Opinion – 4/8/2003

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Jason Mattox Opinion

For additional opinions and articles,
pick up the 4/8/03  issue of The Panolian

Everything Old New Again, Sorta

Pop culture changes from year to year, but always seems to find its way back to somewhere it has been.
Those who don’t believe me need to look no further than the "new" cartoons that have debuted recently or are in the works.

Just in the past few weeks, the Cartoon Network has debuted new versions of "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" and "Transformers." Frankly, these shows make me feel like a kid again, and it only took about 10 years.

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I remember both of these shows and their timeslots. "He-Man" was an early morning show for me. The original version aired in the early-and-mid-1980s weekday mornings while "Transformers" aired the same years weekday afternoons right before "G.I. JOE."

I was watching an episode of "Johnny Bravo" when I first saw the commercial for the new "He-Man," and I have to admit I wanted to see it. In part, I wanted to see how true to the original series it was and I wanted to be sure the creators didn’t try to redo that whole He-Man in space kind of thing that showed in the mid-’90s for all of one month.

The same thing goes for "Transformers: Armada." The addition of this series means there are two "Transformers" series on the air right now. I had watched the other series and found it to be more Pokemon than "Transformers." Luckily Cartoon Network has gotten things as close to the original as it could while offering up some new storylines.

Even though the original series will hold a special place in my childhood memories, I am glad to see He-Man, Orko, Cringer, Man-at-Arms, Optimus Prime, Ultra Magnus and all of the other characters of the two shows will get the chance to entertain an entirely different generation.

In addition to the new versions of "Transformers" and "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe," networks have updated versions of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Power Rangers" in the works.

Most of you may not consider "Power Rangers" to be an ’80s creation, and I guess it isn’t, but it was definitely inspired by an ’80s toon. Am I the only one that remembers "Voltron?"

The turtles were never favorites of mine though I did occasionally watch the animated series on Saturday mornings and the live-action movies.

But maybe it’s time for Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Splinter and Shredder back on the tube too.

Now that we know what’s coming back, let’s take a look at some of the new cartoons on the air this season.

Disney, which owns ABC, has shifted the Saturday morning line-up from "Bugs Bunny" to original programming like "Recess," "The Proud Family" and "Kim Possible."

Of these three new shows, I actually like "Kim Possible," mainly because of Rufus the naked mole rat. He’s funny I promise. I think this show will be a hit because it offers young girls a cartoon character that is able to fend for herself rather than depend on a male character to save the day. As a matter of fact, it’s always the other way around with KP and her sidekick Ron.

These new and returning characters will offer some alternatives to Scooby, Kenny, (oops they actually killed Kenny), Cartman, Kyle, Butters and the Simpson clan, and not a moment too soon. "South Park" and "The Simpsons" are considered too vulgar and over the top for persons under the age of 17, and I agree. I laugh at the shows week after week, but I still agree.

New cartoons are on the block this season and some old favorites are coming out of the retirement home. At least the economy in Toon Town is in good shape.

(Jason Mattox can be reached by email at: newsroom@panolian.com