Say goodbye to Toon Disney, invented long ago to compete with Cartoon Network and Nick. Poor old TD was shut away in a closet filled with mothballs on Friday, and Disney XD rolled out to replace it.
You can also say goodbye to all those musty, old cartoons.
...Unlike Toon Disney, which was driven by its cartoon genre, Disney XD will be driven more by themes to create a brand. "This notion of the boy who is evolving, who is achieving, who is leveling up to the next stage, this is a dynamic that boys really fundamentally understand. It's how they live their lives. It's how they approach their future."
Disney XD's first original series, "Aaron Stone" (7 p.m. Friday), follows the adventures of teen-ager Charlie Landers (Kelly Blatz), who has mastered the online game "Hero Rising." Charlie is enlisted by the game's creator to become a real-life crime fighter. He's assisted in his tasks by the android S.T.A.N. (J.P. Manoux), whose name stands for Sentient Tactical Assisting Neo-Human. Other characters include Charlie's brother, Jason (David Lambert), and his friend, Emma (Tania Gunadi).
"The notion that you could target boys particularly and give them a destination for themselves is something that seemed absolutely like virgin real estate in the cable community," [Disney Channels Worldwide entertainment president Gary] Marsh said at a Disney XD press conference last month.
Well, I'm a long way from being a teenaged boy, but I'm raising one at home, and trust me. This isn't "virgin real estate" that Disney XD is plowing. There's Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim", and big chunks of Nick's lineup, also the Fox Sunday night animated block that's already locked in the eyeballs of lots of teenaged males.
Disney seems to think that live-action shows about boy gamers and the robots who love them are going to turn the trick. But I'm here to tell the boys and girls at the Mouse House, teenagers of the male persuasion are much more interested in animated fat guys who do lots of fart, sex and vomit jokes. And Seth McFarlane has a hammer-lock on those things, not Disney XD.
But good luck to them. And we'll see how the kid live-action shows pan out.