It's 8am on a Saturday. Your poor parents are rolling out of bed, throwing on their bathrobes and starting up the coffee pot. The smell of breakfast fills the kitchen as your Dad asks you what shape you want your pancakes to be. You don't care about any of that - they have to turn the TV on now, or you're going to miss it. Come on, guys, it's Saturday morning!
The experience of watching the Saturday morning cartoon block is quintessential to my generation. Fox Kids, Kids WB, X-men, Spiderman, Looney Tunes, Garfield - we all had our favorites that we would shake our parents awake to get the chance to see. It's also an experience that is now over.
Last Saturday morning, The Vortexx, the CW's Saturday morning cartoon block, aired their last ever set of programming, unable to negotiate a new contract with the CW. This was the last major network to have a Saturday morning cartoon block. With the Vortexx gone, so are kid's programming sections on Saturday mornings. The experience of those weekends we all grew up with is likely never coming back.
Now, I can hear you out there - "It's not that big of a deal!", you cry, "Cartoons aren't going anywhere!" And you're absolutely right. There are tons of 24 cartoon channels right now, and they're certainly showing stuff on Saturday mornings. And platforms like Netflix and Hulu allow you to show your kids the cartoons you choose. Every kid can grow up with an Avatar: The Last Airbender or a Young Justice these days, not whatever crappy Pokemon ripoff the network decided to license this month. And that's a great thing.
But there will be something missed in the urgency of our own childhoods. If you missed out on that one episode of Power Rangers because Dad was too slow on the pancakes, you might never know who the White Ranger was. The Age of Convenience is upon us. It's going to be fantastic in giving parents choices on when and what to show their kids, but it's going to be tough on bringing kids together. Now that there's no shared viewing experience, the common experience of talking about that show you watched last weekend is gone for kids.
What's most interesting about that is that, once again, our children get to experience the new world before we do. This is where television is going. In less time than you think, everyone's going to be watching their shows on demand. Watercooler conversations are going to have to start with "Wait, have you watched Orange is the New Black yet?" Spoilers are going to become a bigger deal very quickly. We'll see that play out first on the playground.
It's a sad day to see the world of Saturday Morning Cartoons disappear. But it's also a necessary one. The future of television is coming quickly, and we get to share it with our kids, first.
Mike Fatum is the Editor in Chief and Podcast Co-host of the Ace of Geeks. His favorite cartoon growing up was Mighty Max. Yeah, that's right, Mighty Max.
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