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Horsemen and other assorted oddities: 2014's animation highlights

Now is a pretty great time for animation—there’s never been a wider array of strange, smart, and subversive cartoons for audiences of all stripes. While not all of them hit it out of the park in 2014—we’re looking at you, Chozen—the good ones were often brilliant, easily on par with the best live-action fare.

Before we get to our favorites, a small bit of housekeeping: For the purposes of this list, we’ll be excluding films from this roundup. Cool? That said, here are the year’s highlights:

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The Russo Brothers talk 'Winter Soldier,' 'Cap 3' and returning to 'Community'

Captain America: The Winter Soldier triumphantly arrives on DVD/Blu-Ray on Sept. 9, after marching to the top of the 2014 box office and earning critical accolades. The film departs wildly from the original Captain America, refocusing Steve Rogers in our brave new freaked-out world. Cap 2 was directed by brothers Joe and Anthony Russo, heretofore best known as ace TV directors. EW caught up with the Russo brothers to talk about Winter Soldier, their work on 2016’s Cap threequel, Agent Carter, and their impending return to Community. READ FULL STORY

Donald Glover to finally play Spider-Man -- in a cartoon

Remember way back in 2010, when Donald Glover campaigned to land an audition for the lead role in Marc Webb’s 2012 Spider-Man reboot? Turns out Glover will finally get a chance to be behind the webs, albeit in a slightly different way than imagined back then.

USA Today reports that the actor and rapper will be voicing the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man in this season of Disney XD’s animated series Ultimate Spider-Man, subtitled Web Warriors. For the uninitiated, Morales, a half-black, half-Latino teenager, has been the Spider-Man of the Ultimate universe for three years now—since the ‘Ultimate’ version of Peter Parker died in the summer of 2011.

It’s a neat example of a meme coming full circle—writer Brian Michael Bendis, who created Miles in the comic books, cites the #donald4spiderman hashtag as the inspiration for Miles’ creationUltimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors begins Sunday and will find Peter Parker teaming up with a number of alternate Spider-Men in order to stop the Green Goblin from collecting all of their DNA for his latest scheme.

For a clip of Glover’s voice in action, head on over to Vulture for an exclusive clip from the forthcoming season.

One set, two actors, all dialogue: TV's best 'bottle' episodes

Sunday night’s episode of Masters of Sex, titled “Fight,” was one of the series’ best. It stuck the show’s two main characters, Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and his assistant/lover Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), in a single hotel room and then let them batter out their anxieties and anger through flirtation, role play, and sex, all while an actual boxing match rages on TV.

In TV parlance, episodes like “Fight,” where characters are restricted to a few sets, are often called “bottle episodes”—they’re cheaper to make (you don’t have to build new sets or cast guest stars) but they succeed or fail depending on the quality of the writing and the actors’ performances. In other terms, “Fight” was also nearly a “two-hander,” a term borrowed from stage performance that refers to a play in which only two actors appear. READ FULL STORY

'Community' at Comic-Con: New episodes coming 'probably sometime after Christmas'

TV Guide Magazine hosted the panel “Greendale Forever” in honor of the impending sixth season of Community on Yahoo TV. The panel included Community creator-mascot Dan Harmon, longtime writer Chris McKenna, and cast members Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, and Jim Rash, plus Dino “Star Burns” Stamatopoulos.

The ebullient panel didn’t reveal very much about the upcoming season, although Harmon did announce that he wanted to adhere to the same basic Community episode structure even though the show is no longer bound by broadcast restrictions. “My philosophy is: Attempt to make the same show, and let the lack of boundaries kind of make themselves felt, instead of just going, ‘We can make the episode 49 minutes long, and say the f-word the whole time.'” READ FULL STORY

Entertainment Geekly: 'Community' survives. Television dies?

Entertainment Geekly is a weekly column that examines pop culture through a geek lens and simultaneously examines contemporary geek culture through a pop lens. So many lenses!

If you’re a human being, you probably don’t watch Community. The show’s audience is engaged, empowered, and one-sixth the size of the audience accidentally watching whatever’s on after The Big Bang Theory. And I know why you don’t watch. Even by the standards of low- rated cause-célèbre wonder shows, Community is hard to like. The lead characters are pricks, lunatics, deluded mock-intellectuals, and self-important gasbags. The most likable character on the show would be the most annoying person you have ever met.

So Community’s brilliance testifies to the full commitment of the actors, the writers, the directors, and mad-genius showrunner Dan Harmon. And the fact that Community lasted five seasons on NBC testifies to to the postapocalyptic state of television in general. READ FULL STORY

The agony and the ecstasy of getting more 'Community'

Here’s to some more time in a dreamCommunity was picked up by Yahoo Screen yesterday, rescued from cancellation after its original home, NBC, declined to give it a sixth season. Dan Harmon is back and so is the cast, whose contracts were set to expire Monday night.

Yahoo’s 13-episode order puts the show that much closer to fulfilling its fans’ perpetually hashtagged mantra—#sixseasonsandamovie, a quote from Abed’s season-two love of NBC’s now-cancelled The Cape. But even as it’s time to pull out the old hashtag (and invent new ones—#sevenseasonsandasearchengine, anyone?), Community‘s renewal reanimates the painful something that makes Abed’s original line funny: the absurdity of being a diehard fan, of loving something blindly and too much.

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Seth MacFarlane will match donations in 'Reading Rainbow' Kickstarter

Yesterday, LeVar Burton announced in a video on the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter website that Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane has promised to match up to $1 million in donations made to the campaign during its final five days. MacFarlane’s donation will allow more underfunded classrooms to have access to the new Reading Rainbow web series free of charge.

The Associated Press reports that MacFarlane made the promise after hearing that the campaign needed to raise at least $5 million. The campaign has already raised over $4 million and has five days to reach its $5 million fundraising goal. According to the Kickstarter campaign site, if the $5 million fundraising goal is reached, the Reading Rainbow web series will be given to approximately 7,500 classrooms free of charge. MacFarlane’s added donation of $1 million would bring that number up to approximately 12,500.

The Kickstarter campaign ends on July 2 at 3 p.m. ET. MacFarlane’s offer will remain in effect until that time.

Donald Glover and Danny Pudi talk 'Community,' video games, and a 'Community' video game

On Tuesday, Donald Glover and Danny Pudi were hanging out inside of the Ubisoft Booth at video game mega-convention E3. EW asked them questions about video games — and also inquired about the current status of a certain canceled NBC sitcom.

This is what happened. READ FULL STORY

'Community' coming back? Hulu should revive these shows, too

Remember the days when network cancelations felt absolutely irreversible? I’m sure networks do. But a world with Kickstarter, Netflix, Hulu, social media, and all things interactive, cancelation has morphed from a death knell to a possible new beginning.

As Veronica Mars fans know, if you want more of your favorite story, it’s not impossible to get your wish — and in their case, they helped to make the revival happen. The latest example: Community getting canceled, only to be in talks for a Hulu pickup. If Community ends up getting its #sixseasons, could Hulu become TV’s newest superhero? And if so, which other shows would we like to see it rescue? READ FULL STORY

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