Every year or so I come across a TV show like Station X. By that I mean something that is unique, that I identify with, that I find better than anything else, and that will be cancelled pretty quickly because of bad ratings
. Arrested Development
was one of these shows, and has spent it's three seasons in a continual free fall of near-cancellation
. Critics spoke up and continually encouraged people to check out the "best show nobody watches" as it has frequently been referred to. I now believe Arrested Development will survive for a few more seasons. This can't be the case for Station X, and there are many reasons why.
For one thing, Station X is a non-humour cartoon. I notice my satellite provider catalogues all cartoons as Children-oriented, despite many rated at least PG. This isn't a commonly-held belief anymore, cartoons can definitely be for teens or adults rather than for preschoolers. They can be serious, well-done, and straight to the point. Station X is about six young roommates who share a loft. It is animated with obvious comic book
influences, judging by the angles and multiple frames that I didn't even notice until I had paid attention to the art. They work well with the unique presentation of the series, which addresses a certain teen issue in each episode.
Each show begins with one of the main characters having an experience that really makes them think. They go to each of their friends asking for an opinion, and receive varied answers that the viewers were likely thinking themselves. The best thing about the show is that each of the six people are film students, musicians, artists, or full-time net surfers. When talking about whatever topic is at hand, they reference popular culture, foreign films, animated shorts, and obscure underground music. A regular half-hour episode will feature maybe 4 or 5 clips from media you either definitely have or definitely have not heard of. For example, in the episode entitled "Sex", Davis decides to become celibate for an undetermined amount of time. One of her friends references a skit from the popular Canadian comedy sketch show Kids in the Hall, in which a man is trying to avoid having sex with his wife. Another episode, "Violence", includes a clip from the documentary Scared Straight, in which prisoners intimidate young offenders into becoming respectable citizens.
Each character puts a different spin on things because each one has their own style. Davis is smart and likes music, especially older jazzy stuff. Jesse is the web genius, who knows the ins and outs of the internet. He's the one who would be following the latest memes and viral videos. Knob is dressed in a skull T-shirt and mullet, and is a total rocker. Most often he references music videos or musicians in general. Kandi is a young, pretty girl who doesn't seem to have a special interest, but in the episode "Chance", we learn she has been planning on making a short film for a few years and is simply in need of money. Slate is an enthusiastic, fast-talking movie buff. He knows all sorts of films, especially festival flicks, and can tie three different movies into any conversation in less than ten seconds. Seven is quite philosophical and thinks things through before sharing her thoughts, which most often have something to do with emotions or gut feelings. Most of the time, the group follows what each other is talking about, but that's not always the case, which is usually when a clip is shown to elaborate.
I'm not an expert, but I felt the voice acting on this show comes close to the most authentic depiction of teenage mingling in the animated corner of television. Being a minor animation/film enthusiast, I feel oddly involved when something obscure is mentioned and I recognize it. This show couldn't possibly reach a large audience, I'm sure of that, and it disappoints me that such a great show may miss its mark. I feel this is the best time for Station X, and so if it doesn't succeed now, I guess it just isn't relevant enough. Prove me wrong, viewers, I beg of you.
11:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday, Teletoon
I can't believe this. As I write this, it is 11:31 on Sunday, and I've missed the very show I was praising. Good thing it's repeating at 2:00.