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Dueling Shows: Western Animation

Initiators Followers Capsule Pitch Description Implementation Winner?
The Transformers (1984) Challenge Of The Go Bots (1984) Sentai show with Transforming Mecha. Challenge Of The Go Bots seems to be the obvious pale knockoff...so it comes as a surprise to many that the GoBots toys actually predated Transformers by two years. Nonetheless, the cartoon Autobots beat the Go Bots to TV by a month. Transformers became a Cash Cow Franchise that's still going strong some thirty years later. GoBots faded into obscurity and became a punchline on purpose, mainly because Hasbro ended up later buying GoBots's company and locked down the copyrights completely in order to keep "Transformers" in the public eye.
Filmations Ghostbusters (1986) The Real Ghostbusters (1986) Cartoon adaptation of a live action TV series/Film about a team of detectives/geeks confronting ghosts and such. Both series premiered at the same year featuring Filmation and Columbia Pictures' long dispute for the copyrights of the name. The Real Ghostbusters, by the virtue that only animation geeks who were into really obscure shows would know and care what Filmation's Ghostbusters is.
Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs (1987) Bravestarr (1987) and Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers (1986) Space Western Animated Series with Mechanical Horses. Saber Rider was the first of these shows; its original Japanese version, Sei Juushi Bismarck, aired in 1984. In America, Galaxy Rangers came first in 1986, with the other two shows following in 1987. Galaxy Rangers was Darker and Edgier than its competitors and seems to have the biggest fan following today, although none of the series did very well in America. Bravestarr is the best known of the three outside of the animation fandom, but Rangers is the most popular within that fandom.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) Street Sharks (1994) A group of mutated antropomorphic animal brothers fight against a power-hungry madman and his two incompetent lackeys. There were MANY TMNT imitators but Street Sharks is the most prominent. Ninja Turtles, no doubt. Street Sharks was actually decently popular during its time but it never got any continuation and is pretty much a joke today.
Denver the Last Dinosaur (1988) Dink, the Little Dinosaur (1989) Animated series about dinosaurs having adventures and a Green Aesop or two. Denver had a one-year head start, aired in syndication and was set in modern-day while Dink came a year later (inspired partly by The Land Before Time, released inbetween the two shows), was aired by CBS and took place in the Stone Age. Both shows ran two seasons but Denver the Last Dinosaur is more fondly remembered and had more episodes (50 vs. 21) than Dink.
Garfield and Friends (1988) Eek! The Cat (1992) Comedic multiple-segment Saturday Morning Cartoon about a wisecracking Fat Cat who lives with an annoying owner, has lots of misadventures, and dislikes dogs with a passion. Both cartoons have the same art design for some characters, and they even have a second segment that has very different charactersnote , but Eek! The Cat seems a bit Darker and Edgier than Garfield and Friends. While both are very well-known and well-remembered, Garfield and Friends wins because it still exists today in other media (comic strips, books, toys, printed merchandise and a revival CGI cartoon series)
The Simpsons (1989) Family Guy (1999) Primetime animated series about a Dysfunctional Family with a moronic, brash jerk of a father, a patient and loving wife who sometimes has a mean streak, and three kids (a dimwitted son, a social outcast daughter, and a baby known for killing people) Dueling Shows made by the same network. The jury's still out. While there are still fans of The Simpsons and the show has been on the air for a quarter of a century (despite losing its luster ten to fifteen years ago), FOX does seem to love Family Guy more, though all of this could be rendered moot as FOX is now latching on to Bob's Burgers and is thinking of retooling its Animation Domination block with cartoon shows that aren't Dysfunctional Family domestic sitcoms.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers (1990) Widget The World Watcher (1990) Saving the environment through use of superpowers.   Captain Planet is generally more remembered than Widget (despite that Captain Planet is often mocked for being preachy and politically correct and not getting into any serious issues as to why pollution happens), so it wins.
What A Cartoon! Show (1995) Oh Yeah! Cartoons (1998) Animated Anthologies Cartoon Network's WACS and Nickelodeon's Oh Yeah both featured stand-alone shorts and recurring series. Several cartoons from both shows spun-off into full series (Including My Life as a Teenage Robot, Dexter's Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, and The Fairly OddParents). They even shared one cartoon series: Mina and The Count, which debuted on WACS and moved to Oh Yeah. Both were developed by the same man, Fred Seibert. The jury's out on this one. Both shows went on to create some of the best modern classic cartoons. In this case, it all depends on which one you found to produce the better shows.
