Are Kids Shows Better NOW Than Ever?

Is this a new golden age for children’s entertainment? The Nostalgia Critic asks the question, are kids shows better now?

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


  1. ThatManWithTheHeadband12

    Also Clarence, Regular Show, the current TMNT series, Transformers Robots in Disguise and its previous series Transformers Prime. Hell the recent Pound Puppies series is better. There’s also a bunch of Dreamworks series like Dragons, Penguins of Madagascar, Turbo FAST and All Hail King Julien. But from the title card I can tell “Kids Shows” only covers the cartoons and not the Kidcoms, but even then, Girl Meets World is written fantastically

    • ThatManWithTheHeadband12

      Leaving off Phineas and Ferb, Wander Over Yonder, Star vs. The Forces of Evil, Penn Zero, Scooby Doo Mystery Inc, Star Wars Rebels and The Clone Wars though…

      Dan Povenmire began on Ninja Turtles, worked on The Simpsons, went through Rocko to meet Swampy Marsh before going on to Hey Arnold, CatDog, SpongeBob and Family Guy before Disney FINALLY picked up P&F, which started formulaic before going out of its way to actively break the formula. It’s a really great show I urge you check out. First 3 seasons and its movie are on Netflix

      • The 4 and last season of P&F was very good and the episode finale was very great a creative and awesome tv sho, i very excited for the next project of Dan Povemire: Milo´s Murphy Law.

      • I’m so glad to see someone mention Phineas and Ferb. After a dark period in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, PnF and Avatar felt like one of the first shows that were allowed to just go all out with their effort and respect for their audience.
        I really do believe it helped pave the way for the current crop cartoons we have now, especially Disney’s output.

        • Cartoon network had a really good run in the early 2000’s before the live action phase started. Shows like Ed Edd n Eddy, Grim adventures of Billy and Mandy, Courage the cowardly dog, Codename: Kids Next Door (shows I would LOVE to see a vlog of), teen titans, samurai jack, Justice League/Justice League unlimited, the first ben 10 series (personally Im a fan of all four series, but I understand that the third and fourth series arent well received)

    • Eh…. Clarence is alright, it’s not that good.
      Also no mention of Gumball?

      • Yes, Gumball ftw. I do think Clarence is better than a lot of people give it credit for though.

        • I think Clarence is highly underrated.

          • Watched few eps, I give it 7.9 out of 10 🙂

          • My only issue with it was with its creator’s…. creep level.
            And why that matters is because Clarence is based off of him.

            Which, upon revelation that he’s an unstable molester, really puts things like “come join the hug force” in a different and unsettling light.
            And turns things like when Jeff chases Clarence down the halls to put on a shirt less funny…. when you learn that that really happened IRL to the ADULTS who Jeff and Clarence are based on.

            It’s just a little… discomforting.

        • It’s worth it lol

    • I would NOT say GMW was written fantastically. It’s a pale shadow of Boy Meets World. Don’t believe me, watch any 5 random episodes of the first 2 seasons of BMW vs anythin in GMW.

      • Girl Meets World is actually pretty okay. The second season is far better than the firs now that they’re letting it breath as it’s own thing. Is it better than Boy Meets World? No. Is it as good? Meh. That remains to be seen. Boy Meets World wasn’t honestly a great show. It was fun. It was entertaining but it was also pretty stupid and corny at times. And I say that as someone who loves the show, has watched every episode, and watched most of them on repeat several times. Girl Meets World isn’t Boy Meets World. But it doesn’t have to be. I will compare the five best episodes of Boy Meets World first two seasons to the five best episodes of Girl Meets World first two seasons any day of the week. And there won’t be some massive disparity

    • Yeah honestly not a lot of variety with the shows Doug picked.

    • Clarence is so spot on. Absolutely adore that show . It definitely needs more love. I know the head writer isn’t there anymore but I honestly haven’t seen any dip in quality

      And mad props to Scooby Doo Mystery Inc for getting so intense. Certainly held my erratic interest

    • *throws in some my little pony friendship is magic*

    • Y’all (and Doug) forgot Over the Garden Wall.

    • I still hold up the 2003-2009 TMNT tv series as the best TMNT adaption to television.

    • disembodiedvoiceofreason

      Doug, seeing as you like Adventure Time you would really do yourself a favor by checking out “Bravest Warriors”. It is made by the same animators of Adventure Time but as an animated webseries. It has the crazy bullshit of A.T. but tailored a little more for older kids/adults.

    • You have to admit though, the shows I mentioned would all make great topics for vlogs. Grim adventures and Courage the cowardly dog especially.

    • I find that although the new TMNT has good storylines they should be renamed to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Frogs as thats how they look like now, they are no longer Turtles but Frogs in their 3D models.

  2. BTW Doug, after watching your top 11 of “Best cartoon openings” i´v been wondering… What do you think about Full Metal Alchemist? You used the opening as a reference to anime and japanese intros.Have you seen it? Can you talk about it someday? :3

    • I would like to see Doug and Rob review Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. For me, best of both animes. Has no filler, only story progression, great mystery and characters, lots of philosophy. All that great stuff they loved in Korra and Avatar, but without filler episodes. It would be great way to tap into anime, especially, as FMA: Brotherhood is based not on asian culture, but european. It would be us watching eastern vision of our culture.

