Thursday, June 2, 2011

MTV's Liquid Television 20th Anniversary

I just got a headline that MTV's Liquid Television debuted 20 years ago today.  I can't believe it's been 20 years, but then again, part of me feels that when I watched it, I was actually younger than I would have been just 20 years ago.  I guess it's just another way to prove that I never outgrew my geek side, since I would've turned into Liquid Television while I was 20.

I definitely remember watching a bunch of the programs with my friend Mike while over at my parents' house painting Warhammer 40K miniatures or working on the outline for a series of novels based on my World of Samoth campaign setting.  Our favorites were definitely Beavis & Butthead and of course Æon Flux. Oddly enough, while I enjoyed the Æon Flux animated series, I never ended up seeing the live-action version. 

The animated programs on Liquid Television were extremely innovative and ground-breaking for their time, and the producers and creative teams were way ahead of the times in realizing that "non-kid" animation (I don't use the word "adult" because that creates a whole series of connotations that I don't mean to imply) was appealing to young 18-34 year old males.  Today, it's pretty generally accepted that men in that age group play video games, watch superhero and science fiction movies, and probably watch animated programs like Family Guy or the stuff on Adult Swim. But, 20 years ago... nope.  While all of that stuff still happened, most people in the marketing and media worlds did not know about it.  It was a pretty big gamble for MTV to put stuff like this on and hope that it would find an audience, but I think we can safely say that without Liquid Television, there would be no Adult Swim, Family Guy, Bob's Burgers, Afro Samurai, Archer, and maybe not even one of my all-time personal favorites, Samurai Jack.*

Congrats on your anniversary, Liquid Television. You are missed.

Did you all watch Liquid Television? What are your memories of it?


* Note that I didn't mention The Cleveland Show because that program is awful.

11 comments:

  1. Also, glad to see your follower count increase.

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  2. Thanks, Dylan! I gained one new one this week so far. :) But I think like you said... I've had over 100 page views just today alone. I know a lot of those are the same people reading multiple posts, but at least they're enjoying the blog.

    I'm getting lots of interesting leads from searched on Google, too, which I think is helping. Everything from "custom action figures" to "game store Sandy Utah".

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  3. Loved Liquid Television. Always hoped that would spawn off into it's own entire network...

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  4. @scottsz - yeah, I felt the same way. I'm actually surprised that Adult Swim hasn't also spun off into its own network at this point, although I think part of that has to do with the adult-themed content of their programs. It would be difficult to justify airing those in the middle of the day.

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  5. Yeah, loved LT! I was really into Aeon Flux. I loved how it entertained while simultaneously creeped me out! I can't believe 20 years have passed that fast! If that 15 year old kid could see me now...not sure what he'd think of future-him!

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  6. Over here it must have been hacked up into bits, as I remember the Liquid TV titles and Aeon Flux is a very clear memory, probably because it was so strange and revolutionary at the time, but I don't remember Beavis and Butthead being part of the same segment.

    (I've just looked into it, and it seems that we only got the first series on BBC2, so that may explain it.)

    I think you're right in saying that without it, we wouldn't have got a lot of the top animated series of today, and a world without Samurai Jack is a hellish world indeed.

    Oh and don't bother with the Aeon Flux movie. It's generic scifi with none of the evocative feel of the original.

    Did you ever see Peter Chung's Phantom 2040? While a great deal less bonkers than Aeon Flux, it was still far more off-kilter than any other (western) Saturday morning kids' cartoon.

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  7. 20 years? Crap! I'm old! I friggin' loved that show. Invisible Hands, Winter Steele, Art School Girls from Hell. As far as I recall the only regular segment I didn't care for was Dog Boy.

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  8. I miss Liquid Television. We need a one-shot animation show again. Some, like those by George Plimpton, were hilarious. Others were epic. I still love Beavis & Butthead, and Aeon Flux lost something when it went to a full half-hour. The live action was fun, though -- well, at least Charlize Theron in a catsuit is fun. :)

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  9. @Drance - Yeah, I'm still reeling from it having been 20 years. Crazy!

    @Kelvin - Couldn't agree more with you about Samurai Jack. One of my favorite animated series of all time. And I've never seen Phantom 2040 but I'll definitely check it out. Thanks for the tip!

    @JeffRients - Agreed on Dog Boy. There were so many different ones that I'd forgotten about, too - thanks for your list.

    @Steelcaress - My friend Mike and I totally dug the George Plimpton cartoons as well - I remember watching one once while we were really tired about a long night of painting miniatures and totally cracking up so loudly that we woke up my mom and she thought we'd been smoking some "wacky tobacky" which is odd considering I've never smoked anything in my life.
    And although I haven't seen the live action Aeon Flux, I kidna figure I can just find pix of Charlize Theron in the catsuit on the interwebs to satisfy that itch, if I'm so inclined. So I'm sticking by my choice to not watch it. :)

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  10. Are you comfortable? Are you... comfortable? You will not get COMFORTABLE!!

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