On September 27th, Saturday morning cartoons aired for the final time. The CW was the last television station to maintain a morning block scheduled for purely animated features, but for the first time in 50 years, children will no longer wake up early on Saturdays with a bowl of cereal in their laps, gazing longingly at the television. Though the death of Saturday morning cartoons make us nostalgic for our own childhoods and shed a few tears for future generations that will never experience the glory of public access cartoons, we can still revisit our mornings of spilling milk on our footie pajamas early on a Saturday morning. Thankfully, the Internet provides us with a direct path down memory lane. So grab your bowl and spoon and settle down for the best of children’s television.
1. Pokémon Indigo League
The complete first and second seasons of Pokémon are easily accessible on Netflix. I know, take some deep breaths and try not to freak out. As a child, I clearly remember trying to fit my dog into a Pokémon ball. Granted, she was a 75 lb. Labrador, so you can see why I struggled. However, Pokémon showed the compassion between all species in the uniting force against Gary Oak. Follow Ash, Brock, and Misty on their various adventures in and out of Pallet Town. It’s impossible to disregard the influence Pokémon had on children’s anime, but it also remains one of the most popular series and franchises in television history.
2. Powerpuff Girls
Sugar, spice, and streaming on Netflix. Ever since Cartoon Network and Netflix paired up, there is a plethora of Cartoon Network classics, including the girl power trio in Powerpuff Girls. Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup are not only superheroes, but they were extremely influential for little girls. Instead of gravitating toward the damsel in distress phenomenon, girls could become the small yet mighty heroes Townsville, USA needs and deserves (take that, Batman). Many girls wanted to be Blossom, but I think most of us relate to Buttercup with her perfect sarcastic angst. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t curl up with my stuffed animals like Bubbles. Each of these courageous ladies represents a part of each girl, from smart and proper, to sensitive and cuddle, and even sarcastic and a bit of a troublemaker.
3. Courage the Cowardly Dog
Yet, again that Netflix and Cartoon Network partnership is a blessing. Though this show terrified me as a child, I watched intently as Courage, the terribly anxious pup, overcame nerve wracking situations in order to save his family, Muriel and Eustace Bagge. From the supernatural to the monstrous, Courage battles against it all just to save a pair of elderly farmers. While this show utilized themes and techniques from horror movies, it was still always kid friendly and Courage was always successful in his endeavors, despite his nervous disposition
4. The Fairly Odd Parents
This one is not on Netflix, but rather Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon posts most episodes from currently streaming series, and The Fairly Odd Parents is still going strong. Despite the awful live action movie (featuring the one and only Drake Bell as Timmy), this series is pretty solid. It combines the mystical fairy godparent with the normalcy of riding the school bus. I’m sure all of us felt like Timmy, with babysitters and teachers who just seemed to have it out for us, but we had to get by without the help of Cosmo and Wanda. That being said, this show was extremely relatable with just the right amount of magic.
5. Looney Tunes
This is the mother of all cartoons: Looney Tunes is perhaps the most influential and popular cartoon series to date, with a variety of characters including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird, Sylvester, Wile E. Coyote, and Road Runner. There was a segment that appealed to every child. In fact, there is a four-hour compilation of the best Looney Tunes moment on YouTube (because what more could you want in life?). Though the animation is simple and clearly outdated, there is a nostalgic feel with Looney Tunes that you don’t get with any other cartoon. If I could watch any cartoon forever, it would be Looney Tunes, hands down, no questions asked.
Of course, there are hundreds of great cartoons that I’m sure are easily found through Google, with the likes of Fred Flintstone, The Jetsons, Scooby Doo, and Tom and Jerry. There is no shortage of cartoons available, but the lack of consistent Saturday morning showings will be dearly missed. However, cartoons will remain an important part of our childhoods and hopefully they’ll come back to the regularly scheduled programming for all to enjoy.