Nickelodeon to Remake Old Classic Cartoons

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RugratsAs we all know, remakes can go very well or very badly. When people start to remake classic things–whether a movie, a song or a television show–it  tends to rub people the wrong way at first. These elements of entertainment that used to be in our childhood, or things that just mean a lot to us, are getting revamped, more than likely for a profit. And that really sucks.
Recently, there’s been some chatter from Nickelodeon’s President of Content and Development, Russell Hicks, about wanting to revamp and revisit some of their old classic cartoons. These shows include some of the best content that Nick has had from the 90s to early 2000s such as: Rugrats, Rocko’s Modern Life, Rocket Power, Doug, Hey Arnold!, Angry Beavers, Ren and Stimpy and more. While everyone is still trying to come up with a final list of what the network would like to bring back, that might include live-series like Clarissa Explains It All and some game shows. Hicks says, “We are looking at our library to bring back ideas, shows that were loved, in a fresh new way.”

I wouldn’t be a very good cartoon columnist if I didn’t investigate a piece of what these “fresh new ideas” might be. A big thing that has been talked about is Nick planning to redo some of these classic cartoons, but not as individual shows like they previously were. Nick might attempt an entire movie around the characters as one whole “Avengers-style” movie instead. Now, my only questions is…. Why?
Nickelodeon has been…slacking…with it’s content lately. I think the last good cartoon I saw on that network involved a very popular sponge living deep in the sea (yeah you know the one), but that has been slacking as well. Lately, Nickelodeon has been lacking the kind of content that we saw on the network when we were kids. It’s almost become the same as Disney Channel with it’s “real-life” content front and centre and hardly any animated shows for us to enjoy. I see the appeal in revisisting these old shows. They’re cartoons that people have loved over the years and will love forever. Yet, there are so many other ways to bring these classic cartoons back–even as reruns. Bring back the old classic Nick block with shows that everyone remembers. When you try to mash a bunch of shows that don’t make sense together, you are calling for the failure of the century.

Poor Brainy.

Imagine this: Rocko’s Modern Life’s Rocko, Heffer and Filbert mixing with the kids from Hey Arnold! The babies from Rugrats mixing with the toilet humor of Ren & Stimpy (which isn’t very appropriate for kids anyway). The Angry Beavers, Daggett and Norbet, mixing with the characters from Victorious. Does that make any sense?

Experimenting with different elements is fantastic. It creates a sense of diversity and a fun and different tone to whatever you’re doing, but please do it in a way that makes a little bit of sense! The plan to turn classic Nick shows into a universe where they all fit leaves me with a lot of questions: mostly, why will they be there in the first place? An “Avengers-style” team-up can only work if they pick the right characters and the right context. I just can’t see Skeeter from Doug talking to anyone from Rocko’s Modern Life.

Do you agree or disagree with the way Nick is trying to revamp these old classics? Should they just leave it alone and rerun them like the classics they are? Only time will tell with what they’re planning on doing with our favorite shows. The only thing we can do now is hope they make a decent play and won’t mess it up.
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About Author

Moving Image Columnist + Teacher of Cartoon Academy. Insha is a freelance + comic writer, film nerd and Crystal Gem from NJ. She enjoys cartoons, comics, b-movies and has very strong feelings about Kylo Ren. Stay Weird. ♡

6 Comments

  1. I am all for reruns, but maybe that is just me being an old coot? Maybe do reruns and mix in some shorts of new content so there is a space for experimentation, but us oldies still get our nostalgia fix. A lot of that older nick cartoons were surprisingly subversive.

    • I’m pro-reruns! Loony Toons was before my time but I loved it just as it was. No need for an update.

  2. I third this, reruns are great because they can bridge generational gaps and allow us to have shared experiences with older/younger viewers! I occasionally bond with older folks over Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanie, shows that were way before my time but that I watched as a kid anyway.