Cartoon Network Eras Ranked

Toonhead2002Ultra

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Hey everyone! Seeing as CN's anniversary is fast approaching, I want to do a ranking of its eras! Just to remind you guys, this is just my opinion, and I'd love to see others rank these eras as well. Anyway... let's get started!

14. Dimensional (2016-2018): I want to be frank with you guys, this era pretty much sucks. Let's start with the good though. OK KO, Apple & Onion and others came out to garner a decent fanbase, and good shows like Gumball and We Bare Bears got pretty decent treatment. Other than that, what makes this era my least favorite was the fact that older shows like Adventure Time and Regular Show got treated pretty poorly in their final years, we saw the peak of CN's obsession with mediocre reboots with the horrible PPG 2016, and the eh Ben 10 (2016), Pokemon left the network after well over a decade, and pre 2010 shows pretty much never aired, a complete shift form how they were treated just a few years earlier. And of course we have Teen Titans Go! all over the schedule. It's not even that TTG is the worst show in existence, it just got played way too much with it often airing about 4 to 5 hours a day. This was especially bad in 2017 my personal least favorite year of Cartoon Network, where we saw a huge TTG tsunami for both OK KO's premiere week, and for Christmas break. Overall this was far from the best year to be a CN fan, especially with how prevalent rants about the channel's scheduling were at the time. If you tolerate this era then great, but I certainly won't any time soon.

13. Mash-Up (2018-2021): Unfortunately this era does share many flaws with its predecessor with bad scheduling, shows not being treated the best (Mao Mao anyone) and overall feeling stale. However I did put this era over Dimensional, mostly because the bumpers were an improvement in my opinion, it felt like CN was trying to greenlight more original shows such as Infinity Train, Mao Mao, Vic & Val, and others, and the TTG and Gumball spam was a bit less anger inducing at the time. We also got better availability of CN's shows new and old thanks to HBO Max (at least at the time), and they were even willing to create more experimental content on the steaming service with stuff like Close Enough (a CN produced show), The Fungies!, and later Infinity Train seasons. Still felt like CN was going through the motions more times than not though.

12. Check It 3.5/Check It 4.0 (2014-2015): Honestly probably one of the more mediocre periods of CN, but not necessarily a bad one. In many ways it felt like the end of an era. It was the last one in which Adventure Time, Regular Show, Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes regularly aired in the channel, it was the last in which you'd find at least some action shows on the weekday schedule it was the last time you saw Johnny Test air on CN, it was the last in which you saw CN treat it's new shows properly on a consistent basis (at least if it wasn't an action show). However you could see many Miller era flaws start to pop up like TTG and Gumball eating up more time slots, classic CN originals being forgotten, and reboots like PPG 2016 being announced. Despite these flaws however, they did finally decide to kill the live action on the channel for good at least.

11. Redraw Your World (2021-Present): Despite this era being pretty low, I think it's the first one in which the negatives don't outright outnumber the positives; it's like a 5 to 6 out of 10. We got Cartoonito which defintely managed to at least somewhat fix CN's variety problem, Acme Night added a bit of flair to Sunday nights, a lot of CN's upcoming projects for this era have a lot of potential, and we even saw classic shows air on the channel for the first time since 2015 albeit only for special events. I mean just look at what they're doing for their 30th. Unfortunately there are flaws that hold this era back. Gumball, TTG, and now Craig are still taking up big parts of the schedule, We barely have any currently running shows, and WB and Discovery's business decisions during their merger have been absolute travesties. However during this era, I do see the channel finally showing some signs of getting good again, and that certainly warms my heart at least a little bit.

10. Noods (2008-2010): WHAAAAT NOOODS ISN'T LAST? WHHHY? Well let's start with the bumpers, I actually really like them. I love their video gamey music, and the Noods certainly have a decent charm to them. On top of that this is also the era in which we started to get more mature or teenish CN shows like Total Drama Island, which started in the previous era but gained the most stardom here, 6teen, and the amazing Star Wars the Clone Wars and Adventure Time. We also got the big last hoorah of many CN classics such as Powerpuff Girls, the Eds, Billy & Mandy (Underfist), and Foster's Home; the blocks here such as Har Har Tharsdays, and You Are Here were solid as well. ...Yeah there was bad stuff too. CN Real SUCKS! It felt as if CN was trying to cash in on the popularity of famous reality shows like Survivor and crap, and it just didn't work at all. Also, Toonami died during this era, and action shows were being shafted more often. Also this is a bit of a nitpick, but CN lost complete control of the 10pm hour to Adult Swim here. Not a huge deal, but as a night owl I would've liked if the network ended later in future eras, at least during Fridays and Saturdays. Otherwise though I do find this era to be a bit over hated despite its flaws.