    • His brother Rob is a big Fullmetal Alchemist fan, Doug on the other Hand have problems with the typical Anime humor, the ones with big heads, silly Faces and Chibi moments, something like this, I quote, drives him “nuts”, so he never seen it, even do he know that it is a great show.


    If you want the worst era of kids shows is easily the 1970s. Why? All those bloody spin-off shows! 99.9% you know were crap.

  4. I think adventure time has kinda reached its peak, it feels at time the writings is rushed when they try to tell a story ark. At times when i loo back at the old episodes i wonder if they actually plan a story, or was just something they wanted try to see what would happen.

    • Christopherman4402

      I can agree with you there

      • I feel gravity falls, and Steven universe based on characters, pacing and writing that they plan it a bit more (at time universe did feel like adventure time, but it grew into own identity with characters that are more likable then adventure time)

        • I think this is because Steven Universe hasn’t really introduced many new characters over its run. You have the population of the town (which is like…10 people or so) the Crystal Gems, Steven, Greg, Rose Quartz, Connie, Lapis, Peridot, and Jasper. Adventure Time practically introduced a new character every episode that was promptly forgotten about soon after…except when they weren’t. Both approaches have their merits, but I think SU has a bit more longevity in its concept since there’s so much implied in the story that can be expanded upon. I mean, for one thing, more aliens is a possibility.

    • Considering they didn’t plan for the show to be set in the future until AFTER the third episode had already been completed, I think it’s safe to say they make stuff up as they go along.

      With that said, I’m one of the people who enjoys Adventure Time just as much now as when it started. I really dig the new focus on philosophy in particular.

      • Philosophy?
        You mean them being up on their own asses thinking what they’re saying is profound when in reality it’s full of crap!

      • You’ll actually be surprised how much is planned in AT, sure there are certain plot lines that aren’t planned that far in advance but major plot lines like Simon, Marcie and Betty, the apocalyptic future of Ooo, The Lich, Finn’s past lives and The meleniul comets are pretty well planned. The actual technicalities, like how these things come about probably aren’t planned but the basics have got to be planned

        One of the writers after season 6 ended said revealing a full backstory and conclusion to ice king/Simon is ‘Final season material’

    • No Adventure Time does not plan ahead. And yes sometimes that has backfired, I’ll admit there are some decisions I am not fond off. But planned story lines can backfire as well and when AT is good, it’s amazing.

      I mean Indiana Jones makes it up as he goes but nobody complains about him do they?

    • I so agree. i like AT, but in the earlier episodes, it looked like the creators just wanted the show to be random. Until an episode called “buisiness men” I think, gave them the idea to set the show in a future apocoliptic world where Finn seems to be the only human. But it also seems like the creators are trying to do soooo much with the show. It seems like they are having trouble wrapping up the “story” I’m not sure if the show is on hiatus or what.

    • dontknowdontcare

      Maybe, but that doesn’t detract from Adventure Time being the show that helped lead us out of a big animation slump.
      The 2000’s were a trying time for animation, not quite as bad as the 70’s but just as migraine inducing. The majority of animated shows were too loud, fast, and lazy to offer anything new and interesting. There were some shows that made the decade bearable, but none that could make us say ‘What a time for cartoons.’
      Then 2010 came along and Adventure Time suddenly changed the game. Creativity, thoughtfulness, and effort were suddenly a mainstay.

      I know it’s kind of rode out most of it’s glory, but it was a big stepping stone to where we are now.

    • Adventure Time sets up mysteries and story arcs really well, but it doesn’t know how to end them. Like Finn’s arm or the Enchiridion, so much potential but anti climatic execution.

    • Adventure Time has been somewhat less on point in the last season or two. I don’t know if it’s because they’re running out of things they want to do, or don’t know where they’re going. Mostly, though, I think it’s due in part to some key members of the shows staff being spun out to work on their own personal projects. If you watch episodes of Natasha Allegri’s ‘Bee and Puppy Cat’ or, especially, Rebecca Sugar’s Steven Universe, you can really feel some of the tonal elements and emotional chords that it feels like Adventure Time has been missing lately.

      Which is too bad, but as much as I feel Adventure Time has lost, I still enjoy what it is, and I wouldn’t trade Steven Universe for the world, that show’s near the best children’s show I’ve ever seen, and my favorite show on TV right now.

  5. Maybe this is dumb to care about, but I’m kinda hoping someone else picked out those Steven Universe clips, cause I want Doug to be as unspoiled as possible while doing his vlogs (even though he already saw Jailbreak and some other unspecified episodes a while back)

    • I felt the SAME WAY ha ha ha!!!!!!

    • I really hope so. Though he did say he forgets easily.

    • I was already kinda glad to see him watching the show ahead before reviewing Vlogs of the show Steven universe. I also really like it. He’s going to continue reviewing the episode and tells him his whole opinion. Don’t worry.

      I liked how he commented the message of Fusion for the Gems, Grag to Rose was different cause Grag’s completely human. He can’t fuse like the gems, the Gem’s have a stone of there to do this magic but it’s not possible to a human, he has to fuse like a normal human with inventing a relationship together by his beaver, not the Gem’s.

