's like having a porn channel and showing sports...i get the leap, but it smells of mtv.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 9:03 p.m. CST

    Sym-Bionic Titan

    by THX1968

    I don't remember seeing this mentioned on AICN. Tartakovsky's excellent new show on CN. Dini is great, but Tartakovsky is something super special. The guy has such a keen eye for action and doesn't rely on heavy dialogue.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 9:07 p.m. CST

    Nice Marmot

    by pushthebuttonmax

    You don't get it. Harry didn't even tell us the PREMISE. THE FREAKING PREMISE. That's just pathetic.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 9:14 p.m. CST

    That Suki Sato chick is quite cute

    by terry1978

    That's right, I am going to watch a show based on the hotness of the females in it. Burn me at the stake.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 9:16 p.m. CST

    Harry has fuckin horrible taste in TV

    by quantize

    always has..clueless

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 9:20 p.m. CST

    Is this Harry's Inception review?

    by HansBubi

    I can't tell.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 9:26 p.m. CST

    It's like reviewing LOST...

    by HansBubi

    ..before the pilot aired, and not even mentioning that it's about the survivors of a plane crash on an island. Immediately going into "Well, Charlie is a rocker who is played to perfection by Dominic Monaghan. Now my favorite character though is Jack. He's the leader type, and Matthew Fox nails this character." This kind of writing does not generate excitement in readers because it does not inform...at all. Instead, it leaves them confused and frustrated. One simple sentence about the premise of the show would do wonders, but we don't get that in an article containing over 1,000 words.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 9:34 p.m. CST

    Caught the premiere earlier tomight.

    by rabidfnark

    I hadn't realized Dini had been involved at at all until I saw the intro. Long story short: I liked it. I think it shows a lot of potential, and I hope it lives up to it.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 9:38 p.m. CST

    And as you can tell by my spelling...

    by rabidfnark

    I am completely reliable, and never wrong. Not wunce.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 9:48 p.m. CST

    is this more superhero comic book feces?

    by animas

    nevermind, i don't give a shit.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 10:17 p.m. CST

    sounds like Spain's 'El Internado'

    by Gungan Slayer

    which has been on air for several years now. And is a shitty show.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 10:49 p.m. CST

    by Grasscutter

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 10:50 p.m. CST

    It's The Prisoner...

    by Grasscutter

    and Pals.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 10:51 p.m. CST

    by Grasscutter

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 10:59 p.m. CST

    Misfits shits all over this

    by DOOMzilla

    that is teens with super powers done right.

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 11:39 p.m. CST

    I must agree

    by catlettuce4

    Harry, you should have mentioned the premise. Only through reading the whole thing did I kinda get the idea this must be, what, superpowered teens in school? Would have been nice to know up front so the rest could be taken in context. And although this may be a good show, I really don't like the idea of Cartoon Network running live action shows. What's next? MTV having shows not about music?

  • Oct. 19, 2010, 11:42 p.m. CST

    You know, as vague as Harry was...

    by robertplant

    ...I somehow gathered that this show was canadian, and it is.

  • Oct. 20, 2010, 12:39 a.m. CST

    I don't trust you.

    by Bandit 37

    Your friends with Dini, and you work together.

  • Oct. 20, 2010, 1:21 a.m. CST

    I Don't know, Harry..

    by BartholomewNeff

    I watched the pilot the other day. I love Dini's other work, but the way they shot this it looked like they made it on cheap video. And the director? I really wasn't impressed with what he did. And as for the actors? Pretty boys that could remember their lines is the best I can say. I only watched the first twenty minutes and it didn't hold my interest, I hope it gets better, but I don't consider it up to the quality of BAS, Arkham Asylum or his work on Lost for that matter. It looks like they couldn't afford to shoot on film and couldn't get actors that could act. Maybe it'll grow on me, I don't want anything from Paul to fail.

  • Oct. 20, 2010, 5:03 a.m. CST

    I watched it

    by ballyhoo

    I liked it a lot, the premise teases just enough to make me interested. And I am sure that Dini will deliver. That said, I don't like the look of the show. It just looks bland. I really wish it had been a cartoon.

  • Oct. 20, 2010, 6:25 a.m. CST

    I have just read the above...

    by Righteous Brother

    and still have no fucking clue as to what Tower Prep is supposed to be about, what was that article H? Just a random stream of conciousness?

  • Oct. 20, 2010, 8:47 a.m. CST

    I'll be watching Young Justice instead

    by leo54304

    The show is set in Earth-16, a DC Multiverse world, and corresponds to the present time of our world — a time period Vietti has called "a new age of heroes." The recently founded (three to four years in activity) Justice League is a powerful organization of superheroes who find themselves becoming "high-powered, high-wattage celebrities" tracked closely by the public. As it grows increasingly difficult for the Justice League to operate outside the spotlight, the supervillains take advantage of their opponents' prominence while becoming better at organizing and working under the radar. Meanwhile, the teenaged sidekicks of several Justice League members feel they are ready to graduate on to the next level and become more independent. Consequently, Batman organizes the teens to fill the need for a covert operations team while keeping their protégés under their authority.<br> <br> Read more about the series on wikipedia.

  • Oct. 20, 2010, 9:37 a.m. CST

    HARRY YOU ARE ON FUCKING CRACK.

    by the Green Gargantua

    Keep it up, it is a great way to drop some LBs :)

  • Oct. 20, 2010, 11:34 a.m. CST

    It's a mysterious prison prep school for superheroes?

    by Chewtoy

    At least, that's what I gather from the talkback. I have to agree with the others... the review above made little sense to me.

