October 29, 2022

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA: THE SERIES

 

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA: THE SERIES
(Disney Channel, Teletoon, Netflix, June 25, 2017-October 29, 2020)
 
Sony Pictures Animation, Corus Entertainment, Nelvana

 

 

Hotel Transylvania is a media franchise created and developed by comedy writer Todd Durham based on his book of the same name. Todd later created a bible outlining several films, a television series, holiday specials, video games, books, merchandising, a hotel chain and theme parks and pitched it to Sony Pictures. Sony bought the concept and set it up at their newly-formed Sony Pictures Animation studio.



Hotel Transylvania centered around the titular hotel opened up by Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) himself as a safe haven for monsters away from the human world. He did this after his wife was killed by an angry human mob shortly after the birth of his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez); whom he forbade from ever leaving the hotel out of fear for her safety and went to great lengths to keep her curiosity of the outside world at bay. Frequent residents of the hotel included comedic interpretations of Universal Monsters like Frankenstein (Kevin James) and his wife, Eunice (Fran Drescher); Wayne Werewolf (Steve Buscemi), his wife, Wanda (Molly Shannon), and their massive litter of children; Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade); and Murray the mummy (CeeLo Green). Comprising the hotel staff were zombies as bellhops, witches as maids, and gargoyles as waiters.

Movie poster featuring Murray, Frank, Wayne, Drac, Mavis, Johnny and two wolf cubs.


Drac’s peace, however, seems to come to an end when a 21-year-old human named Johnny (Andy Samberg) stumbles upon the hotel and meets Mavis, with the two instantly become attracted to each other. Unable to get Johnny away without notice, Drac disguises Johnny as Frank’s cousin “Johnnystein” and claimed he was a party planner for Mavis’ 118th birthday. Drac found himself having to juggle his lie long enough to get rid of Johnny without incident, but needing to do it without breaking his daughter’s heart and chef Quasimodo (Jon Lovitz) turning Johnny into a meal.

The original trilogy film collection.


The film had a rough production, going through six directors until Genndy Tartakovsky came on board, making his feature directorial debut. Tartakovsky visualized the film as having the energy and exaggeration of traditional 2D animation in order to “push reality” and infused those sensibilities into the CG design. Miley Cyrus was also initially cast to play Mavis, but was replaced by Gomez when she bought and licked an explicit cake meant for her then-partner’s birthday. Dan and Kevin Hageman contributed to the story, and the screenplay was written by Peter Baynham and Robert Smigel. Character designs were handled by Sylvain Deboissy, Carter Goodrich, Carlos Grangel, Luis Grané, Cathy Jones, Craig Kellman, Annette Marnat and Pete Oswald. The film opened on September 28, 2012 and ended up pulling in over $378 million worldwide at the box office against an $85 million budget. The film’s success spawned three sequels; each earning more than the last (with the exception of the fourth, released on Amazon Prime with only a limited theatrical release).

Mavis literally hanging out with Hank, Wendy, Pedro and Diane.


While production was underway for the third film, Sony looked into expanding the series by creating a spin-off television series. Developed by Mark Steinberg, Hotel Transylvania: The Series was actually a prequel set 4 years before the first film. Drac (David Berni, later Ivan Sherry) was called away for business with the Vampire Council, leaving his older sister, Lydia (Dan Chameroy), in charge of the hotel and looking after 114-year-old Mavis (Bryn McAuley). Mavis wanted to prove to her father that she could run the hotel and often attempted to implement her ideas; which clashed with Lydia’s traditional and old-fashioned outlook and desire to maintain order. Of course, her teenaged enthusiasm and curiosity often led Mavis into mischief with her friends Wendy Blob (Evany Rosen), a green blob of goo; Hank N. Stein (Gage Munroe), the son of Frank (Paul Braunstein) and Eunice (Katie Griffin) who tended to fall to pieces; and Pedro (Joseph Motiki), a lazy and gluttonous mummy that liked rap (what else?) music.

