Joined: 26 Oct 2006
|Posted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:45 pm Post subject: The State of Nickelodeon Today: As Seen by a 16-Year Old.
|Hey there everyone.
I've been watching Nickelodeon fairly often recently and I have to say that, as someone who grew up in the "transition period" between Nickelodeon of the 1990s and Nickelodeon of the 2000s, it's honestly not as bad as most people seem to think.
Now, I'm as guilty of hating on the network as much as most people on here are (in terms of, OH! IT'S NOT AS GOOD AS IT USED TO BE), however... when I finally decided to give every show on Nickelodeon a chance, I walked away with some good surprises.
First of all, iCarly and True Jackson are both well-written amusing shows that do much more good than bad. Nickelodeon has always had the upper hand when it comes to writing, and these shows prove that they can still do well-written shows.
SpongeBob is still awesome. There, I said it. After the movie there was a noticeable drop in writing quality, but after watching the most recent episodes, I've got to say that it's actually still quite funny. No comment on OddParents, since I've never been a fan of it; same with Barnyard and Mighty B.
Nick's been fairly active with adding new shows recently. Quick list to refresh your memory:
The Penguins of Madagascar
Big Time Rush
FanBoy and Chum-Chum
I watched all five of them multiple times (minus Big Time Rush, since only its' pilot has been shown), and I found four to be surprisingly good.
The Penguins of Madagascar is awesome. They were my favorite part of the Madagascar movies and when I heard they were getting a TV show on Nick, I was pretty excited. The show still manages to capture the humor and fun of the movies while branching out into different stories and new characters; and the writing's top notch here (a theme for my little story here).
BrainSurge, as I expected, was old-school Nickelodeon at its' best. Addictive to watch and impossible to not play along with, it brought me back to my childhood when I'd sit on the couch at home and play along with Figure It Out and Double Dare 2000's question round. The sight of a 16-year old screaming at the TV and jumping for joy when someone won the final round on BrainSurge is a sight to behold, and it's something you see regularly in my house.
The Troop is produced by Tom Lynch, the guy behind Classic Nick shows like The Secret World of Alex Mack, Caitlin's Way, and The Journey of Allen Strange; and it's got the same sort of vibe that I got when I watched Caitlin's Way for the first time in years in the early hours of The N/Teennick. The plot isn't the most creative, but the show's got a very old-school feel to it from the "effects" and it's got a bit of charm to it that none of the other shows on Nick have. The characters, especially the main protagonist, all have a good sense of likability to them, too.
Big Time Rush was created by Scott Fellows, who created one of my favorite newer Nick shows Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. I went into Big Time Rush with the thought that Nick was trying far too hard to be Disney Channel, first with Spectacular (which I thought was absolutely terrible), and now with this boy-band approach. And I was totally wrong. First of all, the single-camera no-laugh-track aspect does wonders for the jokes, and all four of the leads come across as very likable characters. They aren't fooling anyone in terms of "being teenagers", but they all have a bit of charm to them. The songs were great (I'm a sucker for boy-bands anyway), and the overall tone of the show was a great change from what I was expecting.
Oh, FanBoy and Chum-Chum. You were the one that got away. I wasn't expecting gold considering that the other new "crazy" Nicktoon; The Mighty B!, got on my nerves as annoying and grating.. but that's exactly what I got with this show as well. The character designs, I admit, are pretty cool. But the show's just.. bad. The jokes aren't funny, the characters are annoying, and the show is just too wacky for its' own good.
Four out of five is a GREAT track record for new shows, especially in a day where the pinnacle of childrens' television now is just poorly-written laugh track-abusing infomercials designed to sell a computer-enhanced kid's voice to the world.
Now, onto the infamous new logo.
When I first heard that they were retiring the splat, I was angry beyond belief. That's my childhood they were screwing with, and I didn't want that to happen. My main complaint with the new logo is that it lacks fun and whimsy, two things Nick pretty much defines, in favor of being sleek and modern.
Now, I have to say.. I'm warming up to it.
The new graphics packs Nick's added compliment the logo well, and while Nick's obviously trying to distance themselves from the past, this single promo showed me that Nick's still got it:
Slime. The one thing that distances Nickelodeon from its' competitors. A time-honored substance that kids all over the world associate with Nickelodeon.
And they didn't just keep it.. they took it to center stage. Something that everyone who watched Nickelodeon during their childhood can recognize has become the showcase for the rebrand.
I've said some pretty bad things about Nick in the past, but after giving them a chance and seeing what they have to offer, I don't think that Nickelodeon has changed at all. It's our tastes as adults that have changed. We look back fondly on Clarissa, Rocko, and Pete and Pete, and one day kids will look back on iCarly, True Jackson, and Penguins with the same fondness for the "old days" that we have. And that's something I'm glad to see.. even today, teenagers my age look back on newer shows like Rocket Power and Double Dare 2000 with the same fondness that we have for our older shows.
Best of all, despite numerous close calls (cough-SPECTACULAR-cough), Nickelodeon still hasn't become Disney Channel. The Nick brand still means the same thing it did when we were kids. Programming hasn't devolved into a series of laugh-track abusing comedies with no goal other than to sell records. The only show that comes even close to that, Big Time Rush, manages to distance itself from its' predecessors just by being genuinely funny.
Nickelodeon's still here, folks. We may not realize it, but Nickelodeon's still here.
And things could be worse. We could be Disney Channel.
Florida: Where it's illegal to have sex with a Porcupine.