Since its popular spread across the country in 1950, watching television has become one of America’s staple pastimes. A large chunk of this television is seen in the cartoons and live action shows this country’s children and adults watch. Some of these shows have become iconic and unforgettable to the viewers. However, over the last decade and a half, I have witnessed a drop in the quality of the content being produced. Shows don’t have the interesting plots, cohesive characters, and the intellectuality they once did. I dared watch a show on the Cartoon Network the other day, and honestly felt myself slip into a mini coma. I was mindless, stupid, and poorly animated.

This tragedy of a television show (I don’t even remember the name, that’s how pointless it was) got me thinking about children’s television from the past, and the difference between the shows from the 90’s/2000s and shows that have been produced in the last 5 years.

The Downfall of Children's Television Over the Last DecadePast Successes

Shows that Touched on Controversial Issues:

  • That’s So Raven: Focused on body image issues, building connections with people, overcoming stereotypes, and much more.
  • Kim Possible: Was a show based around strong female characters. This was not extremely common at the time.

Shows that Showed Differences Were Special:

  • Jimmy Neutron: Put the “smart kid” in a new light. It showed that being educated and brainy was extremely cool and beneficial.
  • Pokemon: Characters who were misfits in their community found places they could belong to and feel welcome. Differences made them special, rather than weird or alien.

Shows that Were Educational and Promoted Creativity:

  • Out of the Box: This show was based off of friendship, story-telling, using the imagination, and being artistic.
  • The Magic School Bus: This show helped morph educational television into a demanded form of entertainment among children. History, biology, math, and other academic principles became exciting for children.

Shows That Entertained the Adults Too:The Downfall of Children's Television Over the Last Decade

  • Spongebob: Although ridiculous and lighthearted, Spongebob was riddled with adult comedy, making it entertaining for the whole family.
  • Scooby Doo: This show continued to rock the cartoon industry right through the 90s and 2000s, holding the attention of old and young generations alike. It was spooky, but thought provoking and adventurous.

Recent Failures

The Remakes/Continuations

  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016): Although the original was cute, badass, and fun-loving, this new version is just annoying. It tries to be too politically correct, and the modern references just feel wrong with the style of the show.
  • Girl Meets World: I absolutely loved Boy Meets World. It was fresh, hilarious, and hit all us school kids right in the feels. I did not feel the same way about its successor. Again, everything felt very forced in the show, as if they ran out of ideas and did their best to scrape together a script.
  • Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Solving mysteries may be the plot like all the past Scooby Doo shows, and the characters may have the same personalities, but their new character designs are hideous. They look like moving boxes! No thank you.

The Downfall of Children's Television Over the Last DecadeShows With Ridiculous Plots:

  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Cartoon Network went off the deep end around 2010. Since then their shows have been literal garbage. The Amazing World of Gumball is a perfect example of this. There is basically no plot and the characters are all numskulls.
  • Uncle Grandpa: In my opinion, this show is the dumbest creation that has ever come from the Cartoon Network (and they created shows like Ed, Ed, and Eddie). The main characters consist of a man named Uncle-Grandpa (who is everyone’s Uncle, Grandpa, and sibling), a fanny pack called Belly-Bag, a cut out of a printed picture of a tiger (conveniently named Giant Realistic Flying Tiger), a fire breathing dinosaur, and a slice of pizza. Absolute. Trash.