Lydia Dracula: no sense of humor.


Other characters included Diane (Richard Binsley), Lydia’s pet chicken that was once human and served as her spy around the hotel; Quasimodo (Christopher Jacot), still the hotel’s curmudgeon of a chef; Gene Dracula (Patrick McKenna), Mavis’ video-game loving uncle who utilized a chariot-like wheelchair; Dr. Gillman (Chameroy), the hotel’s resident physician; Cerberus, the hotel’s three-headed guard dog; Klaus (Carter Hayden), Mavis’ cousin who was always trying to upstage her in everything; Shonda Moomay (Maria Vacratsis, later Masasa Moyo), Pedro’s mother and eventually Wendy’s stepmother who could grow to giant size; Bob Blob (Adrian Truss), Wendy’s father and eventually Pedro’s stepfather who’s the richest monster in the underworld; Baby Blendy, the infant daughter of Shonda and Bob whose wails were enjoyed by residents of the hotel;  Charlotte and Sophie (both Josette Halpert), twin werewolves that were old friends of Mavis from her Ghoul Guide troop; and Donald (Ryan Belleville) and Kitty Cartwright (Linda Kash), a human couple that lived near the hotel. Donald was fun-loving and dim-witted, while Kitty was overprotective of their toddler daughter, dubbed “the nosepicker” by Mavis, and did whatever she could to keep the monsters away from their house. Of course, the presence of the Cartwrights and various other encounters with humans throughout the series directly contradicted the canon of the original film where Mavis wouldn’t encounter any until she turned 118. The characters were designed by Ruggiero Abbruzzese, Paul Baczynski, Alice Lemma and Adan Ye.

Residents of the hotel.


Hotel Transylvania: The Series was first seen on June 9, 2017 in the first of a four weekly shorts that aired on WATCH Disney Channel and on Disney Channel’s YouTube; later airing during commercial breaks on Disney Channel proper. The series made its official debut on Disney Channel on June 25, 2017, although the first episode was made available on WATCH Disney Channel, YouTube and VOD on June 20th. The series was written by Steinberg, Ben Joseph, Alex Ganetakos, Emer Connon, Alice Prodanou, Andrew Harrison, and Mike D’Ascenzo, with Josh Gal and Shawn Kalb joining in the second season and Dale Schott contributing a short. Steinberg served as story editor with Connon, Ganetakos, Harrison, Joseph, Prodanou, Robert Marianetti and David Wachtenheim as story consultants. The majority of episodes were comprised of two story segments. Unlike the films, the series was animated in 2D. As it was produced by Nelvana and Corus Entertainment—both Canadian companies—the series’ cast was comprised of Canadian talent; which meant none of the franchise’s original actors reprised their roles (although that’s not uncommon for film-to-TV adaptations, anyway). The series’ theme and music were composed by Stephen Skratt and Asher Lenz.

The Cartwrights, bringing a little humanity to the show.


Initially, Disney Channel heavily promoted the series. A week after its debut, they channel hosted a 2 ½ hour marathon of the episodes already aired on July 2nd and their official Twitter account live-tweeted along with it. The series premiered on Teletoon in Canada on October 2nd, shortly before a hiatus began in December. The second half of the first season debuted on Teletoon beginning June 24, 2018 and on Netflix in the United States the next day before airing on Disney Channel that October. A second season was announced in September and debuted on October 8, 2019. Unlike with the first season, the second received very little promotion and was moved to a much earlier timeslot. The first 13 episodes were burned through that October, with the 14th airing in December before another hiatus. The final 12 episodes were also burned through the following October. Ultimately, the series was quietly cancelled by Disney and the crew had moved on to other projects by the time the final episodes aired. Repeats would air on Disney XD.


Who needs Halloween costumes when you're already a monster?


