Feb 27, 2006

Psst . . . Canadian Animation Outlets Are Making US Ones Look Stupid (Pass It On)

In a couple of days, Cartoon Network announces its plans to make sure they remain the number one animation outlet in the country. Notice I said ANIMATION outlet, not number one kids' network (one, that would be Nickelodeon, and two, since it was conceived, Cartoon Network has NEVER claimed that they were a kids' network until the current management stepped into place) nor the number one cable network, that would be USA, followed closely by ESPN, Nickelodeon, and FX, although Cartoon Network isn't too far. Their biggest animation-outlet competitors, Nicktoons Network and Toon Disney are slowly gaining mass audiences and growing households. In fact, Nicktoons Network is in more than three times as many households as Cartoon Network's own spinoff network Boomerang.

You do know Boomerang, don't you? Your silence is deafening, so I'll get down to the point.

You know how Cartoon Network is trying so hard not to be, well, Cartoon Network? If they actually knew what their counterparts up north were doing, they'd be - - - you know what? They NEED to know because believe it or not, even as we speak, Teletoon is basically outclassing Cartoon Network in almost every department (KAPOW! doesn't have as much punch in it as its name would suggest, especially when compared to YTV's Bionix, which is essentially Canadian's answer to Toonami, a block I'm very familiar with).

Yes, Teletoon has a lot of Canadian productions on the network, as does every other Canadian network. It's a law or something. However, the thing about Teletoon's lineup is that it's not marred by the omnipresence of the same four or five cartoons in every open slot, as is the case with Cartoon Network's current weekday lineup. Yeah, some of the same culprits are present on both networks (Codename: Kids Next Door, Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends, and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy), but it's not like you see marathon airings of shows every day nor see the same show within 90 minutes of each other as you can here. For example, you could watch Atomic Betty on Teletoon at Noon and then many hours later at 4 PM on a weekday.


Compare that to Billy and Mandy, which you could see on CN at 8 AM, then at 3 PM, then at 8 PM, then again at 9:30 PM (Yeah, I should mention that Billy and Mandy is paired off with Grim and Evil for an hour during The Detour at 2 AM every Monday through Thursday, but I'll get to that point later). The only show that comes close to this on Teletoon is 6Teen, the great animated teen sitcom that Nickelodeon virtually gave up on. That show comes on weekdays at 5 and 7 PM.

Also, Teletoon does find the time to put in The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show on the weekday schedule. Twice. Every morning at 7 AM and weekday afternoons at 3:30 PM. Meanwhile, Bugs Bunny is all but absent from the airwaves in the US unless you're one of the few who actually have Boomerang.


There's also something called variety for all audiences in the prime-time hours. Apparently,
action is not off limits for the primetime, as TMNT and The Batman airs in primetime on weekdays. Their premieres air on Wednesdays during the day rather than the night. And after 9 PM (following Futurama and Billy and Mandy on weekdays, Bugs Bunny and Tweety, The Jetsons and The Flintstones on weekends), Teletoon takes a detour into adult animation.

Taking a cue from CN's Adult Swim, Teletoon airs The Detour, a deviation from the norm with shows, some familiar to US viewers like Family Guy, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Harvey Birdman, The Boondocks, and Home Movies and Canadian productions like Clone High, The Wrong Coast, Bromwell High, Delta State, Station X,The Butcher Bros. and Undergrads. And like the guy who showed off a baby chicken at the Just Born Candy Company that magical year, peep this. The Detour also airs on Teletoon on Friday nights as F-Night, at the same time as it does every night of the week, 9 PM EST.

So, I think it's time for Cartoon Network to step up and grow up because Teletoon is making CN look very foolish in the programming department. And they're just getting started.


Emperor Fred said...

Not even a year ago, I'd have thought the notion of Teletoon actually being better than Cartoon Network was completely absurd.

I have been watching Teletoon a whole lot more lately, though. Maybe it is because they offer a better variety - I mean, they still run Megas XLR, Ninja Turtles, and Home Movies!

The only thing that really bothers me about Teletoon is their outright refusal to air any anime. But with YTV picking up the slack and finally starting to fill that void adequately (having just acquired Full Metal Alchemist and Case Closed), I guess animation on Canadian TV may well be coming into its own.

Let's just hope Teletoon's recent airing of the live-action Beetlejuice movie isn't an ominous sign of things to come.

jh said...

Well . . . guess you didn't hear that both Space Jam (on Cinetoon) and Batman (on both The Detour and Cinetoon) are airing later this month.

But on the bright side, at least there were several animated sequences in Beetlejuice (the snake scene, the transformation of the Maitlands and the marriage sequence). Of course, it probably would have been nicer if they aired a couple of episodes of the Nelvana series to compliment it (plus, it'd fill in the 55% Canadian quota for the week). Still, consider yourself lucky Ace Ventura 2 didn't air. There's no animation

I.M. Weasel said...

Cartoon Network has had the habit throughout their history of well, running shows to death. Especially a show about a certain brown great dane, and a mystery-solving clan of teens driving around in a colorful van. But yes, at least CN did have a decent amount of variety thrown in there for good measure. Sure maybe you'd get PPG, Dexter, or Cow and Chicken on several times a day, but you'd also get the classics--I'm speaking of course about Looney Toons, The Tex Avery Show, The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Tom and Jerry...and so on. And in the pre-Adult Swim days, if you stayed up late at night, you could catch some really cool and sometimes laughably bad Hanna Barbera stuff from the late 60s and 70s.

But I guess most of that stuff is relagated to Boomerang these days, which is mostly offered on expanded digital cable or sattelite systems, which most people don't have (including myself). And of course, when all of the classics migrated to Boomerang, that left the door open for the ocean of crap we now have on the so-called "Cartoon Network"--and now its gotten to the point where you don't even have to be animated to get on the Cartoon Network. This seems to apply to even Adult Swim--case in point, Tom Goes to the Mayor. I mean, it has its moments, but it's not animation.

At least Cartoon Network is throwing their ancestors of a decade back or so a bone with the "Cartoon Cartoon" show, or whatever they are calling it. Just too bad they cant be bothered to run those shows as they originally aired, or something (and of course that leads to my biggest complaint, when they show an "I am Weasel" episode, they show it with the Cow and Chicken opening. WTF...).

Okay, thats all for now...