Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Leopaul's Heaven and Hell: Saturday mornings, why would history let it rot...

The CW's Vortexx kids' programming block will be
replaced by One Magnificent Morning block late 2014,
signalling the end of Saturday morning cartoons

As you may heard before, the Vortexx kids programming block on The CW will be replaced by some boring E/I programming block this late September called One Magnificent Morning, signalling the end of traditional Saturday morning kids programming in the US and I find that very sad because this has been a past tradition for the Western children to enjoy some Saturday morning cartoons in the morning when they wake up and eat their cereals.

Why? Why would children's programming on Saturday mornings had to die on US broadcast television? Nobody knows why but because the inevitable is going to happened, it pains me to say this but for them, it's goodbye childhood. Saturday morning cartoons on broadcast television is gone forever! Anyway, no time to exaggerate this sad condolence to this traditional American past time because there are some possible theories why Saturday morning programming is doomed and I think there's a really good reason for that.

During the Cold War years, I think, US television networks ABC, CBS, and NBC starting their own kind of Cold War. Not the big scary ones with the Russians in it, it's the animation cold war.  In the 60's, Saturday morning cartoons are off to an early start with shows like Captain Kangaroo, Mighty Mouse Playhouse, Top Cat, and The Bugs Bunny Show, among many others. In the 70's, when the world plunged into the energy crisis and the age of disco came, the list of Saturday morning cartoons keeps on growing. There were Scooby Doo, Looney Toons, the Jackson Five, Woody Woodpecker, the Harlem Globetrotters, and some of Hanna Barbera's greatest hits. Then in the 80's, a decade of fashion disaster, the list keeps on going with the rise of Hogan's Heroes, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Super Friends, some Marvel superheroes, The Smurfs, there's even some Star Wars spinoffs where the one stars with the Ewoks and the other one with our droid companions R2-D2 and C3PO. In the 90's, when the Cold War well and truly over and NBC pulled out of their morning cartoons (we'll talk about that later), there has been addition of syndicated stuff from networks such as FOX and The WB as well as some Japanese-y stuff from the late 90's aired on North American televisions; mostly famous ones like PokeMon and the Power Rangers franchise. (Sigh...I still remember the first generation ones; the Red Ranger is my favorite because he's the leader). Even in the new millenium, the list of shows kids to watch on a Saturday morning keeps going on and on and on until right now where this traditional American past time has come to an imminent end.

So, the imminent end of Saturday morning cartoons? How did this pastime slowly killing through the years like a cancer? The end game for this genre began when networks NBC and CBS dropping most of their cartoons from the schedule in the late 90's, it's the same decade when FOX joined the Saturday morning warfare with their FOX Kids block. In the early 90's, NBC got rid of their Saturday morning lineup with their local affiliate news all morning long and that was superbly boring if you asked. That was just the beginning because as the new millenium rose and technology has evolved; it's like when this programming block is slowly killing like cancer in our bodies. There is no treatment for cancer and let's face it; like us, things like these won't last a lifetime and that's life...if you know what that means.

Thanks to cable television, the end of analog TV circa June 2009, and the internet, it seems that children of all ages are just shying away from America's network giants. Back then, watching cartoons is for all children regardless of their family's income because you don't need a cable subscription and some fancy gizmos to enjoy watching cartoons on a Saturday night, but now, it seems that watching cartoons is only for the privileged some and in today's climate; only families with digital cable subscription (with internet connectivity as optional for some) will only let kids watch cartoons not from network broadcasts but from either of the kids channels such as Nick, Disney, and Cartoon Network.

Sadly here in the US; kids programming on Nick and CN are limited from the moment kids wake up until 8 in the evening. That's all BS for the little tykes but that schedule is for their own a theory. However, for those who subscribed to their family packages on their cable provider, kids get unprecedented access to some of the kids channels that all goes 24/7 with no boring stuff occurring on late evenings. Expensive but it's worth keeping kids staying up all night long but these parents don't like the way kids are doing now because they still have time for school, time for family bonding, and time for...well, you get the idea.

This is how it imagine when you were in some sort of a mission from the KND when some evil tyrant want to get rid of Saturday morning cartoon from television but come on. The evil tyrants won, this mission from the KND is a failure, this is not KND, THIS IS REALITY just LET IT GO. He he he...Get it? That Frozen song! ♫Let it go....Let it gooooo....♫ Ahem...this isn't time for jokes. This is serious and OH MY GLOB! THINGS GOT CRAZY SO FAST!!!

Yes, things has gone crazy so fast and everything we loved and cared for in the past has change. Everything changes and change is inevitable. The traditional Saturday morning cartoons on broadcast TV is gone and because of cable networks, syndication, and streaming, the American childhood memories are well and officially ruined and in a Mabel-as-Dipper kind of way...Goodbye Childhood.

What started is an age when kids spent their Saturday mornings eating their cereal from their bowls and then rushed to the sofa and turned on their TVs to see their cartoon heroes; especially G.I. Joe, Transformers, Thundercats, and He-Man, into action but now, it's been sadly consigned to the history books thanks to the advent of the digital revolution much as when VHS and cassettes are sadly defunct.

So farewell to you, Saturday morning TV. Just fit for the television graveyard. You made the American children proud since your advent in the days of the Cold War.

Further reading:

1) Exclusive: Traditional Saturday Morning Programming Ends This Fall as Saban Brands Pulls the Plug on the Vortexx


3) The Disappearance of Saturday Morning

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