Gen Zed (Unreleased Pilot of Animated Series; 2015)


Gen Zed
A scene from the promo, featuring the main cast and logo
A scene from the promo, featuring the main cast and logo
Status Partially Found; Undeveloped

Gen Zed is an unreleased animated comedy created by Hayden Black that featured transgender actress Julie Rei Goldstein portraying the main character. A 2-minute promo was released on Youtube in June 6, 2015, without an official release date. After a year of the promo's release, no update on the show's progress has been announced. In spite of this, an official Twitter, Facebook, and website has continued to remain active. Months following the release of the promo, the show's official YouTube Channel released a Dorito's advertisement that recycled animation from the previous promo.

The show has been the subject of controversy for its poor presentation in the promo and branding itself as "the first animated comedy to feature a transgender actress in a lead role". The latest known footage of an episode was featured at the Long Beach Comic Expo, which presented "The Cake is a Lie" with incomplete animation, labeled as episode 00. As of January 2016, Gen Zed announced that production for the show was handed to studio BIG Little Fix to speed up production and discard all 2D footage into CGI, which leaves the fate of the original pilot unknown.

Premise

Characters

  • Shona Sommers (Julie Rei Goldstein)
  • Cameron Atwood (Kevyn Richmond)
  • Huey Ware (John M. Keating)
  • Betsy Chan (Emily C. Chang)
  • Taylor Adams (Jane Wiedlin)
  • Miguel Jiminez (Marcelo Tubert)
  • Kevin (Hal Sparks)
  • Father O'Brien (Richard Schiff)
  • Natalie (Trace Lysette)
  • Nikki (Casey Mongillo)
  • Shona's Mother (Stephanie Bentley)
  • Jeremy (Matthew Del Negro)
  • Cameron's Mother (Lidia Porto)
  • Quillam (Hayden Black)

Synopsis

The Gen Zed official website gives a premise to the film:

Hey! Welcome to Gen Zed – an edgy animated comedy about a young Trans woman who wants to be a stand up comic and her online friends who move in together. It’s Friends meets Modern Family – with a huge dollop of The Young Ones. The show’s pilot will be released in 2016.

Production

The main cast and original logo.

Production of Gen Zed can be found as early as January 2015, when a blog titled Making of Gen Zed posted sketches of the current cast in their prototype designs. The sketches shows the cast in a significantly different art style as seen in the promo, with brushed-in coloring and a more unison anatomy. The post already describes the group as roommates to an upcoming LGBT-themed comedy, and does not feature Quillam's avatar. This could be indication that in early production, that the plot did not center around media and gaming until later on.

GENZEDCOMMENT.png

After the release of the official promo, Gen Zed has struggled to release the pilot or any completed footage, constantly pushing deadlines as a result. This is primarily due to production's understaffed animation crew, that do not work on the project full-time. It has not been decided whether Gen Zed will be released as a television or online series. Plans for the pilot to be released on the web were scheduled before the end of 2015, and for the series to air on television with a negotiating network have not been met. One deadline for the pilot's release was scheduled for November 2015, then December, and at the latest somewhere around 2016.

One of the latest updates on the show's progress was post on the official Tumblr of Gen Zed on January 2016. It appears that the producers has decided to deal a partnership with BIG little Fix, a team of graphic designers to transition the animation style from 2D to a 2.5D (3D animation made to look like 2D). On October 5, 2016, Gen Zed's official twitter announced that a 3D model of main character, Shona Sommers was completed.

Controversy

For a short time during the release of the promo, Gen Zed received major backlash for poor animation quality, political pandering, flat characters, and its claims as the first series to feature a transgender actress. In defense of the show's claims as the first to feature a transgender character in a lead role, Gen Zed's official Tumblr has stated that Shona will assume the role as the protagonist. All videos on the official Youtube channel have disabled the like feature.

