Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Old School Lane's Top 10 Nickelodeon Shows That Deserve More Love and Less Hate

We've talked a lot about Nickelodeon shows, both good and bad. There are some shows that deserve a ton of hate due to being very mediocre, mean spirited, boring, lazy, or just plain bad. However, there are a lot of TV shows that has been getting just as much hatred that doesn't deserve it. Now I know that people are entitled to their opinion and each person has different tastes in things so the shows on my list may or may not convince you to give it a second chance. Nonetheless, here's my list of the top 10 Nickelodeon shows that don't deserve the kind of bashing that it gets.

10. Nick News with Linda Ellerbee

Kevin and I already talked about Nick News with Linda Ellerbee in our top 10 underrated Nickelodeon shows. We understand why this show gets a ton of hate. It's mostly because it's about the news covering serious topics such as AIDS, slavery, autism, the war, and the president election. When you're a kid, you don't want to see that kind of stuff, you want to see cartoons. So what did you do? You switched it over to Cartoon Network and watched something else. Kids did this in 1992 and kids are still doing it today. Did you watch last night's episode of Nick News when they discussed about women's appreciation month or did you watch Adventure Time? Exactly. For many kids, this was the show that "ruined" their Sunday nights when they wanted to watch something fun before going to school the next day and it has remained in many people's minds as one of the worst shows in their childhoods.

Quite frankly, please stop hating on this show. This is the longest running program in Nickelodeon, next to SpongeBob SquarePants, and there's a big reason why it's still on the air 20 years later. Whether they know it or not, kids need something like Nick News to connect with everyday problems that something like CNN won't cover. Nick News treats kids seriously. It doesn't talk down to them and it treats with the respect that they deserve. They could've gone in a completely different direction by talking down to them and have celebrities or kids talk about news regarding about movies or TV show, but they didn't and I have to applaud them for that. Nick News may not be one of my favorite Nickelodeon shows or anyone else's, but you cannot deny how important it is.

9. Doug

Once upon a time, Doug was revered by many people who grew up with Nickelodeon in the 90's as a classic. Nowadays it's been seeing as a boring, uninspired, bland cartoon with cliched characters. While I do agree that out of the 3 original Nicktoons Doug is the most poorly aged, I have to commend on what it did for cartoons. The 3 original Nicktoons did a lot for TV history, especially The Ren & Stimpy Show, but no one brings up on what kind of impact that Doug did. It was one of the first animated shows that featured a regular kid going through middle school life with a group of friends. Doug was inspired by the real life of creator Jim Jinkens and almost every single character was based on people that he knew growing up. The town of Bluffington was based on his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Doug was inspired by himself when he was a kid.

Most cartoons in the 80's were either based on toys, movies, comic books, or reboots of cartoons from the 60's. Rarely was there ever a show that was about a regular kid living his everyday life with friends that most likely we've all had at one point. Doug was the kind of show that was directed for kids and teens and it mirrored almost anything that we may have gone through at the time. When teenagers who never grew up with Doug and mostly know about it from the Nostalgia Critic's review of it bash on Doug by not being a huge impact on 90's Nickelodeon culture like Rugrats or The Ren & Stimpy Show was. To tell you the truth, Doug did do an impact, but it was just more subtle. We would later on have shows such as The Proud Family, Hey Arnold!, Pepper Ann, Gravity Falls, etc. that deal with the everyday life of kids, but done much more superior than Doug. Yes, Doug may seem boring and bland now, but it help started a lot of cartoons as well. It doesn't deserve to be hated on.

8. The Amanda Show

I've heard a lot of people saying that The Amanda Show was nothing more than an All That ripoff due to the skits and different characters that Amanda Bynes portrayed as. While it was an All That spinoff, ripoff it is not. All That was inspired by You Can't Do That on Television and Saturday Night Live and at the time, there were a lot of sketch comedy shows on TV. The Amanda Show was more like The Carol Burnett Show than anything. It had Amanda Bynes portraying as mutiple characters and different skits about those said characters similar to what Carol Burnett did. Amanda Bynes herself was a huge fan of Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball, two comediannes who were infamous for portraying as multiple personalities. During 1999, critics called Amanda Bynes the next Lucille Ball. Nowadays, she's now known as Nickelodeon's Lindsay Lohan. Many people who criticized The Amanda Show say that it's too weird and that is was not All That. News flash: it wasn't supposed to be All That. It was an entirely different kind of show and never got the praise it deserved. It was cancelled too early for its own right and still to this day, it was never given the same love and attention that All That had gotten. Now is the time to do so.

