Networks In The United States – Part 2

The Disney Channel – Launched April 18, 1983
Based in Burbank, California; early on they used to air some live action kids programming along with various half hour compilations of old Disney shorts. Again, like most networks from this period do early on – they aired several foreign animated shows and movies including Asterix (this was English dubbed at some point?), the original stop motion Paddington Bear series, and The Raccoons.

By the mid 80’s however, the network started to produce their own brand of television animation starting with the short-lived series The Wuzzles in 1985. Disney became a king of Saturday morning cartoons in its own right, as not only did their productions air on their network, but also aired on major networks like NBC, CBS, ABC, and even Fox. DuckTales, Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, Goof Troop, etc, are now considered contemporary classics. They had many programming blocks over the years, the most notable being The Disney Afternoon which began in 1990 to house all their television animation. Its name was shortened to TDA in 1994, and by 1997 started getting phased out and replaced by Disney’s One Saturday Morning block solely on the ABC network. This block had a short-lived spin-off starting in 1999 called Disney’s One Too that aired on weekends and weekdays. Both blocks were eventually phased out in the fall of 2002, as Disney’s One Saturday Morning simply became ABC Kids. In April 1998 the network spun-off a sister channel called Toon Disney; meant to air older Disney cartoons and other shows from The Disney Afternoon, which saw many older cartoons jump ship off The Disney Channel and onto this network. However starting in 2004 with the addition of the Jetix block on Toon Disney, most of the older programs vanished (Canadian counterpart Family Channel followed suit as well), although currently some older shows have made their way back on the network.

The Disney Channel/Toon Disney networks have expanded all over the world, but Canada remains one of the few places where it hasn’t – most likely because Family Channel has aired most of their programming. Has Disney Channel jumped the shark with its viewing audience and current programming? Absolutely – their pre-teen lineup of shows has taken over the network, the focus doesn’t even seem to be on animation anymore. They may have ruled Saturday mornings in the 80’s and 90’s, but these days their cartoons are garbage compared to the quality offerings they used to put out. Youtube has lots of Disney related stuff so check that out as well.


Networks In The United States – Part 1

While living in Canada has many advantages as pertaining to viewing animated shows, it does have its draw backs. There are many networks we never received up here, due to strict restrictions on foreign media ownership and Canadian content. The only way to get these networks would be to have a satellite feed of these channels, which as far I know is illegal. That’s why if you really want to view these networks, you have to be sneaky and get a grey market American satellite dish.

While I have a good knowledge of what children’s networks are available here, I’m not as informed as to what is offered stateside. While I do know the big names, I’m sure there are smaller networks that I’m missing; so I’ll only cover the ones I know of, and try my best doing so.

Nickelodeon – Launched April 1, 1979
Originally established in December 1977 under the name Pinwheel in Columbus, Ohio on the QUBE cable system (now Time Warner Cable) – the channel went national by expanding to another cable system in Buffalo, New York on April 1, 1979 (its official birth date). Pinwheel changed its name to Nickelodeon in 1981 and became available nationwide. It would become known for its iconic green slime, which not many know came from the Canadian show You Can’t Do That On Television, which aired on Nickelodeon from 1981-1993. In 1984 the original silver ball logo was replaced with the current orange “shape-shifting” logo.

Like its Canadian counterpart YTV, Nick has aired a huge assortment of live action kids shows and animation from all parts of the world for (can it really be?) almost 30 years. It’s incorporated many blocks of programming over the years, has spun-off sister channels as well like Nicktoons Network (launched May 1, 2002), since 1993 publishes Nickelodeon Magazine, and has produced many full length motion pictures under the Nickelodeon Movies name (what a powerful company, eh?). The network has expanded all over the world, but Canada remains one of the few places where it hasn’t – most likely because YTV has aired most of Nick’s programming. I saw a small glimpse of the network once at a friend’s house that had a satellite dish in the early 00’s. At the time I really wished I could get the channel, and this was my first and only dose of it I ever received.

Prior to 1991 Nickelodeon aired mostly foreign-based cartoons coming from Canada, UK, France, Eastern Europe (mainly Russia and Poland), Japan, as well as American cartoons that were produced by other networks. That all changed in the early 90’s when the network started to make their own animated cartoons called Nicktoons – the rest they say, is history. Nick produced some of the best and popular animated shows of the 90’s – hitting massive success twice with Rugrats first in 1991, and then with SpongeBob SquarePants in 1999. The network has also featured a vast array of programming blocks and original animated bumpers (featuring various Nicktoon characters), and for a while had a very distinctive look in its animation stemming from the Klasky-Csupo style of producing animated shows.

