Author Topic: The best decade for cartoons

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Dincrest

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The best decade for cartoons
« on: July 26, 2015, 12:39:45 PM »
We all grew up watching cartoons/animated programming.  That's a given.  And we all have opinions about what the best decade for cartoons was.  So let's talk about it!

Those of us who grew up in the 1980s will champion stuff like Transformers, GI Joe, Jem, others based on Hasbro toy lines.  And He-Man, She-Ra, Thundercats, that stuff (even though He-Man was clearly done on a shoestring budget- the creators even admit as much.)  And most 1980s nostalgia stalwarts will not admit that, yes, 2002 He-Man and 2011 Thundercats were good- perhaps better than the originals.  I do, though I certainly have a soft-spot for the originals.  Hell, I was a 1980s kid, so I have a total soft spot for the cavalcade of 1980s cartoons, even if they were nothing more than half-hour commercials for toys with "in today's story" morals to appease parent groups who disliked the pandering.  

But I know many of you were 1990s kids.  That was a great cartoon decade as well, what with all the killer Disney series like Gummi Bears, Duck Tales, Gargoyles; Nicktoons like Rocko's Modern Life; Batman: The Animated Series, X-Men, the 1990s was a good decade for launching a lot of comic-book based series.  I liked the updated Jonny Quest as well- Jessie was cool.  I'm thinking 1990s cartoons were really where there was a focus on continuity in storylines.  Like there's little to no continuity in 1980s He-Man, the writers pretty much wrote as they went along, and it was 2002 He-Man that tried to make sense out of all of it.  The 1990s also saw The Simpsons, which opened the floodgates for "adult/primetime" animated sitcoms.

Early 2000s had some gems.  I liked Kim Possible, aforementioned He-Man 2002, early Spongebob, W.I.T.C.H. (which I thought was a good series), Avatar, and Cartoon Network stuff like Dexter, Powerpuff Girls, Cow & Chicken...

And now we come to the 2010s.  A lot of us say stuff like "cartoons suck nowadays, they were better when we were kids."  It's telling that one of the better series to emerge from the 2010s was the new My Little Pony.  It's generally good, to be sure, but a LOT of people argue that it was "the best of the worst" during a cartoon drought.  But we're seeing series like Adventure Time, Steven Universe and others seem to get their sea legs.  The later eps/seasons seem to be where they get good.  And I mentioned the criminally overlooked Thundercats 2011.  

So yeah, let's talk about the various decades of cartoons we grew up with, maybe those our younger relatives grew up with/are growing up with, and what was/is good.  
« Last Edit: July 30, 2015, 05:17:29 PM by Dincrest »
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Monsoon

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Re: The best decade for cartoons
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2015, 01:20:14 PM »
While I adore Duck Tales, it was mostly released in the '80s and had repeats shown through the 90s.  The series was capped off by its movie, which was also 1990.  If I had to say it belonged to a particular decade, it would be the 1980s.  On a similar note, Dexter's Laboratory originally aired from 1996 to 2003 and PowerPuff girls aired from 1998 to 2005, so they also straddle two decades. 

And while my answer to this question is the 1990s beyond a shadow of a doubt (Batman TAS, Superman TAS, Pirates of Dark Water, X-Men AS, Dexter's Lab, Cartoon Network's suite of programming, etc.), I want to bring up two particular favorite series of mine. 

Young Justice - the best animated superhero series in the past fifteen years, but sadly only had two seasons in 2010-2011 and 2012-2013.  Real bummer there. 

Pirates of Dark Water - Aired in 1991 and 1992, I LOVED this Hanna-Barbera series.  It still bugs me that they ended the series on a semi-cliffhanger without any explanation. 

And I would also submit the 1960s as a strong decade for cartoons.  Disney's cartoons and Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes were still at the top of their respective games through that era (MGM's strongest period was in the 40s and 50s, unfortunately), and the 1960s also saw the debuts of The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby Doo, Johnny Quest, Speed Racer, Underdog, and the Charlie Brown cartoon specials.  Tom & Jerry also had a Looney Tunes run in the 1960s, but the best Tom & Jerry cartoons are the MGM ones in the 40s. 
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 03:05:22 PM by Monsoon »

Wild Armor

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Re: The best decade for cartoons
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2015, 02:00:01 PM »
So the 80s had many great shows, but the 90s really cashed into that video game scene. You get masterpieces such as Mega Man, Double Dragon, Street Fighter, Sanic the Hedgehog, The Super Mario Supah Show, Mortal Kombat, and other goodies.

