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Tower Prep, Season 1 1.jpg

Tower Prep is an American-Canadian live-action television series that aired on Cartoon Network in 2010. The series is created by veteran animation and comic writer Paul Dini and is produced by Dolphin Entertainment and Cartoon Network Studios. The first season consists of 13 episodes and debuted on Cartoon Network on October 16, 2010 before moving to its regular timeslot on Tuesday nights. Tower Prep is Cartoon Network's second one-hour live-action series after Unnatural History.

Characters and Cast

  • Drew Van Acker as Ian Archer (Special Ability: Preflex)
  • Elise Gatien as CJ Ward (Special Ability: Detect Feelings)
  • Ryan Pinkston as Gabe Forrest (Special Ability: Hypersuation)
  • Dyana Liu as Suki Sato (Special Ability: Mimicry)

Development and production

The inspiration for the series came from Paul Dini's own experiences and feelings of alienation when he attended boarding school.[1] Dini was a graduate of Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, California, and many geographical aspects of Tower Prep are similar to the real-life school. Both are isolated from the outside world by deep forests, and both are on a peninsula with cliffs overlooking the ocean. According to Dini, around 2006 or 2007 he pitched the idea to several companies including Bad Robot Productions, with whom he had worked on Lost. The show eventually found a buyer in Cartoon Network approximately two years before the show premiered. The reason the show went to Cartoon Network is because CN was one of the few outlets receptive to a family-friendly, live-action adventure series, because the network was looking to diversify its programming at the time.[2]

When writing of the first season began, Dini and executive producer Glen Morgan had worked out a general plan for the series' story, including possible future seasons.[1] The series was announced as far back as March 2009, using the working title Prepped.[3]

Another proposed title for the series was Castle Prep, inspired by the title of Franz Kafka's novel The Castle, which focused on themes of alienation and its narrator's struggles against mysterious bureaucratic authorities. Eventually, the title Tower Prep was chosen for its connotations (the word "castle" suggested a medieval theme to some people) and, according to Dini, it is also a reference to Dr. Tower, a psychiatrist he saw as a child.[2]

Production of the pilot took place around the summer of 2009.[4] Full production of the series began on April 17, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.[5]


For a while after the production of the first season, the show's crew were hopeful that Cartoon Network would order a second season, and the network kept on promising that it might happen. However, the network ultimately did not order a second season.

According to Paul Dini, this was partially because the series was relatively expensive to produce and did not garner high enough ratings. However, he believes that the main problem was that the network initially chose to venture into live-action programming for boys (which is why Tower Prep was produced in the first place), then quickly backed away from those plans after the runaway success of Adventure Time and Regular Show. Seeing live action as a "failed experiment", the network then tried to bury its live action shows as quickly as possible. He also believes that the show was not promoted well by the network when it first aired. Cartoon Network controls all rights to the show and has shown no interest in allowing the story to be continued in any form, including books.[6]


Cartoon Network Studios Series
Cartoon Network Original Series