When Boomerang originated as a programming block on Cartoon Network in 1992, and later when the network proper launched in 2000, it was billed as a throwback to the cartoons that many of today’s geek parents grew up watching. I spent more hours in the past two decades (since legally becoming an adult in the United States) than I care to admit watching old episodes of Looney Tunes, The Flintstones, and untold numbers of Hannah-Barbera titles.
Like so many things that dad likes from his childhood, my own younglings don’t get it. Apparently, they weren’t the only ones, as Boomerang was rebranded in 2015. The network’s focus shifted to producing original programming and airing the mother-network’s hottest properties, while mining the Warner-owned archives for the family-friendly properties with the greatest name recognition and thus the most likely to turn a dollar.
Not that I’m bitter. Can’t a guy have his Thundarr the Barbarian, Samurai Jack, and Yogi Bear?
Of course, a guy can’t complain when the new programming that Boomerang has aired consists of DC Super Hero Girls and the latest property with some serious name recognition. On the heels of last fall’s “better than it had any right to be” The Peanuts Movie comes Peanuts, the series. New episodes debut all this week on Boomerang.
Unlike the theatrical release last holiday season, the new series eschews that fancy computer animation look and feel that everyone seems to be so fond of nowadays and returns to more of a hand-drawn aesthetic. Along with what my kids refer to as “that old-timey look” (said not with distaste, but a genuine awe that something that looks like it came from the Sunday paper could be this engaging) comes a traditional comic panel approach to storytelling. Scenes are delivered with the familiar statement or situation, followed by a quick elaboration of such, then a comic turn that either refutes or jokingly confirms the statement or situation, capped by a punchline. By the end of a particular episode, you’ll feel like you’ve just finished binging a week’s worth of strips straight from the funny pages.
The look and voice acting make the new series feel like some sort of bridge between the Peanuts I grew up reading and the animated holiday specials I grew up watching and The Peanuts Movie, which my whole family enjoyed. After watching the premiere off of the DVR (note: the series airs at during the day while my kids are in school, so prepare accordingly), I found my kids at the bookshelf, picking up old Peanuts comic collections that we’ve acquired from garage sales and library book sales over the years. Any program that can entertain on television and inspire the kids to pick up a book and read is a winner in my book.
Select episodes are available online at CartoonNetwork.com, with more added as they air on Boomerang.