The Ren & Stimpy Show (1991) Rocko's Modern Life (1993) Surrealist kids' cartoon satires with extremely wacky animation styles and disturbingly edgy styles of humor that skimmed toward older audiences Ren & Stimpy revolutionized animation in the early 1990s, leading to many imitations of its style. Rocko's Modern Life wasaccused of being a total rip-off of Ren & Stimpy due to a few similar jokes and a very reminiscent animation style. Rocko's Modern Life was a much better show in terms of quality, humor, and it didn't have the behind the scenes drama that Ren & Stimpy did, nor did Rocko's Modern Life have an excessively vulgar revival that was canceled as quickly as it premiered (cf. Ren & Stimpy's Adult Party Cartoon). However, Ren & Stimpy wins because it was one of the original three Nicktoons (along with Doug and Rugrats), it did (for better or worse) brought back the kind of edge and audacity in animation that hasn't been seen since the 1960s, and animation fans tend to copy that show more than RML.
The Tick (1994) Freakazoid! (1995) Deconstructive Superhero parodies with completely insane main characters. The Tick had over a year head start and had stared in comics since the mid 80s. The Tick, despite booth being considered Cult Classic with loyal fan bases, The Tick ended up with one more season and a recent comic revival while Freakazoid! was Screwed by the Network and was canceled after just two seasons.
Hey Arnold! (1996) Recess (1997) A group of fourth grade kids and their usual and unusual adventures with their friends Hey Arnold! didn't have school as its main focus (while a bunch of episodes focused on school, it wasn't the main point of the show), while Recess focuses more on the kids at school. While both are remembered fondly by those who grew up on 1990s cartoons, Recess wins, as it had a more successful movie than Hey Arnold.
KaBlam! (1996) Oh Yeah! Cartoons (1998) Nickelodeon animated sketch comedies that presented about four shorts an episode. Both aired on Nick in the 1990s KaBlam wins in terms of nostalgia from 1990s fans all grown up and reminiscing about their favorite shows on the Internet, but both shows win this round since they had fairly successful runs on Nickelodeon from the late 1990s to the early 2000s.
The Powerpuff Girls (1998) Teamo Supremo (2002) A trio of children take time off from their schoolwork to fight crime. The big difference, though, was that the Powerpuff Girls were superpowered sisters born as the result of a lab accident. Teamo, on the other hand, were íThree Amigos! of no blood relation who instead used supertools. The Powerpuff Girls — it has a movie, an anime adaptation, a ten-year anniversary special, a complete series DVD set (including a lot of episodes that didn't air on TV), syndication on Cartoon Network's sister channel Boomerang, and more fans than Teamo Supremo could ever wish for.
Batman Beyond (1999, Kids' WB!) Spider-Man Unlimited (1999, FOX Kids) Merchandise-Driven spinoffs of Batman: The Animated Series and Spider-Man: The Animated Series respectively, released in 1999. Both shows centered on familiar heroes with new Powered Armor costumes with Invisibility Cloak powers, in a dystopia. Batman Beyond was set in a Bad Future dystopia, centered upon a teenager trained by Bruce Wayne in the Batman role and somehow developed into a Darker and Edgier show than its predecessor, particularly in The Movie that was based on it. Spider-Man Unlimited - which was originally planned to be a Animated Adaptation of Spider-Man 2099 - eventually came to be about Peter Parker in an Alternate Timeline dystopia, where Beast Men ruled the Earth. Batman Beyond, which lasted for three seasons and inspired a full-length animated film. Spider-Man Unlimited was canceled after one season.
Sponge Bob Square Pants (1999) Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island (2005) An eternally cheerful super-optimist in a nautical-themed world of anthropomorphic sea creatures/fruit annoys his fussbudget neighbor while having wacky adventures with his dim-witted best friend. Fred premiered on Kids' WB! at the height of SpongeBob's popularity, and the main characters of both shows act and sound extremly similar. The main difference was that Fred was a talking coconut who lived on an island with other talking fruit. SpongeBob by a light year — it is one of the most successful cartoons of all time, the cornerstone of Nickelodeon's empire and has lasted for more than ten years. Coconut Fred was hated by critics, canceled after half a season, and considered an Old Shame for voice actor Rob Paulsen.