    • Wait, he’s already seen jailbreak? When did he say that?

    • How can you make a video with so many clips from Steven Universe, when you havent watched the show yet ? Did you spoiler yourself on purpose or what happened ?
      Kinda makes me less interested in the Vlog, but I’ll still watch it for Robs reaction, I guess.

    • FluttershyApproves

      He edited the video himself (it says so in the credits) and I’m also super upset about that :/ he’s already been spoiled on every little thing I was excited for him to see. I’ll still watch the VLogs but I can’t express how bummed I am to know we won’t be getting any good reactions out of him. Just from the clips he used we KNOW he knows about every significant event that in the show even including some of the MOST RECENT EPISODES. He went in blind for Avatar and Adventure and I was hoping for that here too. Guess it was too much to wish for
      We may have to literally wait until he catches all the way up to get a genuine reaction

  6. wouldn’t the correct title be “Are Kids CARTOONS better now than ever” because there was no mention of live action shows being made for kids but also liked by adults in this editorial


    The only major problem with some of these type of shows is how when they are supposed to be episodic/story driven and then at the final episode, there’s never a finale, instead a stupid cliffhanger or an episode not in the timeline. That needs to be a rule in any T.V Show.

    • I’m not sure what you mean, since most if not ALL of the shows he’s talking about are still ongoing and haven’t had finales yet.

      • Well, he did show ATLA clips, but that ending was pretty much perfect.

        Maybe TCM is talking about that Sonic show? SatAM, I wanna say?

        • so many acronyms, what do they mean?

          • TCM is Turner Classic Movies (A channel on TV), SatAM is a nickname given to the well-written Saturday Morning Cartoon version of Sonic the Hedgehog (as opposed to the crappy weekday one aired at the same time). ATLA is something I haven’t bothered to Google, but oh well.

  8. I’d say the answer is yes. Literally everything ThatManWithTheHeadband listed comes to mind, though I’d add Harvey Beaks onto that list.

  9. Devil's Advocate

    I was at first annoyed that Doug didn’t at least acknowledge the new MLP beyond that cosplayer picture but then again, despite how good FIM is, it doesn’t really touch on the heavy subjects here except maybe a little. on the other hand FIM was very early in this wave of quality kid shows.

    • Yeah, FiM’s only even really started poking at those issues in Season Five. And it’s still pretty ginger. I’d put it more around the Gargoyles/Animaniacs era, sans a few S5 episodes (like the latest—holy cow!).

      • ‘Amending Fences’ kinda shocked me with how heavy it got. At first I was like ‘Twilight, not every body stays friends, just let her b-‘, then shizz got real. The show likes to stay light and that’s fine, not every show needs to get super serious (kinda makes certain shows hard to watch when I just wanna chill out), but it’s willing to go there.

        • Amending Fences’ moral: Introvert + friends = extrovert.

          At least that’s what I got out of it. The issue was clumsily handled (much like most of the issues in the past two seasons). Yes, making up for past wrongs is great, but if the person isn’t interested then you don’t just push until they accept. That’s asinine.

          • Don’t get me wrong, it drives me nuts when shows claim all an introvert needs is for a manic pixie whatever to bust down their door so that they can ‘come out of their shell’, as if enjoying my own company is the WORST POSSIBLE THING!

            But that wasn’t the point of the episode, Moondancer had genuine abandonment issues. Claiming that every introvert is completely happy with their situation is just as stupid as saying every one of them wants to get out there but has issues keeping them alienated.

            Ep 100 “It makes you realize that everypony is the star of their own story.” Moondancer only ever felt a connection with Twilight and wanted to be friends, Twilight snubbed it, Moondancer was too sad to try again. Simple as that, it’s unfair to generalize it as an attempt to say that all introverts need help.

      • I think the Season 5 opener definitely hits on some of them. That one really took the show in a direction I never really expected it to go, and I really respect them for taking a chance with a more Orwellian villain this time around instead of a generic baddie like most of the other two parters.

    • Probably because any mention of that show guarantees shitstorm and holywars in the comments, regardless on what is actually said in the video, so Critic decided to keep it safe.

  10. Why didn’t he also show clips of cancelled shows like Teen Titans, Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, As Told By Ginger, or Sym-Bionic Titan?

  11. Oh damn, I hope you didn’t spoil anything from Steven Universe’s later episodes for yourself while you were compiling this video

    • FluttershyApproves

      Unlikely he already knows about everything up to atleast Jailbreak but some of his comments from Vlogs plus this video leads me to believe he knows about all the major events that happen in the show. He may not know how these event lead into the story, how they’re related, or why these events are so significant but if you were hoping for him to be surprised by (SPOILERS BELOW)
      The Concept of Fusion, Ruby and Sapphire, Amethyst’s tragic backstory, Pearl’s feelings for Rose, the existence of other Gems, what the fusions look like, or that we learn a lot more about Rose…you will be sorely disappointed as I am now :/

  12. I honestly think that kids shows are now coming back to glory, with a small break during latter part of previes decade. We had X-Men, Batman, Justice League, Samurai Jack, Life with Louie, 6Teen – which were excellent, as they showed not just “kid’s stuff”, but also a lot of mature writing and a lot of thought. Then, many of them ended, got replaced by weaker versions. From that time only Avatar was a hit – but it was almost “Lord of the Rings” scale. And then the rest came.

