Recommendations for Animated Programs on the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel

The state of animation in the realm of television has been questionable in recent years, though three major networks still place faith in animation: the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel. While each of these three networks takes a different stance on how animation should be handled, fans of animated programs should typically be able to find an enjoyable series when watching one of these networks. I have personally seen a plethora of animated programs in my time and I have made this article to help others decide if they should watch or avoid five animated programs on each of these three networks.

The Cartoon Network

The Cartoon Network is one of the few networks that still devote a majority of its time to airing animated programs. When it was created, it mostly showed animated programs from the past several decades; though in recent years, the network has started to host live-action movies in the midst of their animation blocks, which some have seen as a sign that the network is losing faith in its own endeavors. Regardless of these claims, the fact remains that there are many new animated programs on the network, as well as many older programs that are still receiving new episodes due to their popularity. Below, you’ll find a list of five animated programs on the Cartoon Network, as well as the reasons I would suggest you watch the series, or potentially avoid watching the series.

Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends
: This series focuses on a young boy and his visits to a foster home that looks after imaginary friends until they’re capable of finding a home. Unlike many of the other animated programs on the network, this series is animated through flash animation, which gives it a unique style that makes it visually different from anything else on the network. However, the series has many other excellent merits as well, as most episodes contain solid writing and the plots are fairly original and devoid of clichÃ?©s, though there are some episodes that fall flat in comparison to the other episodes of the series. The characters are quite nice and since there is an unlimited potential in the side-characters that can be introduced for the sake of one episode, since imaginary friends can take any form, this series should be able to find longstanding success on the network. In fact, even though it’s only at its fourth season, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends has quickly become one of the most popular programs on the Cartoon Network, so I encourage fans of animated programs to check it out in their spare time.

The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy
: This series focuses on a young boy and girl, Billy and Mandy, who just happen to gain ownership with the Grim Reaper after a chance encounter with him one day. This animated program is one of the more popular programs on the network, though due to its gross style of humor, some fans of animation may not enjoy watching it. There are many references to gross things, such as boogers and other such substances, which are made in an attempt to entertain children who enjoy such things. However, many people still find such jokes to be disgusting and I feel that those scenes do take away a lot of merit from the series. Despite this flaw, the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy has a very interesting premise and many of its episodes contain highly unorthodox plots, since they tend to involve the Grim Reaper using his abilities at the orders of the children. Parents shouldn’t worry about the series becoming too dark, since the Grim Reaper is seen as incompetent and he never kills anybody during the series, so this series is perfectly appropriate for children. It isn’t the best thing on the Cartoon Network, though I give this series my recommendation and I hope people will check it out.

Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy
: This series focuses on the misadventures of three preadolescents who spend their free time trying to scam other children in their neighborhood out of their money; though Ed and Edd aren’t as interested in the schemes as Eddy is. I understand that this premise doesn’t sound too appealing, since it isn’t a very nice thing to do and parents may not like children watching a program with such a premise. However, since the scams seldom work, and the characters tend to always receive their comeuppance for their actions, I feel that the seemingly offensive nature of the premise shouldn’t be something that prevents fans of animation from watching it. The art style of the series isn’t going to win any awards and the jokes may be too fast paced for some people’s tastes, though this animated program has become the Cartoon Network’s longest running animated program for good reason. It’s currently in its seventh season and the series tends to do very well for the network in terms of ratings, so fans of animated programs should check the series out as well since its quality shouldn’t disappoint viewers.

Camp Lazlo
: This series focuses on a group of scouts who are members of the Bean Scouts, in which they often go about their business on the camp, whether it is unintentionally ruining the day of the scoutmaster, or dealing with the female scouts who live across the lake. Fans of animated programs may enjoy the fact that this series was created by Joe Murray, who created the Nickelodeon animated series entitled Rocko’s Modern Life. While Camp Lazlo doesn’t live up to the success of its predecessor, there are some references and similarities between the two animated programs, which fans may enjoy due to the reminiscence invoked through watching the series. However, I personally believe Camp Lazlo can stand on its own two feet and I feel that the premise of the series, while sharing some similarities with other programs, is still quite original. The characters have many merits and since each of the Bean Scouts have their own personalities, the potential exists to have episodes that can relate around a specific side-character and still be appealing to fans of the series. While I wouldn’t consider Camp Lazlo to be the best thing on the Cartoon Network, I feel it is certainly good enough for fans of the series to watch.

