Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Who lives in a prequel that’s made with CG? SpongeBob SquarePants!

Illustration for article titled Who lives in a prequel that’s made with CG? SpongeBob SquarePants!
Image: Paramount+

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Thursday, March 4. All times are Eastern. 


Top pick

Today a streaming service becomes a new streaming service, but it’s still the old streaming service, but with some new stuff and a plus sign. CBS All Access is dead. Long live Paramount Plus!

Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years (Paramount Plus, 3:01 a.m., complete part one of season one, six episodes): There’s a lot that could be said in regards to Kamp Koral, a show that may have been conceived and created against the late Stephen Hillenburg’s best wishes, though the fact that current and past SpongeBob writers are working on the show lends it a strong pedigree. Controversy aside, this SpongeBob SquarePants spin-off isn’t that bad of a yarn. In placing younger versions of the cast in a generic summer camp under the sea, the show manages to push a bit beyond winking references to its predecessor, engaging with some pretty funny, nonsensical gags (including a great bit where the captured jellyfish in SpongeBob’s net somehow transform into anything but jellyfish.) The elastic, frantic 3D animation can be overwhelming in spots, but it’s quite appealing overall, particularly in an episode that takes place in the evening, which has cinematic levels of lighting quality to it. Kamp Koral’s struggles are mostly meta: Why does this even exist? While centering the story on younger versions of established characters, the series doesn’t find many new things to say—even the dialogue and jokes haven’t been simplified for a presumably younger audience. In fact, the forced, static setting limits the storytelling capabilities immensely, with several moments of obvious padding and muddled direction. Ultimately, Kamp Koral is just SpongeBob SquarePants redux with a youthful CG coat of paint. [Kevin Johnson]

The Real World Homecoming: New York (Paramount Plus, 3:01 a.m., series premiere): While SpongeBob gets a prequel, the original cast of The Real World gets an unexpected sequel. In Homecoming, the seven strangers who once blazed a trail for those who wished to stop being polite and start getting real reunite in the very first Real World loft. Keep an eye out for Alex McLevy’s coverage.

Regular coverage

Clarice (CBS, 10 p.m.)

From Film Club

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run (Paramount Plus and VOD, 3:01 a.m.): “Considering that this is the third planned big-screen outing for this most porous of cartoon protagonists (it moved to Paramount Plus due to the pandemic), some formula fatigue is inevitable: One can only parody the hero’s journey so many times. Again, there are trippy sequences, a live-action segment, pop songs, and tongue-in-cheek celebrity cameos. The misadventures of SpongeBob and his pals and frenemies have be enough to sustain more than 200 continually rerun episodes of TV, but filling out a feature, even one that’s barely 80 minutes without credits, takes a lot of squeezing.” Read the rest of Ignatiy Vishnevetsky’s film review.

Wild cards

Pacific Rim: The Black (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., complete first season): Pacific Rim: The Black is a far cry from its source material, ratings wise. The overwrought fun of the first film was a PG-13 wrecking wonderland; The Black is a violent, dark, hard R… [The series] is a much more depressing, bleaker take on the franchise, and is better for it. Here, Australia is the setting for these oversized battles, but unlike the films, the battle between humanity and monsters is effectively over.” Look for the rest of Kevin Johnson’s review later today.

For Heaven’s Sake (Paramount Plus, 3:01 a.m., complete first series): Funny Or Die attempts to answer the question, “What would American Vandal be like if it were real?” with this eight-episode true crime comedic docuseries about the disappearance of Harold Heaven.

The TS Madison Experience (WE, 10 p.m., series premiere): An internet icon prepares to conquer the world of television in this six-episode docuseries.

Contributor, The A.V. Club, with a clear preference for all things cartoons; check out his main blog at http://www.totalmediabridge.com.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!