Angry Birds Toons: first episode reviewed

Angry Birds cartoons? Count us in. We’ve seen how our two sons have responded to the birds and pigs in the Angry Birds games, and they’re bang up for getting more of their stories in a TV series.

Meet Angry Birds Toons, which made its debut this weekend. Available to stream through all the existing Angry Birds apps, it’s a 52-episode animated cartoon series. Two episodes – Chuck Time and Meet The Flock – were made available yesterday.

We’ve been watching them. So how do they shape up?

The first thing to say is that these are ‘shorts’, clocking in at under three minutes each. Not a full TV show then, but a good length for kids brought up as much on YouTube clips as on CBeebies.

Chuck Time features the red and yellow birds from the Angry Birds games, as Yellow Bird tries to give Red Bird a soft landing after he plummets off a cliff. Meet The Flock is more of an introductory video reminding you of the various characters, including the pigs.

Based on Chuck Time, we think producer Rovio could have a hit on its hands, if it keeps the quality up. The episode is laugh-out loud funny for adults as well as for kids (well, adults like us anyway).

There’s definitely some Road Runner in its DNA, which is no bad thing, with the cheeky humour epitomised by Yellow Bird casually completing a crossword while Red Bird falls in slow motion. His double-takes are priceless, too.

No dialogue – just the odd shriek and yell – means the cartoon won’t just appeal to English-speakers, and the music is very well done too (again, harking back to classic cartoons). There’s a video ad before each episode, which you can skip after a few seconds. For now, the ad is for Rovio’s own The Croods mobile game.

Rovio is planning to release one new episode every week through the apps, rather than make lots available at once. We think that’s a bit of a shame, in an age where (for example) Netflix makes the entire series of its House of Cards available at once so viewers can watch it as fast as they’d like.

At the very least, it’d be nice to have four or five Angry Birds Toons to start off with, particularly to satisfy demanding children. Still, we’ll certainly be checking into the app in six days’ time for the second episode and go from there.

Many children will watch the cartoons on an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, but what about watching them on the TV? In some countries, Angry Birds Toons will be broadcast – Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, India, Finland, Israel, Ukraine, France, Germany, Norway, Chile and Brazil so far. In the US, meanwhile, cable provider Comcast will make the episodes available through its video-on-demand service.

Elsewhere, including the UK? If you have a Samsung ‘smart TV’ there’s a dedicated Angry Birds app that includes the cartoons. Or if you have one of Apple’s iOS devices and its Apple TV set-top box, you can use the AirPlay technology to stream the episodes from the app to the bigger screen. That’s what we’ve been doing (pictured), and it works a treat.

It would be crazy to predict that Angry Birds Toons will change the world of children’s TV after one proper (three-minute) episode, so we’ll resist grand claims. But we do think that if your kids love those birds (and pigs), it’s worth updating your Angry Birds apps and giving Angry Birds Toons a go.

Here’s a teaser so you can see how the series looks:

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