Sponge Bob Square Pants (1999) Fish Hooks (2010) Cartoon about underwater creatures living human lives. SpongeBob is set in an ocean and stars a sponge working in a fast-food restaurant, while Fish Hooks is set in a pet store/TV repair shop and stars a group of fish going to high school. Fish Hooks is also much more realistic in plot, fish locomotion, food, and scale, while SpongeBob is more cartoony. SpongeBob, no contest. It is one of the most successful, well-known, and well-received cartoons of all time, and pretty much is to Nickelodeon as Mickey Mouse is to Disney and Bugs Bunny is to Warner Bros. Fish Hooks, on the other hand, is relatively obscure and doesn't have the success or fans that SpongeBob has.
W.I.T.C.H. (2004) Winx Club (2004) Animesque sentai show with Magical Girls. Somewhat similar shows that both originated in Italy, except W.I.T.C.H. has a bigger budget and scripts with less filler. Many of the similarities were introduced through the adaptations. In America, the Winx had broadcast TV coverage from day one while the Guardians started on cable, so the Winx ended up clobbering them ratings-wise and have now outlasted their dueling counterparts. However, WITCH wins out in terms of quality due to WINX being initially dubbed by 4Kids (Seen in anime circles as one of the worst dubbing companies in the world after a terrible dub of One Piece and an average Yu-Gi-Oh! dub, while WITCH has a longer comic series (Lasting from 2001 to 2012), and WITCH was seen as a better show overall.
Gravedale High (1990) Tiny Toon Adventures (1990) Cartoons taking place at a high school involving teenagers from a new generation based off of classic characters. Gravedale High had teen-aged expies of Universal monsters and Rick Moranis as a human teacher, who happens to be the main character. Tiny Toons was a spin-off of the Looney Tunes (naturally) that not only had hijinks ensue, but would occasionally educate the viewers. Both shows have Frank Welker and Maurice LaMarche as regular cast members. Tiny Toons lasted for 2 years and was fondly remembered, while Gravedale lasted 13 episodes and is nearly obscure.
American Dragon Jake Long (2005) The Life and Times of Juniper Lee (2005) Animated Supernatural Soap Opera about a kid with supernatural powers, a talking dog, a wise Old Master, and an annoying kid sibling tasked with protecting both the human and magic worlds. Moderate differences, but in both, a young Asian person inherits the mystical mantle of a grandparent, becomes a mediator between the human and magical worlds, and has an irritating opposite-gender younger sibling and a talking pug dog. Though both shows ran for about the same number of months, American Dragon has twelve episodes over Juniper Lee (although this was a standard Disney practice of stretching out seasons). Juniper Lee however has the advantage of getting three seasons whereas American Dragon only got two and even a DVD release of the first season (albeit only in Australia). Of the two series though, American Dragon is more well-remembered.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008) The Super Hero Squad Show (2009) Silver Age esque kiddy-shows with a focus on lighthearted fun. Brave and the Bold is still quite close to the comics in characterization, except much more far-out in its storylines, whereas Super Hero Squad Show is extremely OTT and wacky in everything that happens. Also, BTBATB focuses almost exclusively on A Day in the Limelight, prioritizing characters like Clock King and Green Arrow over The Joker and Robin. Both shows are quite popular, but so far Brave and the Bold is slightly more popular. Super Hero Squad Show will likely make more money thanks to being Merchandise-Driven, however.
Kung Fu Panda Legends Of Awesomeness (2011) Dragons: Riders of Berk (2012) Animated CGI tv-series based off hit Dreamworks Animation films. Despite both series being owned by Dreamworks, Panda is being aired on Nickelodeon while Dragons airs on Cartoon Network. Jury's still out on this one.
Recess Detention A group of kids have misadventures in school under the eye of a large strict female teacher. One Saturday Morning was beating Kids' WB! in the ratings race, so it seems pretty obvious here that Warner Bros. decided to Follow the Leader. Recess is the clear winner, having lasted six seasons and even landing a theatrical feature film. Detention was canceled after one season and isn't remembered much.
