Cartoon Network EMEA has announced a long form series of “The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe” whose critically acclaimed original 10 shorts have proved a banner high-quality 2D European series for Cartoon Network.
Cartoon Network’s first series with Denmark and just the second at the time from Cartoon Network Studios Europe, “Ivandoe” was nominated for a BAFTA and swept near all top TV honors at the 2018 European Animation Awards.
Created by Danish animators Christian Bøving-Andersen and Eva Lee Wallberg – who began their animation careers on Cartoon Network’s EMEA-produced global hit, “The Amazing World of Gumball” – the new series will see the original’s three-minute shorts robustly expanded to 20 11-minute episodes, one sign of Cartoon Network’s confidence in the series, Cartoon Network EMEA announced Monday.
Daniel Lennard, who oversaw development on “Gumball” and Cartoon Network Studios’ “Apple & Onion,” returns as executive producer to co-develop and co-write the new series, which is being produced by Cartoon Network in partnership with Denmark’s high-flying Sun Creature Studio, which produced the original hit shorts.
““The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe” melds multiple European traditions into a whole and eminently coherent – and endearingly daft- whole.
“We are now very happy to continue Ivandoe’s quests in a longer format, with even more silly characters and adventures, and we are very grateful to our magnificent team and to Cartoon Network for making this happen!” said Bøving-Andersen and Wallberg.
“It’s been great fun working on this spectacularly silly show, bringing a cast of flawed but lovable characters to life,” Lennard added. “As with ‘Gumball,’ we’ve created a self-contained world for kids – of all ages – to enjoy. It somehow makes complete sense, whilst at the same time making absolutely no sense whatsoever.”
Stick-legged, tubby, with a chunky doe’s head but two weeny antlers, the young Prince Ivandoe strides through the forest, brandishing his sword, which looks as if its made of ply-wood, on an epically silly quest to Eagle Mountain, there to claim the legendary Golden Feather. He is accompanied by his squire, Bert, a bluebird.
A dashing young buck, at least in his own eyes, the Prince stumbles on a motley crew of a foes: Obsessive compulsive squires, a royal rival hissy swan, a bewitched frog, and a damsel in distress, who turns out to be a thiefstress. Ivandoe’s not much cop with his sword: He’s no match for the imperious swan losing all their dueling bouts, is even beaten up by the girl. But he strides on – thanks to a mix of luck, his foes’ disinterest and his own mischief, his self belief hilariously intact.
Drawn with a warm 2D palette, “Prince Ivandoe” is aimed at a similar (6-12) audience to “Gumball” with the potential to attract a slightly younger audience too, said Lennard. Though, he added, “We hope parents will enjoy it too.”
“Ivandoe goes on a journey from his privileged little enclave where he grew up, and meets a variety of weirdoes and oddballs on his journey to Eagle Mountain. Ivandoe means well. He just desperately wants to be a hero, and that sometimes overshadows his better instincts.” Lennard told Variety.
“One of the things that impressed me most about Christian and Eva was that they really wanted to make a show for kids. A lot of show creators seem more interested in making older-skewing shows, so it was refreshing,” Lennard added. “And something about Christian and Eva as people – a sweetness and a silliness – felt exactly right for the sort of show we wanted to make.
Written by Lennard, Bøving-Andersen and Eva Lee Wallberg, “Prince Ivandoe’s” grafts distinct traditions.
Its humor has a “British flavor definitely,” Lennard recognized. “Christian and Eva have a soft spot for Monty Python films such as ‘The Holy Grail’ and ‘Life of Brian” and I was a big fan of ‘Blackadder’ growing up. So that silliness was an influence on our writing.”
There’s a distinct echo of early “Blackadder” Baldric indeed in Bert, from his put-upon prole status and drooping Phrygian cap to his being “probably the only vaguely sensible character” in the series, Lennard said.
In contrast, the thickness of the near photo-realistic forest background, crags above gorges and the Eagle King himself has a distinctly Scandinavian or Germanic feel.
More than anything, maybe, “The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe” suggests just how much European animation has come on.
“It’s amazing how much Europe has blossomed in animation in the last 10 years,” Lennard said.
“In the last decade or so – and I hope this has been helped by the success of ‘Gumball’ – there is a growing confidence [among studios] that successful kids’ animation (and not only pre-school) can be made from Europe and work internationally,” Lennard said.
That’s also partly due, he argued, to the Internet and social media. “It’s easier to put small little films and designs out and get instant recognition. And everyone is much more connected. An experienced show runner from L.A. can reach out to an inexperienced but talented creative from Belgium, and they can start talking.”