My Gym Partner’s a Monkey
: This series focuses on a boy named Adam Lyon, who finds himself in a school for animals due to an error regarding his last name. He quickly befriends a spider monkey named Jake, who shows him the ropes, though the two get into many misadventures due to Jake’s antics. This animated program is one that I encourage fans of animation to avoid; I do not feel that this series has enough merits to warrant spending time to watch it. I don’t mean to disrespect the creators of the series, though the plots of the episodes haven’t been too entertaining and I believe the clichÃ?© of having Jake be practically obsessed with his rear end is just too disgusting to be entertaining. The series has some potential, since the school setting does permit a wide array of characters and each of them could potentially help improve the quality of the series, though from what I’ve seen, I do not believe fans of animated programs should spend their time watching this series. Despite its flaws, it will likely find some small success on the Cartoon Network, though a lot needs to be improved in terms of how the episodes are handled before I would recommend others to watch it.

Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon was founded with the intent of becoming a network for children, in which it has remained true to that vision. While the network has began to place a lot of faith in their live-action programs, animated Nickelodeon programs, known as Nicktoons, are still vital to the network and they are heavily promoted and often aired. While many of these Nicktoons reflect the vision of the network, some animated programs have taken on a darker tone in an attempt to change the way Nicktoons are commonly seen. Below, you’ll find a list of five animated programs on Nickelodeon, as well as the reasons I would suggest you watch the series, or potentially avoid watching the series.

Avatar: The Last Airbender
: This series focuses on a preadolescent boy who is the Avatar, a being who can harness four elements and is supposed to keep peace in the world. After being frozen for one-hundred years, he is found by two Water Tribe members, Katara and Sokka, who decide to help him on his quest to master the elements and stop a hundred year war. In my opinion, this series is by far the best animated program on Nickelodeon and I feel that fans of animated programs should definitely check this series out. Unlike the other animated programs on Nickelodeon, this one is much darker in theme, which can work against it since the network’s standards and practices heavily monitor the scenes to ensure nothing too violent takes place. Some critics claim the series is too much of an anime to be considered a Nicktoon, though I have seen many animated programs during my time and Avatar: The Last Airbender is a very unique blend of traditional animation and storytelling that is often only seen in Japanese animation. It isn’t going to be loved by everyone, though I highly encourage fans of animated programs to check this series out, as it’s the best thing on Nickelodeon in my honest opinion.

Danny Phantom
: This series focuses on an adolescent boy who obtains ghost-based super powers after an accident in his parents’ laboratory. Uncertain what to do about his newfound abilities, he decides to take on the mantle to capture ghosts and return them back to their world, since he’s the most qualified to do the job. While this series isn’t as dark as Avatar: The Last Airbender, it contains some darker themes and some episodes can get somewhat intense; though the series prides itself on a campy relation to old super hero comics, which is made well aware during most episodes. Despite the fact that I personally love the series, it has many flaws that could turn fans of animation away from it, such as how the jokes ruin dramatic scenes and how some plots are quite clichÃ?©, if just for the sake of being clichÃ?©. However, even with all these thoughts considered, I would have to recommend this series to fans of animated programs because it’s a unique experience and with an overall number of fifty-three episodes in the series, there’s bound to be a decent number of episodes that people will enjoy watching.

SpongeBob SquarePants
: This series focuses on the misadventures of a young sponge living at the bottom of the ocean, where he inadvertently annoys his neighbor while fulfilling his dream of becoming the world’s greatest fry cook. Of course, nearly every fan of animation, no matter who they are, knows what SpongeBob SquarePants is, so I doubt I needed to explain it; though if there is anybody who hasn’t seen this series, I highly encourage them to check it out. I understand that the past few seasons haven’t been as good as the original episodes, though SpongeBob SquarePants continues to provide high quality episodes with each passing season, though I admit that the quality of the episodes is diminishing with each season. Despite this, there are plenty of jokes and hilarious moments in each episode and the wide array of unique characters permits the plots to have more potential in how they’re handled; though I acknowledge the fact that the characters aren’t always used to their full potential. These flaws come naturally in any animated program, especially when they’ve been producing episodes for such a long amount of time; I personally believe critics of SpongeBob SquarePants are being too strict, since the series has, in all truth, kept the same essence as it originally had upon its creation.