    I honestly still see Avatar and Korra as the best shows out of new generation. Don’t understand me wrong, I enjoy silliness with smart ideas (Samurai Jack), but I enjoy more grounded worlds, with sepcific sets of rules and politics. It’s always good to have something silly and simple, but for me, nothing is better than gigantic, climactic battle, or quite, terryfying conversation – and all the stuff, that is leading to that finale. Not saying I do not like the rest. They aren’t just grabbing me instantly, like they do to you.


  13. I’ll probably grant that content, stories and having a wider appeal is probably greater now when it comes to kid’s shows (cartoons) but, damn, the animation in them is by and large horrible. You’d have to dig deep, really damn deep, in the cartoons from the 80s and 90s to find bad animation and character designs and you’d probably still come up fairly empty. In this video alone all of the past shows shown (Gargoyles, Batman:TAS, Transformers, Tiny Toons, Animaniacs) had great-looking animation, colors, character design, etc.

    Most of the present-day stuff just looks horrible. Like no time was taken whatsoever in creating the animation it was just drawn really quickly and thrown at the screen. You say how CGI and other modern techniques has made this process quicker and easier giving the shows more time to dedicate to story and such, well, that savings also came at the expense of making the shows look good. Any cartoon stuff I see today looks like a first grader came up with it on the back of his wide-ruled notebook.

    I’d think it would be possible to have better looking animation and character design without sacrificing story.

    • I disagree about the animation on ANY of the shows Doug brought up being horrible at all. Yeah, the character designs are way simpler than they were in the 80’s and 90’s but character design is distinct from animation. The animation itself is by and large very smooth and flowing these days, whereas in the 80’s I wouldn’t have to dig very deep at all to find shows with detailed character designs but animation that was beyond shitty and stilted.

      • Exactly. And the simple character designs without unnecessary detail make animation faster, cleaner and more consistent, which is great for TV.

        It may not be your thing, but it ain’t bad

    • You might be mixing up simplicity with quality.

      I would not say any of the shows Doug mentioned look bad at all. They are all well executed and have unique looks that actually work within the TV production schedule.

      Plus, I remember many shows with inconsistent and weird animation from when I grew up in the 90s

  14. Some of toy centric shows these days are also really good. TMNT 2012, FiM, TF Prime and Thundercats 2011 are all examples of this. So you can advertise toys while telling good story with good characters.

    • It was unfortunate that the Thundercats reboot was tied to the successes of their failed toyline… And boy did those toys sucked! The show whet above and beyond to make Thundercats more that what we seen back in the ’80s, but it could not escape it roots of “Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made.” Although the newer MotU figures are fantastic, the ’02 MotU reboot suffered a similar fate…

  15. I don’t really think that cartoons these days are that much better. Just because a show tackles new complex themes doesn’t mean that a show that doesn’t do that is in any way inferior. I still maintain that Gummy Bears and Adventure Time are equal in terms of enjoyability and quality °^°

    On a more general not concerning cartoons I’d like to refer to Rebel Taxis “When are you too old for cartoons and anime” video


      Agreed. Different doesn’t equal better.

    • I completely agree as well

      To compare this with adult television, there are times I want to watch Breaking Bad and there are times I want to watch Impractical Jokers or Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Because Brian Cranston and Aaron Paul do a phenomenal job in BB doesn’t mean that IP or WLIIA are absolute garbage and inferior shows worthy of being burned up. Big Bang Theory is another comedy that I would say isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it’s entertaining. That’s precisely the point of all this, to entertain. Just because something melds together several things doesn’t exactly make it “better”, just different.

      I think growing older we forget how scary it was to just be a kid. Schoolwork, growing up, losing teeth, getting picked on, and talking to grownups were things that were terrifying enough as it is. There were sometimes I just wanted to sit down and laugh, which is why I loved shows like Animaniacs and Freakazoid, they just plain made me laugh. Now the humor was witty, whimsical, and still makes me laugh as an adult because it was well-written. It wouldn’t have made the show any better if Wakko had an existential crisis because he was the only Warner kid with a British accent. Nor would I opine on that as an adult and think it somehow enriched my life.

      I might be showing my age, but in terms of mixing drama, action, and some small comic relief I think it’s awful hard to top Batman the Animated Series. The tone of the show was darker and that was what I expected when I watched it. Having an episode with Batman and Joker that plays out like a Looney Tunes bit with Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny would be out of place and kill the mood of the show in my opinion.

      Chocolate and pretzels may go well together, but that doesn’t mean I need to put chocolate frosting in my garlic mashed potatoes. Combining unalike things is just that, it doesn’t make them artistically superior. When comedies try to take themselves too seriously, I often just roll my eyes. Life is challenging and depressing enough for me, sometimes I just want to laugh and get a break. What’s so bad about that? lol

  16. I actually am liking today’s shows. I adore Transformers Prime the most so far for it’s story telling, backgrounds, beautiful character designs, and development. Transformers robots in disguise has more creative characters than I think even the original transformers show did. Heck, it is just as silly as the original I think. My little pony friendship (and so far ONLY friendship is magic) had a huge impact for a lot of mostly men now a days for it’s simple good messages (and to have action packed episodes helped too LOL).

