Ned's Newt (partially found pilot episode of Nelvana animated series; 1997)
Ned's Newt is a Canadian-German animated series created by Andy Knight (creator of Get Ed) and Mike Burgess. It was co-produced by Nelvana and TMO Film GmbH in conjunction with Studio B Productions. It originally aired on Teletoon in Canada from October 17th, 1997, to December 31st, 1999.
The series follows nine-year-old Ned Flemkin as he discovers that his newly-brought pet newt Newton can transform into a five-hundred-pound fun-loving, shape-shifting monster, after he overfeeds him with Zippo Newt Food. With them becoming best pals, Newton leads Ned into adventures not always easily explained to his parents.
While the entire series can be viewed through digital downloading (on iTunes and Amazon Prime), as well as on YouTube, its original pilot pitch (which was later reworked as the first segment of the actual series, titled "Out With the Old, In With the Newt") has yet to be released in its entirety for public viewing. Many scenes of it can be seen in the show's opening intro. On February 6th, 2012, a minute-long clip of it was posted on Vimeo by user BFX. Any other footage of the pilot has not yet surfaced online.
On February 23rd, 2010, Steve Schiner, a Canadian writer, producer, and director who worked at Nelvana during the mid-1990s, posted an entry on his blog revealing that he loved the pilot, but was disappointed that the final series never lived up to the potential of it.
Here's the opening from Ned's Newt, which was developed and produced at Nelvana during my tenure there (1993-ish to 1997). The show came from - and animation done by (the late) Andy Knight and Mike Burgess for Red Rover Productions Limited in Toronto.
Before I go any further - I want to say that I LOVED this pilot and still do. It's great. It's hilarious. It tells you everything you need to know about the show. And that's the problem.
It's too damned good. The series couldn't live up to the promise of the pilot.
First, the audio that is on this show opening is NOT what was on the pilot film. In the original, whenever the Newt spoke, canned TV and movie dialogue came out of his mouth - he'd learned to talk by watching TV. It was everything from Wilma Flintstone to John Wayne. Hilarious - but due to rights clearances, they'd never be able to do that on the show. They settled for an actor doing impersonations - which was okay and PRACTICAL - was about a mile below what they showed in the pilot film.
Likewise, the design and quality of the animation was top notch. Brilliant - but unsustainable on an episodic TV budget. They promised too much.While the series did run a full three seasons in production - in my opinion, it never lived up to the potential of the pilot film. There was nowhere to go but down.
- Steve Schiner's blog entry on the Ned's Newt pilot Retrieved 04 Oct '19
- The IMDb page on Ned's Newt Retrieved 04 Oct '19
- The TV Guide page on Ned's Newt Retrieved 04 Oct '19