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Unnatural History:

Can this be moved to Live Action Tv now?
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Quirk: Our show revolves around a kid who's traveled the globe and experienced first hand many different cultures — this can be seen throughout the season in various situations that don't always result in what we like to call 'skill-cue flashbacks' — yes, the fb's often deal with 'action' based skills rather than emotional, relation building experiences, BUT if you really do watch the show, there are plenty of moments where Henry's past interweaves with his new life in DC. For example, in The Griffin Gang Henry prepares a traditional breakfast for his new hosts (no flashback here) and in Curse of The Rolling Stone we witness Henry preparing a traditional hammock and even see his cousin try it out (also, no flashback needed here) and in Public School Enemies, we watch Henry almost instantly bond with Old Eddie Macintosh without the need of a skill-cue flashback where we witness Henry respecting the teachings of an elder tribesman.

Have you watched all of the episodes that have aired so far? Perhaps you'd want to see the whole shebang before stating that the show presents a lead character who possesses zero 'humanizing' moments — just a thought.

That said, you're certainly entitled to your opinion and your feedback is genuinely appreciated ;)

edited 31st Aug '10 11:34:31 AM by BSix

 
Gentlemen...
I'm afraid I haven't actually watched the show in any real capacity, and I do know that makes my opinion fall squarely in Complaining About Shows I Don't Watch and all real validity goes out the window. All the hype Cartoon Network put into it, the fact that it's live action on the aforementioned channel, and the one bit in the pilot where Henry says he'll follow the "five" noble truths when he definately should have known better just made a bad first impression.

Either way, thanks for putting up with me. ;) I probably won't watch it in the future, but you have my respect for getting out on the 'net and taking questions like this.

 104 Mukora, Tue, 31st Aug '10 8:24:20 PM from a place Relationship Status: Love is an open door
Uniocular
Hm. After reading the last few pages, I feel like a Jerk Ass for not believing B Six. It seems like he was being honest, or he's a really good liar.

It also seems that I haven't been paying attention to this show. I've missed about half of the season. And Cartoon Network is stingy with reruns. Same goes for Adventure Time, really.
 105 PRIVATE Corp, Wed, 1st Sep '10 5:25:37 AM from the Middle of Nowhere
Steam Punk in the Works
I actually agree with Quirk about Henry. When I first seen the previews, I knew that Henry is going to be a Marty Stu-esque character and once I saw the pilot, I was right! You and me gut, together forever. Though I have only seen the pilot, I still have to dislike Henry for his skills, but the show itself is not bad. But to be fair, I have only seen the pilot but it won't stop me from watching the other episodes through other means.

Yeah, Henry's also a big turn-off for me as well. If it was something different then maybe I'll stick around for it. Which being said, I'm still amazed by how much lack of sheer hatred there is of this show on this forum. I know that there are people out there hating this show, but I must be in the wrong forum. Oh well. At least the people here are being nice to this show. (Or as Mukora said really good liars)

just a suggestion, but you should really see at least one additional episode before writing off the series, especially if the only show you watched was the pilot (which is an origin story) — try watching last night's installment, Thor's Slammer — you may be pleasantly surprised (for example, the flashback in this show is very honest, kinda funny, and pretty cool — imho)
 
 107 zam, Wed, 1st Sep '10 2:32:35 PM from Orlando, FL . Relationship Status: Heisenberg unreliable
Praise Him
^ Saw it pretty well done episode I like Henry's family.

I only have one question B Six sir. Henry wanted to impress his parents right? But wouldn't they be impressed with all his crime-solving? I mean he has saved plenty of artifacts. The only reason They might not be impressed is if they had Indiana Jones level type adventures.

edited 1st Sep '10 4:53:20 PM by zam

All of time and space, anywhere and everywhere, any star that ever was. Where do you want to start?

zam: if you like Henry's family be sure to stick around for the season finale, "Past, Presidents and Future" — it's pretty awesome!

to answer your question — the main reason the griffins sent their son to live with his cousin and uncle in DC was all the trouble he kept getting into (remember the pilot) — they were hoping that Henry's time at Smithson would provide the proper structure for a 'normal' upbringing, something they felt was greatly lacking while he toured the globe with them. So, you are certainly right that Henry has helped save countless artifacts and various people BUT he's also broken a lot of rules and regulations along the way, which is exactly what his parents DON'T want to hear — hope that helps, good question, thanks for watching ;)
 
