Tower Prep
GenreAction/Adventure
Mystery
Teen drama
Science fiction
Superhero
Created byPaul Dini
StarringDrew Van Acker
Ryan Pinkston
Elise Gatien
Dyana Liu
ComposersKristopher Carter
Michael McCuistion
Lolita Ritmanis
Country of originUnited States
Canada
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Production
Executive producers
ProducersPeter Lhotka
Karen Mayeda-Vranek[b]
Darin Morgan[c]
Production locationsVancouver, British Columbia, Canada
CinematographyPhilip Linzey
EditorsScott Richter
Geoffrey O'Brien
James Coblentz
Camera setupFilm; Single-camera
Running time45 minutes
Production companiesDolphin Entertainment
Cartoon Network Studios
Original release
NetworkCartoon Network
ReleaseOctober 12 (2010-10-12) –
December 28, 2010 (2010-12-28)

Tower Prep is a live-action teen science-fiction television series created for Cartoon Network by Paul Dini, who is known for previously writing and producing series in the DC Animated Universe. From October 12 to December 28, 2010, the series aired one thirteen-episode season, before being canceled by Cartoon Network.[1][2]

Premise

The series centers around "Tower Prep", an isolated boarding school for teenagers with supernatural abilities. The protagonist (Ian Archer) and a group of friends (Gabe Forrest, Suki Sato, and CJ Ward) are unwilling students at the institution, with no memory of how they got there. Throughout the series, they explore the mysteries of Tower Prep in the hope of escaping and returning to their normal lives.

Characters

The cast of Tower Prep (from left to right): Drew Van Acker as Ian Archer, Dyana Liu as Suki Sato, Ryan Pinkston as Gabe Forrest, and Elise Gatien as CJ Ward.

Main

Tower Prep staff

Supporting

Minor

Production

Paul Dini wrote the first episode of Tower Prep, drawing on his own experiences of "strangeness" and "alienation" at prep school. Cartoon Network picked up the series as part of their initiative to develop live action programming for a family audience.[7] The pilot was shot in 2009, and full production of the first season began in 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia.[8] Former X-Files writer Glen Morgan was hired as executive producer and showrunner, joined by a writing team including Dini, Glen's brother Darin Morgan, Riley Stearns, Aury Wallington, Jeff Eckerle, and Marilyn Osborn.[8]

The promotion for the series began with a fictional storyline, in which Cartoon Network published vlogs from the four main characters. Prior to the series premiere, a sneak peek of the show was released for free download on the iTunes Store featuring half of the first episode. To promote the premiere, the network announced a giveaway of 1,000 iPod Touch devices that would take place during the show. The song "Unstoppable" by Foxy Shazam was used in network promos and in the episode "Trust".

Cancellation

The last two episodes of the first season aired on December 28, 2010. On March 23, 2011, Cartoon Network announced their new and returning programs for the remainder of 2011 and Tower Prep was not mentioned as one of the returning series.[9] In October 2011, Cartoon Network removed all Tower Prep content from its website.

In December 2011, Paul Dini announced that the series would not return for a second season.[10][11] Dini continued to comment on the series over the next several years, saying that he was "sworn to secrecy" about the ending,[12] that Cartoon Network decided not to air a second season despite talk of foreign financing,[13] and that he was never given a reason for the cancellation of the series.[14] Dini speculated that a primary reason for the cancellation was that Tower Prep drew a primarily female viewership, and that Cartoon Network wanted to instead target young male viewers for their merchandising.[14][15][16]