Has Nickelodeon jumped the shark with its viewing audience and current programming? It’s an overwhelming yes – they may have ruled in the 90’s with their Nicktoons, but these days are just a shadow of their former greatness. Spongebob Squarepants is a good show in its own right – but the network pushes it too far (and has been for years) to the point where Spongebob is basically Nick’s mascot. I would have loved to have gotten the channel back 15 years ago, but these days most of their older programming has vanished and most of their current stuff is trash. Check out more on Nickelodeon’s history here, here and here. Youtube has lots of Nick related stuff so check that out as well.


Where I’m Coming From – Part 4

To wrap up this segment – I’ll cover the rest of the networks that air, or used to air, cartoons and live action kids shows here in Canada.

TVO – Mostly for preschoolers, although they do air some shows for older kids. Most famous for their long running children’s series Polka Dot Door, and its spin-off Polka Dot Shorts. Other notable kids shows included Téléfrançais, Join In!, Today’s Special, and airing the popular British series Art Attack. Cartoon wise it’s most notable for airing the oldest anime I’ve ever viewed thus far, Fables Of The Green Forest. They still air a lot of animated programs today.

Global – Used to air such great cartoons on weekdays and Saturday mornings, but sadly no longer do. I remember as a kid waiting to go to school, and I’d flip on the television and usually watch something on Global or Fox (mostly Global would copy what Fox aired sometimes). There isn’t much online resource when compiling its history of aired animated shows (as with CTV), but they did air some great ones like Care Bears, Beetlejuice, My Pet Monster, Dennis The Menace, and The Smoggies. They aired Inspector Gadget for years until it was finally taken off their network sometime in 2006 (I believe, it could have been earlier). They also aired Babar, Dog City, Ovide And The Gang, Ewoks, and the classic Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show. Does anyone but me remember the live-action show Kideo (a.k.a. Kids Can Kock And Roll)? These days Global mostly airs news and fishing programs where they used to air their cartoons.

CBC – Most famous for airing the cult 80’s toon The Raccoons, and airing kids favorites such as Under The Umbrella Tree, Fred Penner’s Place, Mr. Dressup, and Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Elephant Show. They still air a lot of animated programs today.

CBC French – I’ve only discovered in recent years what great cartoons they air on Saturday and Sunday mornings. They may be in French (either dubbed or originally produced), but you get a good taste of what shows are popular in Europe, and get to view many programs that have never been dubbed in English, like Titeuf for example. For most cartoons I view on this network, I can still somewhat make out what’s going on in an episode without actually understanding the language.

ABC – Used to air a great set of cartoons on Saturday mornings, like Sonic The Hedgehog, Reboot, Bump In The Night, and was the home of Disney’s One Saturday Morning – something I watched all the time. Its crown jewel of kid’s shows was the long running Schoolhouse Rock series. These days its ABC Kids Saturday morning lineup is mostly comprised of (horribly lame) live-action Disney Channel shows.

CTV (CKCO) – Again, used to air a great lineup of shows, but no longer do (mostly CTV would copy what ABC aired sometimes). It had great kids shows like Camp Cariboo (someone must remember that show), Wonder Why? (I know there was some spin-off from this show, or perhaps this was the spin-off from another show, I can’t remember now), Owl TV (which still airs on the network Saturday mornings at 6am), and also aired the cult classic Canadian series You Can’t Do That On Television. For the longest time it always aired The Flintstones everyday at noon. In recent years, like Global, its Saturday morning lineup is full of boring news programs. There really is no point in getting up early to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings anymore – because there aren’t any left.

CTV (CFTO/BBS)Reading from Wikipedia I’m even confused of what section of CTV this is and or was, although I’m sure CFTO-TV was Toronto’s first private television station, and eventually became an affiliate with CTV. It used to air the Canadian edition of Romper Room (I was on that show), but I never really paid any attention to it until 1994 when it became part of the Baton Broadcast System, which at the time was a subsystem within the CTV network. Are you still lost? Because I am, moreover the fact I saw a BBS bumper on Youtube and it said CKCO-TV. So whatever, I guess someone else can make sense of this mess of stations and substations (weren’t the 80’s and 90’s a mess like that?). Anyway, the station was called BBS, and on Saturday mornings it aired some shows CKCO did, as well as its own special block of Disney’s newest animated shows at the time called BBS Master Control; something I swear no one remembers but me, and I’d give anything to see clips from this block which was hosted by former YTV PJ, Jenn Beech. The network eventually dissolved into CTV in late 1997, and the block aired until 1999 with new host Melyssa Ade until CTV began airing Disney’s One Saturday Morning as a simulcast (seen at the same time) from ABC.