MTV's Downtown Mission Hill Late 90's Adult Animated series about the bizarre city life. Both shows were released in 1999, they were well animated following artistic styles of Alternative comics. They were so unique and strange, too strange for their own good. They both had strange characters and stranger settings. They had many sexual jokes and nerdy pop culture jokes. Both shows lasted only one season with 13 episodes. Mission Hill wins only because it was rerun on [adult swim] after the show was cancelled, along with a proper DVD release (even though the licensed music has been replaced). Downtown's DVD release is only available online directly from the creators.
Thomas (the Tank Engine) & Friends (1984) Chuggington (2008) Short stories about a fleet of anthropomorphic train engines and their daily working lives on the railway targeted at young children. The stories often contain An Aesop for the target audience to learn. Expect to hear lots of train-themed puns. Thomas & Friends was initially filmed using real railway models in live-action and the episodes were presented as if someone was reading them from a storybook; a storyteller would narrate the stories and do all the character voices. Later seasons use CGI models and gave each character their own voice actor (though the storyteller was still present). Chuggington used CGI models from the start and doesn't have a narrator; the episodes rely purely on dialogue. The characters in Chuggington are animated in a much more lively manner, showing lots of body language even if it defies the laws of physics, safety and engineering. The body language for the engines in Thomas & Friends is largely restricted to facial expressions. Most likely Thomas & Friends, because it has a much longer brand history than Chuggington. The latter is still being derided as being a ripoff of the former. The fact that Chuggington was created by former employees who worked on Thomas & Friends doesn't really help. Either way, it shouldn't matter since when it comes to the toys, Fisher-Price holds the rights to both franchises in the US, while Takara-Tomy holds the rights to both in Japan.
Young Justice (2011) Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) Action cartoons about teenage superheroes from the DC Universe and Marvel Universe respectively, training under the world's greatest superheroes while dealing with everyday teenage problems. Young Justice is the more serious and serialized of the two, especially in its second season. Ultimate Spider-Man is more jokey, frequently featuring cutaway gags and slapstick comedy. It is also known for working An Aesop into most episodes. Young Justice airs on Cartoon Network, while Ultimate Spider-Man airs on Disney XD. Young Justice has the critical edge and is well liked by comics fans, with Ultimate Spider-Man suffering by comparison to its predecessor, and is generally hated by Spider-Man fans. Young Justice ended its run with its second season (after a lot of scheduling changes and hiatuses) while Ultimate Spider-Man has been renewed for two more seasons.
Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) Teen Titans Go! (2013) Cartoons about teenage superheroes from the DC Universe and Marvel Universe Both shows are Denser and Wackier animated adaptations of their comics of the same name. Titans met with mixed reviews due to the non-existent plot and new emphasis on humor but was renewed for a second season with "succesful ratings" cited. Ultimate has acquired a mixed reputation among Spider-Man fans, as it's coming after Spectacular, one of, if not the most well-received Spider-Man series. They are both currently still going with Ultimate having a two season head-start.
Robot Chicken MAD Mashup of sketches and parodies of games, films, animations and everything else in media. Robot Chicken is fully in stop motion while MAD, based on the cult magazine of the same name combines traditional animation, stop motion and CG. Both air on the same channel. Robot Chicken wins. It's more well-known and it's still on (despite claims that it's gone downhill). MAD lasted four seasons and was canceled in 2013.
Animaniacs The Wacky World of Tex Avery Collections of cartoon shorts in half-hour kid shows. Tex Avery is alleged to be an homage to old Tex Avery cartoons while Animaniacs is original itself, but has a lot of the classic Looney Tunes-style humor remade for the 1990s. Animaniacs by a long shot. It had great ratings, lasted for 6 years, was very positively reviewed, and is on DVD and in syndication on cable. The Wacky World of Tex Avery, on the other hand, is loathed by critics and viewers, only lasted a year before getting the ax, and hasn't been seen on TV since it premiered.
The Baby Huey Show (1994) The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat (1995) A modern take on classic cartoon characters. The second season of Baby Huey was produced by Film Roman (the same company behind Twisted Tales of Felix). It's a tie. Both shows were good, but they didn't last long enough, though, if you did a YouTube search, you would find more episodes of Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat than The Baby Huey Show.
