If you tried to explain to someone under say 35 that MTV used to not only be culturally relevant but also at least 10% decent, it’s not that they wouldn’t believe you necessarily, it’s just a concept that no longer makes any sense. Oh how I remember staying up until odd hours of the morning watching shit like 120 Minutes and Headbanger’s Ball and then, gasp, trying to track down some of the bands I saw there in record stores. What were we even doing back then?
They also aired a lot of very Adult Swim-esque animated shit, and maybe the coolest of those programs was Liquid Television, which I’ve been hoping to re-watch forever. Well, it’s now all up at Internet Archive for free. Maybe the best thing that Liquid Television spawned was the utterly brilliant Aeon Flux, but even that story’s sort of depressing in a way.
Creator Peter Tchung made that, then another almost more brilliant show called Reign: The Conqueror (A+++++++++), and then? Well, apparently neither one of those things really made that much cash and he went back to making crappy children’s shows to pay the bills as far as I can tell. Anyway, as mentioned, LT is now all online for free. Enjoy.
Liquid Television is an animation showcase that appeared on MTV and Cartoon Network (later Adult Swim). The first season of Liquid Television also aired on BBC Two in co-production with MTV and Cartoon Network. Ultimately, MTV commissioned three seasons of the show, which was produced by Hanna-Barbera, Martin Cartoons and Colossal Pictures. It has served as the launching point for several high-profile original cartoons, including Beavis and Butt-head and Æon Flux. The show was eventually succeeded by Cartoon Sushi. The bulk of Liquid Television‘s material was created by independent animators and artists specially for the show, and some previously produced segments were compiled from festivals such as Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation. Mark Mothersbaugh composed the show’s theme music. It was broadcast in New Zealand on TV3 and in Australia on SBS.
There were also a large number of animation pieces adapted from the work of Art Spiegelman‘s comic compilation, RAW. RAW featured underground cartoonists such as Mark Beyer, Richard Sala, and Peter Bagge. In particular,Dog-Boy by Charles Burns was based on the artist’s series from RAW.
Due to the extensive use of licensed music throughout the series (episodes often began with a contemporary music video being “liquified”), full episodes of Liquid Television have not been seen in any form since its original run. Selected segments from the series, including the first appearances of Æon Flux, were released on two VHS tapes in the late 1990s as The Best of Liquid Television parts one and two. These tapes are long out-of-print. A collection volume, titled Wet Shorts (The Best of Liquid Television), comprising the two VHS tapes, was released on DVD in 1997, but this, too, is out-of-print.
On October 13, 2011, MTVX, MTV’s cross media group, announced the return of Liquid Television. It is now a network that is available on the internet and social media. The first content to debut on the network was “F**KING BEST SONG EVERRR” by Wallpaper, available on the website. Full-length episodes featuring the online content and all-new material were released in 2013.
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