Tag Archives: ABC

Battle for the Saturday Morning Cartoon Supreme Leader Channel

Saturday morning cartoons had been a staple for many people’s childhood.  Their prominence from the 60s up until last year is something that many people growing up in America remember.  And it’s easy to see why!  It’s Saturday morning, you are one of the few people up in your household, there’s no school going on and your favorite cartoons are on.  Just sit in front of the boob tube and boom, watch some awesome cartoons.

While doing research for this article (i.e., looking through Wikipedia), I read that Saturday morning cartoons began to decline in the 1990s and 2000s and finally ended in 2014.  Could have fooled me!  The cartoons I watched in the late 90s and early 2000s were great.  True, this wasn’t the era of the late 80s and early 90s where you had classics like He-Man, Tiny Toons, Transformers, and so forth, but we had our fair share of cartoons that we can be proud to say we watched.

And these great Saturday morning cartoons were not limited to just one channel.  They were spread out through the local channels and reaching those who did not have cable.  Now, cable channels are credited for the disappearance of Saturday morning cartoons but the ironic part is that I never really watched cartoons on either Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network.  Nickelodeon had cartoons on weekday nights while Cartoon Network went all in on Friday nights.  They were relatively tame on Saturday mornings.

As such, I turned to channels that I would otherwise not visit.  ABC, The WB, and Fox.  These three channels battled to be the Saturday Morning Cartoon Supreme Leader Channel.  They had a unique line up of cartoons that were enjoyable to watch.  Whether it be old reruns or new cartoons, they had the ammo to satisfy your cartoony desires.

But who was the best one??  Who was the Saturday Morning Cartoon Supreme Leader Channel????  Let’s take a look!

Now before I go on, I have to say that I’m only looking at cartoons that I watched during that period.  As such, this list is going to be very subjective.  You have been warned…

First up, let’s go ABC with their One Saturday Morning Block!  Ah yes, this block had the best opening (see below video).  That intro just made you get SO PUMPED UP.  I’M SUPER EXCITED.  I loved the hell out of that song and its animation.  One day, I got the bright idea to record the Saturday morning block and save it for a day when my parents wouldn’t intervene.  Sure enough, they invited some friends over one night for bridge and that’s when I whipped it out and played it.  Anyway, I would crank up the volume and listen to that song again and again and again (which probably irked my parents but whatever).  Hell, you still can’t help but jam to the music.  Even the snapshot above brings back nostalgia for me with its colorfully bouncy imagery.

So what do we have for our line up?  Well, the cartoons that I watched were Pepper Ann, Recess, and Disney’s Doug.  Other cartoons on the same channel that I watch if nothing else was on were Teacher’s Pet, Buzz Lightyear, and the Weekenders.  Okay, so want to hear something ironic?  I believe I read this on the Wikipedia page but many of the cartoons I just listed mainly take place in a school environment.  This is funny because the intro song (the one I just talked about) boasted how One Saturday Morning was “five hours of summer” and this is pretty funny considering we’re watching cartoons that take place in school…

Irony beside the point, Pepper Ann, Recess, and Disney’s Doug were considered pretty good in my book.  Even though these cartoons took place at school, the characters, humor, and animation made them unique enough that you didn’t really notice it.  Plus, they still had fun adventures (especially, ESPECIALLY Recess) even if they were at school.  They also kind of took on heavy issues, especially for Disney programs, ever noticed that??  Disney’s Doug had an episode of anorexia once and Pepper Ann had one on training bras.  I don’t recall Recess having a heavy episode though it did have those typical children moral tropes that you see.  Anyway, if you didn’t notice by now, Recess was my favorite so I’m calling that one as the best cartoon on ABC.

Next we have Fox which had Fox Kids.  Okay, so truth be told, Fox Kids was kind of weak in cartoons early on and didn’t really have anything good until we got to the tail end of the 90s.  Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was the only major thing it had going for a while…

…then came Fall 1999.

With it came two cartoons that I watched which were Monster Rancher but more importantly Digimon.  Digimon was what roped me into Fox Kids.  I didn’t discover Digimon, and by proxy Fox Kids, until Christmas 1999 when I was waiting for my family to unwrap presents.  As I waited patiently in the basement, I turned on the TV and discovered Digimon.  The episode that was on was the one where the kids were fighting Andromon.  That episode had me hooked and I watched every episode I could find from there on.