There are also great shows like Captain Planet, Angry Beavers, Arthur, The Magic School Bus, Darkwing Duck, and Rupert that were great. Of course, the only show that really mattered and deserves more episodes is Freakazoid!. ;)

@Mike Dude, Pirates of Dark Water was one of my favorite shows ever. I still have my Ren toy!

Starmongoose

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Re: The best decade for cartoons
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2015, 02:07:55 PM »
I've been septical of new cartoons but the two I've given a chance (MLP and Steven Universe) have me hooked, so I'm probably gonna try out Adventure Time next.

@Wild Armor : The Mortal Kombat cartoon xD Such a masterpiece.


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Wild Armor

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Re: The best decade for cartoons
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2015, 02:13:51 PM »
@Wild Armor : The Mortal Kombat cartoon xD Such a masterpiece.

YES, YES!

(i'm aware this is streetfighter ;))

Starmongoose

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Re: The best decade for cartoons
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2015, 02:17:26 PM »
It was a different time.


A more innocent time.


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MeshGearFox

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Re: The best decade for cartoons
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2015, 05:05:30 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ2TwRP_irY

DA EIGHTIES

the early aughts were a recent low point for cartoons, although the early aughts were kind of a low point for a lot of things.
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Aeolus

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Re: The best decade for cartoons
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2015, 05:17:55 PM »
So the 80s had many great shows, but the 90s really cashed into that video game scene. You get masterpieces such as Mega Man, Double Dragon, Street Fighter, Sanic the Hedgehog, The Super Mario Supah Show, Mortal Kombat, and other goodies.

There are also great shows like Captain Planet, Angry Beavers, Arthur, The Magic School Bus, Darkwing Duck, and Rupert that were great. Of course, the only show that really mattered and deserves more episodes is Freakazoid!. ;)

@Mike Dude, Pirates of Dark Water was one of my favorite shows ever. I still have my Ren toy!

I had that Burger King cup + lid for the longest time.


Also you totes forgot about Captain N, the other Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Underground and Earthworm Jim (the last of which was even good).

Disney was also fairly solid for most of the 90s as well with shows running from Duck Tales to whatever came before Quack Attack (as that was roughly where they jumped the shark; though I should give them some credit for Doug 2.0).


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ2TwRP_irY

DA EIGHTIES

the early aughts were a recent low point for cartoons, although the early aughts were kind of a low point for a lot of things.

Very much so. Between the increase of lousy CGI over trad animation, the anime boom increasing the number of shitty kiddie anime imported from Japan, and the various networks bailing on children programming faster than anything even remotely involving a building blowing up, the early/mid Aughts was basically a dark age of western animation (the best that came out of that era was the He-Man reboot, Justice League/Unlimited and the not crappy Teen Titans series; that Transformers series trilogy really encapsulates the flaws of that era). At least the late Aughts helped to redeem that decade somewhat.
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Re: The best decade for cartoons
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2015, 07:01:47 PM »
I hate looking strictly decade-by-decade.  But anyways.  I can forego the rose-tinted glasses and say that we are honestly in a great time right now for Western cartoons.  Avatar, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Futurama, Rick and Morty, Archer, etc. etc.
I DO think the 90s were a time to shine for anime though.  More gems there then the decades after (it's a generalization though, that's not to say the 00's and 10's have nothing).
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Mickeymac92

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Re: The best decade for cartoons
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2015, 07:15:53 PM »
...I liked Transformers Armada and felt the Third in the Trilogy was really thought out for a kid's show.

I'd say the 90's if only because I missed most of the good stuff in the 80's, while a lot of 70's shows haven't aged as well. I also felt like it helped lead to more serious and story focused cartoons, but the more I think about it, the more that stuff just ebbs and flows for animation that isn't from Japan.

Of course, this is coming from somebody who watched a ton of cartoons growing up only to say that there were only 22 cartoons worth watching...

