I completely missed all advance press for the new Cartoon Network show, The Secret Saturdays, but I saw a brief commercial for it as my son was watching the channel earlier this week, and it looked like the greatest cartoon ever: Strange creatures. Costumed characters. A flaming sword. Invisible lizards. Tentacles. Airships.
I asked my son what it was.
"The Secret Saturdays," he said.
"It looks cool, is it any good?" I asked, since, at age seven, he knows everything about every show on Cartoon Network. Or so I thought.
"I don't know. I've never seen it. It does look cool, though."
So we set the DVR for a Friday night recording, and we watched what turned out to be Episode 3, "The Vengeance of Hibagon," yesterday morning.
And The Secret Saturdays IS, indeed, cool. It has a strong comic book connection too, as the brainchild of artist Jay Stephens, although its wikipedia page points out how much has changed since his original pitch. But he's still the art director on the show, and it's a great looking 22 minutes of animated television. It's pretty clearly a Herculoids meets Johnny Quest meets The Fantastic Four concept, both in visual style and content. Since we missed the first two episodes, we didn't get much in the way of character introductions or background info, which was fine with me, because it's a fully-realized world, and I like the mystery and implied depth of context.
"The Vengeance of Hibagon" felt like an update of those 1960's Hanna-Barbara cartoons, in its relatively simple story and visual delight, but it had enough modern bits to make it work today. I know my son was enthralled, and I certainly enjoyed it for its classic vibe and elegant character designs.
Check it out next Friday night, and let me know what you think.