Ten reasons 2001 is my favorite Cartoon Network year

R Lopez

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Why is 2001 my favorite year in Cartoon Network’s 30-year history? Well, because…

10) It introduced Samurai Jack and Justice League

Two classic action series premiered this year: Samurai Jack, Genndy Tartakovsky’s second show for the network; and Justice League, the first Cartoon Network series produced by Warner Bros. Animation.

9) It introduced Time Squad and Grim & Evil

These two “Cartoon Cartoons” weren’t big hits, but they’re worth mentioning. Time Squad was the first new series produced at Cartoon Network Studios. Grim & Evil consisted of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy—the winner of the first-ever Big Pick—and Evil Con Carne. Both segments became half-hour series in 2003.

8) It introduced two since-disowned Hanna-Barbera spoofs

I’m referring to The Flintstones: On the Rocks and Night of the Living Doo, both of which have been buried.

True to its title, The Flintstones: On the Rocks starts with Fred and Wilma Flintstone seeking marriage counseling. Many websites say this sour special was only aired once, but that’s not true; heck, it aired twice the weekend it premiered. But it hasn’t been seen since the network stopped playing it.

Night of the Living Doo is a spoof of The New Scooby-Doo Movies—that’s the Scooby series that featured celebrity guest stars. This has to be one of the only pieces of Scooby media that Warner Home Video hasn’t made available for purchase. Fun fact: One of the special’s co-writers, Casper Kelly, went on to produce content for Adult Swim, including the viral sensation “Too Many Cooks.”

Speaking of Adult Swim…

7) It introduced [adult swim]

It may still share channel space with Cartoon Network, but Adult Swim has been recognized by Nielsen as a separate network since 2005. Not bad for something that started out as a three-hour block in September ’01.

Adult Swim was the natural outgrowth of Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Its earliest original series were either spinoffs of Space Ghost, or riffs on Hanna-Barbera properties: The Brak Show; Aqua Teen Hunger Force; Sealab 2021; and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

The block also introduced American audiences to Cowboy Bebop, and reintroduced UPN’s Home Movies. Nothing has yet to reintroduce UPN.

6) It featured The Big Game XXIX: Bugs Vs. Daffy

I’m mainly including this to highlight the work done by the network’s on-air department. This group was primarily tasked with creating show promos, but they also produced stuff like the Groovies and the Shorties, as well as JBVO. Starting in 1998, the on-air department produced a series of straight-faced Super Bowl spoofs, which culminated with this matchup. In 2002, The Big Game was dropped and The 1st 13th Annual Fancy Anvil Awards was produced instead.

5) It featured the second annual Big Pick

It was also the final Big Pick, but that’s beside the point. The winner, Codename: Kids Next Door, was revealed during the annual Cartoon Cartoon Weekend—remember those? Codename: Kids Next Door became a series the following year. The runner-up, Whatever Happened to… Robot Jones?, also became a series—um, remember it?

4) It featured the Toonami music video special

On this night, a generation of budding anime fans became budding Daft Punk fans.

You know what’s crazy? This special aired on August 31. The aforementioned Cartoon Cartoon Weekend happened on August 24-26, and Adult Swim premiered on September 2.

3) It had the best season of Space Ghost Coast to Coast

I’m including this because Adult Swim was still considered part of Cartoon Network at the time. There were only five new episodes of Space Ghost Coast to Coast in 2001, and each of them might be this influential series’ best episode. “Ah yes, my documentary.”

2) It had the best episode of ToonHeads

When websites create lists of the best Cartoon Network shows from the 90’s, anthology series like The Tex Avery Show and Oh Canada are rarely mentioned. But my favorite show at the time was ToonHeads. It actually premiered alongside the network in 1992, and was successfully refreshed in the late 90’s. The episode I’m highlighting is “The Wartime Cartoons,” which featured WWII-era shorts like “Blitz Wolf” and “Herr Meets Hare.” This is the sorta stuff I wish Cartoon Network still made time for.

1) It had the best June Bugs (Bugs Bunny) marathon

During Cartoon Network’s first decade on the air, June Bugs weekend was my favorite time of the year. The 2001 edition was the most comprehensive June Bugs to date, even if it was missing twelve shorts. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it; the initial plan to air every classic Bugs Bunny cartoon resulted in the biggest controversy in the history of the network. But hey, it isn’t every day that Cartoon Network is written about in The New York Times.
 

Markus Nelis

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Let's talk about the positive things to modern Cartoon Network for the past couple of years. It all seems to be mostly negative so here are positives:

10 reasons why CN is good in 2022.