9. Summer (2007): Geez is this era forgettable. It just might be the least memorable one in the history of CN. I like the Ceelo Green song it included, but the bumpers were a big downgrade and didn't feature the great charm and depth that the City and to a lesser extent Yes! eras had. Another big hit to this era was that Miguzi was removed here, marking the beginning of the end of action shows and anime on Cartoon Network. However many of the CN originals that were prevalent in the two preceding eras were still here and accounted for, and at the very least this era is so small that nothing that memorably bad came of it (unless you loved watching CN at 1am on a late Friday night). Overall a harmless era.

8. Fall (2007-2008): Not gonna lie the main reason this is above Summer is because of memorability. The Hives song was a pretty energetic song to put in CN bumpers, and despite the live action actors, the weird scribbles the bumpers had really captured the Fall theme they were going for. And even though many notable CN shows ended at this time such as Kids Next Door, Camp Lazlo, and Billy & Mandy outside of Underfist, we also got Chowder which is one of my favorite shows on the channel, and many of these canceled shows weren't immediately thrown in the trash after they ended. However this was also the first era in which live action plays a big role with Out of Jimmy's Head, Fried Dynamite was a pretty week replacement for Fridays, and Toonami lost half of its time. However, there is something about this era that does vibe with me, probably because the schedule did have a lot of the CN shows that I loved on it. I don't know.

7. Check It 3.0 (2013-2014): Ah the final Stuart Snyder era... it was pretty good. We got some solid content like Steven Universe, Over the Garden Wall, Clarence, and Uncle Grandpa (which was ok imo), the bumpers could be a visual treat at times, and Cartoon Planet was still doing a decent job of showing the classics. We also got DC Nation, one of CN's last attempts at a full on programming block until 2021. Unfortunately it brought TTG with it, and most of us know what happened after that. CN also lost the 8pm slot during this time which was a huge bummer to me personally. On top of that towards the end of this era the schedule started showing some.... problems (look above). Despite that I'd say that this era is just well, more of the previous Check It era which I don't entirely mind.

6. Check It 1.0-2.0 (2010-2013): Now this was a memorabe CN era! Regular Show, Gumball, Generator Rex, Thundercats (2011), MAD, Cartoon Planet, the 20th anniversary, the C and N mascots, Ninjago, The Looney Tunes Show, Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated, more Total Drama, classics on the normal schedule. Truly many facets of my childhood experiences with the channel. Unfortunately you also get stuff like the live action shows, Problem Solverz, Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, and the Annoying Orange. I'm at least grateful that unlike TTG many of these bad experiments were short lived. I also like the chill vibe that many of the bumpers had compared to future Check It incarnations, even if they could seen as overly dull by some. Overall a very experimental, memorable, influential, and good era.

5. Yes! (2006-2007): Seen by many as CN's last golden era, or the beginning of the end, I personally see it both ways. The era managed to carry over much of the qualities that made CN City fantastic such as great program blocks, a lot of schedule variety, entertaining bumpers, and a good balance between it and Adult Swim. However some of the more notable things that happened at the time were the Boston Bomb scare which caused Jim Samples to leave the channel, and Re-Animated! CN's first ill guided foray into live action. Also, the bumpers were generally less focused on character interactions compared to its predecessor's, and shows like Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi and Juniper Lee were being written off and forgotten. Still a very great sequel era though.

4. Checkerboard (1992-1997): The one that started it all! CN's first era is still one of its greatest with a large plethora of cartoons to fit its name sake, the birth of shows like Space Ghost C2C, Dexter's Lab and the What a Cartoon show, bumpers that absolutely SHRIEK 1990's, Toonami beginning its prosperous 25+ year life, and all of it being available 24 hours a day for people to watch at any time. The only reason why this isn't much higher is that I'm not as connected to the shows that aired here compared to its future eras. Otherwise still a great start!

