Hindsight Review: Why Tower Prep Should Be the Gold Standard in “Children’s Programming”

I had said that Cartoon Network’s Tower Prep was fresh, something completely different for children’s and teen programming. Something different from the “idol/star vehicles” of the other networks and that it could “be accessible to audiences outside the target demo with no reason to be guilty about watching them.”

After catching up with the series’ last nine episodes of the season in just two nights of viewing (finally), I was left in awe and disbelief.

In awe at how thoroughly engrossing the series became and in disbelief that there aren’t any series anywhere close to the ambition of Tower Prep.

I did not expect… no, I actually never dreamed a scripted children’s program like Tower Prep could ever exist.

Teen and children’s live action programming these days apparently need to either include singing and dancing or need to push the envelope by being “edgy” or sexy.

In either case, youth programs these days either come off as cliché or trying too hard. None providing any worthwhile viewing experience. Throw in the shows that kids are watching these days that aren’t even meant for them and you’ve got quite a sad bunch.

Tower Prep showed they didn’t need any of that stuff to be engaging and enjoyable.

Not only is it a show I wish other children’s and teens programs would be like, Tower Prep is a show I wish most “grown up” shows were like.

Ambitious, ready to break down the walls of its own genre, demo, and target audience. Like any television series, it’ll have its flaws, but Tower Prep developed week after week; its story moving with a brisk pace, peppered with both questions and answers as well as plenty of action and adventure to keep you along for the ride.

A chapter in a lesson on how to write an intricate mystery with bits and pieces of humor and high school angst thrown in. Seemingly inspired by series like Lost and The Prisoner (creator Paul Dini was a writer on Lost), Tower Prep made for a rewarding experience for all ages.

I felt the same way after Power Rangers RPM. Executive producer Eddie Guzelian managed to take the franchise to another level. He and his crew, before Disney put a stop to them, showed how children’s programming did not merely have to be mindless slapstick merchandise commercials.

Sure, Power Rangers itself could be called a 22 minute toy commercial, but RPM completely changed that. Over the series’, at the time, 17 year history, there would be moments where you’d realize that with a little more effort, this could be more than just selling toys to kids or some campy guilty pleasure for the adults.

For most of RPM‘s season, it changed that. It showed that there could be actual depth… hell, it showed that there could be actual story in this thing. And it introduced a very novel idea in finding actors… who can act.

Tower Prep shares many similar qualities; both ambitious, both realizing the youngins these days aren’t dumb, both able to reach audiences of all ages. I actually wish Nickelodeon’s Power Rangers reboot was more like Tower Prep.

Sadly Tower Prep‘s first season ratings keep it on the bubble today and whether or not ambitious genre/target audience-busting series are commercially viable can fill up a whole other post.

But Tower Prep, artistically and creatively, is very sound and more than deserving of a second season. Well-written story, great cast, twists and turns, intriguing, exciting, action-packed… and one hell of a cliffhanger.

If only other television series, especially those aimed at teens and below, opened their minds, expanded their horizons so to speak, and thought out of the box instead of squeezing into a crowded old carton. Us viewers would be pretty spoiled… and deservedly so.

0 thoughts on “Hindsight Review: Why Tower Prep Should Be the Gold Standard in “Children’s Programming”

  1. tower prep has to come on i love it. it rocks so much. and it has to come on. if people had a fav. tv show and it did not come back on and they left at a clif hanger wol feel so sad now see how we feel so please think of this and please let it come back on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Tower Prep has an audience of all ages, the show needs to continue. it’s a very good mystery series, and the best one we’ve ever seen.
    Please let the show come back for more seasons!
    check out our facebook and twitter page as well, there’s tons of other Tower Prep sites being introduced to twitter and facebook daily! google search tower prep as well.

    http://twitter.com/TowerPrepRiot?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=fb&utm_campaign=TowerPrepRiot&utm_content=53151154242199552&ref=nf

  3. FINALLY someone who agrees that just because a story comes from a place where low quality usually comes from doesn’t mean that its low quality!

  4. Tower Prep as reached my heart and life..im a 14 year old girl that tottaly loves this show you dont find that too often but here i am…..Tower Prep is amazily outstanding in every aspect you see it in. it doesnt have “sexual” content but it has just a pinch of a love story.action packed.
    This show have helped me in many ways such as how to deal with certin situations ill say” what would gabe do?? or Ian???” This show has come a long way and…..idon’t know what i would do without it, it really deserves another season…i know my opion doesnt matter but it may help

  5. we shared this site on twitter. Cartoon Network and the Creator’s of Tower Prep needs to see all sites like these. we’re doing everything we can to get the show back the recent update is TP went from Pending to Hiatus and now it’s back to Pending 🙁 CN needs to hurry with a decision already!

  6. Tower Prep HAS to be renewed. It’s one of the best shows your network was aired, and if you cancel this you will lose many viewers. Seriously, you cancelled Unnatural History. Don’t let it happen again. TOWER PREP SEASON 2 SUPPORTER.

  7. I NEED TOWER PREP BAK ON I LOVED THE SHOWS I WANT TO KNOW WAT HAPPENS NEXT DO THEY ESCAPE OR WAT PLZ ITS MY NEW FAVORITE SHOW I NEED MY FAVORITE SHOW BAK ON PLZZ!