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (2010) Littlest Pet Shop (2012) Musical cartoons about talking animals on The Hub based on a 80s/90s toy line by Hasbro. Both shows have a main character interested in fashion design, a leadership specialist, and a pink Cloud Cuckoolander. They also share a voice cast, animation studio, music team, and some writers. MLP is a show that combines slice of life elements with aesops mostly about friendship and perseverance and typically has only one plotline per episode, while LPS focuses more on the slice of life aspect and either has single plots or divides into two separate plots, focusing on the escapades of the Token Human and the titular pets. LPS does have its fans and is still going strong, but MLP sparked a more famous Periphery Demographic (bronies) and is more well-known online.
Family Guy American Dad! Dysfunctional Family animated shows created by Seth MacFarlane. American Dad was created a scant few years after FOX canceled Family Guy (Seth still had a contract with FOX, and they needed a new show since a lot of their live-action stuff was getting canceled — both justly and unjustly). Then, Family Guy came back, thanks to high DVD revenue and big ratings from being rerun on [adult swim]. In terms of quality, American Dad wins because it has better writing and feels more like that animated All in the Family series that Seth MacFarlane has always wanted to do (at least in the early episodes. When Family Guy got more preachy and political, American Dad! became sillier and more cartoonish, only without the cutaway jokes). In terms of numbers and ratings, Family Guy wins.
Wander over Yonder Uncle Grandpa Animated series about goofy characters with sidekicks seeking fun in their worlds. Uncle Grandpa is a spin-off of Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, and both UG and SMFA are based off of a pilot short called Uncle Grandpa. So far, Wander has been more well-received than Grandpa. It helps that Wander's creator, Craig McCracken, already has two successful shows under his belt, while Grandpa's creator, Pete Browngardt, only has one poorly-received one.
Gravity Falls Camp Lakebottom A group of kids find that the place they're staying over the summer has strange, paranormal events happening near them. Both shows air on Disney networks in America, but Camp Lakebottom is not an official Disney production, and it's produced in Canada instead of America. Gravity Falls. It's been on the air longer and it has gained more recognition and praise than Camp Lakebottom, which is new and relatively obscure.
Courage the Cowardly Dog Poochini Animated series about timed dog who discovers weird stuff in his surroundings. Both Courage and Poochini live with an adbusive male owner. Courage has the upper-hand. Mainly because it had more seasons and merchandise, which Poochini lacks.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures Bolts And Blip Shows about unlikely heroes in a futuristic setting. Both shows uses different Canadian voice-acting groups in their shows. Pac-Man seems to have gotten a head start, mainly because it has merchandising and is already confirmed for a second season.
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Filly Funtasia Merchandise-Driven shows about colorful talking ponies. Both shows have villains, however the Fillies look more like traditional horses compared to FIM ponies. As Filly Funtasia has not yet aired, it's too soon to tell. Friendship is Magic is an insanely popular show though, so Filly Funtasia is facing tough competition. However, there is still a possibility of the show attracting a small fandom of which are those put off by the direction Hasbro took with the MLP pony designs in G3.5 and FiM.
Gargoyles Mummies Alive! Ancient monsters awaken in the modern day. They Fight Crime. Gargoyles was a major departure from much of what was happening in western animation, with arcing story lines, an expansive mythology, and emphasis on character development. Mummies Alive! tried to mimic many of these elements, but was less than successful in doing so. Gargoyles got two seasons, a continuation series (Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles), and a comic book, as well as inspiring an annual convention that went on for a full twelve years after the show was canceled. Mummies Alive! only got one season, and while it garnered a small cult following, it didn't make nearly the impact that Gargoyles did.
South Park The Boondocks Shows that satire certain current topics around plots of a community of idiots while the children turn out to usually be the only ones with common sense. South Park has an early lead having been on the air since 1997. And in fact inspired a lot future animation to come despite it crude, simplistic cut out animation. The Boondocks started life as a manga-style comic strip two years later was a bit subtle in it's humor. When finally given a TV Show in 2006, the humor became a lot more exaggerated with massive shifts in characterization of the main characters. Both series satire a lot of current ongoings (though Boondocks focuses more on African American pop culture) as well as have fantastical elements in the process. While both are very well known series. South Park comes out the clear winner having more lead time with 17 seasons and counting under its belt, plus cheaper animation which allow them to keep a steady flow of seasons (the show even been known to air episodes satirizing things a day after the events). The Boondocks only had four seasons and will end after it's fourth one. Due to the animation style, a year had passed before the fourth season was announced and was cut down to 13 episodes because of it.


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