Jazwares was the official licensor for the franchise and produced various figures based on the show. Among them was a Mavis figure of her humanoid and bat form; a pack of figures of Mavis and her friends; three playsets including Mavis’ bedroom, the hotel lobby and the Scream Cheese Caféplush dollsand blind boxes that contained various characters from the films and show or pieces of Hank to build him, with a few of them being special unlockable items found in the playsets. Simon & Schuster published several chapter books written by Natalie Shaw and Cala Spinner and easy-reader books by Ximena Hastings, Sheila Sweeny Hagginson and Tina Gallo adapting various episodes, and a guide to the hotel written in Mavis’ voice by Delphine Finnegan. The second entry of Papercutz’s Hotel Transylvania trilogy of graphic novels was dedicated to an original story set in the world of the show by Stefan Petrucha, Allen Gladfelter, Zazo, Laurie E. Smith, and Wilson Ramos Jr. In 2018 Crazy Labs released Hotel Transylvania Adventures. It was a mobile platforming game where players used Mavis or one of her unlockable friends to traverse levels to collect coins and accomplish goals to earn 3 stars for each level.

Sibling argument.


During its run, the series was nominated for four ACTRA Awards, winning one; two Canadian Cinema Editors Awards; four Canadian Screen Awards, winning one; a Daytime Emmy Award; and two Writers Guild of Canada Awards, winning one. So far, only the first season has been available to stream on Netflix as well as purchasable on the iTunes store, Prime Video, Vudu and Google Play. The first episode was uploaded to Sony Pictures Animation’s official YouTube channel. Most clips and shorts have since been removed from official channels and are only partially available on international Disney YouTube channels or from user uploads.

  

EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“Enter the Nosepicker / Hide & Shriek” (6/25/17) – Mavis accidentally lures a human baby to the hotel just before an influential reviewer is due to come by. / Mavis finds the doll she lost 90 years prior, and this time it’s determined to never leave her side again.
 
“Bad Friday / Hoop Screams” (6/26/17) – Mavis’s attempt to achieve the best scare on Bad Friday results in her getting scared by Kitty instead. / Mavis helps Hank’s basketball skills by giving him a deceased basketball player’s hands.
 
“Buggin’ Out / How Do You Solv a Problem Like Medusa” (6/27/17) – While cleaning the hotel, Mavis accidentally infests the bed with truth bugs instead of bedbugs. / Mavis invites Medusa to the hotel when she finds out she’s Lydia’s rival and accidentally turns her to stone with her own wig.
 
“Adventures in Vampiresitting / Phlegm Ball” (6/28/17) – A disguised Mavis ends up babysitting a human child, at least until the actual babysitter shows up and alerts the family about monsters. / Mavis learns her friends have been letting her win at Phlegm Ball just when her cousin challenges her to a game for her father’s lucky fangs.
 
“Wendy Big and Tall / Doppelfanger” (6/29/17) – Wendy’s desire to become taller goes awry when she becomes a giant monster instead. / Mavis barely has time to enjoy her favorite singer coming to the hotel when a cursed mirror unleashes an evil zombie duplicate of her.
 
“Great Eggspectations / Hotel Pennyslvania” (7/9/17) – Mavis tries to prove she can care for a living creature by saving a bad egg. / Mavis and her friends try to find a way to watch their favorite show when Lydia disconnects the cable.
 
“Breakfast at Lydia’s / The Trouble with Wendys” (7/16/17) – Mavis worries about losing her employee of the month title when she causes Quasimodo to quit. / Feeling indebted to Dr. Gillman for getting gum out of her hair, she sticks by him until she can return the favor.
 
“Frankenstunt / What About Blob?” (7/23/17) – Hank fills in for his father for a movie when Frank gets blown apart doing a stunt. / Mavis and Wendy plot to get Lydia and Bob Blob together, but instead it prompts Bob to want to move his family away to the Cramptons.
 
