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Family Dog (TV series): Wikis


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Family Dog
Complete series Laserdisc box set
Genre Animation
Created by Brad Bird
Voices of Martin Mull - Skip Binford
Molly Cheek - Beverly Binford
Danny Mann - Family Dog
Zak Huxtable Epstein - Billy Binford
Cassie Cole - Buffy Binford
Theme music composer Danny Elfman
No. of episodes 10 (5 were aired)
Executive producer(s) Steven Spielberg
Tim Burton
Dennis Klein
Producer(s) Chuck Richardson
Production company(s) Amblin Entertainment
Warner Bros. Television
Universal Television
Original channel CBS
Original run June 23, 1993 – July 21, 1993

Family Dog is the story of an average suburban family, the Binfords, as told through the eyes of their dog. It first appeared as an episode of the TV show Amazing Stories, then was expanded into a very short-lived series of its own.


Original episode

In the original Amazing Stories 2nd Season 1987 episode, a dog (simply called "the dog") is the main character, portrayed in three stories: The first involves general misadventures in the house, with him being both ignored and somewhat mistreated by his owners. The second is a "home movie" showing their Christmas (the family narrates), which culminates with the dog eating the turkey. In the third robbers break into the family's house twice, so the father sends the dog to attack dog school to learn how to become a "quivering, snarling, white-hot ball of canine terror" and fend off burglars.

Written and directed by Brad Bird (who also did the voice of the dog) with music by Danny Elfman, it was one of the most popular episodes of NBC's Amazing Stories weekly anthology series. Animators included Dan Jeup, Ralph Eggleston, Chris Buck, Sue Kroyer, Gregg Vanzo, David Cutler, Rob Minkoff, Alan Smart and Darrell Rooney.

The first half of the special was attached to another Spielberg-produced project, The Land Before Time, because of the film's short length of over-an-hour.


Historical note

Although it may seem strange to the modern reader, Spielberg's choice to make the episode using animation – especially combining the expense of high-quality animation with well-known voice actors – was considered risky and bold at the time. By the mid-1980s, animation was generally relegated to "cartoons for kids", with most animation (and virtually all animation for television) done as cheaply as possible, with low quality production and no-name actors. In retrospect, "Family Dog" is often considered to be a landmark production that, combined with films like An American Tail (1986), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), and The Little Mermaid (1989), led to the 1990s rennaissance in animation (see also: Modern animation in the United States). "Family Dog" is also notable as Spielberg's first animated project; he has followed up with projects like "Tiny Toon Adventures", The Prince of Egypt, and CGI projects like Shrek.

CBS series

After the success of the Amazing Stories special, a CBS series was produced by Steven Spielberg and Tim Burton (who also contributed character designs), written by Dennis Klein, and distributed by Nelvana, but notably lacking the involvement of the original Writer/Director, Brad Bird. Largely hyped due to the involvement of Spielberg, the series suffered noted production delays. Upon debut the show was roundly panned for its crude scripts and cheap production values, both of drastically lesser quality than the episode which had spawned the series. After the first two episodes aired, it was pulled from the CBS schedule. Remaining episodes were sold to local markets as program filler. The entire series was later released as a Laserdisc box-set, and various episodes of the show were released on videocassette around the same time. Universal, as of December 20, 2009, has yet to announce any plans for a DVD release.

The video game

The show was later turned into a quirky Super Nintendo game about the life of an everyday family dog. The player has to go places such as a beach and a dog pound to defeat stereotypical obstacles and enemies like dog catchers and cats. The game is notable for the regular attempts by the creators to inject their radical libertarian politics into the game. At various points, Family Dog is given opportunities to urinate on pictures of Ralph Nader, Bill Clinton, Alan Greenspan, and rather bizarrely Colonel Sanders.

External links


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