7. Catscratch

When this show came out in 2005, I didn't find a lot of people who liked it. In fact, they didn't know what to think of it. It came out 3 months after Avatar: The Last Airbender and everyone was watching that while leaving Catscratch in the dust. They said it was too weird, stupid, strange, and random. But what most people seem to forget about was that it was created by Doug Tennapel, the guy who created Earthworm Jim. So, people praise Earthworm Jim for its strangeness and random humor and people hate on Catscratch? I don't get it. But then again, most people did not know that it was based on Tennapel's graphic novel named Gear. Gear featured 4 cats going through a huge adventure that was filled with adult humor, a more serious tone, and random scenarios. When I read the novel and saw Catscratch, I was a bit disappointed that they had to cut a lot from the original source material, But what we got wasn't bad. It was funny, it was random, it was quirky, and it was strange, just like Tennapel's material. People never gave it a chance when it first came out and still to this day, it's not praised compared to the other Nicktoons that came out in the 2000's. I think that you deserve to revisit Catscratch again. You might be surprised on what you missed out.

6. SpongeBob SquarePants

Yeah, yeah. I already hear the complaints as you're reading this. "SpongeBob is way past its prime". SpongeBob is very annoying!" SpongeBob sucks nowadays!" Yes, you're right. SpongeBob SquarePants has been on the air for almost 14 years and it has gone in a completely different direction ever since Stephen Hillenberg gave the forerunner position to Paul Tibbit after The SpongeBob SquarePants movie and many of the writers left to do other shows. But you have to consider that before SpongeBob ran its course years ago, it was an influential cartoon that was appealing for both kids and adults. Many of the people who working on Rocko's Modern Life went on to do SpongeBob SquarePants and brought that same lighthearted fun and subtle adult humor for a new generation of kids. The characters were all funny, genuine, and memorable, the jokes were spot on, and the episodes were brilliantly written. Many claim that SpongeBob SquarePants was the last great Nicktoon before it went downhill. While that is debatable, we can all agree that SpongeBob was both Nickelodeon's blessing and the beginning of its downfall. Many of the shows that would continue on lacked the edge, creativity, and innovation of SpongeBob and would continue to play way too safe on their shows. For a time, it seemed to have been that way and a lot of cartoons went on a dark age of mediocrity. But things are starting to look up with shows such as Adventure Time, Regular Show, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Phineas and Ferb, and more.

I think that the reason why people are hating on SpongeBob besides the gradual change of direction is the fact that we're officially burned out on it. We've seen nothing but marathons of SpongeBob for years and nothing but that. But then when we tune in to Nickelodeon, the majority of the shows are generic and mediocre so we have no other choice but to watch SpongeBob or switch to another channel. However, people still care for SpongeBob. Last month they interrupted SpongeBob for a sketch comedy show called Nick Studio 10 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Besides the show being unfunny, people hated it because it interrupted SpongeBob, which means that people still care for it despite them saying that they hated it. I bet that if there was another show such as iCarly or Victorious that was being interrupted, it wouldn't get as much hate compared to interrupting SpongeBob. I do agree that the show needs to end and I hopefully want it to end after they premiere The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 2, but we know that deep down inside, we still have a love for it.

5. ChalkZone

As you recall from my ChalkZone review and my top 10 underrated Nickelodeon shows, there's a huge hate for ChalkZone. People have regarded it as "uncreative", "unfunny", "annoying", and "forgettable". The thing about ChalkZone that I love is the amount of creativity that it has, the memorable characters, and the great songs that it had. I've already talked about it numerous times, so I don't have anything new to add. All I have to say is give it another go and look at it with different, open minded eyes.

4. The Legend of Korra

From the moment Michael Dante DiMartino and Brian Konietzko announced about a new spinoff of Avatar: The Last Airbender, people already began to hate it. Seeing a spinoff show based on a show they loved without their favorite characters already set itself as a target. Then when the show came out, it had received mixed reactions, especially the last episode of Book Air. They complained that everything went way too fast, the characters weren't interesting, and the show tarnished Avatar: The Last Airbender. What did you want? A rehash of Avatar: The Last Airbender? If you would've gotten that, then you would've hated on how it was show was a repeat of the first show. Seriously, I think that some people aren't satisfied with anything anymore. The first season of Legend of Korra isn't even finished yet. I like it how the show went on a different direction and it takes place after Avatar: The Last Airbender. I love the setting, I love the music, I love the direction it's going, and I also like that the creators are willing to go on a different route. The war is already over, there's a new threat that lingers in the show, and the characters are going through different things than the previous characters. It keeps everything that we know, but has a bunch of fresh, new ideas.

