Dynamice (Screenshot: YouTube)

Butch Hartman has one of the best résumés in all of TV animation, with successes at both Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, but even he can’t get every single pet project of his off the ground. Through his YouTube channel, the creator of The Fairly OddParents and Danny Phantom recently decided to share some footage from one of his unsold projects, a superhero/funny animal comedy called Dynamice, along with an explanation of how the show came into existence. Though Hartman’s biggest hits were created for Nickelodeon, he has a longstanding relationship with CN, too, going back to his days as a writer, director, and artist on such shows as Johnny Bravo, Dexter’s Laboratory, and Cow And Chicken. The cable network initially seemed very interested in picking up Dynamice, the saga of four super-powered talking mice, but the series never materialized. Hartman does not seem bitter about it in the least. He has plenty of other projects to keep him busy, but Dynamice seems to be the one that got away. In the video, he talks about the show’s origins and evolution while narrating some early concept art.

I really wanted to kind of make my version of the ThunderCats, but with mice. You can see the drawings right here that I first did. I really drew these big, muscular mice with armor. I gave them these cool motorcycles and tanks. They really looked like Iron Man and just really futuristic mice, but I wanted them to be really, really tough. And I just loved the name Dynamice. I think that’s a fantastic name for a show. But I took it to Cartoon Network, and they said, “We love this. We love the name.” I was like, “Great!” And they said, “Can you make it a comedy?” I went, “Huh. I suppose so.”

The test footage shows what Hartman came up with after getting Cartoon Network’s original notes. A “weird meteor” crashes into a pet store, turning four ordinary mice into the Dynamice, while a nearby cat becomes their nemesis, Cat-Atomic. The heroes also have access to a supercomputer with a voice very much like that of Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle. Also, the mice are no longer cool or muscular and are now “completely silly” instead. Their main activity is lounging around and watching TV while accomplishing nothing. The pilot incorporates an elaborate Harry Potter parody. So they started out a bit like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and became more of a kid-friendly Aqua Teen Hunger Force instead.