Saturday, December 4, 2021

Old School Lane's Favorite Episodes of Casual Chats

It's December, the last month of the year! Can't believe that in a few weeks, it'll be 2022. 2021 was definitely an improvement over 2020, but it was still a fairly rough year filled with many ups and downs. But this month is a time for celebration. This month is when my best friend and I started Old School Lane. Even though Kevin had left long ago to focus on his own life endeavors, I kept it going. Now, it'll be about 10 years since we posted our first blog article. It's incredible to think that we've been able to keep it running after all this time, but we did. It's thanks to your amazing support that we've continued going on talking about our favorite movies, TV shows, video games, and everything else in between.

5 years ago, I had posted on what had been my favorite blog interviews, blog articles, podcast episodes, podcast interviews, and videos. I had done so many other videos and podcasts since then that I want to reevaluate my years of content and update some of my lists. When I say some, I meant I would look back on my favorite podcast episodes, podcast interviews, and videos. I had stopped doing blog articles and blog interviews in favor on focusing on doing podcasts and videos, so I will not be redoing my favorites on those. Instead, I will be doing some other lookbacks on my work on Old School Lane that I'll be going over throughout this month. There's even a surprise that I'll be doing to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Old School Lane, but I'll announce it very soon. In the meanwhile, here's a lookback on my favorite episodes of Casual Chats in chronological order.

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 23: The Adventures of Pete & Pete 
Originally released on November 18, 2013 on YouTube.

I don't look back fondly on my early episode of Casual Chats. The audio is terrible, my editing skills were rough, and working on a old hand-me-down computer with a $20 webcam/microphone didn't make it sound as professional as I wanted to. But talking about my favorite Nickelodeon live action show back around 2013 was a very enjoyable listen as Kevin, Alex DeCourville, Jim Bevan, and myself as we reflected on our favorite episodes, characters, the music, and the debate on whether it created the modern day hipster, especially since we released on the show's 20th anniversary. While there are plenty of better podcasts we had recorded and produced, this is the podcast I felt that was the starting point of where the quality of our discussions were getting better after doing podcasts one year after Casual Chats had started. 

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 32: Sonic the Hedgehog
Originally premiered on September 11, 2014 on YouTube.

One of my favorite video game franchises of all time was the Sonic series. When I was a kid, I had gotten a hand-me-down Sega Genesis from my older cousin with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and a few other games. Since then, I own most of the classic Sonic games on Steam mostly thanks to the Sega Genesis Classic Collection and some of the modern games such as Sonic Generations and Sonic Mania. I had talked about this video game franchise more than any other and this is the first of many Sonic podcasts I would do with my friend Tom Carter. We talked about the games from the original Sonic the Hedgehog to Sonic Generations since Sonic: Lost World was the newest game at the time, the different animated series, and the comics. While video game discussions on Casual Chats were never our most popular, I had a blast with Kevin and Tom talking about our favorite blue hedgehog. 

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 40: Avatar: The Last Airbender 
Originally posted on February 22, 2015 on YouTube

Avatar: The Last Airbender is what I would consider to be the last of the classic Nicktoons ranked up there with Doug, Rugrats, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Rocko's Modern Life, Hey Arnold SpongeBob SquarePants, and more before it went through a massive rough patch where it had a mostly dry spell of great Nicktoons that would only be filled with The Legend of Korra, the 2012 incarnation of TMNT, and The Loud House. It's still to this day my all time favorite Nicktoon next to Hey Arnold. This episode of Casual Chats had the most amount of people in a Casual Chats, 10 including myself, talking about our favorite episodes, moments, the lore, the world building, and the terrible live action movie in honor of the show's 10th anniversary. It was a crazy, erratic, and I was so happy to see a new generation of fans gravitating to the show when it was released on Netflix and staying on the #1 spot for two months. Because of this, Mike DiMartino and Bryan Koneitzko, the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender, are now making new Avatar projects starting with a movie combining 2D and CGI inspired by Spider-Man: Enter the Spiderverse. Even over 15 years after its premiere, I had always considered Avatar: The Last Airbender to be a nearly flawless masterpiece with its memorable and fully developed characters, intriguing story, interesting world, unique creature designs, and moments that made you both laugh and cry. It holds up beautifully to this day and would set a new standard of Nicktoons.

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 46: Tiny Toon Adventures
Originally uploaded on September 14, 2015 on YouTube

This is one of my favorite Casual Chats episodes that Kevin and I have done together. Tiny Toon Adventures was the first of the Warner Bros. cartoons produced by Steven Spielberg and would be the start of now classic cartoons from the Amblin lineup such as Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, and Freakazoid. Kevin and I talked about the importance of bringing a breath of fresh air into the Looney Tunes cartoons, the way it was able to bring female characters into the limelight at a time when they were side characters or one-note, the episodes, the music, and the TV movie How I Spent My Summer Vacation. Tiny Toon Adventures was always one of my favorite animated series as a kid and while you may say that Animaniacs had perfected its formula, it isn't without its charm. Now I'm genuinely curious on how they're going to capture that same charm with the upcoming reboot Tiny Toons Looniversity. 