    As far as anime goes, I think it’s a hit and miss. Though, for me, they’re are many great animes to watch. One of them I think being particularly Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.. Both have good lessons about the ways of life based on philosophies in life and alchemy through war, science, culture, and nature. Not only that, both have consequences good and bad from some of the principles. The designs and character development is well put together. While both have the “anime vibe” to have certain expressions, it still holds a great deal of excellent research from the air to make an incredible story. I hope you can check out both of the series and hope you at least enjoy it’s elements.

    Kids shows today are amazing!! XD

  17. Im sorry doug but your wrong on one part. Steven universe doesint really count. Gems are genderless beings. They have no gender. They are not female or identify as female.

    • You make an interesting point but… come on. XD
      Look at how they’re written.
      The writers clearly want to get the feminine vibe across.
      I really think the whole “genderless space rock” gig was a cover, so they could get elements like Ruby and Sapphire’s gig past the censors.

      • End of the day gems dont count as female. The creator had a reddit and said it herself they have no gender to the fans. The gems never actually identify themselvs as females. They identify themselves as gems. They even had a short explaining what gems are and female never came up. Gems are suppose to be look at as genderless space rocks. What your suppose to take from the relationships is just that the relationships. Its just people want to label it. Its like if my laptop and tv came to life and started a relationship. They have no gender so I couldint really call it gay,lesbian,straight or whatever. I can only take away from what the relationship shows me. I would have thought doug would do his home work or at the least see the shorts. I cant wait for a certain prison break.

        • they count as female bc that’s how audienced see them.

          They look and sound female. We call the gems ‘moms’, ‘she/her’ and ‘giant woman’. And kids watching don’t care about technicalities.

          • Again no they dont. In the lore they are not female as stated by the creator. Even the short explaining what gems are doesint call them female. I dont see them as females I see them as gems. You cant go against what the creator has stated. its like saying korra and asami are not bisexuals even though its been stated that they are indeed bisexuals by the creators.

          • Are you an idiot? I just adressed what you said.


            They read as females in voice, looks and language. That’s what an audience will see. No one will care if they technically aren’t.

          • The following comment contains spoilers for those who are really not up to date on the show.

            The gems themselves, the stones that are their actual beings, are genderless because…well, they’re just gems. It would be weird if they had genders. But the Gems identify themselves as female, or at least feminine, every time they regenerate. Regeneration seems pretty flexible (see “Reformed”), why couldn’t they regenerate with a deeper voice or beard or appreciation of fine farts or other traits that are considered masculine if they wanted to? They may not say “I’m a woman” because that’s something humans are and it’s probably pretty boring in their pants (random thought: if the clothes are created when gems regenerate, does that mean the ‘clothes’ are part of them? Are the gems technically nude?), but they can look however they want and in every form we’ve seen so far, they’ve yet to choose masculine as a base appearance (Purple Puma isn’t a base appearance).

          • @nukilk
            We are talking about what the gems are. Just cause some kids dont know the facts doesint mean they dont exist.

            Thats just their regular form. From what we have seen gems never regenerate to completely new forms they stick to how they look. Which could be that the gems dont see a need to change 100% and at most we get a little outfit change. It could also be the creators just like their designs and dont want to change them.

    • Right, they’re completely genderless, which is why they’re always refered to as females and look like females. Because they’re not females. And Rose is always refered to as Steven’s mother beccause she’s not female. It’s totally not just a way for the show to avoid being raped by angry conservatives, clearly it’s intended for them to be genderless.

      • ClaudiaFangless

        I don’t think it’s an either-or proposition—the Gems are genderless, but by human standards they can be seen as queer, and fans are free to call them lesbians if they want to. Some agender, genderqueer, and nonbinary people think of themselves in those terms, and since the Gems don’t particularly care how they’re perceived or labelled by others, there’s really no harm in saying that the show has both nonbinary and queer representation.

      • The creator said her self gems have no gender. Also according to the creator pronouns dont mean anything so the character using her and she for the gems doesint mean anything. Gems always seem themselves as gems they dont identify themselves as females or males or what have you.

    • They take FEMALE form though, use FEMALE pronouns. That is not a coincidence.

    • I think everyone in the fandom is confusing Genderless with SEXLESS, and it’s become rather annoying to hear every day.

  18. Answer: NO. Avatar/Korra maybe the best thing in recent years but you yourself said that animation is simplifying to make more time for story. The animation isn’t connected to the story. Writers write the scripts without worrying about the animation so long as they finish on time so the animation can begin and even that has to wait for the voice work.

    The older shows put in more effort to the animation thus making it far more greater to behold. Granted the writing had more limited imagination barring such examples as Real Ghostbusters, Sonic SatAM, and a few of the Disney Afternoon series but there was still something to behold. Nowadays, whenever something does get any effort, it’s cancelled because the networks couldn’t exploit enough to make back the money they invested in it. Cartoon Network cancelled Young Justice, Thundercats, and Green Lantern TAS despite ratings simply due to low merchandising or Hanna Barbera cancelling SWAT Kats at their height simply because Johnny Quest tanked. Basically, quality is not favorable to moneymaking. I’m sure Avatar cost most to make than Steven Universe and there’ll be more Steven than Avatar or Korra regardless of either of them having finite stories they’re headed toward as a stopping point. And Uncle Grandpa is quite despised by most people as is Teen Titans Go! yet both are made on the cheap and are thus easily being renewed.