  • Looney Tunes
  • Spongebob
  • Animaniacs
  • Dexter's Labratory
  • Futurama
  • Megas XLR
  • Teen Titans
  • Batman
  • X-Men
  • Ducktales
  • Beast Wars: Transofrmers
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Gargoyles
  • Swat Kats
  • Oban-Star Racers
  • Xyber 9: New Dawn
  • He-Man (Reboot)
  • The Grimm Adventures of Billy & Mandy
  • Sonic SatAM
  • Samurai Jack
  • Thundercats
  • The Herculoids (nostalgia)

[ReBoot would've been on it had I ever gotten over the crappy animation. Code Lyoko would've been on it had it not stetched out a 26-40 max episode story to over 90 episodes. Transformer G1 and GI Joe would've been on there had I not just watched the same 3 episodes on VHS over and over again as a kid. Invader Zim would've been on it if I hadn't watched it from beginning to end a while back and realized it was a really morbid-for-morbid's-sake show]
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 07:18:38 PM by Mickeymac92 »

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Re: The best decade for cartoons
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2015, 12:24:24 AM »
I gotta give it to this decade, simply for Young Justice, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Clarence, and Rick and Morty. These 5 shows have made the decade awesome thus far.

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Annubis

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Re: The best decade for cartoons
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2015, 01:04:34 AM »
I gotta give it to this decade

I'll double down on this.
I think that the animation is getting ever better and there's much more diversity now.
There's also more of a commitment to cartoons now that the companies have discovered that they can double-down on the listeners by making cartoon appeal to kids AND adults.

MLP, Avatar:TLA, Young Justice, Sym-Bionic Titan, Gravity Falls, Adventure time, etc.
Great stuff all around.

[ReBoot would've been on it had I ever gotten over the crappy animation.

If you want the best of Reboot, watch season 3 only. The 2 seasons before are actually junk that paved the way for the best thing ever. The first few episodes of season 3 are a bit rough, but it'd be great for you because they recap pretty much everything you'd need to know if you haven't watched prior. It starts to shine after the time skip (like Dragon Ball, har har har)
*cough* https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1oPo8WcvXeOH6FOWjV2RBdk48b80c-p9
Also, if you are including 3D stuff, Star Wars: The Clone War is legit as hell (although it ends at a weird place due to being canceled)
« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 01:13:05 AM by Annubis »

Dincrest

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Re: The best decade for cartoons
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2015, 07:27:08 AM »
I'm recalling a lot of ones you're talking about, like Dark Water. 

And, yeah, there is a lot to be said of the classics like the old Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera stuff. 
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Frostillicus

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Re: The best decade for cartoons
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2015, 10:05:22 AM »
I'm thoroughly enjoying several modern adult cartoons. Including AT, which is excellent at speaking to both chilluns and adults. I'd bet that the lot of us give the answer that now is a great time for 'toons because the people who are making them are the same age as us (20s-30s). We all like the same crap.

As predictable as the answer is, the 90s were a damn good decade for cartoons, IMO. I was a child in the 80s (IN the 80s, not OF the 80s), but I distinctly remember enjoying 90s cartoons more. Disney; Nickelodeon; and Cartoon Network (including early Adult Swim programming) all churned out some greats in that period, among other gems. Not that the 80s didn't have it's fair share of excellent 'toon programming...
Not going to name any specific programs. Plenty of ones I love have been named already.

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Re: The best decade for cartoons
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2015, 01:02:51 PM »
The early 90s were a great time for cartoons, but by the late 90s, most of the good cartoons on network TV were drying up and getting replaced by anime. Most of the good cartoons were on cable by that time and I'd argue stayed that way for a good chunk of the 2000s. One notable exception is the 2003 Ninja Turtles series, which was quite good even if it faltered in later seasons.

I'd say the period between approximately 1987 (with the start of Duck Tales) and ending in 1998 (with the end of Animaniacs) was the best for cartoons. They still had some of the 80s wackiness throughout that period, but were also becoming more serial in their storytelling, and began exploring darker territory with the likes of Batman: ToS and Gargoyles. It also saw the rise of the first computer generated cartoons in Reboot and Beast Wars. I'm not saying the 2000s and beyond aren't/weren't good, they just don't seem as groundbreaking as the cartoons of the late 80s and most of the 90s did.

EDIT: Also, since I think it is worth mentioning that cartoons for cartoons sake on network TV died last year when Toonzai was cancelled. Aside from a B Daman show and Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal, everything was reruns of anime that aired in the late 90s and early 2000s, but it was still sad to see the death of network cartoons. There still are cartoons on network TV, but they're all educational shows.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 01:10:47 PM by Jimmy »