1. Launch of preschool block.
2. Being experimental.
3. Launching ACME Night.
4. Giving family content.
5. Great new shows.
6. Focus on HBO Max.
7. Some HBO Max shows premiering on linear channel.
8. Promising new shows coming soon.
9. Revivals.
10. Continuing what's best for business. At the same time still give people what they want.

Look, old CN was great but let's talk about new stuff more and move on from the nostalgic past.
 

Low Spark of Lyman

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A rather pivotal year, it sounds like.

To note, I don't think I paid much attention to the channel that year. I do remember seeing it more the following year, which included The Iron Giant airing (we even got to record it once).
 

R Lopez

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Look, old CN was great but let's talk about new stuff more and move on from the nostalgic past.

My list wasn't meant to "snub" the present. I was just pointing out the different sort of programming that one year featured.

I do wonder what exactly you think CN is currently doing that could be described as experimental? Because of a lot of their newer things (Cartoonito; Acme Nights) are things they've done before with new names.
 

R Lopez

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I remember the big picks How many did they have ?

I'm pretty sure there were only two: 2000 and 2001.

They did present a batch of pilots in 2002, but I don't think they asked for viewer votes that time.
 

Markus Nelis

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My list wasn't meant to "snub" the present. I was just pointing out the different sort of programming that one year featured.

I do wonder what exactly you think CN is currently doing that could be described as experimental? Because of a lot of their newer things (Cartoonito; Acme Nights) are things they've done before with new names.
Look, I did the 2022 list because people liked CN back in the day, I get it. but what about the current generation of kids. I'm pretty sure they will also look back how great CN was in 2022. It's the cycle. The 2001 kids say that 2022 CN sucks. Then when the kids grow up and we go to the 30s they say CN in 2022 was amazing, it sucks now. I hope you know what I mean.

To answer to your question, they haven't done preschool or movie blocks in a long time so experimental definitely counts. The previous preschool block didn't even last a year. I don't know how to really explain the "experiments" their doing since it's a complicated thing. Still, it counts if they haven't done this in a long time. They even start with experimental of live-action again soon.
 

R Lopez

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but what about the current generation of kids.

Well, I hope the kids that watch CN these days like what they see. (The children of 2001 definitely could’ve used “Craig of the Creek” and “Gumball.”) I'm not sure how many kids are choosing to watch CN, considering the ratings these days...
 
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Markus Nelis

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Well, I hope the kids that watch CN these days like what they see. (The children of 2001 definitely could’ve used “Craig of the Creek” and “Gumball.”) I'm not sure how many kids are choosing to watch CN, considering the ratings these days...
2001 didn't have streaming services so it's fair to say why ratings are low. If they didn't exist, the ratings would of still been high.
 

Low Spark of Lyman

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I know this is kind of late, but:
Look, I did the 2022 list because people liked CN back in the day, I get it. but what about the current generation of kids. I'm pretty sure they will also look back how great CN was in 2022. It's the cycle. The 2001 kids say that 2022 CN sucks. Then when the kids grow up and we go to the 30s they say CN in 2022 was amazing, it sucks now. I hope you know what I mean.
Why not a new thread to appreciate the current version of Cartoon Network? I think you've given good reason to perhaps feel optimistic about CN as it stands today. The more, the merrier, they say.

Anyway, 2001 also appears to be when Cartoon Network Enterprises launched for global licensing and merchandising. While it may not be doing as much as they could be doing with merchandising, especially with some shows more than others, I think it's done at least some good in giving CN a foothold in pop culture. In 2002, a one-time Cartoon Network Magazine came out, which I remember getting from a Scholastic book fair. I made a thread about it about a year and a half ago, and largely forgot about it since I tend to procrastinate.
 
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Low Spark of Lyman

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I didn't know about that. It got me Googling.
I still have it, and there was some interesting stuff in there, such as a crossover comic w/ Scooby-Doo and The Powerpuff Girls. Or Space Ghost interviewing then-new characters on CN, namely Otto from Time Squad, Green Lantern from Justice League, and Jack from Samurai Jack. Or an assessment of life in The Jetsons. Or "messages" from characters like Daffy, Tweety, Larry 3000, and Mojo Jojo. There was even a section dedicated to Toonami.

From what I've read, there were no more issues made, at least for the U.S.
 

Low Spark of Lyman

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Yes, it looks like a few countries have made Cartoon Network magazines for a various amount of years. The UK had one from the late 90's until some time in the 2000's, for instance.
I remember reading about those countries who got something later in the decade, though I'm not sure if it was new material or not.
 
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Red Arrow

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The Netherlands had a Cartoon Network magazine from 2000 until 2001. It had 11 issues and one special.
 

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