In part two to extol my love for cartoons, I offer my top ten picks of animated series worth checking out in 2023. With some of them headed to streaming services rather than network, finding them might get difficult this year. As long as you’re subscribed to the key providers, you ought to be okay.
Disclaimer: Not every series is dated, but they’re expected to debut sometime this year. Listed in alphabetical order are:
Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai
This series is exciting because it takes place before the movies. Here, the focus will be on a young boy, Sam Wing, becoming fast friends with Gizmo. I get the sense it’ll take on some tones from Stitch and Ai, and I’m okay with it! As these two venture through the Chinese countryside, dealing with the various creatures from local folklore, I’m already giddy with delight in what can be offered. As for how the mischievous version came into folklore, perhaps this series will tell all.
Newborn kitties are always entertaining to watch, but when made anthropomorphic in Thundercats Roar, watching them stumble about for hours on end got boring. I really wanted the 2011 series to get a season two, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
All we got was an outline of what would have been spectacular.
Available on Boomerang
Broadcasting on Cartoon Network beginning July 8, 2019
Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? is out and about! This new Cartoon Network series has two episodes available and I am hooked! I’m glad the experiment known as Be Cool Scooby-Doo is finished. The stories were okay but to reimagine the gang Calarts style was not for me. I’d rather rewatch A Pup Named Scooby-Doo instead. I can hear and appreciate the voices, but it did not flow well with the visuals.
The character designs and work by Iwao Takamoto defined everything I adored throughout the decades. I believe nostalgia plays an important factor in this franchise otherwise why bother? In what’s enjoyable with the new series is that it not only is it a light reimagining of the main characters Fred, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy, and Scooby, but also the dynamics that defined many a show get a nudge too. That is, we see them react much like they did in What’s New Scooby-Doo?
Plus, this series is bringing the catalogue of past Hanna Barbera properties and celebrity friends they know, like Batman! The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972-4) was the most memorable and Guess Who? borrows from this run.
While most of Europe aired the new Ben 10 rebooted series since fall of last year, fans from North America are still anxiously waiting. Teletoon Canada offered a sneak peek Monday night for what’s to come in Spring. This new series is better off packaged as two episodes for the time-slot it is given instead of 10 minutes (giving a lot more time for commercials), before jumping to another show.
Given that the intended audience is for kids with limited attention span, the 10-minute format is satisfactory. But I’m craving longer tales, and am hoping by binge-watching a bunch of episodes back to back will reveal a greater story arc.
Tonight’s broadcast sees Ben Tennyson (Tara Strong reprises the role) learning responsibility. His access to the internet gets taken away until he cleans the Rust Bucket, a camping van that he, his cousin Gwen (Montserrat Hernandez) and grandfather Max (David Kaye) rides in throughout their many adventures. When the alien Fly Guy attempts to steal it because it reeks of garbage, this boy has a lot to do before his family returns! Amusingly enough, they are off to visit a bat guano cave.
The latest season of LEGO Ninjago is certainly worth watching during Hungry Ghost Month. In Asia, this tradition of entertaining spirits during the start of a new lunar month is widespread and based on folkloric beliefs. Some of what’s presented in the series comes into play, and it adds to the versatility of what this world represents. Although this latest season’s introduction is in part due to the events from the last story-arc, to see how much of the spirit realm influences daily life needs to be observed. Lord Garmadon is the blame when he had to cast powerful magic to open a portal to the Cursed Realm to save the day. He may have inadvertently traded places with Morro, a renegade spirit. When this ghost saw that Lloyd is the new Green Ninja, he had to figure out a plan in how to possess him.
But Morro also has a vendetta against Sensei Wu. He was a former pupil whom Wu thought was the chosen one. But when the master saw an ambition and arrogance that would rival even Darth Vader, he knew the boy was not the one (“Winds of Change”). The number of episodes made to tell this latest chapter is shorter than its early seasons, and the 10 episode count makes for a perfect weekend watch. The storytelling is top-notch and the Hageman Brothers have outdone themselves in how they pay respect to a few supernatural Asian traditions.