Adult Swim has extended its reach into Cartoon Network's programming further and is catering more specifically to adults as more children move away from traditional television to streaming and YouTube. Recently, the programming block launched "Checkered Past," which is a two-hour gap of classic Cartoon Network shows ahead of the regular programming fans are used to. I've enjoyed what I've seen so far from this block, but I can't shake the feeling that it could be even better.
There's still a lot of time for Checkered Past to grow and continue to evolve, and I hope it does. On that note, here are some thoughts for how it could grow further, seeing as I seem to be the audience to which it's directly catering. Assuming this programming sticks around, I'd like to see the following changes happen as it continues to run in its time slot.
More Variety In Shows
Currently, Checkered Past airs four classic Cartoon Network shows for two hours. For those who haven't had a chance to check it out yet, here's the current daily schedule:
Dexter's Laboratory - 5:00 p.m. ET
Ed Edd n' Eddy - 5:30 p.m. ET
The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy - 6:00 p.m. ET
Courage The Cowardly Dog - 6:30 p.m. ET
It's not a bad lineup at all, but there are so many classic Cartoon Network shows I'd love to see more variety. The Powerpuff Girls feels like an obvious add at some point down the line, as well as other classics like Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken and Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends. That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the number of shows to pull from, so I do hope we see more variety as this programming block continues.
Leaning Less Into Adult Swim Aesthetic, And More Into Classic Cartoon Network
If you've watched Adult Swim in the past couple of years, you're familiar with the current aesthetic. The same picturesque views are still present in Checkered Past, but have random classic Cartoon Network characters mixed into them. It's on brand for Adult Swim, but not really something I relate to nostalgia in any way. Considering that's part of the hook, I was hoping to see Checkered Past lean into more of that with classic Cartoon Network promos; something, for example, like this:
It may seem silly to care about, but classic promos like this really scratch that nostalgic itch for me. As a kid, it was so cool to see all of these characters interacting, considering crossovers were more of a rarity in those days. I'd much sooner like to see some of these classic promos revived compared to blending old cartoons with the current Adult Swim aesthetic. If the goal is to lean into nostalgia, then go all the way with it rather than try to blend it with the present.
Bring Back The Old Cartoon Network Music Videos
I may be showing my age here, but there was once a time where Cartoon Network ran music videos in between its programming. The twist was that they were often tied to the shows on the network, and some of those songs were absolute jams. Take, for example, Will.I.Am's "Secret," which featured Dexter just vibing in the background as the rapper did his thing:
I'm going to have that in my head all day now, and I love that. There were also quite a few cool mash-up songs that featured Hanna Barbera content and sounded like the type of track that would end up on a MF Doom album way back when. I can't imagine mixing these back into the programming would be all that difficult, though I could see there being some issues if the licensing is lapsed or out of date. If that's the case, it's totally worth renewing if people are tuning into Checkered Past to relive some of the beloved television memories of their childhood.
Feature Segments About The History Of The Shows
Back when many of these cartoons first aired, television and the internet weren't what they are now. These days, it's not uncommon to be able to find behind-the-scenes information and details about shows and even a number of more recent cartoons. These shows missed out on that era, but I'm sure there are tons of interesting details about some of the most memorable cartoons from the past that are worth showing in a quick segment between shows.
As an example, I recently saw that Paul Rudish was a character designer and art director on Dexter's Laboratory. I found that really cool because my daughter is obsessed with the Mickey Mouse shorts he's made for Disney. If there's footage of the show from back in the day where he's working on Dexter's Laboratory and explaining certain elements, I'd love to see stuff like that cut in between.
Make Checkered Past An Hour Longer
In this modern era of television, two hours of classic cartoons just doesn't feel like enough to me. It feels like just when I'm getting into the groove and enjoying these shows, the fun is already over. I think it'd be completely fine to add another hour to Checkered Past and maybe two additional shows for people to enjoy each night.
To be clear, however, if time is added to Checkered Past, I'd rather see it bleed into Adult Swim's 7 p.m. hour. As much as I love King of the Hill, it feels sad to go an hour in the other direction and steal cartoon time from what children are still watching Cartoon Network. Of course, I'm all for those kids getting more exposure to the classics, but if they would rather watch Craig of the Creek than Courage The Cowardly Dog, who am I to advocate they lose out on that? There's a King of the Hill revival on the way, so I don't feel as bad about taking some screen time away on that end.
As mentioned, anyone interested in checking out Checkered Past just needs to tune into Cartoon Network starting at 5:00 p.m. ET each weekday. Overall, I'm excited for how it's going so far, but I do hope that the powers that be take some of this criticism and help further mold it into something even better.