Now Available on Home Video

While some kids argued over console wars between Nintendo, Sega and the like, I was more of a TV network kid myself, taking sides in terms of which shows I preferred on which cable station. That said, I was more of a Nicktoons kid growing up, over a Cartoon Network one. And while as of late, both networks are experiencing some definite lows, I will say that at the moment, I’m sure wishing I took CN’s side when growing up if only for one reason: Season Sets.

Nickelodeon, like most things awesome, had some pretty humble beginnings, though most will most likely begin its history starting off with its various reruns of older cartoons previously aired by channels like ABC, NBC and WB. For quite some time, that was how afternoons on Nickelodeon would be, mixing in shows like Garfield & Friends with Inspector Gadget and The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. Though, that’s not to say that they aired these shows exclusively, with the network kicking off in August 8, 1991 with three completely new shows of their own to accompany the vet ‘toons: Ren & Stimpy, Doug, and Rugrats. With this, soon came about Nicktoon hits that would carry the company for years to come.

As the concept was with television shows in general at the time, the more popular shows were given VHS releases, collecting only a small number of episodes from a television series, perhaps under a common theme (friendship, the beach, holiday specials, etc.) with only the most upper-crust of shows really getting a full-on season set release—reasonable enough, considering how many tapes were needed for merely one season of a show. Fast-forward to the late ‘90s and early 2000’s, when DVDs made things simpler for everyone, especially TV show collectors.

With the dawn of DVDs, it felt as if a heavy burden was lifted off of most TV shows’ shoulders, most of them practically guaranteed a DVD season set, even in the case of their cancellation. Though even then, it still felt as if live-action shows were given this treatment, with a majority of animated shows having yet to get the sort of release treatment even the worst of live-action shows have received.

In Nickelodeon’s case, the number of complete season releases can be counted on one hand. Most notably, would be Nick’s two main cash cows as of late: Spongebob Squarepants and Avatar: The Last Airbender, both receiving not only complete season DVD releases, but complete season releases with quite the plethora of bonus content just to make the purchase that much more worth it. But what about Nick’s older titles out there? Surely they’re fully aware of their ever increasing library of shows to make some serious bank out of, right?

Enter Nickelodeon’s “Rewind Collection”—a short-lived run releasing season sets for Nick’s older live-action shows (in particular Clarissa Explains it All and The Adventures of Pete and Pete). Being cancelled after Clarissa’s first and P&P’s second season release, failure to sell as well as Nick’s newer titles has been chalked up by fans to bad marketing, with most fans still unaware that such releases exist.

Sadly, the same fate is can be said for Nick’s attempt at entering the digital marketing world, making their older releases available via online retailers. While select Nicktoons and live-action Nick shows out there have been granted “limited run” season set releases such as Rugrats, Hey Arnold, and Danny Phantom via amazon’s website, being “manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media” this basically shows the lack of confidence Nick has in their older titles selling well, only making as many DVDs as ordered by consumers. And even then, checking amazon’s listings, it looks like it’s been a good year since one of these releases has come about, leading to the assumption that such releases have been stopped completely.

As for Nick’s iTunes releases, it seems like one gigantic step back has been taken, sticking with not season set releases, but common theme releases, similar to the VHS releases. And while a good majority of the better episodes have been released via “Best of” compilations, it still irks “completionist” collectors out there that figure that the reason for such a release style was more than likely due to some of the more “out there” series (Angry Beavers, Rocko’s Modern Life, etc.) having some episodes featuring some suggestive dialogue/material; “Best of” releases has become a way for Nick to handpick just exactly which episodes may be released and which one’s won’t.

Also taking into consideration the lack of special features as well as strict retail price (you can’t exactly get a “used” digital copy for a lower price) it is clear that Nick isn’t exactly doing their best in selling their older titles to mass markets. Though, I will admit that the limited amount of downloadable titles is worth the purchase, considering it’ll be more than likely that it’ll be more than likely that a release with special features won’t be happening any time soon.

Compare that 838 words worth of Nickelodeon nonsense to Cartoon Network’s line of releases.

CN’s line of home releases started off similarly to Nick’s with VHS releases of select episodes. However, once DVD’s started becoming the norm, CN took a somewhat different route than Nick, actually having the gall to take the same route as live-action series nearly from the get-go and releasing season sets. However, like Nick, it seems as if a lack of hype surrounding the releases led to a short-lived run, with only a ragtag select series like Ben 10, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, and Ed, Edd ‘n’ Eddy getting such treatment.

As of late, newer shows on Cartoon Network have been released in volumes, releasing episodes from the series in order in single disc releases—a step up from “common theme” releases, but still nowhere near as efficient as season releases.

June 19, 2007 marked the release of the first season of The Powerpuff Girls, one of CN’s most popular original shows. With such a release, it only made sense to anticipate other shows from that era to receive the same treatment of release. However, with the second and third seasons of PPG cancelled, it seemed as if marketers were hesitant to delve into the older realm of cartoons. Though considering that in January 20, 2009, PPG was released in a complete series set, one can only guess what’s going down in corporate-land.

In terms of online releases, however, it seems as if CN has been more lenient in terms of releases, with full season releases of CN shows both old and new. Lately, the trend has also come back to Cartoon Network’s DVD releases, with Johnny Bravo, the first CN season set to be released under the “CN Hall of Fame” label last month, with Courage the Cowardly Dog and Dexter’s Laboratory having set release dates later this year. And while these series are available in their entirety on iTunes, the promise of at least some special features makes these releases worth the buy.

As the release label suggests, the “Hall of Fame” releases finally presents Cartoon Networks’ original shows—the shows that put them on the map and defined the channel for years—in a manner showing not only respect for the series themselves, but confidence that the series will sell well. Hopefully, Nickelodeon will wise up soon enough, ‘cuz YouTube clips and torrents just aren’t cutting it for me.


About daemoncorps
Gabe (daemoncorps) has been writing about anime and the like since 2005, but has been babysat by it for much longer. He primarily spends his days distracting himself on twitter or writing for Fandom Post until he realizes he has a weekly webcomic ( to work on. He also just finished writing his first full-length graphic novel about unemployment (

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