I first read about this on Toon Zone, then again on Hobbyfan’s blog, Saturday Morning Archives.
Broadcast Partners has announced the triumphant return of Saturday Morning Cartoons…sort of…in the form of a syndication block.
Yeah, you might want to hold off on the Happy Dance until you get all the details. First, this 2 hour block will consist of the following 4 shows:
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Yes, the same series from 1983 to 1986 produced by Filmation, which is gradually being phased out by Me-TV…
Casper’s Scare School, the latest series starring the lovably wimpy ghost, which CN got tired of in recent years…
George of the Jungle, not the Jay Ward original, but rather the Flash animated remake by Teletoon which aired on CN back around 2007-2008….
…And The New Adventures of Lassie, a 2014 toon which is the first new Lassie series in over 40 years. Here’s a trailer for the latter.
But wait, there’s more! This block is slated to air from….5 AM to 7AM.
M’kay, I think it’s now time for a little Reality Check.
Let’s be real here: no kid (or adult, for that matter) is going to get up with the chickens at 5 AM to watch any of these shows. He-Man is always good fun 80’s cheese, but I’m not getting up at 5 to watch it. I was one of the few people who didn’t hate that new George of the Jungle toon, but it’s not worth getting up at 5 AM to see. I wasn’t rushing home to look at Casper’s Scare School when CN was carrying it in the afternoon, and The New Adventures of Lassie just looks very generic, though I admit some of the character designs are nice.
This block faces an uphill battle; in addition to airing at an insanely early time, this block is syndicated when the syndication market is all but dead in this country (most syndicated venues which aren’t news shows, infotainment shows or court shows go to cable and satellite channels), add to that how none of these shows have any real E/I content, which will only serve to make this block a harder sell; of course He-Man has its’ little Aesops tacked on to the ends of each episode and Lassie probably has little nature facts and stuff, so the E/I label could be slapped onto those shows.
This has all the appearances of folks trying desperately to keep the Saturday Morning Cartoon block alive in some, any, way, shape or form. To that I say: I appreciate the effort, but it’s time to face the hard truth:
SatAM was a big part of a lot of peoples’ childhoods; heck, I’ll readily admit it was a HUGE part of mine: I was so into SatAM cartoons as a kid that I would often camp out in front of our TV in the living room in my sleeping bag on Friday nights. But that was before cable, satellite, the internet, video games with online multiplayer options,On-Demand, Blu-Ray or even VCRs. The hard truth is that the Saturday Morning broadcast TV block has been rendered obsolete; some people are only still trying to keep it around because of nostalgia. This block is syndicated, so it’s possible that some local station could air it later in the day or even on Sunday mornings, or maybe, maybe some cable station could pick it up and run it during a more desirable time slot, but today’s kids with their gadgets and doo-dads and wacky critter hats would rather wait until these shows go online and will stream them legally or watch them not-so-legally, if they show any interest in them at all. So while I applaud the attempt by Broadcast Partners to Keep Hope Alive, the statistical likelihood is that the end result of this will be…