“Curse Club / Casket if you Can” (7/30/17) – Mavis tries to help Pedro’s confidence by running around and making it seem as if his curses are coming true. / Lydia’s coffin gets ejected from the hotel with her in it, and Mavis and her friends must rescue it from a human antique collector.
 
“A Scare to Remember / Hank and the Real Boy” (8/6/17) – The kids accidentally get rid of the ghost author who really writes the books of Lydia’s favorite author when they clean the hotel. / Attempting to keep Hank from falling to pieces results in his becoming a real boy.
 
“The Wrapture / Becoming Klaus” (8/20/17) – Mavis replaces Pedro’s wraps that she got accidentally got rid of, but as they’re a different material Pedro adopts a new identity. / Mavis’ broken fang requires getting a transplant from Klaus.
 
“116 Candles / Stop or my Mummy Will Shout” (10/1/17) – Mavis gives Lydia a de-aging perfume in order to be allowed to go to a concert. / The kids pretend Pedro is in charge of the hotel in order to impress his mother.
 
“The Legend of Pumpkin Guts” (10/8/17) – Sneaking out to learn the secret behind Halloween causes Mavis and her friends to accidentally unleash the monstrous Pumpkin Guts on the monster world.
 
“Fright of Hand / Dude Where’s My Garlic?” (10/15/17) – Mavis plays magician at Diane’s party and accidentally loses her in a strange void. / Quasimodo’s supply of garlic leads Mavis to investigate why its deadly to vampires.
 
“Bat Flap Fever / Thumb and Thumber” (10/22/17) – Mavis is sent an embarrassing gift from her father that she throws away, resulting in it getting stuck to Donald. / When Hank discovers his thumb is from the Dracula bloodline, Lydia begins showing him all the affection she often denies Mavis.
 
“Brain Drain / Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow” (11/4/17) – Lydia takes Pandora’s box from Mavis and gives it to zombie Isaac Newton, just as his brain is swapped with Hank’s. / When someone starts messing with Lydia’s hair, the obvious suspect is Medusa.
 
“Drop the Needle / Really Gross Anatomy” (11/11/17) – Mavis offers to teach Klaus how to become a bat if he’ll show her how to replace the needle she broke on Lydia’s gramophone. / The kids discover Dr. Gillman isn’t an actual doctor and try to teach them everything they know about medicine (which is nothing).
 
“The Fright Before Creepmas” (12/2/17) – Mavis tries to get Krampus to fix a 1,000-year-old mistake so that Lydia will let everyone enjoy a family Creepmas.
 
“Exit Sandman / Roadkill Trip” (6/25/18 N, 10/15/18 DC) – Rebuilding Diane’s chicken coop disturbs the Sandman’s sleep, so he puts the entire hotel to sleep. / Mavis and Uncle Gene decide to go on a road trip to visit a restaurant before it closes, but getting there is proving a challenge.
 
“Top Wing / Fried Mean Tomatoes” (6/25/18 N, 10/16/18 DC) – When Mavis gets a position Wendy wanted, their relationship becomes strained. / Mavis attempts to use magic to expel Quasimodo’s mean streak and make him nicer.
 
“Four Monsters and a Funeral / Rainbow Doom” (6/24/18 TT, 10/17/18 DC) – Mavis must hold a phony funeral for Uncle Gene after telling Death that he died. / When Mavis uses a cursed code to beat a video game, the game comes to life to take over the monster world.
 
“Drac to the Future” (6/25/18 N, 10/18/18 DC) – When Kitty ends up sucked into a self-updating history book, Mavis must go back in time to rescue her.
 
“Gorytelling / A Few Good Monsters” (6/25/18 N, 10/22/18 DC) – Mavis hopes impressing an author writing about the hotel will lead to her becoming a full-time manager. / Lydia puts the kids on trial to determine who broke a priceless Dracula family heirloom.
 
“Mummyfest Destiny / Bandages of Brothers” (6/25/18 N, 10/23/18 DC) – Against warnings, Mavis decides to make use of Pedro’s time-freezing amulet. / A rift grows between Pedro and Hank that begins to affect the entire hotel.
 