Power Rangers: Time Force later joined Fox Kids and it remains one of the few Power Rangers (much less live action) shows I watched.  I don’t know why I watched that one but I guess this show evolved from a “I guess I’ll watch it” to a “hey this isn’t too bad.”  Monster Rancher was nice but God help me if you ask me what it was about cause I don’t remember a damn thing (something with a boy and a wolf, a stone golem, and Mike from Monsters Inc??).  Rusty and Big Guy was also an interesting cartoon if I remember correctly, I should check it out again to see if it still holds up.  Beast Wars was also good but, surprisingly, I didn’t watch much of that show.  A lot of shows, in general, didn’t last very long, sometimes just a season, if that, mainly because they were just not that good or interesting.  Remember Angela Anaconda?  That was a weird show…

Fox Kids was pretty nice and you have to love those promo commercials.  Those commercials were so cheesily edited that you just have to adore it.  You also have to give a nod to those commercial break jokes/facts.  One fact started with “what food would never spoil?” after a few commercials the break would end and it answered “sugar never spoils unless you have water on it.”  And of course after I heard that I put water in my family’s sugar container to see what would happen…my parents weren’t probably thrilled with that…

Ending this trio channel battle we have The WB via Kids WB.  When you think of your typical Saturday morning cartoon lineup, Kids WB probably matches it the best.  You have superhero cartoons, Looney Toons-esque cartoons, celebrity cartoons, and anime.  These programs were also not subpar and had a nice level of quality to them (well…at least most of them did…).

Okay, so you have Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain going off of the Looney Toons-styled cartoons.  You also have the New Adventures of Batman and Superman which was later followed by X-Men: Evolution, Static Shock, Batman Beyond, and the Xeta Project.  Of course, you also had Pokemon and Yugioh (which the latter came on as my interest in Saturday morning cartoons began to wane).  Perhaps the oddball of the bunch was Jackie Chan Adventures whose basis sounds so…weird…that you would think it was destined to fail but it defied our expectations and was actually good!

The Batman and Superman cartoons were so awesome.  I was actually more of a Superman fan when I was a kid so I liked watching his show more than Batman’s.  I remember Kids WB had a contest where you had to write in a letter saying which superhero “kicked more booty” and I recalled that my brother and I said Superman while my sister said Batman (fyi, I now think it’s Batman).  The string of superhero cartoons that followed were good but I liked the Batman and Superman cartoons better.

Pokemon was a definite show to watch but since Pokemon was shown on morning and afternoon weekdays, the pull for it wasn’t as strong as it could have been.  However, they would premiere special episodes (e.g., Indigo League Championship) only on Saturdays and that was a very good reason to watch them.  Yugioh’s more mature (I guess that’s the right word for it) anime appealed to my preteen persona so I would stick around to watch that show before I finally stopped watching cartoons.

I already wrote an article on Jackie Chan Adventures but I should at least give it a mention.  This show should have, by all rights, failed and I’m glad it didn’t.  The premise of the show sounds almost like a direct parody of other celebrity cartoons similar to Mike Tyson Mysteries.  But the show was great as it established a mystical world setting, humorous characters, and Jackie Chan-styled fights.  After the Batman and Superman show ended, I would go to Kids WB mainly for this show.  That’s how appealing it was.

Alright, so, in the end, which channel can claim to be the Saturday Morning Cartoon Supreme Leader Channel???  After carefully reviewing the three channels I’m giving it to Kids WB!  Unlike FoxKids, which mainly had Digimon, and One Saturday Morning, which had a rather narrow focus of show settings, Kids WB had a diverse selection of shows that appealed to a wide range of audiences.  These shows were great and the channel offered a variety of characters, settings, and animation styles that really made it hard to best.  And, let’s be honest here, Kids WB arsenal was Batman, Superman, Animaniacs, and Pokémon.  That’s entertainment gold.

So, what do you guys think?  I know I didn’t hit all of the cartoons for each block but there’s just way too many to list!  Which channel did you watch the most of while growing up and what were your favorite Saturday Morning cartoons?  I would love to hear your opinions!

Initial Reaction to ABC Battlebots (2015) Episode 1

Holy Crap.

Battlebots has returned this year on ABC and it’s as ridiculous and amazing as it was more than ten years ago on Comedy Central.  To begin with, I want to say I felt like my ten year old self again while watching this first episode.  The hype, the out-of-place suave commentators, the flashy stage, and the killer robots threw me back to my parents’ couch years ago.  It was fun, stupid, and most importantly, robots fought each other for the glorious nut!

First, few things I was disappointed about before I gushed about everything else.

-No original theme?  That makes me sad.  The original Battlebots referee Mark Beiro was also not there but considering his long and great career, I’m totally fine with that.

-They didn’t say “The box is locked, the lights are on, it’s robot fighting time!”  Come on!  That was basically their slogan!

-As mentioned before the main three commentators seem out of place but given the nature of Battlebots history, that’s typical.  At least they’re not as annoying as the original ones!

Okay!  Onto the good stuff!