Apologies in advance for a very long-winded post! Just watched the latest episode- and it was definitely a winner! Henry and Jasper's prank war was fun to watch., and I loved the split-screen scene of the kids searching the offices. I imagine Henry's nearly naked run through the dig site was popular with more than a few fangirls! I also really appreciated the kids' teamwork in this. Maggie and Jasper rescuing Henry from the quicksand, Maggie's fledgling fighting abilities, and Maggie's historic/scientific knowledge being the key to solving the mystery. Henry's anxiousness to make his parents proud of him and his ultimate disappointment with his parents not coming to Parents' Week were good themes to explore. Having Jasper's father accused of murder made the stakes much more personal this time. Many posters have commented on hating Henry because he comes across as too perfect a character. I can see their point. There is a thin line between giving a character unique and amazing skills and making him so perfect as to be unbearable. Henry's skills are a large part of the reason I love this show. Can you imagine watching an episode of MacGyver and not seeing him come up with lifesaving gadgets out of tinfoil and chewing gum? Henry is often stubborn and impetuous, which tends to put his (and other peoples') lives in danger. While some of Henry's classmates may think he's cool, many others seem to view him as a freak and an oddball. These things keep him from feeling like a "Marty Stu" to me. I remember a few instances of Henry losing a fight- Curse of the Rolling Stone and Heart of a Warrior come to mind, and last week he had a definite lack of confidence going up against four armed thieves. Now that we've had almost a whole season to introduce Henry to the audience, there will be room for more episodes exploring his vulnerabilities. Oh, and kudos for getting one tried and tested tv trope out of the way early: blindness! Now if only we could have an episode about Henry getting amnesia....

 
dreamkat: thanks for the excellent review, very well detailed and spot on (imho) — one of my favorite moments in this week's show was watching young Henry extract the honey from that hole in the tree only to be chased off screen by a swarm of killer bees — very real, humorous and honest, and definitely a welcome departure from the bhutan-temple-like flashbacks from the last few shows — you brought up another great point, Henry losing the fight in Curse of The Rolling Stone (he was totally defeated by Strohland, almost killed) and in Heart Of The Warrior (although in that one he ultimately gets the best of the killer samurai villain) — if you enjoyed Thor's Slammer you are REALLY gonna love the season finale, "Past, Presidents and Future" — it's easily one of the best shows this season, for sure ;)

edited 2nd Sep '10 5:33:59 AM by BSix

 
Anyone notice that the main Unnatural History page stopped showing up on the first page of searches for "Unnatural" and "Unnatural History"?
B Six: Just wanted to stop by and let you know that I love the show. My nine-year old son and I watch it together every week. Really enjoying it. His favorite parts are the relationship with Jasper and Henry, as well as the action sequences. Jasper's his favorite character and very frequently laughs out loud at some of Jasper's antics. It's a really smart show and I love that it shows high school kids who care about making good grades and who actually RESEARCH for fun! LOL (That's totally the parent in me.) Anyway... it's a great bonding experience for my son and I... we watch the show and then talk about it. He thinks Henry is really cool (he doesn't think the flashback are cheesy, because he doesn't know what cheesy means). He did note that he understood how Henry was able to scale walls with no problem (because Henry was trained) but he couldn't understand how Jasper and Maggie picked it up so quickly. (Since, you know, he figured that he and friends would never be able to do it so easily.)

Our favorite episodes is "Thor's Slammer"... my son liked the scene where they re-create the night sky to figure out the map. What I really like about your show is those "a-ha" moments and that you're able to actually bring it down to a level that a kid will understand, but an adult can actually enjoy. I can imagine that it must be difficult to write a kids show that has such smart and intellectual characters, whose main interest involve researching things and teaching each other minute facts about history. And, yet, you manage to make it very exciting. It kind of reminds me of scenes from the Harry Potter books, where Ron/Harry/Hermoine have these detailed conversations and then go to the library to research, because - OF COURSE - that's what makes total sense.

