This week, it’s been announced that Cartoon Network will be premiereing a new block being called Best of CN on Friday March 30th at 8PM (EST). The block will be a quintet of Cartoon-Cartoon shorts shown in no particular order and apparently with no commercial breaks. The initial schedule (subject to last minute change, of course) is said to go thusly:
Cow & Chicken – “Happy Meat”
The Powerpuff Girls – “Meet the BeatAlls”
Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends – “Sight for Sore Eyes”
Johnny Bravo – “Johnny Bravo Meets Adam West”
Dexter’s Laboratory – “Star Spangled Sidekicks”
Not surprisingly, this news has caused a bit of a stir on the 2 message boards that I frequent. On Toon Zone in particular, 80% of the posters there are treating this news like the Second Coming, saying this is ushering in a new “Golden Age” for Cartoon Network and “Cartoon-Cartoon Fridays are back!!!” It never ceases to amaze me how so many peoples’ ideas of “improving” networks like CN, Nick and Disney simply entail bringing all of their ‘old’ (as in 90’s era) shows back.
Personally, I see this as more of a desperation move on Toon’s part. Everything else they’ve placed on Friday night thus far has gotten trounced, so part of me is cynical enough to think that this has little to do with Toon having an intense desire to bring back the good ol’ days. There’s also the matter of Cartoon Network giving this block zero promotion as of this writing. CN typically only promotes the shows and blocks that they actually care about and are banking on for huge success (ref: Level Up, Hall of Lame).
As such, I don’t see this getting huge ratings, nor do I see it sticking around for very long (though to be fair, the latter depends on what kind of ratings the block gets). But I know a lot of people have been wanting CN to show its’ older shows some love for a while now, so I suggest savoring the moment while it’s here. (I personally hope that this doesn’t start a trend on CN going retro; I may be alone with this opinion, but while a little retro is OK in small doses, I’d rather see these networks plow forward and make solid new shows as opposed to keep jumping into the WABAC machine and pulling out their past shows. You can’t move ahead by constantly looking back, after all. If you look back for too long, your neck starts to hurt.)
What I find even more surprising is the number of people who seem to think (and who knows where they got this idea) that this Best of CN block somehow means that Toonami is coming back. Somewhere folks have gotten this notion that because CN is making an old-school (so 90’s is “old school” now? Thanks for making me feel old) comedy block, that at some point the block’s hosts Zorak and Brak will mutate into TOM and the block will one night become a night of old Toonami shows, and then all crime, poverty and famine will disappear from the world, and then Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mother Nature, Uncle Sam and Joseph Smith will descend from the heavens and give everyone on Earth free money and their own Slurpee machines, and all will be right with the world once more.
Why and how does this ‘Best of CN’ block signify Toonami’s return? Did I miss something here? Do these people not realize that Toonami was a block which relied heavily (though not entirely) on 3rd party acquisitions, many of which Turner no longer has the broadcasting rights to anymore, and therefore a ‘Best of Toonami’ night would be next to impossible as it would have to be without most of the shows that people would be clamoring for like Dragon Ball/Z, Sailor Moon, Outlaw Star, Yu Yu Hakusho, Gundam, etc? Acquisitions cost $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, folks, and CN is not about to shell out the amount of lettuce needed to re-acquire all of these shows for one night on a block which probably won’t even be around 12 months from now. Also, if memory serves, didn’t action cartoons fail to garnish ratings on Friday night? So why would CN risk running Toonami on there? If action was doing well on Friday nights, then why aren’t Thundercats and DC Nation airing there?
I’m going to let you all in on a little secret: CN doesn’t need ‘retro’, nor a block like this in order to resurrect Toonami; if The Powers That Be wanted so, Toonami could be airing on CN now. Not in a year, not next month, but now. It would be a different Toonami than the one we knew, but a block by it’s very nature has to keep rotating shows in order to stay fresh. CN could revive Toonami tomorrow and place TOM bumps around NinjaGo is they chose to. They could conceivably run all of their current action cartoon shows under the Toonami banner; just place the Toonami graphics and TOM bumps around the lineup of Ben 10, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Thundercats, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Young Justice, Pokemon, Bakugan, Bayblade and NinjaGo, and place the sports fillers and DC Nation shorts between the shows, or they could just repackage Adult Swim’s anime on Saturday nights with Toonami wraps and bumpers. CN owns the Toonami name, lock, stock and barrel, so doing so wouldn’t cost Turner a red nickel to do so (though IMNSHO people suddenly clamoring to sit through the same programming just because a robot with the voice of Steven Jay Blum is chatting before and after the commercial breaks is kind of sad in a way). CN could revive Toonami any time they wanted to, they just don’t want to.
I know people get tired of me saying this, but here it is again: If Cartoon Network still wanted Toonami around, then it would still be around. Period.
EDIT: Well, after an obviously planned and prepped April Fool’s Day stunt, it seems that according to co-creator Jason DeMarco that Toonami will be coming back in some way, shape or form on Cartoon Network, possibly on Adult Swim anime on Saturday nights, at least that’s the current rumor. So it seems that this blogger needs to dine on some humble pie.