Honestly I think part of the reasons cartoons nowadays are failing is because so many focus on comedy.
Comedy isn’t bad when the jokes are actually funny and aren’t stolen from the internet.
The issue is that they take action oriented shows (Powerpuff Girls, Teen Titans) and turn them into shows that are nothing more than cash cows for the network that bank on the fame of the original while doing nothing to live up to it. A number of cartoons now fizzle out after so many seasons because they simply can’t maintain an audience. The issue is that kids grow up. Eventually the humor and stolen jokes become old to them while cartoons that should have fizzled out are kept going and out on repeat (Looking at you TTG)
“You’re dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.” - Walt Disney.
I think that is a quote any cartoonist, comic maker, writer, etc. who aims or gears their works towards children should have in their notebook or animation guide. Why? Because it’s true. So many cartoons are lame because they have no growth with the audience or any appeal beyond a young audience that is subject to lose interest at the drop of a hat. For some reason, it seems like cartoon makers are afraid of making a cartoon that has dark elements to it.
I’m not saying people should make dark cartoons just for the sake of it because that’s what will appeal to kids. Rather, I’m saying there is nothing wrong with having a dark theme in your cartoon or having the characters deal with issues. It doesn’t even have to be truly dark.
For example, The Powerpuff Girls had an episode that showed the actually dangerous or downside to the girls powers when they moved out of Townsville. They had an episode that dealt with toxic relationships (the episode with Buttercup having a crush on Ace). They had an episode that dealt with insecurities on a number of occasions, etc. all while maintaining a sense of laughter and cheerfulness.
Static Shock dealt with homophobia, Racism (the episode where Static met Richie’s father) and gun violence and bullying (the episode where Jimmy was bullied and brought a gun to school with the intention of killing his bullies). They had an episode where Static had to come to terms with his mother’s death.
Captain Planet obviously dealt with pollution and environmental dangers, but also had an episode dedicated towards HIV and suicide.
Steven Universe attracts a wide range of people to the show due to the variety of issues presented in the show. Grief, LGBT issues, etc.
Gumball is a genuinely comedic show that doesn’t rely on memes and jokes stolen from the internet for the sole basis of its writing. The characters are likable and funny without having to be total douchebags to each other.
Shows that attract a wide range of viewers are good shows and they deserve the attention over some cash cow that is a hollow shell of the original.
With so many shows from the 90s getting revivals and reboots, I can only hope that they don’t fall into the shoes of PPG 2016 and TTG.
Kids deserve better than just hollow jokes and shells of the original show that they will outgrow. Kids deserve shows that actually stick with them till adulthood.