Personally, I don't think that Henry is too perfect. I was afraid, in the beginning, that this would be the case. But, since then, we've seen that he's actually not a good student. And he's quite stubborn. And he has a tendency to resist doing things that may require him to assimilate to US culture. (Like not wearing shoes; the lack of bathing and deodorant.) He does have flaws and I do think that it causes him problems. Same with Jasper and Maggie. I thought it was really cute that Maggie became clumsy under pressure. She's very pretty and incredibly smart, so I liked that she had this endearing flaw. I feel like you guys write the characters incredibly well and they just seem like a normal kids who enjoy doing normal things. (I do wonder, though, why they don't talk to Uncle Brian more... it would save them so much hassle!) And, finally, I adore that Jasper has a good relationship with his father. These two genuinely care about each other and I was so touched in that final scene when Uncle Brian wants Henry to come to the dinner, as well, and forces him to wear a tie. (My kid laughed out loud at the cutting of the ties, by the way.) And yay to showing a kid who misses him parents. And loves them and isn't afraid to show it.

Anyway... just wanted to thank you for making an awesome show... one that I can actually enjoy watching with my kid! I hope you get a second season! And can I just say that if these are the sorts of live action shows that Cartoon Network is going to make, then bring it on. Many steps up from ABC Family, let me tell you.

edited 8th Sep '10 5:51:22 PM by sanalayla

 
Mike Werb (creator, exec producer) here. As season one winds down I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to post anything (good/bad/ugly/indifferent) about Unnatural History. I totally get why there would be numerous haters for any live-action show being on CN. But I believe UH, while obviously not animated (except the CGI work — and there's plenty of that) is certainly cartoonish on many levels and fits the expanding profile of the network.

Could it have worked on Nick or Disney? Sure. Would they have aired the show with as few creative restrictions as CN allowed me? Not so sure. But reading through the posts — all the way back to our premiere in June has been pretty fascinating. So thanks for giving the show a chance — my primary goal was to make a smart, emotionally grounded show with smart plots and smart characters — and as much history, heart and thrilling action as possible under our budget constraints. Oh, and to never talk down to viewers regardless of age.

Regarding the Marty Stu of it all — all i can say is i don't see Henry Griffin that way. Despite his skill-set, he is hardly without flaws and fears (eg. in "PUBLIC SCHOOL ENEMIES" which is repeating this Sunday night — we learn that Henry is afraid to drive a car and why). Someone mentioned that they wanted to see flashbacks where Henry doesn't learn some super-skill from some Zen master — and I couldn't agree more. There were two such flashbacks in "The Liberian Candidate" where we meet young Henry with his best friend Tamba in Africa — but we were not able to shoot those scenes for reasons too tedious to get into.

But if we get a second season those humanizing aspects of his personality — in both his past and the present— will be more evident.

In closing, posts from people like sanalayla and dreamkat make it all this hard work worthwhile. The most rewarding thing at Comicon this year (which producer B-SIX missed due to his wife's birthday, if you can imagine!) was hearing from summer school teachers who said the show — despite being blatant fiction — was getting their students interested in history. Anyway, keep the feedback coming — good/bad/ugly/indifferent!

edited 10th Sep '10 10:58:02 PM by giantrats88

Wait, Mike Werb! You're a Troper too? Oh, and are the only time slots for Unnatural History still 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and 9 a.m. on Sundays, because I missed "Heart of a Warrior" on the night it aired and I still haven't seen it yet.

edited 11th Sep '10 11:13:19 AM by PokÚnatic

 115 zam, Sat, 11th Sep '10 11:06:43 AM from Orlando, FL . Relationship Status: Heisenberg unreliable
Praise Him
^^ Holy ****. We have an actual producer here! Can you give us some tips on the entertainment industry?

edited 11th Sep '10 11:07:02 AM by zam

All of time and space, anywhere and everywhere, any star that ever was. Where do you want to start?

yeah, i am now the noob troper known as GIANTRATS 88. my friend and colleague B-Six is very pushy — so while i love the site and have been reading the unnatural posts, i hadn't actually joined until yesterday.

i have no idea whether or not HEART OF THE WARRIOR is going to be repeated soon — i hope so because there's a pretty cool food sequence (henry vs. kenji) to a song by "the offspring." also, that episode features guest star ELLEN WONG — and for any SCOTT PILGRIM fans reading this — that would be reason enough to watch "Heart." she's awesome.

of course it's available on iTunes and — i suppose — other sites not quite as legit.

CN airs new eps tuesdays at 8pm, with repeats on sunday nights. several people have commented on toonzone and imdb that there are sometimes repeats on TNT at 9 am on sundays which is kind of weirdly exciting — but i can't confirm that (i just got back from toronto finishing the season finale — and the show doesn't air at all in canada).

