In the last year, I’ve grown into a bit of a cartoon fan. I’ve been watching more and more animation than I ever have. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because the subject matter is usually less serious than anything else on television. Maybe it’s because cartoons are where slapstick humor has gone. Maybe it is the creative vibe. Or maybe it is because cartoons are short and my attention span is slowly dwindling.
Whatever the reason, I have bought a bunch of cartoon DVD box sets lately. Probably my best purchase was the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 5. Absolutely classic Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the gang. And the bonus features tell a lot about the stories behind the cartoons. I never paid much attention to the directors, artists, and musical score writers before. Now I am a much more astute cartoon watcher.
I am discussing cartoons because tonight I finally finished another one of my better buys: Season 2 of the Adult Swim cartoon series Metalocalpyse (I finished Season 1 a few weeks ago). For those who aren’t hip to Metalocalpyse, it is the story of Dethklok, the world’s greatest, most prolific death metal band. Think Spinal Tap meets He-Man meets Star Wars meets a grown-up version of Beavis and Butt-head. Absolutely hilarious.
(Apparently Season 3 just started a few weeks ago as well. This is good. However, I don’t have DVR capability and I am absolutely terrible at timing my life around non-sports TV shows. I’ll just wait until the box set comes out.)
By the way, Dethklok is also a great example of a cross-media venture. Not only are they the main characters in the Metalocalypse cartoon, but they are also a real band who are on tour right now. Of course, the faces are different, but the music performed on the show is the same. And that is a great way to keep the core fans interested. Kinda like the Monkees meets the Gorillaz, only cooler. Check out a recent interview with creator Brandon Small where he talks about this exact premise.
Anyway, having finished the Metalocalypse box sets, I started thinking about what I would classify as my favorite cartoon series. For someone born in the 70’s, this was a tough question. I grew up on Scooby Doo, the USA Cartoon Express, the aforementioned He-Man, G.I. Joe, Transformers, and of course the classic Looney Tunes and Disney serials from previous generations. So I narrowed the question down to the last few years.
(I can do that. It was my question, asked to me. I could put whatever qualifier I wanted on it. Maybe someday I will expand the parameters, but not now.)
So, in no particular order:
- The Boondocks
- Afro Samurai
- Phineus and Ferb
I know you are asking, “Phineus and Ferb, really?”. Yeah, really. Those kids are hilarious. I can’t watch cartoons full of action and adventure and death and destruction all the time, you know.
So what are your favorite cartoons of the last five years? What should I be checking out?