Thursday, August 11, 2016
Nicktoons Turns 25
On this day in 1991, Nick debuted Doug, Rugrats, and Ren & Stimpy, it's first 3 original animated series, which were called Nicktoons. 25 years later, Nick has made a lot more Nicktoons and has been celebrating Nicktoons' 25th anniversary on social media all year. To celebrate myself, I thought I'd write a post about how Nicktoons has been for me over the years.
I thought I'd start by giving a little history of Nicktoons. Prior to 1991, the only shows Nick produced were live action. That aired some cartoons, but it was foreign shows and reruns of older shows from other networks. The reason they didn't make original cartoons was because of high production costs. But later on, Nick decided to make their own original cartoons. The network's first original animation was a Christmas special by Ralph Bakshi in 1988 titled Christmas in Tattertown, then Nick produced a Thanksgiving special titled Nick's Thanksgiving Fest in 1989. Then in 1991, Nick started making animated series, starting with Doug, Rugrats, and Ren & Stimpy, which debuted on August 11, 1991. The success of these 3 shows prompted Nick to make more Nicktoons, starting with Rocko's Modern Life in 1993. For the second half of the 1990s, Rugrats was the highest rated kids show.
Some other notable Nicktoons over the years include Hey Arnold!, CatDog, The Wild Thornberrys, Invader Zim, The Fairly OddParents, Jimmy Neurton, My Life as a Teenage Robot, Danny Phantom, Avater, Back at the Barnyard, The Penguins of Madagascar, and The Legend of Korra. The most popular Nicktoon (and most popular Nick show ever) is SpongeBob SquarePants. It premiered in 1999 and passed Rugrats in 2001, and except for being passed by The Fairly OddParents for a little while in 2002 and The Loud House today, it's been there since.
Today, Nick is currently airing 6 Nicktoons. They are Spongebob, The Fairly OddParents, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Harvey Beaks, Pig Goat Banana Cricket, and The Loud House. Being #1 (or at least before The Loud House came around, not expecting that to last, though), Spongebob gets the most airtime. Unfortunately, Spongebob and The Loud House are the only ones getting daily airings. Upcoming Nicktoons include Pinky Malinky, Welcome to the Wayne, Bunsen Is a Beast!, and Glitch Techs.
One of my earliest memories is watching Rugrats on Nick when I was 4. It was the first Nicktoon I watched. I loved it when I was little and it's still one of my favorites today. Though if my memory serves me right, it was the only Nicktoon I watched for a while. Unless it was Rugrats or on right after Nick Jr., I don't think I started watching regular Nick until I was 6. But then, I started watching Nick a lot. The first Nicktoons I watched included (but might not be limited to, as my memory of when I was 6 is a little fuzzy) Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, Spongebob, The Fairly OddParents, Jimmy Neutron, and All Grown Up. I don't know if it was like this with other providers, but I remember my guide used to list Nicktoons in a half hour slot instead of an actual show. I didn't like that because I had no idea what I was going to be on. If it were to happen again today, I don't think it would bother me so much because I could probably easily find out what's on online.
As the years went by, I saw more Nicktoons. Growing up, my favorites were Rugrats, Spongebob, The Fairly OddParents, Jimmy Neutron, Danny Phantom, Avatar, Barnyard, and The Penguins of Madagascar. Since I mentioned Hey Arnold! before, and since it's one of my favorites now, I thought I'd mention that I didn't watch it a whole lot when I was a kid. I think it has something to do with the fact that it was wrapping up by the time I started watching Nick. Nicktoons were a pretty big part of my childhood. In more recent years, I've seen more 90s Nicktoons that aren't Rugrats. My favorites from that time include Ren & Stimpy, Rocko's Modern Life, Hey Arnold!, and CatDog.
In recent years, Nicktoons haven't been as good. Currently, there are only 4 airing new episodes that I like. 2 of them are Spongebob and The Fairly OddParents, and since they've been on since I was a kid, I'm not sure they count. The 2 newer ones that I like are Harvey Beaks and The Loud House. The Loud House in particular has shocked me by becoming the #1 kids show, doing better than even Spongebob, and it's been there since the beginning of June. Considering Nick these days usually screws over anything that isn't Spongebob, that's pretty impressive. Of course, I don't expect it to last, but it's still pretty cool.
As for their upcoming shows, I'm not really sure about them. I saw the pilot short for Pinky Malinky and wasn't really a fan of it. (Then again, I wasn't a fan of The Loud House's pilot short either and now it's my favorite modern Nicktoon, so I'll still try it.) Welcome to the Wayne started out as a web series on nick.com, but I haven't seen it, so I don't know what it's like. I didn't hate the clip that was released for Bunsen Is a Beast!, but I barely liked Butch Hartman's last show, T.U.F.F. Puppy, so I'm not sure about it. One of the creators of Glitch Techs is Eric Robles, who created Fanboy & Chum Chum, which I didn't like, so I'm not sure about that either. The only upcoming stuff in Nick's animation department that I'm looking forward to is actually revivals of older shows. After 15 years, they're finally making the Hey Arnold! Jungle Movie. A Rocko's Modern Life movie is in production as well. I guess Sanjay and Craig and Breadwinners have left me not feeling too optimistic about newer Nicktoons.
To finish things off, I'll list my top 5 favorite Nicktoons. I've included some in my top 5 Nick shows post, but honestly, I kind of regret parts of that post now, as some of what I said doesn't reflect my current opinion. For example, if I were to redo it today, I would not have put Catscratch in the top 5. To be honest, I'm not even sure why I put it in there at all. I haven't seen it since Nicktoons stopped airing it in 2008. (I know they aired a couple episodes back in December, but I was out for dinner when it was on, so I missed it.) Plus, I I feel I wasn't anywhere near as good at reviewing things as I am now. I won't be redoing it because I've sort of given up on top 5 posts. It was a little too much work for me. But anyway, my top 5 favorite Nicktoons are:
5. My Life as a Teenage Robot
4. Rocko's Modern Life
3. Avatar: The Last Airbender
2. The Ren & Stimpy Show
1. SpongeBob SquarePants