This season of Battlebots (season 6) has made some good choices in order to both highlight the builders and televise the battles.  Instead of a huge assortment of robots we get just 24 robots in one weight class.  This cuts down the shallow coverage of the robots and gives us a more in-depth look into each of them.  This is great!  We learn why we should care for each of the robots, it makes us root for them more, and it gives us the opportunity to connect to them and remember them better.

Some people complain about the coverage on the builders but that’s typical Battlebots!  They love to focus on the builders!  It humanizes them!  It gets the audience to know them better and why we should root for them!  It also shows how anyone can build robots and compete in the tournament!  It’s pretty funny too when you get this juxtaposition of these cool, suave announcers interviewing the dorky and sometimes rigid builders.

At first I thought when they were focusing on the builders they were only showing the winners of each battle.  Thankfully, I was wrong with that as evidence by the Warhead vs. Biteforce battle.  Good!  I don’t want things to become predictive!

Okay, now onto the battles!

First off, Razorback vs. Icewave.  Nice, good battle to start on!  Razorback is interesting; I never have seen a Battlebot design like that before.  What were they trying to accomplish there?  Anyway, Icewave was definitely the highlight for this battle.  I liked the builder, Marc DeVidts, he reminds me of me a little.  He saw Battlebots around my age and wanted to build his own Battlebot because of which.  That’s awesome.  Icewave actually reminded me of the former Middleweight Champion, Hazard thanks to its spinning blade.  Icewave was just tearing apart Razorback and it was greeeeeat.  I look forward to Icewave’s next battle!

Next, Wrecks vs. Plan X.  Anyone recall the Middleweight T-Wrecks here?  Hm, maybe me.  Regardless, Wrecks is nothing like T-Wrecks.  God, this robot is so funky!  I freaking love this guy!  Team Captain Micah “Chewy” Leibowitz explained that he came up with this robot after waking up from a dream and I can tell!  Then there’s Plan X which is also freaky thanks to its glowing brain.  Former Battlebot competitor Lisa Winter built this robot and I was pleased to see her return.  Female representation in a male dominated sport is always a plus especially when the builder is young and confident in herself.

This battle was probably the most entertaining out of the four thanks to these two weird, weird, robots.  It looked like Plan X was going to win it at first then Wrecks started shuffling back like a determined terrier ready to take down a german shepherd!  I was laughing my ass off during the entire fight.  Part of me was hoping Wrecks would win this one due to its comeback in the last ten seconds and the huge damage it was inflicting on Plan X.  Definitely a favorite.  I was disappointed by Plan X’s spinning weapon but hopefully it will do more damage in the next round.

Next we get the upset battle Warhead vs. Biteforce.  Ah, Warhead, one of the few veteran robots that unfortunately couldn’t seal a win against his opponent.  And to be fair, it was a bad matchup.  Biteforce had a strong drive and a highly defensive ram.  That drum spinner barely dent Biteforce and the arms and tail were useless.  Biteforce had this battle right from the get-go by pushing Warhead all over the place and into two different pulverizers (which made me laughed hard)!  Biteforce reminded me of Complete Control thanks to its unique design and ability to handle dangerous opponents.  Good work Biteforce!

Finally, we get the amazing battle between Nightmare and Warrior Clan.  Man, ABC missed their chance to talk about how Team Nightmare and Team Whyachi had fought each other before in Season 3 for Nightmare vs. Son of Whyachi where Son of Whyachi won hands down.  They should have mentioned that!  Anyway, great battle even though my favorite, Nightmare, got flipped over (again, another bad matchup for a veteran robot).  To be fair though, whether done intentionally or not, the new Nightmare design kind of helped Nightmare in its dire situation.  I’m sure Jim Smentowski was trying his damndest to flip his terrorizing robot over.  Regardless, DID YOU SEE WHAT NIGHTMARE DID TO THAT BITTY FLAME BOT!  That was hilarious.

We still have more qualifying rounds to go through so I’ll withhold my judgement of flame and multi-bots until then but so far they seem to be working out well.

As for wildcard…there are 24 robots and 12 battles which means 12 losers.  Only four of the twelve losers will be picked to fight in the second round (if I’m interpreting the rules correctly).  The show briefly mentioned that the judges will pick the four robots that did the best in their respective matches (which is a great idea).  If I were to pick a robot or two from this episode it would be Wrecks or Nightmare.  Both did a great job fighting their opponent and I can’t decide who deserves it more.  I guess I lean towards Wrecks cause I want to see more of him!  He’s so funky and hilarious (but also he lasted the full three minutes as well)!

My Pick to Win the Nut: I think Icewave might have the best chance.  Battlebots has had a history of vertical rotator robots (e.g., Hazard and Son of Whyachi) winning the Nut.  Icewave’s blade was just wailing on Razorback showing that he is both a good defensive and offensive robot.  However, Icewave was smoking by the end of his match which isn’t good and he’ll have to worry about flipping robots like Warrior Clan (who might even be too low for the swinging blade).