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUS viewers
(millions)
1"New Kid"Terry McDonoughPaul DiniOctober 12, 2010 (2010-10-12)1.323[17]
Ian Archer (Drew Van Acker) is suspended for fighting while defending another student. That night, he loses consciousness and wakes up at a mysterious school called Tower Prep. In the process of attempting to escape, he joins forces with fellow students CJ Ward (Elise Gatien), Gabe Forrest (Ryan Pinkston) and Suki Sato (Dyana Liu). The group's plans are thwarted by "gnomes", creatures living in the forest around Tower Prep.
2"Monitored"Thomas WrightPaul DiniOctober 19, 2010 (2010-10-19)1.061[18]
Ian must defend himself against accusations of theft in a school tribunal, while Gabe, CJ, and Suki work to prove his innocence. Ian discovers a secret tunnel entrance in his room, which Howard Gilmore, Gabe's roommate, was using to frame him for the thefts.
3"Whisper"James WongGlen MorganOctober 26, 2010 (2010-10-26)0.881[19]
Ian, Gabe, CJ, and Suki attempt to track down the author of a mysterious note. In the process, they encounter Whisper 23, an older version of the school AI, who forces them to play a deadly video game.
4"Buffer"Peter DeLuiseGlen MorganNovember 2, 2010 (2010-11-02)0.903[20]
Ian sacrifices a chance to join the school sports team in order to help his friends investigate Coach History's connection with the mysterious "gnomes", who turn out to be Tower Prep students.
5"The Rooks"Thomas WrightAury WallingtonNovember 9, 2010 (2010-11-09)1.065[21]
Ian joins a school fraternity called the Rooks, only to betray them when he discovers their plans to sabotage CJ's dance.
6"Book Report"Peter DeLuiseDarin MorganNovember 16, 2010 (2010-11-16)1.018[22]
While reading the Odyssey, Ian discovers notes about how to escape Tower Prep, written by a former student named Norman.
7"Election"Michael RohlRiley StearnsNovember 23, 2010 (2010-11-23)0.978[23]
As Gabe runs against Emily Wright for class president, students begin to lose their powers. Ian discovers that Ross Anderson, Emily's campaign manager, has been using the campaign buttons to infect the students.
8"Field Trip"Dwight LittlePaul DiniNovember 30, 2010 (2010-11-30)0.986[24]
During a Biology field trip into the woods, Ian and Cal discover an underground gnome lair. They meet Philips, or "Redfang", leader of a mysterious group dedicated to saving students from becoming gnomes.
9"Dreams"Brenton SpencerDarin MorganDecember 7, 2010 (2010-12-07)0.901[25]
When Ian, Gabe, and Suki have dreams about a mysterious yellow elevator, they search for it in the tunnels. They observe a new student (Conner) being brought out of the elevator. Conner, who becomes Ian and Gabe's new roommate, can infiltrate dreams. The group investigates the office of Cornelius Tower, founder of Tower Prep. Conner escapes the school.
10"Phone Home"Michael RobisonAury WallingtonDecember 14, 2010 (2010-12-14)0.982[26]
Ian attempts to call home for his birthday. Suki discovers that her brother, Shinji, is still alive.
11"Trust"Michael RohlRiley StearnsDecember 21, 2010 (2010-12-21)1.068[27]
Ian suspects CJ of feeding Cal information for Headmaster about the group's escape plan. Emily Wright plans to join the Broken, a resistance group.
12"Snitch"Thomas WrightJeff Eckerle and Marilyn OsbornDecember 28, 2010 (2010-12-28)N/A
Conner returns to the school to help the group escape. Ian investigates West Campus and finds a way out. Headmaster is revealed to be CJ's father.
13"Fathers"Dwight LittleGlen MorganDecember 28, 2010 (2010-12-28)N/A
Gabe is sent to West Campus. Ian rescues Suki from her father, and defeats Headmaster in a fight. The group rescue Gabe and escape through a vent Ian found in West Campus, before meeting a hologram of Whisper 120.

Reception

Critics commented on the show's low production values and murky fight scenes, but praised its overall concept, writing, and cast.[28][29] Brian Lowry of Variety said the show's mysteries might appeal to both children and adults, calling it "a series that points the way toward a best-case scenario" for Cartoon Network's live-action programming.[30]

In the 2011 Leo Awards, Brenton Spencer was nominated for Best Direction in a Youth or Children's Program or Series for the episode "Dreams".[31]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e executive producer for Cartoon Network Studios
  2. ^ co-producer
  3. ^ supervising producer

