Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Revisiting My Favorite Childhood Cartoons

Are the cartoons I loved as a kid actually good? I revisited my favorite cartoons from long ago to determine if I what I liked then was actually good. Do these television kid shows hold up? Let's find out.
Batman: The Animated Series - Dark, brooding, excellent.
Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)
Watch Batman: The Animated Series
 
I was a bit older for this, but I still remember religiously watching this weeknights whenever it was on. It was dark and brooding, with smart writing.
The villains are brutal, and the cartoon does very little hand holding. The composition has a cinematic feel with great artistry. I could easily spend an afternoon (or week) re-watching this show, marveling at just how good it is.


The Real Ghostbusters -A worthy continuation of the Ghostbusters franchise.

The Real Ghostbusters (1986-1991)
Watch The Real Ghostbusters 

Without a doubt this was my favorite cartoon. I've rewatched it with my son and it holds up. It's not formulaic like other cartoons with the same enemy trying to take over the world every episode.
It's entertaining even as an adult. As I watched episodes, I remembered watching them decades ago. They were just as good as I remember and in many cases better as I now understood many jokes that went over my head. Unfortunately, later seasons became more kid friendly which was unfortunate.


King Arthur and the Knights of Justice -It's got a good theme song.  Yeah.
King Arthur and the Knights of Justice (1992)
Watch King Arthur and the Knights of Justice 

I don't know if I really liked this or it was the fact it came on during church so I so rarely got to see it.
This cartoon panders. It's giving me very little reason to keep watching. It's a chore to get through one episode, much less more. It's got so many characters and the only distinguishing characteristic is the color of their armor. It does have a great theme song.

X-Men: The Animated Series - A great premise.
X-Men: The Animated Series (1992-1997)
Watch X-Men: The Animated Series

On Saturdays, I was tuned to this. The animation is lacking when you compare it to Batman, but it's got a number of good stories. The concept alone was always intriguing. You're bound to find a character you like. I've always been a Gambit fan. Borrowing from the comic book helped a lot.


He-Man -Don't do it!
He-Man (1983-1985)
Watch He-Man

I remember the toys and that it was one of the first cartoons I liked. It's more than a little formulaic.
I find it a little boring now, not to mention the campiness and wonky animation. It was a vehicle for the toy line and the plot just doesn't have any depth.


M.A.S.K. -The vehicles are kind of cool... sorta.
M.A.S.K (1985)
Watch M.A.S.K.

I had a lot of the toys, but I don't remember much of anything about this.
I wouldn't watch it now. I find it boring. It's formulaic as are most kids cartoons.  It sure sold a lot of toys though.

Muppet Babies -

Muppet Babies (1984-1991)

I remember the movie references though I didn't know the movies at the time. This cartoon always prompted me to remove the cushions from the couch and start building something. You can't watch this anywhere other than youtube clips because of the excerpts from other movies creating a licensing issue as the rights were too much.
This is obviously geared for a much younger kid. It doesn't hold much interest for me now, but it's more enjoyable than some of the cartoons on this list. It's fun trying to identify the movie clips spliced into each episode. I appreciate a cartoon that pushes children to use their imagination.


Teenange Mutant Ninja Turtles - Ninja fighting turtles. It makes perfect sense.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987-1996)
Watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I remember toys, I remember watching, but no specifics. Much like an elderly person in the mall is annoyed with teenagers, I'm annoyed with the turtles. To their credit, each turtle does have a distinct personality, it's just a shame that I don't care.
The animation is a bit goofy, and I would not want to watch this.


Thundercats -

Thundercats (1985-1989)
Watch Thundercats

Another one I don't remember much about, though I know I watched it. It fails to impress me for the same reasons as the others, a story that doesn't rise far above good versus evil.


There are hits and misses here, mostly misses. I blame the lack of quality carton entertainment. My favorites like Ghostbusters and Batman are still really good. I don't know how they compare to cartoons of today, I'd guess better across the board. At the same time, I'm judging these against my preferences as an adult.
For nearly all of these shows, the older style animation has so much more life than the sterilized animation and coloring ubiquitous in cartoons today.
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