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 62: Metroid
Originally uploaded on August 7, 2016 on YouTube

My favorite video game franchise of all time is the Metroid franchise. While it may not be not as renowned as Mario, Zelda, or Pokémon, Metroid has always intrigued me with its atmosphere, gameplay, bosses, power ups, soundtrack, and story. Jim Bevan, his friend Lily, and myself did the podcast when the franchise was celebrating its 25th anniversary and Nintendo had released the polarizing spin-off game Metroid Prime: Federation Force on the 3DS and Milton "DoctorM64" Gausti had released his critically acclaimed fan remake of Metroid II called Another Metroid II Remake. It's amazing to think that 5 years later, Metroid Dread would be released and would gain a larger audience and would be critically acclaimed receiving Game of the Year Nominations. It's the only game series that I did a Let's Play series on to celebrate the franchise's anniversary because I loved the games that much. Some of my favorite blog articles I had ever written had been about the Metroid franchise. It's great to see more people exploring the world and perspective of Samus Aran.

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 72: The Amblimation Trilogy
Originally uploaded on November 24, 2016 on YouTube

The first of many trilogies we would cover on Casual Chats was the discussion of the three animated films under Steven Spielberg's short lived animation film studio before being the co-founder of DreamWorks Animation. James Sullivan, Taylor Wyatt, and I talked about An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story, and Balto, its history behind the films, and what other projects it would've released had it still been around. Both Don Bluth and Steven Spielberg are huge influences of mine and being a huge fan of their work, I had wanted to talk about these series of films that had since then been overshadowed by the animated films that were released during the Disney Renaissance. Fievel Goes West was released on the same day as Beauty and the Beast which was critically acclaimed by critics and viewers and nominated for Best Picture at a time when animated films had never been revered as such. Balto was released shortly after Toy Story premiered and changed the course of animation forever. It was great talking about a piece of animation history during that Thanksgiving season.

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 78: The Disney Renaissance Films
Originally uploaded on March 5, 2017 on YouTube

This would be the start of a series of Casual Chats episodes that Chris Moore and I did covering the seven Disney eras. At the time, Chris was working on a book looking back on the Disney films that were released from the late 80's to the late 90's and going over the morals and life lessons he had learned from watching them. Out of the all the Disney films that were released, these 10 films are still fondly remembered by animation fans and Disney enthusiasts. It was great revisiting these films and seeing it from a different view that I hadn't before. Because of this, it would be the inspiration of Chris and I going to Disney World together a year later and doing more Disney podcasts together.

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 79: Sailor Moon
Originally uploaded on March 12, 2017 on YouTube

It was the 25th anniversary of the iconic magical girl manga and anime Sailor Moon created by Naoko Takeuchi and J.L. O' Faolin, Curt Clark, and myself talked about the different seasons, the characters, the animation, and the terrible DiC English dub. Out of all the podcasts I've done talking about anime, this is the most viewed one and I can understand why. Sailor Moon is one of the shows that had gotten people into anime, including myself. A lot of people still look back fondly of Sailor Moon, especially the original 90's anime. When I was going to conventions, I would see at least one cosplayer dressing up as one of the Sailor Guardians. I hadn't seen Sailor Moon since the late 90's and when watching them again on the Viz Media website, I had fallen in love with the series all over again. When Sailor Moon Crystal completes its run, you can be sure that we'll be talking about it.

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 81: Azumanga Daioh
Originally uploaded on April 9, 2017 on YouTube.

On the 15th anniversary of the slice of life anime Azumanga Daioh, ZenithWillRule and I talked about our favorite characters, episodes, moments, and jokes. This was a different discussion since Azumanga Daioh is mostly known for its characters and jokes more than its story. I have had a strong connection with this anime since college and would be one of the shows I would make my way to watch every year. It has influenced me in so many ways that I've even drew elements of it on a series of stories I want to publish someday. Azumanga Daioh is one of the quintessential slice of life anime that would go on to influence other shows such as K-On!, Lucky Star, and more. It's a classic that has stood the test of time and I had enjoyed talking about it with Zenith. 

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 89: The Sullivan/Bluth Studios Movies
Originally uploaded on August 6, 2017 on YouTube.