The Fairly OddParents
: This series focuses on a boy named Timmy Turner who acquires fairy god parents when his life is deemed too miserable by the fairies. Now, before I speak on this series, I wish to express that the series changed dramatically when Butch Hartman, its creator, left the series to focus on Danny Phantom. The earlier few seasons of The Fairly OddParents were highly entertaining and I would certainly encourage fans of animation to check the series out based on that alone; though the later seasons of the series have been quite appalling. The characters became much more offensive and rude to one another, often insulting and injuring one another for little purpose other than to be mean, which I believe is a serious blow to the integrity of the series. While some of the movies that debuted on Nickelodeon after Butch Hartman’s departure have been very entertaining, the average episode has suffered dramatically and it is for that reason that I can not give this series my recommendation. The later episodes of the series were completely different than the original episodes of the series; though due to this fact, if anyone interested in the program finds an older episode airing on television, they should watch that, rather than the new episodes.

Catscratch
: This series focuses on three cats who inherit a fortune after their owner dies, which puts them in charge of an estate where they drink root beer and basically live the good life. Now, I don’t particularly hate Catscratch, though I feel that this series isn’t very entertaining and I believe its premise could have been much better. The characters are somewhat entertaining and they all have their merits, though I feel that some characters, such as Waffle, are just extremely clichÃ?© and I’m tired of seeing such characters appear in nearly every animated program. I admit that the clichÃ?© characters in this series do have some unique aspects, though the obvious similarities to so many other characters from other animated programs is something that ruins their merits for me, since those types of characters are used time and time again. Regardless of that fact, I really like the way the animation in this series looks, as it’s a simple style that works well with the series; though I’m afraid that I can’t give this series my recommendation, as its entertainment value just isn’t high enough. However, I must confess that I really do like the newts, so that does boost the series’ quality in my eyes.

The Disney Channel

Walt Disney founded the company that bears his name due to his work on animation, which is the reason I consider it such a travesty that the Walt Disney Company has all but forsaken its animation roots. The Disney Channel, which was made to air animated programs, now airs more live-action programs that it does animated programs, in which new episodes of animated programs are often granted a horrible timeslot and they’re not advertised. However, despite this fact, the Disney Channel does air several animated programs and they did support them at one time or another, which makes the Disney Channel one of the few remaining networks to actually place great faith in animation. Below you’ll find a list of five animated programs on the Disney Channel, as well as the reasons I would suggest you watch the series, or potentially avoid watching the series.

Brandy & Mr. Whiskers
: This series focuses on a sophisticated female dog and a crude rabbit who get stranded in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest and must cope with one another while trying to survive. Now, I know many people dislike this series, though I honestly believe this is one of the best animated programs still airing on the Disney Channel, which is why I strongly encourage fans of animation to check it out in order to evaluate the series for themselves. The animation style for the series works very well with the characters, and the characters all work very well with the plots, which is something that I believe boosts its overall quality. However, fans of animation need to consider the fact that nearly every episode of Brandy & Mr. Whiskers is very clich�©, though the series embraces that aspect for a reason since they throw twists to either mock the clich�©, or to change its fundamentals to make it something unconventional, which helps make the episodes entertaining in my eyes. Of course, the series has recently come to an end and Disney decided not to produce any new episodes, despite not ending the series in a conclusive fashion; though I still believe fans of animated programs should check this series out, should they find the time.

