What Cartoons From Today Will Be Written About in 25 Years? – Animation Scoop

What Cartoons From Today Will Be Written About in 25 Years?

Entertainment Weekly has published an article reminiscing about the three original Nicktoons that turn 25 this year. It’s a memorable birthday for a trio of revolutionary cartoons, yet it’s an excuse to wonder what cartoons from today (if any) will be given the same treatment in 2041.

The period of 1989 to 1991 witnessed radical upheaval in the animation world. The Simpsons single handedly resurrected primetime animation from beyond the grave, Disney found it’s spark again with The Little Mermaid, and a trio of creator-driven Nicktoons gave children’s TV a monumental kick in the backside.

The trio of original shows and those that came are never far from discussion when it comes to animated cartoons on western screens. To say they changed the face of children’s TV would be an understatement: the helped shake up adult-oriented TV too.

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High quality animation, artistic exploration, and a devotion to comedy are the traits that keep Doug, Ren & Stimpy, and Rugrats in people’s mind long after their contemporary live-action shows have faded into memory.

So given that they are indeed worthy of being written about so long after their original broadcast, what cartoons from 2016 are we likely to be talking and writing about in 2041?

It’s a bit of a tricky one to answer, isn’t it?

Cartoons are much more numerous today than in 1991, and because of the headways that the original Nicktoons made, they’re all of much higher quality too.

Do any stand out in the same way though? There are a lot of good cartoons, sure, but are they that much better than Ren & Stimpy was over Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure? Bojack Horseman is earning praise for its realistic depictions, yet is it an overall better show than Adventure Time? Does a list like this seem like the defining a group of revolutionary cartoons or merely a list popular ones?

The original Nicktoons fired existing expectations of what a cartoon could and couldn’t be out of a cannon directly into the sun. Are any of the current crop of shows similarly throwing existing notions out the window? There’s few signs that any are having a similar impact.

Yet that isn’t all there is to the story. Animated shows today must survive and thrive in a vastly different world to that of their forebears. Modern shows alter expectations in an evolutionary manner akin to how South Park initially shocked the public with its risqué content but sustains itself today with a sharp sense of satire and ridicule. It’s evolved to fit its place in the television landscape.

In 2041, we may not write about cartoons from 2016 with the same degree of awe that we do the original Nicktoons. Instead, we will likely be writing about a transnational period between that of the old TV-oriented business model, to that of the internet-based one. Shows like Gravity Falls will be noted as being the last of their breed; replaced by Netflix-funded content like Voltron, and internet-hosted shows like Bravest Warrior which are opening a new chapter in animated cartoons much like Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, and Doug did in 1991.

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Charles Kenny

Charles Kenny

Being tall, Irish and a civil engineer by trade, Charles stands out in the animation crowd, hence his position as the Animation Anomaly.
Charles Kenny
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  • The ones that would carry the biggest legacies that would dare to tackle taboo problems (Steven Universe for one).

  • Tony

    Definitely the shows that will be the most talked about will be Adventure Time, Gravity Falls and Steven Universe, due to their ambitious storytelling and world building, emotional depth, and (especially for Steven Universe) willingness to tackle more adult subject matter. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Regular Show and Phineas and Ferb will probably be fondly remembered as well, and if there’s any justice in this world, Wander Over Yonder will be looked at as a great little show that was canceled too soon. And then there’s SpongeBob SquarePants, due to its sheer ubiquity, although I suspect that only the first three or four seasons will be remembered fondly. Those early episodes are, in my opinion, some of the finest TV cartooning of the 21st Century.