Going back in the realm of Don Bluth is this discussion of the eight films that were released on his animation studio from the early 80s to the mid 90s alongside with James Sullivan and Mat Brunet. It was perfect timing since The Secret of NIMH was celebrating its 35th anniversary. As a kid, I had grown up watching Don Bluth's films and they were just as great as the Disney films at the time. Films such as An American Tail, The Land Before Time, and All Dogs Go to Heaven are childhood favorites of mine and it was great revisiting them for the first time in decades. It wasn't so great visiting his later films, but we had a blast talking about them nevertheless. 

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 91: Recess
Originally uploaded on August 31, 2017 on YouTube

It was the 20th anniversary of the ABC animated series Recess and who better to talk about the series than the people behind the show. I invited creators Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere, writers Bart Jennett and Peter Gaffney, composer Denis Hannigan, and voice actor Courtland Mead to talk about their experiences working on it. It was such a blast getting together the people who were a part of one of my favorite shows growing up and recalling fond memories of how they came up with the episodes, characters, and music. 

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 101: The Fox Animation Studios Trilogy
Originally uploaded on January 9, 2018 on YouTube.

Continuing with the discussion of Don Bluth, I had James Sullivan, Taylor Wyatt, and Nero Angelus talking about The Fox Animation Studios trilogy. After Sullivan/Bluth Studios was shut down, he had started another studio at Fox releasing Anastasia, Bartok the Magnificent, and Titan A.E. I had seen Anastasia and Titan A.E. before, but had never seen Bartok the Magnificent before. Knowing that there were a lot of animated direct to video sequels on Don Bluth films that he had no involvement in, I was curious to see how Bartok would end up. Sadly, it was underwhelming and disappointing. But Titan A.E. was even more of an underwhelming disappointment knowing the behind the scene issues that occur in the making of the film, the deleted scenes that strengthened the story and character development, and the box office failure that resulted in the end of Don Bluth's film career and the shut down of Fox Animation Studios. We had concluded the podcast going over the Dragon's Lair movie animation pitch that only his Indiegogo donators were able to see. Since I was one of them, I had talked about how the origins of Dirk the Daring and Princess Daphne reminded me of The Swan Princess. Who would have thought that Titan A.E. would still be considered his last animated film when it was reported years later that the Dragon's Lair movie would now be live action? I didn't, that's for sure.

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 103: The Pokémon Movies and OVAs
Originally uploaded on February 11, 2018 on YouTube.

I had just recently watched Pokemon: I Choose You in theaters and had decided to watch all of the films and OVAs after not having seeing most of them. The films I did see I hadn't seeing in over 20 years and had revisited them again. With Jim, Eli Stone, and Des Shinta, we talked about our memories watching films based on the anime based on the video games. While some of the films weren't that great, there were others that I was genuinely surprised on how complex and emotional they could be. I haven't seen the newer Pokémon films yet, but when I do, I definitely want to return to this topic. I had a great time talking about these films.

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 115: SNICK
Originally uploaded on September 22, 2018 on YouTube.

This was a podcast episode I had to record a second time when I had lost the original audio. I had invited David and Eli from the Are You Afraid of the Dark? podcast You Scared of This? to talk about the Nickelodeon 2 hour block SNICK that would air certain programs on Saturday nights. We talked about the iconic programs that aired on that block like Clarissa Explains it All to the more obscure programs like Space Cases. We talked about the height of its popularity around the 90s and its eventual downfall around the 2000s when its best shows were cancelled and were replaced by other programs that never caught on. The Nickelodeon podcasts have been my most listened to on Casual Chats and this has been one of my favorites I've done. I'm so glad I re-recorded the audio because it's one that I'm still very proud of. 

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 121: The Land Before Time Franchise
Originally uploaded on December 19, 2018

This is the 3rd time that Don Bluth was a topic on Casual Chats, but this time it was on The Land Before Time, its 13 sequels, and animated series. I brought Eli to this discussion since he was an expert on the subject having seeing all of the films. I had only seeing the first 5 sequels and skipped on the rest. When I had marathon all 14 films, I had noticed that they started to get progressively worse around the 11th, 12th, and 13th sequel with its mediocre songs, softened story, unnecessary character additions, and low budget animation. It was a far cry from the original Land Before Time movie I had loved and cherished. But I still had fun looking back on these films and poking fun at their hilariously bad moments. 

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 133: The Swan Princess Franchise
Originally uploaded on November 29, 2019 on YouTube

It was the 25th anniversary of The Swan Princess and I had brought J.L, Curt, and Christy Esterlie to talk about the franchise. I had watched the film's pink carpet celebration and listened to a podcast where the producer talked about the making of the film and found it to be very fascinating. It was the first animated film by Nest Entertainment (now known as Crest Animation), an animation studio founded by former Disney animator Richard Rich who had left the company to do his own work. While never receiving the same critical accolades of Don Bluth, he's still working on animated films which is what we talked about looking at all 10 Swan Princess films. While the first film was simply okay, the sequels got worse and worse, especially when they switched over to 3D. But the discussions were a blast to get through and a great way to get through the awful films.

