And I have to admit, with all my sarcastic pot-shots for want of content to post, I feel a little ashamed that I forgot the big thing I actually have to be thankful for, so thanks for reminding me Spongey.
I've told this story enough times on this blog - got dumped by fiancee, got cancer, watched kiddie shows on Disney Channel, started reading YA books, now I work in the publishing industry, yadda yadda - so I'm not going to bother touching up on it any more beyond that. It was nice comfort food at that time, and to this day I still primarily enjoy the comedies even if they...often leave a lot to be desired, but I've definitely come to appreciate the more complex stuff, or at least given its relative rarity in kidcoms and kids entertainment in general I more like appreciate it extra-so when stuff like that actually comes around.
First and foremost I'm thankful for Jessie, even if a lot of people - from Deadspin's Drew Magary to our friends at our own unofficial, kinda-sorta sister blog Girl Meets World Reviewed aren't so much. But...I can't excuse the extreme drop in quality in the third season (actually, it really happened in the second season) and the fourth season which for a few rare exceptions (out of a 20-or-so episode order I can count the number of good episodes on one hand, after a few fingers have been shot off) was damn downright nearly unwatchable, and several episodes from that season being nominated or eligible for worst thing on Disney Channel that year with the first episode of Rossed at Sea ultimately winning with the series finale, Oray for Ollywood/Jessie Goes Hollywood winning worst season/series finale that year (oh and that reminds me, yeah we're going to be doing our annual awards soon!)
I'm also thankful for Liv and Maddie, it really did pick up where Jessie's first and second-ish seasons left off, and then some, and while I'm honestly disappointed it didn't last 100 episodes (it was one of the few shows that maintained a consistent quality all the way to the end) I'm still very thankful it went a full four seasons (quite possibly the very last live-action multi-cam show on Disney Channel to do so, the way things are looking). I could go on more about that show, but I suppose you can just read my retrospective back in March for the same info. I'm also thankful for showrunners John D. Beck and Ron Hart having such a fan-friendly presence on Twitter and for that duo making a return to kidcoms, this time on Nickelodeon with Knight Squad (likely to premiere after the 2018 KCAs).
I'm also thankful for Andi Mack and for proving that yes, you can mix in more serious stuff with comedy, and quite honestly thankful it did it better than Girl Meets World. Even if I haven't been the best fan of the show, or at least the most regular viewer - yes the most recent episodes I've seen still is the second-to-last episode of the first season. I'll catch up I promise.
I'm also thankful for...yes, really, Bizaardvark. Because at the end of the day I still love dumb comedies that are nothing but 24-minute long vehicles for an endless string of jokes and gags. Just as long as those jokes and gags are good. A.N.T. Farm was a blatant 24-minute long vehicle for gags and jokes and it was...wonky to say the best. Especially since it tended to rely on sight gags that might as well have been taken from something that aired during the Eisenhower years.The middle two seasons of Austin & Ally especially went even lower (well, they were still better than AFarm's final season) but...eh, now it's getting kinda rant-y, you get the point.
But going back to more serious kid shows - running the gamut from "barely more serious than Liv and Maddie if that" to "DeGrassi with a heroin storyline" - I'm thankful for the serious upgrades from Nickelodeon (and Disney Channel), even if they've had to import a lot of that. This goes back to very early last year, but various series that I didn't bother to watching until recently - Mako Mermaids, Backstage, Ride, I Am Frankie, heck even Hunter Street even though I thought that was average at best (I still haven't seen The Lodge...uhh maybe I'll start on that tomorrow). And while it seems Disney Channel, for whatever reason (could just as likely be rights issues, or ratings as well it...didn't do well on the Disney run) has given up on Mako Mermaids it's still available on Netflix and...elsewhere...so I'll be reviewing Season 2 (in fact I'll be watching the next episode on my cue soon after writing this). Backstage (that would be on the "oh crap DeGrassi heroin episode" side of the scale) is also coming back with a Season 2...on Netflix at least, although the entirety of Backstage as an IP is now owned by Disney Channel by way of now owning its original host network in Canada where it's been airing as of September, so there's still some hope that it could return to Disney Channel in the states (because I *demand* to know what happened to Vanessa and Carly, damnit!) I haven't heard anything about Ride, but (apparently) both Hunter Street and I Am Frankie (being actual, legit Nickelodeon US originals albeit produced by Nick's foreign studios...in the U.S., go figure) are confirmed for Season 2 here (Hunter Street likely either next month or February, I Am Frankie likely in either February or March with Season 3 *fingers crossed* near its original premiere monthly slot for late August through September).