CBS – Used to air great programs on Saturday mornings like Garfield & Friends, Beakman’s World and CBS Storybreak, along with Muppet Babies, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, The Weird Al Show, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and The Twisted Tales Of Felix The Cat. From 2002-2004 they aired various Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. programs, and then turned it over to all Nick Jr. from 2004-2006. They still have a Saturday morning block today – but it pails in comparison to what they used to offer.

NBC – Used to air great programs (see a trend here?) on Saturday mornings as well such as The Smurfs, Alvin & The Chipmunks, Super Mario Bros Super Show, and many others. They still have a Saturday morning block today, although the programming is a hit and miss. The hits are both imported from Canada – Jacob Two-Two and Jane And The Dragon.

Fox – Used to air cartoons on weekday mornings (anyone remember U’s Place…was that the name? The host was a guy along with a talking television), as well as a great Saturday morning lineup with Animaniacs, The Tick, Bobby’s World, Eek! The Cat, and the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, along with various other imports like the French series Space Goofs. It was a good outlet for Warner Brothers’ animated properties during the early to mid 90’s. From 1999-2001 Fox incorporated more anime into its Saturday morning lineup, eventually making the whole block nothing but anime by 2002 and airing nothing but terrible English dubbed and heavily edited properties from 4Kids Entertainment. This sadly still continues today.

PBS – Has a wealth of great and long running kid’s shows and cartoons. Who didn’t watch Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Shining Time Station or Lamb Chop’s Play-Along? You also watched Barney & Friends too, just shut up and admit it. I also remember watching Ghostwriter and Bill Nye The Science Guy as well. For animation, their claims to fame are the Magic School Bus series and long running series Arthur, which is still in production since its debut in 1996. The network still airs many of its children’s shows today.

TLC – Yes, I’ll even give this network a mention, as they have been running a Saturday morning kids block of programming since the 80’s (but not very well known). Its shows are mostly borrowed from other networks, but it’s the only place where you could see the 80’s stop motion British series Postman Pat. It was only recently I discovered they aired Hey Arnold!, which stands out as one of the few US produced shows that used to air in the block as most of the other shows were Canadian or from other parts of the world. It also aired the Spanish series The World Of David The Gnome, as well as the live-action kids show Pappyland. It appears however, that this network has followed suit as well, and no longer has animation on Saturday mornings.

More information about these networks can be found on Wikipedia. Take a look at some older Saturday morning schedules from networks here and here. I also discovered the same Youtube user I mentioned in the previous post has another account full of old shows and various other content from Canadian television. If there is one trend that is painfully obvious after compiling this post – it’s that major networks these days don’t air cartoons as much as they used too (moreover on Saturday mornings), and only stations that specialize in that field (like Teletoon, YTV, etc) still air animation actively today. Who knew that come the turn of the new millennium, we would lose so many trusted sources for viewing animation in Canada.


Where I’m Coming From – Part 3

Family Channel – Launched September 1, 1988
Out of the three main channels here that offer child’s programming and animation, the two of which were already covered, the Family Channel was the one that remained the utmost mystery to me and I knew next to nothing about this network compared to the others. It was only until researching the station for this post I found it premiered the same date as YTV did, and that it was the only English language children’s network in Canada to have off-air hours up until July 2007 when they switched over to a 24/7 broadcast schedule. While I said before YTV was the first channel of its kind here in Canada (since Family Channel debuted the same day), it still is because while Family Channel is a children’s network, it was a larger mix of live-action shows and other adult fare rather than animated programming. That, and it was a “pay extra” channel in a premium cable package that way back then we never got. YTV on the other hand you received on basic cable.