    Now sure, the older shows might not have aged well, and animation farming did no one any extra favors (that’s why a lot of shows didn’t have continuous stories due to the inconsistent speeds of the different companies being outsourced). But companies aside, the parent company still had more put into the look of the shows. Hell, Captain Planet is better to look at than Adventure Time despite the shows’ storytelling merits.

    Therefore, the only way to judge today vs then, is when does the cut off start and end, and how many good shows and bad shows fall on either side?

    • You do have a lot of good points, but older shows had better effort in their animation?

      Watch one of the episodes of classic TMNT season 4 and tell me that again.

      • Watch any epsiode of any show animated by Toei or Tokyo Movie Shinsha. Also, kinda lame to home in specifically on season 4 and not the show in general. That’s like picking on Chaotic season 1 compared to the rest of the series. There’s still season 1 and the Red Sky episodes no one talks about and they look fine.

        • Around Season 4 and the middle of the series is when episodes were pumped out at a massive rate, reducing the quality of the animation drastically in comparison to Season 1. I think the lesser episode count of the Red Sky seasons is what helped the animation get better (although Season 9 was very squash and stretch).

          But yeah, you’re right. Maybe Season 4 wasn’t the best example to use.

        • This seems shifting the goalposts here. You listed a whole lot of western kids animated shows, and now it’s about anime? Stay on target.

    • I dunno, the character designs do seem a lot simpler, but the animation itself on the newer shows is way more fluid than the typical 80/90s fare.

      • It also doesn’t so often rely on reusing animation over and over in every episode for budget constraints like those 80s Sunbow/Filmation shows did.

    • Shows like Young Justice, Thunderkats etc are serious shows with few harmless comedy scenes here and there, and thus have a more realistic art style and animation since it benefits the show’s tone and style. The art style in these cartoons would be detrimental for shows like gravity falls and other comedy based cartoons since the realistic art style makes the funny scenes less funny and the horrifying scenes in gravity falls would turn so horrifying that it would easily get a PG rating or even higher.
      Take for example, the 2nd episode of season 2 of gravity falls. *Spoiler* The scene where the shapeshifter turns into an fusion of dipper and mabel.*Spoiler end*. This scene would have been so horrifying if given high quality animation, that after this the show would have easily gotten a PG or higher rating and would have been deemed unsuitable to be watched by kids.
      Animation depends a lot on the style and tone of the story and show as well, not just on cost. If the show is serious, then high quality animation tends to benefit it, but if a show is comedy especially one with more emphasis on slapstick then high quality animation would be seriously detrimental most of the time.

  19. Can you please do a Nostalgia Critic review on the movie Freddie As F.R.O.7?

  20. The Critic does have a good point there. Kids shows today have all the great atmosphere and environment.

  21. You really nailed it on the head, Doug.

    If this were 15 years ago, I would have disagreed with this video. As an 80’s kid, I would have fought tooth and nail to defend how great TMNT and He-Man were, but once the nostalgia glasses are off, most of us realized they really were made just to sell toys.

    Now we live in a world where you can sell toys AND give characters depth! If technology has taken quite a jump, so has storytelling. 🙂

  22. Sorry, don’t want to be a whiny nostalgic but I can’t really see how Adventure Time could be better than Tiny Toons and Animaniacs. And I’ve watched them all very recently so don’t say that I only like it because of the nostalgia. The humor in many new cartoons doesn’t really entertain me (except Regular Show, of course) , but I guess it’s an issue of taste.

    • Basically it’s a matter that Adventure TIme isn’t exclusively a comedy. Most of what sticks in my head about that show is the characters and world building.

    • Look I love Animaniacs, but it was really formulaic and all the parts not involving the Warner trio were really predictable the way these later shows aren’t. Maybe there’s more broad laughs in those two shows, but they also never had much depth of character or even strived for genuine pathos.


        Pathos and depth doesn’t make a show better just different. Predictable is not bad either. If anything I don’t think there are enough shows that focus purely on comedy.

  23. A Geek On The Internet

    You know at the beginning of this video I was set to disagree with you on the quality of cartoons today but after watching your video I got to say Doug that you’re right cartoons today are better. Late last year and early this year me and my friends were discussing the fact that cartoons today just suck and that they were better the past and I counted the good cartoons, like the one shown in your clips as exceptions that proves the rule, but after watching the video I find it’s the opposite that good cartoons today are the standard and it’s the crap that’s the exception so I guess things to your video I kind of see the truth. So thanks Doug I’m glad I was wrong

  24. There are a lot of great cartoons out today, but seeing as you referenced Batman and X-men for the 90s comparison, let’s take a look at the current roster of superhero shows

    Teen Titans Go – sucks
    Ultimate Spider-man – Sucks
    Avengers Assemble – Sucks
    Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. – sucks

    It’s such a shame since they all come off the backs of much better shows. Spectacular Spider-man, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest heroes and Young Justice were all cleverly written with interesting dynamics and characters, the current ones are either painfully unfunny comedies that don’t fit with the super-hero genre or mindless action with little to no substance to it.