Oh, and how can I forget - I'm also really thankful for Mike and how he's put so much time and effort into some really exceptional, high-quality posts, much higher than I've been doing in fact. Hats off to you Mike!
Thank you Ray! I'm thankful to still have this role, even in times where I've been busy with school or just had nothing to talk about so I disappeared for weeks. Maintaining this blog is almost like a full-time job and you've gone above and beyond in doing that so hats off to you for not letting it die!
I'm thankful for the small readership we have because at least when I write something, I know I'll be discussing it with Spongey afterwards. But for anyone lurking around here.....it doesn't hurt to drop a line. It still hurts we never collaborated with Christian and Sean on anything. One day. :(
I'm thankful for all of the terrible live-action programming that kids have had to suffer through this decade. There was some weird overlap in 2012-2013 where things started to change for the worse. It was definitely across the board, because all of a sudden, Nickelodeon and Disney both annoyed the hell out of me, and it hasn't been the same since. At this point, I've accepted that the 2000s are over and it will take years before both networks redeem themselves completely (there are small signs of hope, but I'm not counting on a period like 2009/2010, where I was watching multiple shows religiously on both networks, happening for a long time). But as long as these shows exist, somebody has to talk about them and why they don't work.
I'm thankful that Raven's Home gives me a reason to watch Disney Channel without having to worry about reviewing something afterwards. At this point, the show still hasn't had that one episode I can talk about yet, whether it's exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. It's going to happen eventually, but it just needs to come back with more episodes. Seriously, is the season over or what?
I'm thankful for Mike's Quest, because I'm forced to look at shows I never would if it didn't exist. It's become obvious to me that with some shows, like Stuck in the Middle or Andi Mack, I'm going to have to take my time looking at them. I can't just review any episode and call it a day. That's why those shows will most likely come at the end of the whole thing. I still don't know if I Am Frankie is worth adding because it seems to be just another one of those House of Anubis/Every Witch Way-type shows that will only last for two seasons over the course of a year and then never come back or be heard from again. I don't know, the jury's still out on that one.
I'm thankful for The Loud House, the only kids cartoon right now that doesn't make me want to change the channel or bore me. Keep in mind I'm not the best person to talk about kids animation in this era because I'm unfamiliar with a lot of the shows from this era. I mean, I haven't seen more than one episode of Steven Universe. But The Loud House reminds me a lot of old-school cartoons, the ones that were made in the golden age that were just about life in general. Kids still need shows like that amongst all the action-packed fantasy stuff, and it looks like it's become a huge success in less than two years for Nickelodeon. Hopefully, the show can survive for as long as possible without jumping the shark, and I also hope Chris Savino's firing didn't impact its quality too much.
I'm thankful for Girl Meets World too. With all the emotions it got out of me, it was exactly what the show I needed to become a better reviewer. Everybody needs that foil, that villain, that enemy that brings out the best (and worst) in them. I won't say that Girl Meets World is my enemy because I genuinely cared about it as a show (Henry Danger would make a great enemy if it could piss me off in different ways), but more like, a Will Smith to my Uncle Phil. You know, something that gets on your nerves constantly and always makes mistakes, but you know it has potential and you just want it to get better.
There was this one episode of Fresh Prince where Uncle Phil just straight up loses it with Will and doesn't understand why he keeps taking the easy way out when he has gifts that other people would kill to have. Will just deflects and doesn't really want to confront the problem. That one scene between them not only is a highlight of their relationship, but also sums up my feelings for Girl Meets World. It had an opportunity to be an incredible show, and at the end of the day, it took the easy way out and just settled for decent at best, with a few incredible episodes lodged in there and an unholy amount of terrible episodes. The only problem is, when Fresh Prince ended, Will was self-aware and recognized his flaws, and Uncle Phil saw that he was just on the verge of realizing his potential. When Girl Meets World ended, I didn't get that feeling at all. But I needed it to take my reviewing to the next level. I think my favorite review so far is "Girl Meets Gravity," and I don't see it being replaced for a while. I'm not done with the show forever, though. There are definitely more episodes worth talking about: "Demolition," "Pluto," "Mr. Squirrels," "Yearbook," "Rileytown," just to name a few. I also never gave the series finale a second review. So stay tuned.
I'm thankful that Hey Arnold came back after so many years and delivered on a story that fans had been waiting to see concluded since Friends was still on the air. And it was also on Thanksgiving weekend, so I have an additional reason to mention it. I don't even think the show needs another season because everything was wrapped up so nicely in the movie. Plus, would it be fair to other kids cartoons if this one came back and just embarrassed them?