  • Oct. 20, 2010, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Bosley Obit Please

    by benlinus

    Harry, get it done. This man was a legend. Post the fucking obit.

  • Oct. 20, 2010, 2:03 p.m. CST

    It's an okay show...

    by robertplant

    ...but I feel like it's geared toward a much younger crowd, what with the power rangers-esque villains with the green flashlight heads. There's definitely no sense of danger from those things after the kid rips its mask off, and especially when the kid with the power to "talk his way out of any situation" is able to slightly neutralize them. I'm going to keep watching just because the actors are likeable and Harry raves that it gets better. btw its already on bittorrent...

  • Oct. 20, 2010, 4:52 p.m. CST

    I have seen better on Power Rangers

    by the Green Gargantua

    and that music SUCKS!

  • Oct. 21, 2010, 1:42 a.m. CST

    High school age "looking" characters

    by wintocha67

    Man, if I'd read that correctly I wouldn't have bothered to sit through the first half of the first episode of this show. The Asian girl who plays a high school student just turned 29. She's older than my wife. Anyway I couldn't stand all this injustice happening to these people. Worse than Boot Camp with Mila Kunis.

  • Oct. 21, 2010, 4:38 a.m. CST

    I liked the Pilot

    by MrPoop

    Just so you all know, it is currently On-Demand on Comcast. <p> I wish they had some more money to put into the production values. The Gnome guards were pretty awful looking but I guess they had to make do with what little money they have.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 6:10 a.m. CST

    Oy Harry

    by UrbanSamurai

    New corner animation: Really nice spoof of the classic opening of Fleischer's Superman cartoon. Has nothing to do with this show, but since Dini was/ is involved with the Warner DC Animations it kinda fits here, no? If not, PLEASE DON'T BAN ME!!! (Joking, of course) PEACE!!

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 6:56 a.m. CST

    That's great Harry...

    by brattyben

    but what's the fuckin' show about???

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 8:04 a.m. CST

    Not much sense

    by The StarWolf

    Seeing the pilot reminded me of THE GREAT ESCAPE. Terrific WW II film about the true story of Germans putting all the best allied escape artist POWs into one camp where they can keep an eye on them. Predictably - to anyone but the Germans - this results in the largest mass escape of the war. In TOWER PREP we've got unknown powers herding a whole bunch of people with 'special abilities' into an institution where they are treated like prisoners. And this won't come back to bite them? Or else they utterly fail to escape, in which case how good can their powers be and are they really worth all that time and effort to train? Oh and, the soundtrack was really grating in places.

  • Oct. 24, 2010, 7:14 p.m. CST

    There is a warrant for Harry's arrest...

    by Wrath4771

    Harry Knowles is wanted by the authorities for butchering and murdering the defenseless English language.

  • Oct. 24, 2010, 7:17 p.m. CST

    So Harry Understands...

    by Wrath4771

    Harry Knowles is. Wanted by the - and then - authorities. And then for butchering. Murdering and English language defenseless.

  • Oct. 24, 2010, 7:20 p.m. CST

    Doupao

    by Wrath4771

    Even has a better command of the English language than Harry.

  • Oct. 26, 2010, 10:06 a.m. CST

    I was underwhelmed...

    by Rustle

    with the first episode. But I’ll give it a couple more to see if it improves. It does feel geared for a tween audience.

  • Oct. 27, 2010, 8:20 a.m. CST

    meh I dont know-

    by Wookie_1995

    Saw some of the first episode and thought it ws pretty lame for a Paul Dinne show. he just needs to start batman again. He is the hero T.V. needs and deserves after all the crap we have to sit through on a dail basis.

  • Oct. 30, 2010, 1:30 p.m. CST

    "Season 2" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    by ForgetfulPete

    Funniest thing you've said all week, Harry! This has no chance. It's the kind of show you make a point to NOT watch because if it's bad you've wasted your time and if it's good then it's guaranteed to be canceled so you won't ever find out the end of the story. We've all been down that road too many times, been burned too many times. Oh well. Season 2. HAHAHAHAHA! This isn't England Harry! Shows like this don't GET a season 2!

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 9:37 p.m. CST

    Harry didn't mention when he had a boner or went to pee on this

    by JonChambers

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 9:39 p.m. CST

    THIS SHOW NEEDS MORE RAW SEX & BLOODY ULTRA VIOLENCE!!!!!!!!!!

    by JonChambers

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 9:40 p.m. CST

    Quoting Roger Corman to his film editor: "Where's the rape??!"

    by JonChambers

  • Nov. 6, 2010, 3:50 a.m. CST

    Stephen King +Harry Potter +Disney Channel

    by Mundungus

    this is the show that I would pitch if I had 30 seconds to convince some douche tank that a show would sell to teens. Then I would mourn for my soul.

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 6:28 a.m. CST

    Newbs...

    by jwhj2007

    I agree. Harry's grammar is pretty bad. I find it hard to read his articles sometimes.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Season 1

    by Briestro

    Well, I watched all thirteen eps in the last 2 weeks, as the finale just aired the other night. It's not bad, a little silly, but entertaining. I hope it gets anther season, and I hope they get rid of all the silly Gabe humor that's involved. B

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