    • ShadowsTwilight

      Agreed. As nice as it is to companies try to put a lot of effort and thought into their shows, they still seem to be stuck in the idea that kids shows have to be surreal, silly, and over-the-top in their atmosphere. They can’t seem to understand that shows that are a bit more grounded and dramatic like Young Justice can be just as effective, exciting, and thought-provoking as something as bright, colorful, and abstract as Adventure Time and Gravity Falls, which makes it really infuriating to see them treat such shows like shit. I mean, Doug and Rob complained about how badly Nickelodeon treated Korra, yet it was nothing compared to the crap CN put Young Justice through. At least Nick allowed Korra to finish.

    • The original Teen Titans cartoon (yes I know the comics are older) is a show I enjoy almost exclusively because the characters play off each other so well. Sure many episodes have wooden dialogue, cliche plot and flat humour but any two of those characters in a room together is a great watch.

      Which TTG completely destroys! While there are a few genuinely funny episodes I just can’t recognise these shallow psychos as the Titans.

    • I actually think Hulk Agents of SMASH is alright. Not great but its fine.

    • Well, mindless action has its place sometimes but I agree with Teen Titans Go! That completely sucks. No question.

      • Yes, mindless action has it’s place but it needs well crafted dialogue, good characters and storytelling: Marvel’s animated departments seem to lack them.

    • Monsieur Safior

      Yeak is very sad to see, in ths age of good cartoon, then the super heroe don’t follow, no stop follow, because big boss thing then super heroe either should be connect to Cinematic universe or only sell toy and if they don’t cancel it.

      Men I mean the only good animated super heroes show since the end of EMH is a Anime Disk War.

      • I really don’t understand why shows like Young Justice (less so Green Lantern: The Animated Series because the fate of that show was predetermined by the fate of the movie) couldn’t have made merchandise.

        I wonder if CN/WB weren’t confident about the show and deliberately didn’t market the merchandise well. That and the stupid hiatuses the show went on for seemingly no reason didn’t help.

    • All of the things you listed are also adaptations of comics, rather than original properties.
      Gravity Falls, Adventure Time, and Steven Universe are all originally animated series. So when he talks about this being a golden age in kids shows he might be emphasizing original content.

  25. Of course, Adventure Time sucks big time now, like really big time, like the writers are less concerned creating emotion and an actual flowing narrative and more concern being pretentious as F*** and creating a poor excuse of a “grand story”.

    But yeah, kid shows are really great now, BUT I won’t say it’s better now than before cause you seem to love to ignore the cartoons CN made during the 90s and early 2000s (Dexter Lab’s, Johnny Bravo, Samurai Jack, Ed Edd n Eddy, Powepuff Girls, Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Codename: Kids Next Door, Megas XLR), sure most didn’t explore deep themes, but they’re incredibly memorable (also they knew when to end*! (looking at you Adventure Time and Regular Show (though Regular Show is in better shape)). Actually the more I think about it, Cartoon Network always provided quality cartoons (even during that live action phase, Chowder and Flapjack were still airing).

    As for the other networks, Nickelodeon also did pretty well in the 90s and early 2000s (*cough**cough*SpongeBob*cough**cough*)(also Invader Zim (when they aired it), Fairly Oddparents (when it wasn’t being extend like SpongeBob, though with FOP, it’s arguably worse), Danny Phantom, hell Avatar is a 2000s show). And now they’re finally starting to take note to air kids shows that aren’t SpongeBob or Fairly Oddparents with Harvey Beaks and Pig Goat Banana Cricket.

    As for Disney, they had some awesome programs in the early 2000s as well (Kim Possible, Proud Family) but yeah then definitely benefit better from this decade than last, even though they air the good kids cartoons on Disney XD rather than Disney Channel now, though they still haven’t figured out to make a good Marvel show, well they did (Earth’s Mightiest Heroes) but that was replaced with a worse Avengers cartoon.

    Well that end long talk.

    *in Megas XLR’s case, it ended too early cause it got screwed by the network.

  26. Someone doesn’t know much about sexuality in cartoons. First, in Superman TAS, there is a homosexual couple shown on screen (Mercy Graves and her partner). There are also gay characters in Gargoyles and Static Shock. However, there are no homosexuals in Korra. This is nonsense “confirmed” by the creators simply because idiots on the internet can’t see two people of the same sex holding hands without exploding into a homophobic flurry of fanfiction. As for Adventure Time, the statement about Bubblegum and Marceline is pretty pointless as it did nothing to impact the show. They merely could have said that Bubblegum and Marceline had a relationship sometime before the show. The only reason to say romantic relationship is to inspire fanfiction. Nothing done in Korra or Adventure Time implies homosexual romances on screen so it’s pointless. (Note: While Lexington from Gargoyles is apparently a closeted gay, Richie (Static Shock) was gay long before the show was made and was written in the show to be as gay as the censors would allow.)

    • I think you’re projecting / assuming a bit to much dude. Korra and Asami being romantically involved wasn’t just something the writers said to confirm/inspire fanfiction; it was clearly their intent while writing and I think you’re being needlessly cynical to assume otherwise.