So let’s roll back the clock here. My earliest memories of the channel are fuzzy – literally. I recall flipping through the channels as a kid, and when I’d reach the ones that were blocked out and found Family Channel I can remember hearing the music to some classic Disney shows, and sometimes you could even make out the picture for about five seconds until it got all distorted and scrambled again. As I said, it was part of an extra channels package, and long before Teletoon was around I whined to my mom to get the extra channels so I could watch Family Channel. She always said no but eventually with the free preview we received we all got hooked like druggies, and after it was taken away from us we all wanted more. I can faintly remember old bumpers when Family Channel had their really old logo running (the painted “F” with the sun in it). Like the two aforementioned channels the network played various cartoons and kids shows, but unlike them the Family Channel did and still does air programming with no commercials. That’s right! You can watch an entire television show or movie in its complete length, and the promos are only their other programs being advertised, airing between shows for a brief period. This is especially handy if anyone out there is into taping and archiving shows, a subject I’ll touch on at a later date.

I can’t really shine a lot of light on the programming offered on the network in its early days, as I stated I never received it. It also biases my opinion of the network because out of the 20 years it’s been on the air, I’ve only been viewing for about ten and remember even less than that. Like most networks of this nature tend to do when they first start out – Family Channel aired imported cartoons from other networks. Back then they really offered a mixed bag of animation, not only airing Disney cartoons but Nicktoons, shows from Hanna-Barbera, and various English dubbed Japanese animes and French productions as well. I have to thank one Youtube user for posting some very old bumpers from the network (here and here) which helped me out with this post – I knew of a 90’s Spirou animated series, but never knew it was dubbed in English let alone aired here over a decade ago. It’s also interesting to note that while YTV and Teletoon are known for many original and co-produced animated shows, Family Channel to my knowledge only has one original cartoon to its credit – the little known show Hoze Houndz which despite never getting that popular still managed to get 78 half hour episodes under its belt. Programming these days is divided into four blocks: Jetix (a block no one is ever awake to see), Playhouse (which airs mid morning for preschoolers), Mad Dash (which airs in the early morning then resumes at noon running till the evening for preteens), and Non Stop (which airs live action sitcoms which on weekends air all day long). I couldn’t tell you what blocks, if any, they had before – the only thing I remember are oldschool bumpers they had before and after they changed their logo and their name to just Family in 1999.

Family (as it’s now called) has aired many cartoons from many difference places for as long as YTV has, all commercial free. This Wikipedia article here has a list of past and present shows that aired on the network, although it’s largely incomplete and doesn’t list any of the older programming they used to offer in the late 80’s to mid 90’s. As I’ve continued to state the animated shows in that list will get covered here in time. Along with airing imported cartoons from around the globe, Family has been Disney’s Canadian outlet for its television cartoons and full length movies since its inception. Almost every one of Disney’s animated productions has aired here at one point, some having a far longer run than others. I have no proof though that The Wuzzles ever aired on the network, nor did Disney’s version of the Doug series or Nightmare Ned. I couldn’t tell you the longest it ever took for a Disney show to reach here because Family picks up new shows quickly after they premiere in the US, so the biggest gaps in time are perhaps six months to a year. I can tell you one of the longest Disney shows to air consecutively was Goof Troop, which ran in various time spots sometimes twice a day for nine years from 1996-2005. A recent runner up to this would be The Weekenders series which began airing in 2001 and has been airing three times a day since April 2006. Check out more on Family from its Wikipedia article here, unfortunately I couldn’t find any webpages out there with Family related banter. Youtube doesn’t really have a lot of Family related stuff so you’ll have to search it out; this user in particular has many promos and old advertisements so give his account a look. I have to give a quick thanks to this user. You know when you’re a kid and you see certain cartoons and live-action shows and years later can never remember what they were called? And once in a while you’ll remember blurry images of it in your head and sometimes wonder if it even truly existed? Well this user brought to memory a show I could never place but did remember – one of the last obscure television memories I had as a kid is finally solved. Do you…remember Kidstreet?