 117 PRIVATE Corp, Sat, 11th Sep '10 5:41:58 PM from the Middle of Nowhere
Steam Punk in the Works
. . . HOLY CRAP! The creator!

Sorry, I am checking on the forums and I found you, Mike Werb, here. Man, that's interesting. First off, Welcome to TV Tropes. I hope that the people here are friendly to you. Well, at least the ones that are nice in general, like I am.

Second, I think I now realize why you went with Cartoon Network. This goes back to when I asked B-Six about it, and you said something about going on Nick or Disney. Knowing that those channels have a more family-friendly nature, they wouldn't allow some of the things that are on Unnatural History to even get on the air. I remember reading about how Adventure Time was going to go on Nick, but they wanted to tone things down until Cartoon Network came in and got it where it is today. So, your show is the first, I believe, to have the TV-PG rating for a drama series within Nick, Disney, and CN. Though I am still a bit iffy on the whole live-action, you do have a good show.

And I have read Scott Pilgrim, but not seen the movie, so this may be interesting.

PRIVATE CORP: thanks for the welcome! yeah, it seems like people on TVT are a decent, intelligent bunch — but i'm here for the merry mix-up of opinions like everyone else. regarding the other nets, i also doubt anyone but CN would have allowed a series that ran a full hour for such a young key demo. they've been pretty great about giving UH some edge in terms of the action, comedy and language (one enjoyable thing about writing for the show has been inventing henry's techno-malaprops). having essentially spent my career in feature films, i find the limitations of the small screen to be totally liberating ...

re: scott pilgrim — the movie's pretty good! ellen wong plays "knives."

edited 11th Sep '10 10:05:17 PM by giantrats88

 119 PRIVATE Corp, Sun, 12th Sep '10 4:37:32 AM from the Middle of Nowhere
Steam Punk in the Works
Interesting. Well, I was thinking that since you do have some firearms in the show, the other networks wouldn't allow those on the air. And the episodes with Sputnik and the sleeper agents... again, wouldn't allow that on the air, especially after the little incident that happened here.

And for Henry's lack of 21st speech.... I can't blame him for it. That's the one thing I like about him, as myself a teen who does not text and use that sort of language. A rule of thumb: If it doesn't sound good coming out your mouth, don't say it at all.

And now I have a few questions. One: what do you think of the Unnatural History page? Two: how is the transition from working on a movie set to working on a television set? And three: what exactly does a screenwriter do?

Rewatching "Public School Enemies" right now. Am I hearing things right cause I think I heard Henry say North Michigan for two of the license plates.
 121 Hopeless Romance, Sun, 12th Sep '10 6:48:27 PM from Minnesota, USA.
I'm not dead yet!
I'm watching the show at the moment for the first time, and I like it so far. It's not terribly impressive, but it's nice. Much better than any live action tween show I've seen in the last several years.

I'm still not happy about live action stuff on CN, but this really isn't bad. I could see it doing better on The N or Discovery Kids.
We're going to spread this shit like Nutella.
Well this is certainly a change in pace...

Welcome to tvtropes, Mike Werb. I hope you have been enjoying the wiki. Our members thoroughly enjoy the show.

edited 12th Sep '10 6:56:08 PM by Pentadragon

private corp: i love the UH page — well done and often hilarious (despite a few inaccuracies). TV v. Film? The creator of a TV show has a lot of power. The screenwriter has very little. What does a screenwriter do? Pretty much everything but direct. Unless it's an adaptation, we invent the story, the characters, the dialogue, the action, the emotional core — read some scripts of your favorite films online and you'll see that it's pretty much all on the page.

pokenatic: pretty sure the license plate is simply "michigan" not "north."

hopeless romance: i suggest watching the "Thor's Slammer" episode if they show it again — it's pretty dope. and if you are on the fence (which you clearly are) check out the the pilot. again, i get the why-is-this-show-on-CN p.o.v. — but they're the network that gave me the opportunity. so i took it.

pentadragon: thanks for the kind words.

edited 12th Sep '10 11:33:30 PM by giantrats88

I don't know why I haven't realized earlier, but giantrats 88, you're a fan of Ghibli?
pokenatic: i am ... and especially of miyazaki. obviously, i love totoro — and "princess mononoke" is one of the greatest films ever made. and i'm not just talking about animation.

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