Overall, the episode was great and I look forward to seeing more episodes of Battlebots!  Woo!

Greatest Moments in Battlebots History: Son of Whyachi vs. Biohazard

We love a good underdog story and honestly, who doesn’t??  There was a plethora of 90’s sports and kid films that just milked this trope repeatedly.  I think by far though the best film that pulled off the underdog story is Rocky.  Can I get a hell yeah on that one folks?

Anyways, what’s better than an underdog in film is one in real life which brings us to today’s article, Battlebots.  Now, I already talked about Battlebots last year where I critically analyzed how well it held up (hint: not very) but with the recent revival of the series (yay!) I want to go back to the show and talk about one of the greatest moments in Battlebots History, Son of Whyachi vs. Biohazard.

Okay, let me set the scene, it’s season 3 of Battlebots and the show is reaching its peak in popularity.  By now, many of the series’ fan favorites have already made their appearance (such as Nightmare and Hazard) or will make their rookie appearance (Mechavore) this season (the season was already starting off great when Nightmare destroyed Slamjob in the first episode in a spectacular fashion(see above video!)).

As such, the stage was set for veterans and newcomers to fight each other to determine top bot.

image from Battlebots Wiki

One of these top bots was one of the most winningest battlebot of all time, Biohazard, a several time winner of the Heavyweight division in Battlebots.  Biohazard has taken down foes again and again no matter how formidable they were.  Biohazard was definitely one of the best defensive robots of all time.  It was incredibly low to the ground and it had steel flaps that protected itself from getting flipped (and it minimized damaged significantly from blades).  But the most important feature of Biohazard was its god damn lifting arm which he used incredibly well to flip over high-centered gravity opponents and push them against the hazards.  Biohazard’s ability to tank hits, be aggressive, and easily disable opponents won him many battles.

Image from Battlebots wiki

A rookie to season 3 is the now glorified, Son of Whyachi.  Whyachi unusual makeup helped him win many rounds.  He had a spinning helicopter-blade like weapon that was supported by strong cables at the end and topped off with hard spikes to jam into the opponents.  Whyachi was also a walking robot and as such, got a weight bonus that was allowed towards him meaning he could be much heavier (walking robots, in general, have not worked very well and have won few battles which was why they got a bonus).

Both of these robots faced each other in the finals and the best part is that they almost seemed like they were destined for each other for the fights they went through.  Biohazard took down Little Sister and the more famous Overkill and Tazbot while Son of Whyachi knocked down Nightmare (in a glorious fashion mind you, see above video), chipped away at Mechavore and tore apart Hexadecimator.  All of these robots the two fought, mind you, have won their share of battles and would win more in the following seasons.  But more importantly, these were robots that everyone knew and recognized.  Overkill, Nightmare, Hexadecimator, Tazbot, Mechavore, these were celebrities in the heavyweight division!  Taking these guys down earned you much street cred!

And oh man!  The HYPE surrounding these beasts were incredible.  I was rooting for Son of Whyachi so hard, I always liked Nightmare but not even he could take down Biohazard as evidence in their fight in the previous season.  You know what, I’m going to shut up and show you the fight.  It’s awesome.

This is like eeeevvverrryyything a Battlebot battle should be like.  A long battle where the bots continue to go at each other despite their limping, broken status.  These bots were not giving up and would keep going if their battery connections allow them to.  It’s too bad this is not the status quo because some final round battles are either dull or one sided but this is definitely not one of them.  It’s really similar to Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa just pounding the shit out of each other in Rocky I and not letting up until the final round.

The result of the battle was monumental in the Battlebot community.  Biohazard’s almost untarnished record was smashed along with his sleek, unbent and unbroken body.  Son of Whyachi proved a wholly offensive robot could take down the defensive based Biohazard and that walkers were not all useless.  Unfortunately, newcomer Son of Whyachi, although he won the Nut, was never able to reclaim his glory because he was that good.  I’m serious, it used to be that you could have a 50% weight bonus if you were a walker.  Son of Whyachi dropped that down to 20% the following season.  As such, Whyachi had to adjust to his new environment in the Super Heavyweight environment where it miserably failed to go the distance having suffered a bad design plan in Season 4 (it was saaaaaaad) and only going to the sweet sixteen in Season 5

The build up, the battle, and the fallout afterwards made the Whyachi/Biohazard bout one of the greatest in Battlebots history.  There are few battles I can recall that were this epic and not one-sided.  I sincerely hope that with the upcoming new Battlebots show on ABC, we’ll see more battles like this with intensity and power.  Fingers crossed!