Today: June 21, 2024

Psychedelic Cartoons

Part of the challenge of creating a hit cartoon show is attracting the largest possible audience. Throughout the years, cartoon creators have achieved this by using odd, unpredictable and even slightly psychedelic characters, storylines and artwork – and cartoon fans have loved it. In celebration of the latest Moomin instalment, Moomins On The Riviera, we take a look at the shows that followed in their pioneering footsteps of strange and unusual characters and themes…

The Moomins
The Moomins are a family of white, hippo-like, fairy-tale creatures who live carefree and eccentric lives in Moominvalley. The Moomins were first introduced to the world in the 1940s by creator Tove Jansson and captured the hearts of children and parents alike. They made their first television outing in Germany as puppets in the late 1950s and then as a Japanese animated series, which aired between 1969 and 1970. In 1969, Tove Jansson and her brother, Lars Jansson also created a Moomin television series in Sweden called Mumintrollet (Moomintroll). More recently, Japan released another Moomin series in 1990. This Moomin instalment was dubbed, distributed and broadcasted in 124 countries.

The latest instalment, Moomins On The Riviera sees the Moomins, Snorkmaiden and Little My set sail for the Riviera, where, following a journey fraught with menacing storms and desert island dangers, Snorkmaiden is dazzled by the attentions of a playboy and Moomin learns that jealousy’s sting is the most painful of all. Meanwhile Moominpappa befriends an aristocrat and adopts the name ‘de Moomin’. An exasperated Moominmamma retires to the relative calm of their trusty old boat, to wait for her family to come to their senses. For the very first time, the unity of the Moomins is threatened…

Adventure Time
This American cartoon series on Cartoon Network tells the story of Finn (the human) and Jake (Finn’s dog and adopted brother who has magical powers to transform in size and shape at will) on their adventures in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo. The dynamic duo spend their time exploring, playing games, saving princesses and battling evil gnomes, candy zombies, village-burning hoodlums and a plethora of other unearthly creatures. Finn and Jake live their lives with the purpose of finding an adventure and having fun.  Adventure Time is Cartoon Network’s highest rated show with the highest rating episode scoring over three million views.

Catdog was a Nickelodeon series that ran from 1998 to 2005, which followed the adventures of conjoined cat and dog brothers, Cat and Dog. The two were conjoined at the abdomen with two heads, no hind legs and no tails. The brothers had very different personalities: Cat was much more refined and enjoyed things like cleanliness and opera; and Dog enjoyed chasing garbage trucks, adventures and eating (basically everything Cat hated). The series premised around the brothers’ daily lives and adventures, which included escaping the harassment of the dog gang called The Greaser Dogs.

The Ren & Stimpy Show
This show told of the lives of Ren, a haywire, intense and emotionally unstable Chihuahua, and Stimpy, a care-free and empty-minded cat. The stories revelled in potty humour, including farts, hairballs and litter boxes. The show premiered on Nickelodeon in 1991 and ended in 1995.

Robot Chicken
Robot Chicken is a satirical, adult humour show on Adult Swim. The show references popular culture fads, including toys, games, television and film, including a Star Wars episode that was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Animated Program. The show is created using stop motion animation.

The High Fructose Adventures Of Annoying Orange
The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange began as Web series Annoying Orange, created by Dane Boedigheimer and developed into a TV series for Cartoon Network in 2012. The plot line followed the life of Orange and his many fruity friends who all have human eyes and mouths and live in the fruit stand, Daneboe’s. The weird and wonderful show is most famous for the Gangnam-style parody YouTube video. The show ended in 2014 with only two seasons.

The Magic Roundabout
The Magic Roundabout was a children’s animated TV show created in the 1960s by Frenchman Serge Danot. The rights to the show were then bought by Joy Whitby who brought the show to the UK. The Magic Roundabout was a carousel that became magical having a spell cast on it to ensure that all the children would return to play on it. The show includes a collection of bazaar characters, including, Dougal, a dog who only eats sugar lumps; Zebedee, a magical, bouncing creature; Dylan, an easy-going rabbit;  Ermintrude, a pink cow; Florence, a girl; and Brian the snail.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Aqua Teen Hunger Force follows the happenings of three ill-mannered roommates and  fast food items – Master Shake, the narcissistic milkshake; Meatwad, the dim-witted, shape shifting meatball; and Frylock, the overbearing box of French fries – who identify to themselves as the Aqua Teens. This year is the show’s 11th and last season and promises to include time travel, celebrity chefs, shape shifting and all manner of weirdness.

Moomins On The Riviera is out on digital platforms now and on DVD from 28th September 2015, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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