Cartoon Network gets real with 'Unnatural History' - East Valley Tribune: Television

Cartoon Network gets real with 'Unnatural History'

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Posted: Thursday, June 10, 2010 2:30 pm

For its first hourlong series, Cartoon Network takes a page from -- where else? -- the "Scooby-Doo" playbook.

In the premiere episode of "Unnatural History" (8 p.m. Sunday), the unmasked villain talks all about a nefarious plan that gets ruined by those meddling kids. It's a tried, true and tired plot device that may not be as familiar to kids today who are less likely to have grown up watching "Scooby-Doo."

"Unnatural History" focuses on Henry Griffin (Kevin G. Schmidt, "Cheaper by the Dozen"), a real-life Jonny Quest who has lived all around the globe before his parents send him to live with his uncle (Martin Donovan, "Weeds") and cousin, Jasper (Jordan Gavaris, "Degrassi: The Next Generation"), in Washington. The cousins study at a school on the grounds of The National Museum, which is full of mysteries Henry is eager to investigate.

Henry and Jasper take notice of fellow student Maggie (Italia Ricci, "American Pie Presents: Beta House"), who tends to look down on them both.

"Where were you raised? A cave?" Maggie asks.

"Only for a year," Henry replies.

Written by series creator Mike Werb ("The Mask," "Curious George"), "Unnatural History" is pretty decent as kid-targeted, live-action dramas go. The one thing that doesn't ring true is the casting of Schmidt as a supposed nature boy; he comes across more as a frat boy who's trying too hard to prove his jungle cred.

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