Has Family jumped the shark with its viewing audience and current programming? I’d have to say yes, but it’s not as big as a jump as YTV, and it only happened in recent years. The channel in its earliest days had a better variety of shows (many sitcoms) and showcased classic black and white films. They also had documentaries and music specials and concerts. Strictly animation wise I think its best years were set between the late 90’s to mid 2000’s. The main reason for watching the network, and I’m sure others will agree, was to watch all the popular Disney cartoons from the 80’s and 90’s. Like its US equivalent The Disney Channel, those older shows started to get phased out of the schedule starting in 2004 in favor of newer programming – the beginning of the end was when Goof Troop after nine years of airing was finally taken off the network in September 2005. It was the oldest cartoon airing at the time (13 years old) from Disney’s prime days in television animation, and that for me was the jumping factor because most of what they are airing today just doesn’t make the grade from what quality shows Disney used to put out. The Weekenders is now the oldest (Disney) cartoon airing on the network, dating back to 2000 (man does time fly). What I dislike about the network these days is that it’s become too much like The Disney Channel. This started in early 2007 when they started to show commercial style breaks from The Disney Channel and airing its (horrible teeny pop) music videos. I think once The Weekenders go, which will more than likely signal another change in the tide, I won’t be changing my television to channel 51 all that often anymore.


Where I’m Coming From – Part 2

Teletoon – Launched October 17, 1997
It’s unreal to think that it’s been just over a decade since Teletoon made its first appearance on Canadian cable airwaves. It makes me wonder how I’d live without it now, as its aired a lot of programming that otherwise may have never been aired here. Like YTV, it was the first channel of its kind – but unlike YTV where in the later hours the animation was switched to more live-action shows for older viewers, Teletoon was 100% about animation 24 hours a day. When it first came on the air it was part of an extra channels package that was given a free preview back in 1997 for a long while. Other areas of Canada got it longer than others and our free preview in Southern Ontario lasted a long while. Eventually I turned the television to channel 50 one day to find it blocked with a fuzzy picture and barley audible sound. I begged and pleaded my mom to get the extra channels, as at the time we only had the standard cable package which only went up to channel 36…or maybe it was 29, it’s been too long to recall exactly how many channels we got. She caved, and I was able to feed my addiction to this new channel and another one I wanted for a long time, The Family Channel (which will be covered later).

Teletoon has been on the air long enough to now reflect and look back on how the station has changed over the years, and I never would have reflected on it five years ago but now enough time has passed to realize the changes. I was at the perfect age when the network premiered and I remember a fair bit of it – I was 12 in 1997. As with YTV in its earliest days, Teletoon aired imported cartoons and co-productions with Canada, but there was much more focus on Canadian animation and a lot of older shows found a brief home here to air and gain a new fanbase. The network aired a lot of Cinar’s old catalogue of cartoons with shows like Albert The 5th Musketeer and The Smoggies, and plenty of shows from Nelvana as well like Ned’s Newt, Blazing Dragons and Donkey Kong Country. Shorts from the National Film Board of Canada were also shown, and other cult classic cartoons like The Raccoons. Eventually the network started to produce original and co-produced productions like 6teen, Atomic Betty, Cybersix, Kid Paddle, What About Mimi?, and many others. Although the network hasn’t been around that long compared to others, I think its best years are starting to reflect the period of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Originally the programming was divided into four blocks, each with their own set of uber cool bumpers, station ID’s, and “coming up next” ads, all of which were based on a “planet” theme and each had their own. They also made use of some pretty cool animation styles such as Claymation, and compared to what bumpers you see these days, you can see a lot of work was put into the early ones. The four blocks were preschool, kids, family and adult – I wish I had specific times for when they changed over. I remember the adult bumpers were kinda creepy and not as immature as they are today, looking to suit more teenage “college” viewers rather than real “adult” viewers of animation. By 1998 these were all changed along with their little station identification “jingle”, and its been too long to remember what exact design they went to next. By the start of 2007 the network layout was dramatically changed, including the old logo, as was its website to a more reformed look.

Teletoon, also like YTV, has aired a long line of cartoons ranging from sunny preschool outings to the darkest of adult shows. Their original format was great as they moved on to older programming throughout the day, and back then had a strong commitment to air diverse programming and air things uncut. Early on, and I was unaware of this for many years until I decided to research a bit on the network, Teletoon had an incident during their first year where they accidentally broadcasted adult content during a time devoted to preschoolers, and the backlash resulting from this was cutting many programs aimed at adults and teens therefore killing off those viewers from the network. While they have tried to regain that demographic with their Detour block for the past couple years, I don’t think they ever really recovered from that event. The whole block is mostly borrowed from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block, and while good and funny teen and adult shows are offered, it pails in comparison to some of the really gritty stuff they played like the animated Spawn series and Ralph Bakshi’s Spicy City, two shows for some reason I really remember well but I’m sure more great adult programs were showing back then. This Wikipedia article here has a large list of all the shows that have ever been on it, and in time they will get their own post here. Along with airing imports and a lot of Canadian content, Teletoon has been Cartoon Network’s Canadian outlet for quiet some time. Every one of CN’s productions has aired here at one point, some having a far longer run than others. The longest it ever took for a CN show to reach here was Space Ghost: Coast To Coast which landed in The Detour block in September 2006 – twelve years after it originally premiered in 1994. And since Cartoon Network is associated with Hanna-Barbera, a lot of their older classic shows have aired here as well. Check out more on Teletoon from its Wikipedia article here, and check these pages with Teletoon related banter. Youtube has a whole load of Teletoon related stuff so check that out; this user in particular has some good promo’s including this one, as well as a lot of oldschool YTV promos as well.

