Besides the stress I have with learning for my exams in May (I will finish my vocational training this year) I fortunatly still have time left to watch DVDs. My latest achievment is the complete series of Doctor Snuggles.
You know… this series really was part of my earliest childhood. For the first time I saw it when I was very young. The series was produced in 1979 and, I am not kidding, it is still running on German TV. And why? I‘m gonna tell you:
Well, this show disappeared from my mind for several years. Until I accidently saw it on TV some years ago. Immediatly all the good memories about this show came back to my mind. I watched the episode and suddenly I realised… this show is really really weird. I mean, you have talking animals in almost every cartoon show nowadays. That was not the reason. But the whole concept and the way it was realised is totally crazy. This is because of a combination of different reasons.
First of all the show was created and written in England. English writers are famous for writing „special“ stuff. When you are a fan of British TV-shows of the 1980ies you will recognize many names among the writers. Especially Douglas Adams who wrote some episodes of Doctor Snuggles. Then the characters in this show are really crazy. Doctor Snuggles is an old weirdo inventor with a talking duck-headed umbrella. His best friend is Dennis, a talking badger. In the clouds there lives the Cloud Camel. The hut of Doctor Snuggles (I always want to write Doctor Who) is alive, talking and walking… actually all inanimated objects are alive… When they have a big problem they ask the Cosmo Cat for help. This cat has its first appearance in the 3rd episode. It steps out of its spaceship (sic!) and the first thing it says is „Take me to your leader!“ The character design is also really crazy. I don‘t think that I saw anything like this ever again.
I mean, when you are small, you don‘t think about how weird the stuff is you are just watching. You only are happy, that everything is so colorful and fast and so on. But when you grew older, you start to look behind things. Sometimes you realise how stupid things are. That happened to me with the „Transformers“ and „Defenders of the Earth“ cartoons from the 1980ies. But sometimes you realise how cool things actually are. Watching Doctor Snuggles nowadays is still much fun.
This show is a timeless classic, even though the picture quality aged a lot. If this was a show by Disney, it surely would have been digitally remasterd. But for this DVD release they just copied the original masters from a video tape to DVD. That regularly happens but at least we can be happy that this show finally was released on DVD last year!!! Many classic TV shows or movies get lost because nobody cares about them. And I mean, even a thoughtless release like the Transformers DVDs I already wrote about is enough to conserve things. So nowadays‘ kids get the chance to experience a time, when cartoons were a bit weirder but also a lot better!
I‘ fed up with this ugly cartoons that run on kids TV today. You know, I don‘t watch that much TV anymore anyways. But every time I watch TV with my best lady friend’s kids at her place, I‘m shocked what kids are supposed to watch these days. Bad computer-aided animations, everything explodes, pictures are faster than ever… the characters are ugly and actually kids should be afraid of them. Instead the kids stare into the idiots lantern. Kids just don‘t know the quality of a good classic cartoon show anymore. Of course there are some exceptions. For example I loved the very first seasons of Spongebob Squarepants. But after some years this show just became too disgusting and much too weird for my taste.
Here in Germany we have two channels on Free-TV that bring kids TV: The first is SuperRTL. This channel is actually owned by Disney by 50% or so. They have a big reel of Disney cartoons. There are classic shows like Duck Tales, Darkwing Duck, Aladdin and whatsoever. But this shows run on another channel. SuperRTL only brings the crazy new age Disney XD stuff. And I mean the „Post-Kim-Possible“-stuff. „Phineas and Ferb“ is great, I have to admit that. But this cartoon about this boy and this ninja cat… „Boog vs. Cat“ or so. What the heck??? I don‘t even get if this ugly cat is an actual cat or an alien or a mutant or somebody who would vote the FDP. But very often, these shows aren‘t even suitable for kids. You just have to look at series like the Powerpuff Girls, Cosmo & Wanda, Spongebob and so on.
The other channel is KI.KA (= Kinderkanal = Kids Channel). This channel is soooo soft… I would not let my kids watch KI.KA because I was afraid that they grow up beyond reality. when the channel started they had the motto: „Gewaltfrei, Werbefrei, frei ab 3!“ (free of violence, free of commercials, suitable for kids above 3 years). KI.KA almost only brings soft-cartoons. I think the craziest show they air is Pet Alien. This CGI-series is about a bunch of aliens that crashland in a small bay-city and start to change a boy’s life. The animation is really poor but at least a bit weirder than the stuff that runs on KI.KA. This channel also brings the new Garfield CGI-show… compared to the original cartoons from the 80ies and 90ies this version is… well, harmless. Today cartoon shows also want to reach the parents that (hopefully) are watching with their kids. There is a huge amount of mature humour in shows like Cosmo & Wanda. When Dad tells Timmy the truth about the bees and the flowers, Timmy leaves and askes „Whatfor do I need the batteries then?“ and Dad goes like „I‘ll tell you when you are older!“ … well, yes.
Back to Doctor Snuggles. There aren‘t many classic cartoons that still work today. Doctor Snuggles is slow paced but colorful enough to still get kids‘ interest. Additionally it always shows that it is important to help people and that things often are different than they look on the outside. But still it is quite a shame, that kids are ruined (and I mean ruined) by this modern cartoon shit. I mean, they work. As long as there are explosions or people who make ugly faces or just trip, kids are pleased. My best lady friend’s kids are also allowed to watch The Simpsons. But only because they are at an age where they don‘t understand what’s going on. OK, kids often are smarter than we would expect, but when you are 3 and 5 years old you are happy that everything is so colorful and funny.
There were plans to remake the series in the beginning of the millenium. Unfortunatly this was never realised. But there was a short subject in 2002 that you can watch right now! Here you are:
Well, I was a bit happier, when modern cartoons were at least a tiny bit like the old-fashioned ones. I don‘t have kids, but I had no idea what cartoons I would show them, if I had some.
Follow the little red UFO!!!