Trivia

  • Shona Sommer's birth name is Alan.
  • Shona has not received transitional surgery.
  • There are a few characters that are not present in the trailer, but are featured on the official website. These include Natalie, Nikki, and Miguel Jiminez.
  • In the prototype design of the cast, various elements were translated or discarded in the final production of the promo.
    • In her sketchwork, Shona is already implied to be trans, and retains most of her original design, with the exception of her attire. At the end of the promo, she can be seen wearing a pink unicorn costume, which is based on the unicorn onesie that was given to her by Betsy.
    • Betsy's prototype featured her with longer hair, and a dragonfly tattoo on her back.
    • Cameron had longer hair and wore a baseball cap in his original design. His sketchwork indicates some relationship with videogames. This is shown in the promo when Cameron is seen holding a videogame controller, and working at a game shop with Taylor.
    • Huey's body is not as prominent of tattoos as his final design.
  • The prototype sketches features a character named Jeremy, with short red hair similar to Shona's. He does not appear in the promo, but is listed as a character to appear in the series. He does not have any official artwork released on the site like other characters who did not appear in the promo.
    • Based on the description of the original blog post, it could be inferred that Jeremy could have originally meant to be Shona before her transition.
  • So far the most recent footage of the pilot, was an incomplete preview of "The Cake is a Lie" that was exclusive to the Long Beach Comic Expo.
    • While featuring unfurnished animation, it is unknown why the video was not uploaded to the official Youtube channel to promote the show's success.
    • The preview features the main cast's parents (if the man Huey interacts with is assumed to be his father), while Betsy is absent overall.
    • The title of the episode "The Cake is a Lie" is a reference to the catchphrase popularized by puzzle-game Portal.
    • The only known video that uploaded footage of the episode was titled "IMG Meowth 8", which is reference to Pokemon character Meowth's voice actress, Maddie Blaustein, who is also known to be transgendered.

Gallery

Characters

Promo

Prototypes

Panels

Videos

Gen Zed Promo
Gen Zed Dorito's Promo
Incomplete Gen Zed Episode at Panel

Comments


avatar

Lol234

2 months ago
Score 0++
I hope that by making this page, I can bring attention to this pilot, and hopefully get it released once and for all.
avatar

Anonymous user #1

2 months ago
Score -1++
Some things deserve to be lost.
avatar

Anonymous user #2

2 months ago
Score 2++
I don't expect this show to be all that great if it actually went into fruition, but it would be interesting what the creators planned for the series, even if it was terrible.
avatar

Anonymous user #3

2 months ago
Score 0++
I highly doubt a real pilot for this show exists, and believe it's probably vaporware. Pandering crap like this will pretty much always come to fruition if the creator so desires it. The promo was simply made to drum up controversy so the creator could have their 15 minutes of fame, and then go back to being a useless fuckwit. Unless any evidence surfaces that a pilot for this exists, I'd motion for a deletion of this article.
avatar

Lol234

2 months ago
Score 0++
I honestly don't know anything about Hayden Black, or his spot on the political spectrum, since he doesn't seem to appear that much in SJW/Feminist topics. Even if all the scenes presented in the trailer were made for only that exact trailer, we still have to wait for confirmation. If it does get confirmed then maybe we can flag the article on the show as a hoax, but I think we should keep this page, since this is sort of an interesting topic, even if the show it's based on is really cringey.
avatar

Anonymous user #4

2 months ago
Score 1++
The abuse of "OH GOD LOOK AT ME I HAVE A TRANSGENDER ACTRESS!" make this thing just stupid
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Anonymous user #5

2 months ago
Score 1++
Honestly, we need someone to leak the pilot, if they're able to find it that is.
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Anonymous user #6

2 months ago
Score 1++
as far as I know, it was found that their claims about the first trans actress thing wasn't even true.
avatar

Sgt Sharki

2 months ago
Score 1++
I totally forgot about this thing until reading this article. I remember the controversy about the trasgender actress and some websites and Internet personalities rushing to its defence. It felt like they were trying to sell the show solely on its socially progressive values and not the humor, characters or storyline. Seriously, this looks like bad flash animation from the early 2000s and not in an ironic way.
avatar

Anonymous user #5

2 months ago
Score 0++
Parts of this article needs to have an update that I've been tracking behind. I went to their Tumblr (yes Gen Zed has an official Tumblr) and in one of their posts, it said that they actually delayed production of the pilot/series because they are planning on changing the animation style from something more 3D than 2D (I don't know how successful that would be). Reading other sources, it seems that Gen Zed has delayed production because the people working on it do not have funding for the project, and are working on other jobs. I don't know if this means that Gen Zed's pilot is unfinished or what not.
avatar

Lol234

2 months ago
Score 0++
I don't know why, but I'm glad this page is getting fleshed-out.
avatar

Sprited

2 months ago
Score 0++
Man, I'd pay someone to keep this lost.
avatar

Lol234

2 months ago
Score 0++
You probably don't need money to do that...
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Anonymous user #5

2 months ago
Score 1++
Shona's mom's reaction to her being trans is so weird. "No son of mine's looking better than me in a summer dress".
avatar

Lol234

1 months ago
Score 0++
I hope RebelTaxi or Bedhead Bernie will make a video on this.
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