“Creepover Party / Frankenstein & Son” (6/25/18 N, 10/24/18 DC) – Mavis’ old Ghoul Guide friends are coming to the hotel, meaning they can finally earn their last merit badge. / Frank wants to try dramatic acting so he can win an award, and decides to cast his next film at the hotel.
 
“Fangceañera” (6/25/18 N, 10/25/18 DC) – Mavis wants to spend her 115th birthday earning her Dracula cape in the dangerous Fangceañera realm, but Drac’s overprotectiveness spoils her plans.
 
Season 2:
“Welcome to Human Park / Must Scream TV” (10/8/19) – Mavis and her friends set out to get themselves scared silly before Halloween. / When Pedro fixes the TV, Mavis ends up trapped inside.
 
“Married to the Blob” (10/9/19) – Mavis intends to throw the best wedding ever for Pedro’s mother and Wendy’s father.
 
“Portrait of Mavis as a Young Vampire / Goo Crush” (101/10/19) – When the kids attempt to fix Mavis’ ruined portrait, they end up causing a bunch of magical problems. / Mavis encourages Wendy to find a crush, but her missing glasses leads to her making a big mistake.
 
“Frankerheads / For Whom the Smell Tolls” (10/11/19) – Hank asks Mavis to get him a rare collectible, but she ends up losing out on it to Klaus. / Puberty gives Mavis “the vapors”, making her repulsive to all the monsters.
 
“Cries and Dolls / Hypnosferatu” (10/15/19) – Mavis’ clingy doll begins to haunt her dreams. / Mavis new hypnosis power causes Donald to sweep Lydia off her feet.
 
“Best Friends Furever / Fantasy Vamp” (10/16/19) – Mavis uses Lydia’s staff to hang out with both Wendy and werewolves Sophie and Charlotte at the same time. / Mavis wins a trip to a Phlegm Ball fantasy camp where she has to put its leader in his place after he insults her friends.
 
“Stepmonsters / Better Know Your Mavis” (10/17/19) – Marvis convinces Pedro and Wendy to get to know their new stepparents. / Wendy competes against Sophie and Charlotte to see who can better care for a sick Mavis.
 
“The Northern Frights / Don’t Fear the Realtor” (10/18/19) – Mavis tricks Uncle Gene to get him away from his constant gaming. / A realtor sets her sights on selling the hotel.
 
“Holy Babies / Aunt Lydia’s New Clothes” (10/21/19) – Lying about their birthdays to get free ice cream has Death turning Mavis and Pedro into babies to fix his own records. / Mavis accidentally ruins Lydia’s new invisibility poncho.
 
“I Only Have Eyes for Goo / Talk Blobbish to Me” (10/22/19) – Mavis takes advantage of Wendy’s mind-reading glasses to get herself a promotion. / Mavis casts a spell to help Pedro learn Blobbish, but accidentally causes everyone else to only speak it instead.
 
“Wand Ambition / Lost in Transylvation” (10/23/19) – Mavis accidentally throws way Tiffany’s magic wand, which Kitty finds and uses to cast a spell on the hotel. / Mavis accidentally invents a new word that gets added to the Vampire Dictionary.
 
“The Song Remains Asleep / Baby Got Hunchback” (10/24/19) – The song Donald sings in his sleep becomes a big hit when used as the hotel’s elevator music. / Quasimodo gets unwanted attention when the kids market and sell his dirt flame recipe without his knowing.
 
“Afterlifestyles of the Rich and Mavis / The Mavysitters Club” (10/25/19) – Mavis is so focused on plans for the Steins’ AniverScary that she ends up losing Frank’s body. / Lydia puts Klaus in charge of wrangling the out-of-control wolf pups.
 
“A Year Without Creepmas” (12/7/19) – When Mavis accidentally causes Krampus to take a vacation, she must team-up with Santa to save Creepmas.
 