Kim Possible
: This series focuses on an adolescent girl who tries to juggle her time as a cheerleader and an honor roll student, as well as saving the world from menacing foes who want to gain world dominance. I know that the plot doesn’t sound too intriguing and I’ve seen many fans of animation brush it off as a cheap animated program to try to gain female viewers, though the series is by far one of the best things on the Disney Channel, which is why fans of the series were successful in convincing Disney to bring it back for a fourth season. Many of the plots are extremely silly, though that works well because the villains are even sillier, which is something that truly makes the series entertaining because it’s unlike so many other animated programs who are merely silly because they refuse to believe they’re silly. I understand that some serious villains would be a great addition to the series, though there are already a few serious villains, which all work very well alongside their silly colleagues, so I feel people who complain about the villains should consider all the circumstances. I’ve digressed from the point, though I feel Kim Possible is a solid experience for fans of animation and I can say in good faith that it will not disappoint most typical fans of animation.

Lilo and Stitch: The Series
: This series focuses on a young girl and an alien-like genetic experiment as they work together to capture other genetic experiments to turn them from evil to good. The series continues off where the Lilo & Stitch movies left off, so fans of the movies may be capable of enjoying the series as well, though since I have seen the movies, I must remind animation fans out there that this series doesn’t have the same spirit that the movie did. Several of the episodes of the series contradict the movies, from what I’ve seen, though with that said, I believe the series is certainly an entertaining experience and it’s something that I believe people can enjoy watching. I acknowledge the fact that every episode of the series shares a similar plot, as they all involve capturing an experiment and trying to make them good, though since there are a wide array of experiments that all do different things, each episode’s plot takes a unique turn that I feel keeps each episode original in terms of plot premise. Since there aren’t too many animated programs showing on the Disney Channel any more, I feel Lilo & Stitch: The Series more than earned my recommendation, so I hope fans of animation will check it out, should they find the time.

American Dragon: Jake Long
: This series focuses on an adolescent boy who tries to live a normal live in New York City, despite the fact that he’s the American Dragon, a being destined to keep the peace in the magical world. I must admit that I didn’t care much for this program during its first season, especially due to the strong use of slang by the main character, though the second season of the series has improved dramatically. Since the slang has calmed down to some degree, I believe fans of animation may be more capable of enjoying the series, though I feel the complete change in animation style is something that has helped this series. The first season’s animation style and the second season’s animation style are completely different; I know some fans favor the first while some fans favor the latter, though it is in my honest opinion that the second season’s animation style is more conventional, so fans of animation should enjoy the second season more than the first season. Regardless of animation issues, the quality of the episode plots in the second season is also drastically improved over the first season, though since I’ve admitted that I didn’t care much for the first season, I can really only recommend the series on the grounds that fans of animation realize that the first season and the second season are worlds apart in terms of appeal and quality.

The Emperor’s New School
: This series focuses on Emperor Kuzco as he attempts to pass high school in order to retain his position as Emperor; though Yzma is masquerading as principal of the said school and she intends to do what she can to make him fail, so that she can get the throne. This series, while holding potential, is one of the worst animated programs on the Disney Channel, in my honest opinion. Fans of The Emperor’s New Groove, which this series was based off of, will be appalled by the nature in which this series destroys the reputation and steals all the jokes from the movies, which was repeated nearly each episode. Even though it suffers from many flaws, The Emperor’s New School still manages to throw in some moments of hilarity in a decent number of episodes, though since these moments are typically few and far between, I do not believe they warrant the watching of the series just so those scenes can be seen. Due to its many, many flaws, I do not recommend this series to fans of animation, as it’s not that good and I believe it has a lot of work to do if it wishes to be considered entertaining.

With that said, my recommendations at the moment are over. While I tend to enjoy a vast majority of the animated programs I see, I realize that people may not always see things my way, so regardless of if I encouraged you to watch a series, or encouraged you not to watch a series, it is always best for you to try to catch an episode of the series for yourself in order to see if you like it. Advertisements for animated programs, or television programs in general, seldom work because one needs to experience the program for themselves in order to truly interpret their thoughts on if they like it or not. However, I hope that my recommendations will have helped any fans of animated programs in making up their mind as to if they should watch an episode of a series or otherwise, as the realm of television animation is slowly losing its luster, so we must remain vigilant and enjoy animation at any moment we can.

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