The Replacements - When gimmick premises fail

TheMisterManGuy

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As much success that Disney Channel has had with its tween live-action shows in the 2000s, animation wasn't the channel's strongest suit during that period. While the network had some good cartoons in that era such as Kim Possible or American Dragon: Jake Long, most of its cartoons during this era couldn't hold their own against the competition. Fading away as forgotten series that barely last 2 seasons. One of the best examples of Disney Channel trying and failing to create a hit animated series during this time, is The Replacements

The Replacements ran for 2 seasons from September 8th, 2006 to March 30th, 2009. It was created by Dan Santat, a writer who originally concieved the idea as a children's book series. Disney, for some strange reason thought it'd make a good tv show, and asked him to adapt the concept Disney Channel. Santat would go on to express his distaste for working in the TV industry as the bureaucratic structure of Disney Channel would force the series to go through tons changes to appeal to a wide audience, as well as the network's core demographic.

The show centers on two pre-teen siblings, Todd and Riley, who upon doing chores in an orphanage, come across an ad for a phone from Fleemco, which allows them to replace anyone and anything they want. After sending away $1.98, they get new parents, A super spy Mom, and a stuntman Dad. Each episode revolves around Todd and Riley's frustrations with strict, incompetent, or stupid adults, and rely on Fleemco's services to replace them with better alternatives. It's ultimately a "Be Careful what you wish for" type show, as each replacement presents new problems for Todd and Riley, forcing them to fix things up themselves.

The show has a very creative premise, and is very much in Disney Channel's trademark "wish fulfillment" style. Unfortunately, things fall apart for The Replacements far too quickly. Because while the show can be clever and funny, it's very concept is not one that can sustain itself for more than a season. Hence Season 2, which not only takes the American Dragon route and changes up the art style, but it also downplays the premise of the show significantly, becoming more of a background plot device, instead of the focus. In doing so, it exposes The Replacement's biggest problem, strip away its main gimmick, it just becomes another slice of life Disney Channel teen sitcom. Exactly like every other show on the network at the time.

You can see why Dan thought the way he did about the series. The Replacements is a decent show, but as Dan implied, it's one that really would've worked better in another medium, on another platform.
 
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SweetShop209

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I wonder where Dan said these things .

In any case, I just figured the show was an attempt to follow on the success of The Fairly Odd Parents (right down to Jack Thomas being an executive producer and using some of the same voice actors).
 

TheMisterManGuy

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I wonder where Dan said these things .

In any case, I just figured the show was an attempt to follow on the success of The Fairly Odd Parents (right down to Jack Thomas being an executive producer and using some of the same voice actors).
It was in a section of The Horn Book Magazine titled "Apples to elephants: artists in animation." In any case, I think The Fairly OddParrents had a much more versatile premise. You can do a lot more with wish granting fairies than you could with a people replacement service. Which is why Season 2 of The Replacements pretty much dropped its premise all together and just became yet another Disney Channel series.
 

Zanneck

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It was in a section of The Horn Book Magazine titled "Apples to elephants: artists in animation." In any case, I think The Fairly OddParrents had a much more versatile premise. You can do a lot more with wish granting fairies than you could with a people replacement service. Which is why Season 2 of The Replacements pretty much dropped its premise all together and just became yet another Disney Channel series.
..... And, unfortunately, not even a good one, unlike most (not all) of the stuff I've watched this from regime for now and in the 2010s before that.
Still better than The Buzz on Maggie, but that's faint praise / a pretty low enough already bar to clear, IMHO.
 

JMTV Studios

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I remember The Replacements.....only for the theme song. The rest? Eh....

Yeah, I can see why the show came and went.
 
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I wouldn’t consider this show a failure, it did decent for a while,
But once Phineas and Ferb popped up the show was dead in the water, the show (and to an extent Disney channel, especially around this time) reeks of wanting what Nickelodeon has

(For example Hannah Montana wanted to be Zoey 101 with an annoying Danny Phantom but bad like hook and bad music

And this show wants the Fairlyodd parents but instead of fairies it’s a magical business/flip phone)
 
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... Okay, anyways I'm still waiting on when Season 2 will release on Disney+. It's weird that that season was missing from the service.
 

Antiyonder

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... Okay, anyways I'm still waiting on when Season 2 will release on Disney+. It's weird that that season was missing from the service.

Recess has that problem as well. But best I can suggest is to do additional binges for it and any show from that time frame when possible (i.e. Any 2000s cartoon on the service).
 

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