“Casualties of Wart / When the Afterlife Gives You Phlegmonade” (10/3/20) – Mavis is invited into the witches’ clique when they mistake her pimple for a wart. / Mavis convinces Sophie and Charlotte to spend time apart when they have a falling out.
 
“Undead Red / Klaus of the Rising Sun” (10/4/20) – Mavis learns the surprising identity of a being that scares humans when they chant his name three times. / Inadvertently saving Mavis from the sun turns Klaus into a hotel hero.
 
“Say Princess to the Dress / The Naming of the Shrew” (10/10/20) – When Mavis sniffs a flower meant for Kitty she becomes a dainty princess. / Mavis takes away everyone’s fear of Lydia when she reveals her real name during a game.
 
“Death Becomes Him / Purse of the Mummy” (10/11/20) – Pedro steals Death’s robe and ends up stuck with his job. / Mavis loses control of the magic purse Shonda got for Wendy’s birthday.
 
“Cape Boss / Diner of the Dead” (10/17/20) – If Mavis can’t show that her cape is well-trained, she could lose it. / Pedro causes a zombie apocalypse when he feeds the zombie staff human food.
 
“Six Feet Undercover Boss / Ghost Effect” (10/18/20) – Everyone suspects the new janitor may be Lydia in disguise spying on them. / Mavis goes safety-crazy to prevent accidents at the hotel.
 
“World Wide Wendy / Stuck in the Middle with Goo” (10/24/20) – Mavis attempts to bring the hotel into the future by going wireless. Competing stepsiblings Pedro and Wendy find themselves in need of a tiebreaker.
 
“The Shawhank Redemption / Friendship is Tragic” (10/25/20) – Hank’s friends attempt to help him conquer his fears. / Mavis’ friends worry they’re drifting apart when she looks forward to a day without them.
 
“Cursery Rhymes / I Did It All for the Cookie” (10/26/20) – The kids try to restore Baby Blendy’s crying before her giggling annoys the whole hotel.
 
“Fangs for the Memories / Sleepers Creepers” (10/27/20) – Mavis accidentally erases the memories of her favorite vampire singer. / Quasimodo’s jar of misfortune cookies gets raided.
 
“Polterguest / Hair Raiser” (10/28/20) – When the hotel is booked solid, Mavis rents out the Cartwright’s house. / Mavis’ attempts at giving herself a haircut results in disaster.
 
“What Lycidias Beneath” (10/29/20) – Mavis accidentally unleashes her ancestor who’s intent on dominating the monster world and the underworld.
 
Shorts:
“Summer Vacation” (6/9/17) – A clip show.
 
“Drac be Trippin’” (6/11/17) – Mavis helps Drac pack for his trip as he’s a terrible packer.
 
“Who’s the Boss” (6/18/17) – Mavis shows off her accomplishments around the hotel to prove she can be the temporary manager.
 
“Ballad of Mavis” (6/24/17) – Mavis lays the scares down on Bad Friday.
 
“Nothing But Web” (7/15/17) – Mavis is determined to beat Drac at truck-shot basketball.
 
“Mavis Monster P.I.” (1/7/20) – Mavis investigates a claim that the wolf pups will become a pack of humans during the Evil Full Moon.
 
“Monster Fear Factor” (1/8/20) – Hank challenges the others to a duel in which they have to face their greatest fears without freaking out.
 
“Holy Rabies” (1/9/20) – Mavis raps her catch-phrase: “Holy Rabies!”
 
“The Mavis Dracula Show” (1/10/20) – Mavis’ latest podcast to her father manages to capture Lydia breaking her own “no dancing” rule.
 
“What’s Cooking?!” (4/16/20) – Wendy, Pedro and Hank compete to see who’ll be the next cooking champ.
 
“Humie Repellent” (4/17/20) – Mavis wants to show Drac she can take initiative and sends him a video pitch for a new idea.

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