    • Its kinda hard to fight against the argument that korra and asami are not bisexuals when the creators themselves said it. Its their lore and characters. So if they said it its true.

      • ThatManWithTheHeadband12

        They are bi. You can’t tell me that Korra has had a full dive in the dating pool. How many kids her age does she know? Mako, Bolin, Eska, Desna, Wu, Kuvira… and Jinora, and she was raised thinking Korra was the reincarnation of her grandfather. That’s a very small pool. Too small for exploring both options of singular sexuality. Saying they aren’t bi renders the emotion in their romances with Mako POINTLESS

    • I think you’re confusing characters. Mercy wasn’t the lesbian cop. She was Lex’s chauffer.

    • I’m sorry but, Korra’s relationship with Asami was NOT platonic. I know it’s hard for somepeople to accept that homosexuality is a thing, but this whole ending is built in a way that says in big regd flashing letters ”this is a romantic relationship!”. The music, the atmosphere. theway they gaze into each others eyes while holding hands on their way to their getaway, alone, with no one else to “bother them”. Yeah, sure, I do that with my platonic friends all the time, right after we finish making out on my couch.
      Though, if the creators of the show flat out TELLING YOU that they’re romantically involved and detaling their intentions for them to get together isn’t enough to convince you, I guess it’s a lost cause.

    • It wasn’t Mercy Graves though. You’re thinking of Maggie Sawyer, the police officer. Mercy was Lex Luthors henchwoman.

    • Korra and Asami are a couple. In love. Two girls. It’s canon.

      They’re even doing an official comic about it!

      Deal with it.

    • Oh yeah, because a couple of bitches who weren’t even allowed to have their sexuality addressed on screen (said so as much for Richie Foley, who is for all intents and purposes a closet case) are totally better examples than actual romantic relationships shown onscreen, however briefly.

  27. While I don’t disagree with Doug’s overall points… I think it’s too optimistic to say that kids shows today are better than ever.

    The examples he’s brought to the table are certainly some of the most noteworthy good modern shows. I’d argue that while the good shows have hit new and amazing highs… some of the cruft is arguably *worse* than ever.

    • No, I think people just tend to forget the bad more quickly. I mean I don’t remember the shows I didn’t watch that were bad 5 years ago, but I sure as hell remember the ones I thought were good.

    • The cruft is very much crufty, but it’s worth noting that we probably don’t remember much of the dreck from the 80s/90s very well. Terrible TV generally isn’t all that memorable, and Sturgeon’s Law was true back then too.

  28. I think, in general, it is true that kids show right now are great. But saying that things like Batman or Gargoyles were like “in transition” i think is unfair… they were very good even by todays standards.

    Many of todays great series have more in common with the golden age of cartoon network (totally missing in the video) and ren & stimpy (missing again), than those ones.

    I still think that Scooby doo mystery inc. did something similar to Gravity Falls, excelent series both.

  29. littlewillie610

    Doug seems to know a lot more about Steven Universe than he lets on in the Vlogs.

    • I wouldint be surprised if hes up to date or close to it since the episodes are short. Though im confused since it seems he lacks the knowledge that gems dont have a gender,but yet he labels them as lesbians.

    • I’m assuming that they’ve done a lot more of the vlogs by now and just haven’t uploaded them yet. They do usually review them in bunches, not once-a-day like they upload them.

      • littlewillie610

        The most recent batch of Vlogs seem to have been recorded on the same day as the Sibling Rivalry on Ant-Man.

      • I think that Nostalgia Critic already watched the episodes, but just haven’t recorded and discussed it. Like in a Gravity Falls vlog, which was one of the early episodes, he was referencing S1’s finale.

        • I’m not sure that’s quite the case (if he had seen a lot of them before starting the Vlogs, he probably wouldn’t be calling her “Garret” and forgetting Amethyst’s name), though he’s probably a handful of episodes ahead of what’s been released.

    • FluttershyApproves

      It sucks that he already knows everything that’s gonna happen 🙁 Kind of takes the fun out of it. At least I get some joy knowing Rob clearly knows nothing and I get to see ONE genuine reaction >_< maybe we'll get lucky and he'll forget all of that? I mean he can't even remember Amethyst's name in it's in EVERY OPENING so there's hope

  30. I feel that cartoons are coming into their own is phenomenal., because back then shows like 80’s transformers and my little pony were basically made for one reason & one reason only., to sell toys and nothing else., this type of strategy was insulting to the viewer’s mind., basically network executives talking down to the viewer and calling them idiots., thank god this strategy is extinct and no longer in use., in fact there are two types of shows that were in my opinion ahead of their time., Beetlejuice the animated series., & Sam and Max freelance police., they were totally out-there., one lasted four seasons., the other only thirteen episodes., but I freaking love for their unique aspects of ideas and concepts., another series I believe was truly innovative was Pelswick., the writing and animation were superb., a truly unique and underrated show., now I can said say that series’ like Adventure Time., Steven Universe., Gravity Falls., as well as Star vs the forces of Evil., shows the evolution of kids programs., to create quirky and thought-provoking shows., even when you look at a series like Batman the animated Series which changed the game on creating a action adventure or superhero cartoon., plus influences from Japanese anime and cartoons from other countries are creating better ideas for future generations to come.,,.

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