Has Teletoon jumped the shark with its viewing audience and current programming? At first I didn’t think so, as I still see it as a good network with plenty of good shows to offer. But I think just enough time has passed for long-term fans to notice how the network has changed, and while it hasn’t been around as long as YTV, it seems it’s just at the tip of the ramp to jump over the shark but its not quite there yet. The more I think about it, I would love to roll back the clock ten years to a time when it was a fresh network airing a lot of assorted programming. A fair bit of older fans say yes, it has jumped, and some even think the network is as bad as YTV is these days. I don’t really support that statement, but we will have to see what Teletoon will bring to its viewing audience in the next ten years to come.


Where I’m Coming From – Part 1

Before I dive straight into any cartoon related matters, you gotta understand that I’m in Canada. I’m not in the US – therefore I’m unfamiliar with the channels there that offer animated programming. But I have learned some of them and it’s too bad I can’t get them up here in Canada unless you have a satellite dish, and even then I think it’s illegal to import some US channels into Canada. Never mind that though, this post is to share what Canadian channels offer (and used to offer) in animated programming and what aired where. This is to make clear any questions that may arise in the future as to why I’d see a US animated series in Canada, yet the network that made it doesn’t offer a channel here. I also run on basic cable but get all the channels you can get for it. I don’t have digital so I’m missing out on some networks altogether. I’ve always thought living in Canada was getting the best of both worlds – as not only do we get great Canadian and other imported (sometimes Canadian co-produced) shows from the UK and Europe that don’t air in the US, we eventually get the popular cartoons that air in the US. It just takes a while for the show to make it up here and by the time it premieres, it is seasons ahead of us in the US or sometimes has even finished production.

YTV – Launched September 1, 1988
Supposedly standing for Youth Television and/or The Youth Channel, this was the first channel of its kind here. While other major networks only offered cartoons on Saturday mornings, this network was solely dedicated to children’s programming. Now, even I’m too young to remember YTV’s earliest days in the 80’s, but I have fond memories of it from the 90’s. As with Nickelodeon did when they first came on the air before they started to produce original programming, YTV aired a lot of imported cartoons and live action shows from the UK and Japan. The network has never exclusively produced animated shows; rather they co-produce with many other parties. The best years of YTV were the 1990’s, hands down. If you were there you remember the blocks: The Breakfast Zone, The Treehouse, The Alley, and the still running and popular after school block The Zone. You remember your favorite “PJ’s” (program jockeys) – Phil, Jenn, Katie, Paul, Aashna. Plus the Fuzzpaws and the Grogs – a collection of puppet characters that used to accompany the PJ’s as they hosted their blocks between shows. You remember Snit, and I’m sure everyone remembers the various sets The Zone has had over the years. Game shows like Uh-Oh and Video & Arcade Top 10 and variety shows like It’s Alive. You remember Short Circutz, which were those computer animated shorts that sometimes aired between programs. Does anyone even remember the show Squawk Box? I thought I dreamt it at one point. Or when The Hit List was hosted by Tarzan Dan and Weird Al Yankovic used to stop by once in a while? Plus they had their own brand of sitcoms like Student Bodies and System Crash – all full of actors and actresses I’m sure no one remembers now. Sigh, I wish I could take a time trip back right now. Also remember how Pizza Hut always had YTV related promos? I think I got some pogs from there, lol.

