Does the cartoon format wind up humanizing Napoleon, Pedro and friends?
The first thing I should say about "Napoleon Dynamite" the FOX animated series is that I hated "Napoelon Dynamite" the 2004 live-action film.
I found the movie airless, joyless and seemingly so full of contempt for its outcast characters - including Jon Heder as the oblivious title character - that I only got to the end because I kept hoping to see what it was that had made it such a beloved cult object in some circles.
I say this for two reasons. First, because if you're among those who love the movie, you may as well stop reading, because I'm not approaching the show (it debuts Sunday night at 8:30) from the same perspective. It's close enough in tone and style - and features the entire returning cast and creators Jared and Jerusha Hess - that if you still have affection for Napoleon, Pedro and company after all these years, I imagine you'll enjoy them in animated form.
But second, I say all of this because I assumed that, given my antipathy for the source material, I would hate "Napoleon Dynamite" the series just as much - and I didn't. I don't even know that I would go so far as to say I liked it, but the transition to animation works wonders with these characters and their rural Idaho world.