Building a Better Mouse House
There’s a thread on the Toon Zone Forums (specifically, in the Disney Animation Forum) titled “How Would You Improve Disney?”, and since I can’t respond to the thread on TZ, I’ll instead say what I would do here. In order to improve the Disney Studios’ productions, I would:
1. Re-re-invent the Disney Channel – And I don’t just mean the logo. I have no problem with the DC logo looking like this
But I do have an issue with TDC’s current programming. I don’t really care about the tween sitcoms. I think that most of them are stupid and a waste of space, not only because they’re not funny, but also because they’re all pretty much interchangeable, and running them all in the same block makes them look like endless carbon copies of one another, like Dawn of the Stepford Shows. But they aren’t made for me nor for my age demographic, so I just ignore them. Plus, as insipid as those shows are, they do bring in ratings and put butts in seats, so I know they aren’t going anywhere. Like Hot Topics in the mall, they’re here to stay. However, I don’t think that TDC should cater to teens and tweens exclusively. I preferred it when DC actually had a variety to it’s lineup and provided entertainment for the entire family, not just the teens, which brings me to the next thing that I would do…
2. Put the old theatrical shorts back on TV. – I hate to sound like a nostalgia person, but for once I agree with them. It’s whicketty-whack that we can no longer see classic Disney shorts on the Disney Channel. Back in the ancient 1970s, the Disney studio didn’t loan out it’s properties to syndicated markets and network affiliates. There was never a “Bugs and Mickey Show” or a “Daffy & Donald” or a “Goofy & Popeye” half hour. The only time we got to see the Disney shorts on TV was on Sunday evenings during NBC’s The Wonderful World of Disney, and even then, I’d be hoping that they would show cartoons that week and not something like Lefty, the Ding-a-ling Lynx. Then the Disney Channel was invented and suddenly, we could see old Disney shorts everyday on the umbrella titles like Good Morning, Mickey!, Donald Duck Presents and Mousterpiece Theater. Sure, most of the Disney shorts paled in comparison to Looney Tunes and the MGM shorts, but it was still pretty cool that we could see them regularly. But now, the shorts hardly ever air on TDC anymore. Pretty much the only time that ever see Mickey, Donald or Goofy on TDC is in the mornings during DC’s Playhouse Disney block. Occasionally, and edited-for-time Disney theatrical short will air between shows on TDC under the title Have a Laugh, but that only once in a blue moon. Sure, many of the Disney theatrical shorts are available on DVD and some are floating around on YouTube, but still, it’s kind of stupid that one place you can’t see the old Disney shorts is on the flipping Disney Channel.
3. Revive The Disney Afternoon – And no, I don’t mean to just bring back shows DuckTales, Chip ‘N’ Dale Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck and Goof Troop (although it wouldn’t be a bad thing for Disney to air those shows somewhere). Rather, I’d like for Disney to produce some new and original shows that are made in the same vein and creative spirit as those shows aforementioned. More specifically, I’d like to see Disney produce some more animated series built around the studio’s established characters which aren’t strictly geared to tiny tots (which doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t want there to be any more series starring original characters such as Phineas & Ferb and Gravity Falls, because those shows have their place also). In the 1990s, the Disney studio actually took risks. The carried the attitude of “Yeah, the old Disney shorts were good, but this new stuff with Donald Duck, Goofy, Baloo and the like are good too”. Unlike now, when the Disney studio execs seem to have this idee fixee that the only thing that Mickey and the gang are good for is for entertaining preschoolers. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that Mickey and the gang are still around, but I think that he and the other shorts characters deserve better.
4. Either kill Disney X-D, or remake the channel into something else. – Why, exactly, do we need to have a Disney Channel for boys and a separate Disney Channel for girls? Why can’t there just be 1 Disney channel that airs good and entertaining programs? Disney X-D was apparently created to be a Disney Channel for boys, but when did TDC become exclusively a girls’ channel? There’s no reason for this channel to exist at all. Hey, Disney. You want to have programming for the boys? Fine, create a program block for them, but you don’t need an entire channel just for “dude bro” shows. At least Toon Disney offered something of an alternative to TDC; it showed nothing but cartoons, and everything was fine until the Jetix action cartoon block was added and then the block spread throughout TD like a virus, eventually devouring the entire channel. i’m not really sure what I’d with Disney X-D. An old-school Disney Channel wouldn’t work, since most people don’t want to just watch old stuff 24/7, but a Vault Disney block could conceivably work. I’d probably just merge TDC and DXD into one and possibly revive Toon Disney.
5. Kill ABC Family – Just kill it. Kill it with fire. It’s a wasteland for reality TV and trashy teen dramas. The ONLY thing on ABC Family that’s worth watching is “The 25 Days of Christmas”, and that’s only once a year.
Overall, I think that The Disney Channel should go back to being a channel for everybody, not just teenyboppers. This doesn’t mean that I think there shouldn’t be any teen pop stuff on TDC at all, mind you, just that the tweenybopper stuff shouldn’t be the only things on the channel. Surely there are enough hours in the day for TDC to designate certain times for certain types of shows.