YTV has aired a long and healthy line of cartoons and live action kids shows, plus sitcoms and other matter meant for older viewers, for almost 20 years. This Wikipedia article here has a nice fat list of all shows that have ever been on it, and many of these shows will be getting a post of their own here in the years to come. Along with airing imports from Britain, France, and it recent years airing a lot of (perhaps too much) anime from Japan, YTV has been Nickelodeon’s Canadian outlet ever since Nicktoons were around. Each Nicktoon has aired here, albeit some had a far longer run than others. The longest it ever took for a Nicktoon to reach here was Invader Zim which landed in the Bionix block in September 2006 – over four years after it was cancelled by Nickelodeon (didn’t matter anyway as DVD’s were available here years before). Check out more on YTV from its Wikipedia article here and its separate article on The Zone, and check these pages with YTV related banter. Youtube has a whole mess of YTV related stuff so check that out as well. Has YTV jumped the shark with its viewing audience and current programming? It seems to be a BIG yes with older fans, and a lot of people think the network is shit these days. That could be, but there are many factors when it comes to a statement like that, and I’ll focus on that funny little thing called “nostalgia” later on.

Originally this post was going to cover all the subject matter related to it, but it’s gonna be spilt up over several parts. I’d also like to point out that while I do like this new project of mine, its one of MANY online things I do. So new posts here may not be as frequent as one might expect from a normal blog. Just giving you readers a heads up if you ever wonder why weeks pass and nothing new has been posted. And while this blog is all about cartoons, I may just touch on some live action kids shows as well if I ever get around to it, as a great deal of them feature animation in various skits and such.


A Proper Introduction

Welcome to my new blog! It’s not well known right now but I hope it will gain traffic in the months to come. For those of you who don’t know me, name’s Stephen – currently 22 years old and still watching cartoons. Yep, you heard right. Oh the humanity! But seriously, it’s not a big crime as other people claim it to be. There’s just a part of me that never wants to grow up (and not in that freaky Michael Jackson way), and for one reason or another my interests have never left animation even as I progressed in age. That’s why I made this blog.

The Cartoon Couch Potato is a whole new endeavor for me, this is my first time ever blogging. The idea came for a blog like this mainly after watching a cartoon on YTV called Weird Years. After I discovered this show and how it’s terribly underrated (a full post on this show will follow down the road), I thought I needed a place to spread the word about lesser known cartoons, more so on Canadian ones that never seem to make it to a US market. After looking through some animation related blogs I found a crucial area missing out of the whole deal. There were blogs about animation as a whole (including illustration and comics), from the “golden age” in the 1920’s/60’s, ones covering popular big budget movies, but nothing solely focused on television; let alone anything from the 1980’s till today. There’s a whole generation of exploration no one has seemed to sail as far as I can see, and I’d like to make that first maiden voyage.

I was a couch potato kid, and spent most of my time in front of the tube growing up in the 90’s (and I’m actually skinny as a rail, take that modern stereotypes!). I watched nothing but cartoons from the networks that aired them here (in Canada FYI), and kept a steady mind remembering all of them and who made what. In later years with the help of the Internet and Youtube, I was able to discover a lot of lost gems I couldn’t put a name to as it had been so long since they had first aired. Usually as people grow up, watching animated programs or cartoons as some would call it, is looked down upon. It’s sad to think that a good majority of people out there only see animation as entertainment for kids, and as they grow up they don’t really pay attention to the shows they used to watch or keep track of new ones coming out. You get caught up in life (high school/college, romance, full time job, other coming of age stuff) and watching cartoons just isn’t on the “to do list”. While growing up has sure zapped away my free time from a lot of the things I enjoyed as a kid, I never really stopped watching animated shows. While the standard male in his young 20’s is watching sports and/or an automotive network, or some boring news channel or music video network that doesn’t even play music videos anymore, I’m watching Teletoon or YTV seeing if there is anything good on.

I think for my age, and the fact I have a large memory bank of cartoon titles in my head and know a lot about many shows that aired in the past 25 years, I thought I needed a place to rant about them. I mean surely, I’m not the only one – there must be others out there that enjoy animation on the same plateau as I do. That’s why this blog was made – to dig up, explore, celebrate, and review all those cartoons you remember but thought everyone else forgot about. To show the lost and forgotten work of many brilliant men and women that were lucky enough to turn their ideas into animated properties. And while television animation is the main attraction this blog will also shed light on movies, comics, and other professions in the animation industry.

Are you, were you, a cartoon couch potato? Relive those days here and revive the kid in you.


Happy New Blog!

Welcome to The Cartoon Couch Potato. A real introductory post will follow soon, I’m just getting this place set up and it’s gonna take me a while.