Fox’s Son of Zorn, a new live-action/animated hybrid comedy series, premiered in September with a lead character reminiscent of He-Man, who, unlike the rest of the characters in the series, happens to be animated.
The series begins as Zorn, voiced by Jason Sudeikis, returns from his mythical Saturday morning cartoon homeland to live-action suburban Orange County where his ex-wife Edie (Cheryl Hines of Curb Your Enthusiasm) and teenage son Alan (Johnny Pemberton) live. Tim Meadows of SNL fame rounds out the main cast as Edie’s new fiancé.
Director and executive producer Eric Appel admitted on Sunday at Comic Con in New York that the idea was “out there,” but that he believes there’s still an audience out there for Zorn.
“There might be people who think this premise is a little too ‘out there’ or ‘crazy,’” Appel said. “My message to them will be to give the show a chance because we’ve actually tried to make it as relatable as possible…We bring a humanity to all of our characters.”
“It’s a unique comedy. At its heart, it’s a family comedy, so you have a ‘normal’ family but it just so happens that the dad is an animated character and he’s larger than life,” Cheryl Hines said.
Her co-star Tim Meadows agreed. “It’s a family comedy, it’s a fish-out-of-water comedy. And we sort of deal with a lot of subjects that you might see in real life,” said Meadows.
Hines said part of the show’s appeal is that it makes you forget your watching a partly animated series at all.
“Like five seconds into watching the show, somehow you are not thinking about Zorn being an animated character and he becomes this person that you know in real life. He’s the dad who thinks he knows everything who embarrasses you in front of your friends,” Hines said.
“It’s something you have to watch at least once, I think, and decide. If you’re not into animation, don’t let that be the thing that stops you from watching the show,” she added.
Both Meadows and Hines said the relative openness of today’s TV audience is what makes shows like Zorn possible.
“I think audiences now are more open to seeing a bunch of different wide, open ideas. They’re much more sophisticated,” Meadows said.
“TV production in general has become so much better because we have more access to cameras and channels and stations; it’s very competitive,” Hines said.
“And I think what works is when the writers and creators give the audience a little credit and let them get the joke – we don’t necessarily need laugh tracks any more,” she added.
Son of Zorn’s first season will run for 13 episodes. Sudeikis’ wife, Oliva Wilde, will make a guest appearance as the voice of Zorn’s “radioactive” ex-girlfriend later on in the season, Appel said.