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.

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