References

  1. ^ Cartoon Network Picks Up First Two Live-Action Series – Turner Newsroom Release Date: 11/6/2009
  2. ^ Cartoon Network holds 2010 upfront Archived 2011-07-15 at the Wayback Machine – Radio Business Report/Television Business Report 21 April 2010 04:49:00
  3. ^ Ian Archer profile
  4. ^ CJ Ward profile
  5. ^ Gabe Forrest profile
  6. ^ Suki Sato profile
  7. ^ Phegley, Kiel (2010-08-05). "CCI: "Tower Prep" & "Firebreather"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
  8. ^ a b Phegley, Kiel (2010-11-23). "Discovering Paul Dini's "Tower Prep"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
  9. ^ Seidman, Robert (March 23, 2011). "Cartoon Network Unveils New Programming Slate Including Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck and Details on 'How to Train Your Dragon'". TV by the Numbers.com. Archived from the original on March 25, 2011. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  10. ^ "Over :(". Paul Dini's official Twitter. December 7, 2011.
  11. ^ "Nope. Sorry". Paul Dini's official Twitter. December 7, 2011.
  12. ^ "Sorry. I'm sworn to secrecy". Paul Dini's official Twitter. December 7, 2011.
  13. ^ "There was talk of foreign financing for season 2, but CN decided not to air it again in the US regardless, so the deal fell thru". Paul Dini's official Twitter. May 27, 2012.
  14. ^ a b Goldman, Eric (2013-12-16). "Paul Dini on Cartoon Network's Programming Decisions and Why Boy Viewers Are Valued Over Girls". IGN. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
  15. ^ Kevin Smith (2013). "Shadow of the Bat". Fatman on Batman (Podcast). SModcast Podcast Network. Retrieved March 21, 2022.
  16. ^ Lutes, Alicia (2013-12-19). "According to 'Tower Prep' Creator, Girls Were the Reason The Show Was Cancelled". Bustle. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  17. ^ "Tuesday Cable Ratings: 'Sons of Anarchy' Drops; Teen Mom Special Second-Best to Yankees/Rangers; Stargate Universe, Caprica Weaken & More – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. 2010-10-20. Archived from the original on 2010-11-15. Retrieved 2011-12-09. (ratings for October 19, 2010 broadcast)
  18. ^ "Tuesday Cable Ratings: Heat/Celtics Slam Dunk; 'Sons of Anarchy' Steady; 16 & Pregnant, Caprica, Stargate Universe, Millionaire Matchmaker & More – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. Archived from the original on 2010-11-15. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  19. ^ "Tuesday Cable Ratings: 'Sons of Anarchy' Rises; 'Stargate Universe' Steady + 'Dirty Jobs,' '16 and Pregnant,' 'In Treatment' & More – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. 2010-11-03. Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  20. ^ "Tuesday Cable Ratings: 'Sons of Anarchy' Dips, Tops Cable; 'Stargate Universe' Steady + 'Dirty Jobs,' '16 and Pregnant,' 'In Treatment' & More – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. 2010-11-10. Archived from the original on 2010-11-14. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  21. ^ "Tuesday Cable Ratings: 'Sons of Anarchy' Rides Higher, Tops Cable; 'Glory Daze' Modest in Premiere; 'Stargate Universe' Steady & More – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. 2010-11-17. Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  22. ^ "Tuesday Cable Ratings: 'Sons of Anarchy' Rides Steady, Again Tops Cable; 'Stargate Universe' Inches Higher; 'Glory Days' Slides & More – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. 2010-11-24. Archived from the original on 2010-11-27. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  23. ^ "Tuesday Cable Ratings: 'Sons of Anarchy' Finale Rises; 'Stargate Universe,' "Glory Daze' Steady; '16 and Pregnant' & More – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. 2010-12-01. Archived from the original on 2010-12-05. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  24. ^ "Tuesday Cable Ratings: '16 & Pregnant' Rises; 'Eureka,' 'Warehouse 13,' 'Glory Daze' & More – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. 2010-12-08. Archived from the original on 2010-12-10. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  25. ^ "Tuesday Cable Ratings: '16 & Pregnant,' 'Glory Daze' Slip + 'Millionaire Matchmaker,' 'Tower Prep' & More – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. Archived from the original on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  26. ^ "Tuesday 12/21 Cable Ratings: '16 & Pregnant,' 'Glory Daze,Storage Wars,' 'Tower Prep' & More – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. Archived from the original on 2010-12-28. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  27. ^ Gorman, Bill (December 25, 2010). "Tuesday 12/21 Cable Ratings: 16 & Pregnant, Glory Daze, Storage Wars, Tower Prep & More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on December 28, 2010. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  28. ^ Lloyd, Robert (2010-10-19). "Television review: 'Tower Prep' on Cartoon Network". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
  29. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily (2010-10-17). "Tower Prep – "New Kid"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  30. ^ Lowry, Brian (2010-10-16). "Tower Prep Review". Variety. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
  31. ^ "Leo Awards, 2011 Nominees by Name". Leo Awards. Archived from the original on 2011-08-11. Retrieved 2011-06-12.