May 22, 2006

Animated Manhattan: The Critic

Part 9 in an ongoing series looking at New York City in animation.

The CriticThe Critic aired on ABC in 1994 before moving to Fox in 1995 and eventually being cancelled. But in the meantime, I enjoyed watching the adventures of Jay Sherman, movie critic and single father.

The show took place in New York, and the program made wonderful use of the city. In every episode, Manhattan is visible in the view out a window, or in the background as Jay goes about his life, meets women, tries to be a good dad, and tries (sometimes in vain) to be an appreciated son.

The CriticJay frequently spends time in the park, at restaurants, and around town in general. The attention to detail is incredible, even where it’s not necessary. In some general scenes when no specific real world location is intended, it’s amazing how the artists have captured the look and feel of the city with their brushes.

Since it’s easier to talk about this series’ depiction of New York City in general terms than it is to address specific episodes that highlight New York particularly well, here is a simple gallery of New York City as depicted in various episodes of The Critic. More information about the show can be found in its Wikipedia entry or by picking up the entire series on DVD. Enjoy:

The Critic The Critic
The Critic The Critic
The Critic The Critic
The Critic The Critic
The Critic The Critic

IMDb Rating: 7.9/10
BCDb Rating: N/A
My Rating: 9/10

(My rating is for the series’ depiction of NYC only)


I never quite managed to catch the whole series, but when I did, I truly loved the artistry of the cartoon. It really is something to see.

I might have been one of the ten people who liked this show, but how could you not, with the kids from Easter Island looking like the statues and a loopy family that preceded Arrested Development?

I have to see that again. You’re right- NY looks gorgeous in that show. Nowadays, maybe the Cartoon Network would give that show a shot, but maybe not. It’s a little uptown for their tastes.

As I recall, the movie references made this show age like fresh cream. Oh well.