  8. I adore Tower Prep, it is one of the best mystery shows ever and it would be such a shame if it did not get renewed

  9. Tower prep is a great show everyday i email cartoon network and the guy that owns the network and i have told them if tower prep isn’t back i’m not going to watch that network anymore i don’t watch that network until i here that its back on

  10. Tower Prep is an excellent show and I will be very disappointed if it does not continue with another season. Where some would compare it to X Men or another comic genre, I see TP as a brilliant commentary on individual consciousness. The depiciton of a corporate hierarchey ousting the school’s eccentric owner and manipulating the children’s talents is an inventive way to exhort the effects of social norms on the best parts of self. Society’s manipulation of children through circumstantial conditioning is disarming, robbing kids of freedom they clearly possess but otherwise BELIEVE does not exist. Ian, the beautiful and self aware newcomer, is the perfect leader because he understands that he cannot do it alone. His brute strength and “clairvoyant” abilities coupled with Gabe’s soft “charm”, CJ’s unwavering justice, and Suki’s sharp mind (AND tongue) prove indefeatable. In other words, Ian WILL NOT be silenced- he is the voice crying out in the wilderness- and the idea that he is the possible grandson of Cornelius Tower is friggin’ great. LOVE this show! Now, where’s season 2?

  11. Tower prep was what i looked forward to every tuesday night. Plese for all that is holy, do not cancel it!!!! Its a spectacular show that i will miss dearly if it gets canned. CN will be screwed without TP. Ps i love suki!

  12. Cartoon Network, we’re sick of dealing with them, but we’re not giving up on getting our show back! we can be followed on Twitter and Facebook, also check out Tower Prep Season 2 on facebook!

  13. we hope for more we’re not giving up! Cartoon Network needs to pay attention to all tower prep fans! all though ppl are finally starting to notice everything us and our good friends at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tower-Prep-Season-2/179339508754269 are doing to get the show back. check out our facebooks and twitters as well. keep the faith, and keep emailing and tweeting anything about Tower Prep, but please be polite with Paul Dini the creator of Tower Prep.

  14. wow tower prep was the first show that has ever left a lasting impression on me and the first show i can actually say isnt tacky and predictable. I HEART GABE AND HIS WITTY COMMENTS,GEEKY APPEARANCE (in a hot way) AND HIS SOCK MONKEY SENIOR GUAPO! DONT END THIS FRIGGIN AMAZIN SHOW!!! TP SEASON TWO!!! TEAM GABE 4 EVA <3

  15. Tower prep needs to be brought back! I LOVEE IT! It is the only show i used to look forward to. Why cant CN just keep a tv series going? they already killed unnatural history…(which i also rioted!) dont kill tower prep too.instead of thinking about it just bring the show back! CN fyi if you keep starting new shows and cancelling them no one is going to watch your network. BRING BACK TOWER PREP. FROM ME AND OTHER TOWER PREP RIOTERS JUST BRING BACK THE FRIGGIN SHOW!! please………… (at least i said please…right?) ~Krista a new official TP rioter~

  16. OK, I completely agree with you with regard to Tower Prep it is an awesome show and desperately needs a second season (not to mention a DVD release so I can delete the first season from my DVR), but which version of Power Rangers are you comparing RPM to? If it’s MMPR OK, sure, you’ve got a point there. But later seasons had been building momentum with regard to arc related storytelling–maybe they dropped a few things along the way–and sure, let’s blame Disney since they decided to turn MMPR into Batman rather that make a new season last year before Saban bought it back, but the only real difference that I saw in the storytelling when they brought back Judd Lynn was that Corinth became less of a police state and more apropos to a government on what is essentially a kids’ show–the character development and arcs continued (even if the Tenaya five arc was predictable if you’ve been watching the show enough). I’ll admit, it’s been awhile since I watched it (hard to watch out of order sometimes). Where do you feel things went off track?

    • Ah. Well, there have definitely been plenty of bright moments over the years on PR, but I think RPM was the first time where those in charge of the franchise (directly, not so much the higher ups) wanted to be ambitious, that they didn’t have to dumb themselves down to appeal to children. Now, Power Rangers Samurai has pretty much taken back any steps forward the show has made in recent years.

      Which is what makes Tower Prep such an interesting and creatively successful show. It is ambitious and offers itself up to not just its target audience, but a wide range of people.

  17. Follow me on twitter im new and totally supportin tp! Well from the comments above u can tell i care. Follow me at crazysokmonkey in honor of Gabe’s sock monkey!

  18. we are rioting and emailing cartoon network. we will not give up. maybe cartoon network will answer us soon. Tower Prep keeps gaining fans daily because of our stand off against cartoon network which is all Tower Prep Fans refusing to watch cartoon network hopefully cartoon network will loose alot of viewers then finally give us what we want. whos with us?

  19. still no new updates on Tower Prep hopefully cn makes the right decision and gives us more soon.

  20. right now im stuck watching loonie toons and the amazing world of gumball. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! you replace a show like tower prep with kids pretending to be ninjas i am 14 and i am in love with tower prep. the mystery the suspence the EVERYTHING is mind bottling. every thing about it just graps you. bring it back!!! 1118 potitions is not enough? no one would potition for the amazing world of gumball.

  21. Pingback: For Your Emmy Consideration: Tower Prep | dryedmangoez

Leave a Reply