Comic Con 2014 trailer for The Legend of Korra, Book 3: Change
NOTE: Video cuts off at the end due to the person who recorded it being told to stop recording due to copyright & Comic Con rules. As soon as the full version comes out, I will post a link to it!
Credit to the person who uploaded the whole panel here.
It’s been brought up in every other forum I frequent, actually. I bet it’s been brought up on Tumblr too, even if I haven’t run into it or reblogged it.
I think there are a few key differences between Korra and Zim, though. First off, the market’s changed in favor of shows like these. If Zim existed today, I have no doubt they’d have finished out its order and put it online like they just did with Korra. Heck, if it works out with Korra, I wouldn’t be that shocked if they did offer the option to that show’s creators; Zim (or, more specifically, GIR) seems to make them about a bazillion dollars in Hot Topic sales even now. =P
Second, Zim didn’t get semi-carte blanche. A quick Google search gives a few gems of Nick’s censorship nonsense courtesy of Jhonen Vasquez:
Vasquez talked about the rules the network required him to follow. He could have all the explosions he wanted, he said, but no one could die in them. He was not allowed to refer to Satan, and could not have characters say, “Shut up.” Rules actually became stricter after the 9/11 attacks, he said, citing the fact that just a few years earlier, an “Animaniacs” episode from the ’90s featured an episode in which the characters “ate too many Swedish meatballs” and went to Hell, where a figure greeted them with, “I am Satan.” By the time he was working on “Zim,” Vasquez could not use the word “Hell,” having instead to refer to it as “the place beneath the overworld.” (Source)
And another (rather hilarious) one:
JV: He’d like to think that he would be so appreciated by his people that he’ll be put in charge, but really, the Irken Armada usually just demeans an entire planet to something stupid like a parking structure planet or maybe a giant food court planet. I don’t think people think about the fact that the plan is to destroy all human beings; not enslave them so much as to just wipe them all out. Which would be a great episode, ahh! Could you see that? But, I don’t think we could actually wipe out the human race on a kids’ network.
Dr. T: I guess you’d have to do it off screen.
JV: Yeah, and you know what we’d get? "Uh? Can we hear the human race say they’re OK off screen? Just so we know that they didn’t die?"
Basically, it seems like there was just a lot of concern in that era about what could be shown to kids in terms of violence due to network fears of parental anger:
We suffered creatively, just like every other show, after 9/11, thanks to the blanket fears that anything remotely violent would be received as being in poor taste. Before that it was Columbine making the pilot episode somewhat of a hassle because of Dib’s black trench coat and the apocalyptic school food fight.
The best example is Iggins flying away from the crashed elevator at the end of Gameslave 2. We could not just end the episode and have it implied that Iggins died in the crash because that would be bad, and killing children is bad, and bad things… are bad.
We had a taste of that in Bestest Friend, where Keef falls off the roof and explodes. Our quick fix was just adding some dialogue offscreen so that you know he’s okay, but then instead of a simple “Oh dear, that annoying child exploded” you get “Oh dear, that child exploded and is asking if anyone wants waffles and now there’s Gir stirring batter like some evil puppet master.”
If I have to fix something, I like to fix it in the spirit of whatever I’m working on. So those ZIM fixes, although done begrudgingly, often made me like the end result even more. In the Gameslave 2 case, we were told that Iggins had to be alive. So I decided that Iggins would fly out of the rubble like Superman. This actually resulted in lengthy discussions, meetings, and conference calls with higher-ups from the network, all because Iggins flies at the end. I mean, the kid is SO not dead, so very healthy that he now has the ability to FLY!! How much better can you get than that? They thought we were making fun of them. That’s when I blew my head off in frustration and became a crime-fighting ghost.
Knowing ZIM would have a place outside of network airings, where people could actually get decent quality versions of the episodes and watch them anytime was all I ever wanted, so making the DVDs all-in-all nice sets was important to me. We did commentary and interviews and everything, but the covers were the only real problem. The first cover I drew went through fine, since it was a pretty basic presentation of the characters. But the second one…that second one was awesome.
I just had so much fun with the sense of lunacy and motion on that image, with ZIM actually looking really evil and in control of things, swinging all those kids around. I even threw Bloaty the Pig in there, for those people who love revolting pig men. But Nick (who had final say) didn’t so much like it, saying it was too scary for kids. They’re making these DVDs possible ultimately, but it’s like they still don’t know WHY anyone watches this show. It was screwed on their network because it was not quite a show for the wee kids, but those wee kids aren’t the ones shelling out bucks for the DVDs. It’s the fans, the nasty, maniacal, cackling fans who know what the show’s about, and it’s about crazy aliens bent on world domination / destruction.
I was told they would use my image if I made a few alterations, meaning I was to change the characters’ faces so it looked like they were ‘having fun’. That’s just not my show, and I figured it would be false advertising. Sure, the show IS fun, but not in a ‘kids playing and having kooky, giggling adventures at 30,000 feet up in the grip of a crazed alien’ way. That all came at a time that I was getting very busy on my own projects, and given the choice of experiencing the old silly notes from Nick, or working on my own stuff (which I had total power over), I opted for my own stuff. I just didn’t want to waste any more time on things that would not get used.
Vasquez did seem to like some of his fixes more than what he would have done anyway, but it does seem like there was a lot of network push-back about his initial concepts and he still had a lot to be disappointed about.
That’s a pretty stark contrast to Legend of Korra, where the creators said in commentary that they don’t get notes that often and mention a bunch of cases where they managed to change the network’s mind about whatever it was (like drunk-on-noodles!Bolin and the extended talk between Korra and Tarrlok before they started fighting, which the network thought would bore the kids) when they did get them.
The third difference stems from that last one: Nickelodeon understands why people watch Korra in a way they didn’t for Zim. That’s why, while they clearly want it off their network, they don’t want it gone — they know they can make money off of it and they know how, so they let the creators do what they want unless it would cause legitimate controversy.
So, sure, the two cases look alike. But I don’t think there’s any reason to believe Korra will meet Zim’s fate; it seems more likely for Zim to meet Korra’s, honestly.