3. Starburst (1997-1998): It's like Checkerboard, but with more new stuff. Specifically the new Cartoon Cartoon branding, and the birth of Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, and I Am Weasel. It's where CN went from considering establishing its own identity, to beginning to run away with said idea. Not much to say other than that, great era.

2. City (2004-2006): Where CN shedded its classics almost entirely, and one of the network's most beloved time periods. It gave us shows that would follow up the cartoon cartoons well such as Foster's Home, Camp Lazlo, and Ben 10, the bumpers were some of the most exciting and memorable especially in the Summer of '05, and the new or revamped programming blocks did an excellent job following up on the old ones. This is also the era where Adult Swim officially became its own channel, and fully started its legacy as something separate from CN. The only reason that it isn't number one is that it is a little less memorable compared to what came before it, and didn't seem to add as much to CN as a whole.

1. Powerhouse (1998-2004): What else can I say, this era is truly the king of Cartoon Network. It gave us fantastic bumpers, a huge amount of variety, Adult Swim, the Fridays block, a great mix of old and new shows at the time, and possibly the largest amount of originals introduced in a CN era. The Powerpuff Girls, Ed Edd n Eddy, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Time Squad, Samurai Jack, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, and Codename Kids Next Door all have this era to thank for their existence, and they are mostly beloved by CN fans. On top of that TOM was introduced to Toonami as well as total immersion events. Lastly this era above all of the others felt as if CN was tring to appeal to audiences of all ages and show preferences, which to me truly establishes Powerhouse as the best CN era of all time.

Any thoughts? I'd love to see others takes on these eras.
 
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90'sKid

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City is still my all-time favorite.

I had completely blacked out any member of the Yes! era from my mind until I watched a Rebel Taxi video where he mentioned it.

I guess my hatred for Fred Fredburger and Cheese was just THAT strong.

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90'sKid

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To me Fred Fredburger > Cheese, although neither character was that strong.
Cheese was such an obnoxious twark, and it's weird to me that CN tried to push him so hard seeing as he's clearly meant to be dispised in-universe by other characters.



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Toonhead2002Ultra

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Cheese was such an obnoxious twark, and it's weird to me that CN tried to push him so hard seeing as he's clearly meant to be dispised in-universe by other characters.



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Yeah. It feels like after his first appearance he was meant to be a one-and-done character like Bendy, but whether it be because little kids liked him or that the creative team had other story ideas for him they kept bringing him back as the designated "stupid character" in whatever episode he showed up in. He's definitely one of the shows weaker characters. Heck I liked Mr. Herriman more.
 

Toonhead2002Ultra

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There was also the short period between Noods and Check It.

Did you experience Checkerboard and Powerhouse though?
Technically I consider June 2009 to May 2010 the second half of Noods as opposed to its own thing despite the fact that the branding was slightly tweaked. Also no, I was born in 2002, the Powerhouse era ended when I was just one year old. There are a lot of bumpers from Checkerboard and Powerhouse online though. Anyway we're getting a bit off topic, does anyone else want to rank CN's eras to the best of their ability?
 

ToonsJazzLover

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From worst to best
Dimensional = Mashup (they both equally suck, though I always get both branding mixed up)
CHECK IT 3.5/4.0 (The start of the Miller era and it felt like CN has stopped caring about its live feed as they started focusing more on its less than stellar app)
Noods (Scheduling was still decent, but I felt like CN was having an identity crisis at the time and it turned me away from the channel for a little bit)
Summer (Lasted too short for me to give a proper opinion.)
Fall (An era where I started reducing my CN watchtime, probably due to being busy with school work)
CHECK IT 3.0 (Still watchable, but I felt like it was the beginning of the end for a while)
YES (Still watchable, but it was when they started introducing split screen credits on a regular basis and there weren't as many memorable new shows at the time)
Checkerboard (Had not memory of it because I wasn't alive for most of it, but it was still a good start. Though, it was held back by being limited to HB reruns and not enough original programs)
Redraw Your World (This is what drove me back to being a regular CN fan. The live feed is finally alive again. Unfortunately, the merger between WB and Discovery is preventing it from being truly amazing)
CHECK IT 1/2.0 (Another great comeback era. Plenty of great shows and an amazing 20th anniversary)
Powerhouse (One of the most iconic branding of kids television. The network was at its most diverse and the bumpers were memorable)
City (Without a doubt, the greatest CN era of all time. I loved the idea of CN characters interacting with each other. I wish it lasted a little longer)
 

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