4 January 2016 | TheLittleSongbird
Waste of potential
As a huge Looney Tunes fan, and as somebody who doesn't care very much for The Looney Tunes Show, there was some initial scepticism. But anything deserves to be judged on its own merits and Wabbit's not an exception.
The good news is that it is a marginal improvement on The Looney Tunes Show, but only just. The not so good news is that in this viewer's book Wabbit has a long way to go before it can be considered a good show, it is early days and could get better but presently it's just not taking off. Rather than living up to any potential it has it wastes it even as a standalone, and anybody who grew up with the classic cartoons are likely to find themselves disappointed.
Starting with Wabbit's good points, the animation is generally improved over that for The Looney Tunes Show, with the exception of some weird and at times grotesque character designs, Yosemite Sam being the worst. The drawing is smoother, the backgrounds more detailed and with a Chuck Jones feel and the colours more vibrant. Apart from, as mentioned, some of the character designs not looking appealing, some like for Bugs adhere closer than The Looney Tunes Show to the classic Looney Tunes Show and also mid-late-career Chuck Jones. The setting doesn't jar anywhere near as much as feared.
Wabbit fares better in its music too. It's not as dynamic, characterful or action-enhancing as the music of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons (which nearly always was one of the best things about Looney Tunes in its prime, apart from in the late 60s where everything pretty much took a nosedive in quality), but it's nonetheless beautifully orchestrated, fun to listen to and lively. The theme tune is also memorable. Oh, and there are no misplaced or cringe-worthy songs here, still trying to erase Elmer's one about grilled cheese sandwiches without much luck.
The voice cast is a talented one, consisting of voice actors who have played the characters for some years and have a lot of experience in voice work (i.e. Maurice LaMarche), and they all do solidly dependable jobs, some in multiple roles. There are a few chuckle worthy moments here, something that I rarely if at all got from The Looney Tunes Show, if never hilarious. It's just that one wishes that this happened on a more consistent level.
Unfortunately, Wabbit's writing needs a lot of work even if the situation comedy like format of The Looney Tunes Show is thankfully gone. The humour is not witty or sharp enough, some amusing moments here and there but also too many stale gags, predictable and at times visually hackneyed slapstick, limp timing and dialogue that is more tired and awkward than witty. On the most part, one does miss the manic physical comedy and big expressions, while there is the trademark wacky energy evident it comes in spades rather than as a whole. Any attempts at depth seem forced and half baked, also often done in a seen-it-all-before way, and any darker parts and the writing for the enemies feel random in placement, jarringly out of place and underdeveloped. It has been said that Wabbit was trying to be more faithful to the original cartoons, but so far this viewer has personally not seen enough of it coming through.
Wabbit is in desperate need of more variety, with presently the stories feeling too repetitive and one-note (on top of being too short in length and erratically paced, more on the limp and padded side), and it really does need more of the Looney Tunes characters (bringing back Daffy and Elmer as foils or friends for Bugs would already make things better) to give the show more of a Looney Tunes feel, at the moment there is just not enough of the ingredients that make the classic cartoons so great. Character writing and development is also a problem, the Looney Tunes characters that have appeared so far may be there but do lack personality and are stripped of what made them so lovable in the first place. One of few exceptions is Wile, who does amuse and is one of the few rootable characters even when more snobbish than usual, but at the same time he is underutilised.
Bugs is too much of a straight man and is too gullible, considering that before he was the one tricking and fooling the other characters. Credit is due giving him a vulnerable and human side, which is appreciated, but it has gone to the extent that Bugs feels out of character. Yosemite Sam on top of being grotesquely animated is completely lacking in fire and humour, and is somewhat too underplayed. What will already make things better are things such as more of Wile, and bringing back other interesting and relatable characters such as Sylvester, Elmer whose chemistry with Bugs would bring some lovely variety and nostalgia and Daffy (one of Looney Tunes' best and funniest characters, as long as he isn't the moronic, insufferable jerk that he was in The Looney Tunes Show, but Wabbit presently is sorely lacking a strong character like him). Additional characters are just as bland, with Squeaks in particular being more irritating, one of those characters you seriously to shout shut up to, than endearing or funny. The bigfoot also is stupid and oafish but with little of the cuteness and the humour isn't strong enough to make him funny, instead he is another character who grates. As the situations are too familiar, the chemistry between the characters doesn't sparkle anywhere near enough and there are too few characters to root for Wabbit feels largely empty too.
Overall, not an awful show but a waste of potential. It has its moments, but needs more variety, more humour, more characters, more of the Looney Tunes energy and spirit and more...well...spark. Subjectively, it is just not clicking with me, sorry. 5/10 Bethany Cox