Yes, Bolin and Mako aren't as developed and interesting compared to other characters from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Yes, Korra is already a realized Avatar a little too soon for our liking. Yes, they should have kept Tarlok and Amon for another season and their deaths were anticlimactic. Yes, Tenzin's children aren't that great of comic reliefs compared to Sokka. But the show only  had half a season and there going on a different direction of story telling, but I like that. I like that they're pushing outside the box of what we're accustomed to and pretty soon, it'll gain more appreciation and will be just as loved as Avatar: The Last Airbender. We still have the Promise trilogy and The Search trilogy that continues the story of Avatar: The Last Airbender so there you go. If there's anything that ruined Avatar: The Last Airbender, it's the movie. We'll talk about that another time.

3. As Told by Ginger

Ah yes, my most favorite underrated Nicktoon of all time. Not much to say about what I've already said about it, but I have to defend it. Many people claim it to be too much of a cliched teen show filled with uninteresting characters and boring episodes. As Told by Ginger was hugely influential in Nicktoons that most people don't seem to realize. It was the first Nicktoon that had story arcs, character development, and different clothes. As each season went on, we saw our characters grow and change into more mature teenagers. Everything that happened affected our characters both for the better and worse, just like regular people. Just like with Doug, As Told by Ginger was a show that showed real people dealing with real problems. Before Avatar: The Last Airbender came out with its memorable characters and great storyline, there was this. It was way ahead of its time and still stands today as one of Nickelodeon's best. It had a beginning, middle, and end. Most Nicktoons never had that kind of format and that's what makes As Told by Ginger a true standout.

2. 80's Nickelodeon Shows

The shows that featured in Nickelodeon before Doug, Rugrats, The Ren & Stimpy Show, etc. were shows that most people never heard of. Shows such as Pinwheel, America Goes Bananaz, Livewire, Danger Mouse, The Third Eye, etc. were the pinnacle of Nickelodeon and were just as beloved as the other shows from the 90's. Many people felt that since the majority of the Nickelodeon shows were either syndicated or acquired from other channels or countries, Nickelodeon didn't really begin until the late 80's. Even the Nickelodeon executives called the early years of Nickelodeon their "vegetable state". Sure, many of these shows are very outdated for the wrong reasons, you cannot deny that without these shows, the network wouldn't even exist. Without You Can't Do That on Television, there wouldn't be All That, The Amanda Show, Drake and Josh, Zoey 101, iCarly, or Victorious. Without Pinwheel, there would be no Nick Jr. Without Double Dare, there would be no other Nickelodeon game shows. The earlier shows of Nickelodeon had a huge impact on pop culture history and need more love and attention.

1. All That (The Relaunch Era)

Whenever anyone talks about All That, they always look fondly on the original. The skits such as Good Burger, Vital Information, Randy and Mandy, The Loud Librarian, and more were regarded as classics. When the show was relaunched after its 2 year hiatus in 2002, many people hated it saying that it was nothing like the original. The cast was different, the skits were different, and the format was different. Well, guess what? It needed this change desperately. The first 3 seasons of All That were looked upon as the best seasons of the show. When seasons 4-6 were going, it was relying on some of the same cast members, same skits, and same jokes mixed in with new people that weren't as funny as the original cast members. Plus the original cast members looked awkward with the newer cast members since they were getting too old. As time went on, the popularity of All That declined and the show was cancelled.

When the show came back, it started back from scratch with a new cast and new skits. It was so refreshing to see new talent and new skits such as Sugar and Coffee, Bridget's Slumber Parties, Randy Quench: Volunteer Fireman, and more in the mix. We got to know really talented cast members such as Lisa Foiles, Jack DeSena, Kyle Sullivan, Chelsea Brummett, and more. It was the change that the show needed and it introduced a new generation to All That. Sure, it took a bit of a nosedive with the over saturation of celebrities and reusing the old skits in the later seasons, but I feel that it's just as good as the original and it should be acknowledge for that. If they didn't do this change, then the show wouldn't have been a huge impact for Nickelodeon as it is now. Give the relaunch era of All That the love and credit it deserves.

Those are my top 10 Nickelodeon shows that deserves more love and attention. What shows from Nickelodeon do you feel needs more recognition and less hatred? Post it in the comments below. That's all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


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