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 139: A Goofy Movie and An Extremely Goofy Movie
Originally uploaded on April 8, 2020 on Anchor.

It was both the 25th anniversary of A Goofy Movie and the 20th anniversary of its sequel An Extremely Goofy Movie and Arun Mehta, Jim, Eli, and Tariq talked about both of them. We talked about the surprise lukewarm reception that A Goofy Movie received from critics back in 1995 and its overwhelmingly response from the people who loved the film. It was able to humanize Goofy in a way that was never shown in the 1940s Disney shorts and even in the animated series Goof Troop with the relationship he had with his son Max. With the sequel, it continued the relationship with Max now that he was in college. We went over the juxtaposition between Goofy and Max with Pete and PJ, the music by Powerline, and the serious moments that surprised us when rewatching the films again. 

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 139: The Studio Ghibli Films
Originally uploaded on August 31, 2020 on Anchor.

It was the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli by Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Toshio Suzuki, and Yasuyoshi Tokuma. Zenith Warrior Princess, Filip Kanzurovski, and myself had only seeing the Miyazaki films, but we talked about how he was able to feature fantastic female protagonists, environmental stories, calming music, whimsical settings, quiet atmosphere, and magical elements. From Nausicaa to The Wind Rises, Miyazaki's films have become just as beloved as Disney animated films. We promised that we would return to Studio Ghibli films to watch the films we weren't able to. With Miyazaki announcing his next animation project, that would be the best time to make a follow up podcast.

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 154: Calvin and Hobbes.
Originally uploaded on January 4, 2021 on Anchor.

The first time covering comic strips needed experts on the subject and inviting Andrew Farago and his wife Shaenon Garrity were the perfect guests. We talked about how we were first introduced to the comic strips by Bill Watterson, the hilarious moments featuring Calvin and his toy tiger Hobbes, the profound moments of intellect, and its exaggerated presentation. While the strips ended over 25 years ago, fans are still gravitating to the strip's timeless tales of simple childhood wonder and the parents' frustrated personas on raising a sarcastic and over imaginative boy. 

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 158: The Pokémon Anime
Originally uploaded on February 23, 2021 on Anchor.

In honor of Pokémon's 25th anniversary, I had invited Malik and Devonte McLeod talking about the anime featuring the trainer Satoshi (Ash Ketchum) and his travels from the Kanto region to the Galar region. I had not seen the anime since Pokémon Advanced Battle ended so having two guests who caught up with the anime was great since I was able to learn what had happened since then. I was able to give my insights on the Kanto, Johto, and Hoenn seasons and talk about some of the episodes I had remembered and the moments that made a lot of people laugh and cry. We even covered the music that was produced in both Japan and America and how it was able to impact the show. I had a great time talking about the anime and learning some new information I hadn't known about before.

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 165: The Owl House Season 1
Originally uploaded on June 7, 2021 on Anchor.

At Old School Lane, we have been known for covering older movies, TV shows, video games, etc. So, a new show has to be very special if we were going to be covering it. That's exactly what happened with the 2020 Disney Channel animated series The Owl House. Arun, Paul Thomas, Michael McKinney, Tim Murphy, Rebecca Rose, and I had talked about the show's first season in honor of the second season's premiere. Arun and I had gotten requests from our listeners to cover this show, so we had decided to watch it together on Disney+. We had loved it so much that we decided to cover it as soon as we were done watching it. Since then, we had been doing episode recaps on Arun and Patricia and brought it up in our discussion at our PixMix episode of Monsters at Work. It has become one of our favorite shows and we cannot wait until the second half of Season 2 begins. 

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 173: As Told by Ginger
Originally uploaded on November 1, 2021

I have stated multiple times over the years that I felt that As Told by Ginger was the most underrated Nicktoon ever made. In this episode, I invited Antoni Garcia and Ryan Stevens and Brooke Smith from the Nation of Animation podcast talking about it. We talked about our favorite episodes, characters, moments, and our opinion on why the show was overlooked. Every year for the past 5 years, I had released content about As Told by Ginger and had continued the tradition. It was great that more and more people had been tuning into As Told by Ginger over the years in thanks to the series being more available on streaming sites like Paramount Plus, Amazon Prime, and Pluto TV. It was even more great to read the comments from people saying that they loved the show and really appreciated the podcast talking about it, especially since the As Told by Ginger podcast We're in Between had ended its run years ago. It was great talking about this show again.

That's it for now. Tune in next week as I talk about my favorite podcast interviews. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.




  1. My favorite casual chats are the ones with Mike Reiss, Paul Germain, SaberSpark, Joe Murray, and Thad Komoroski.

    One of my favorite videos is the top 10 Ren and Stimpy episodes, whcih is probably how I discovered your channel.