A Guide To Boomerang’s Classic Cartoon Streaming Service
We single out the titles that cannot be missed on Boomerang's subscription service devoted to classic cartoons.
There is no stronger drug on the market than nostalgia right now, and there’s no better time for a Netflix-like subscription service that caters solely to the classic cartoons of yesteryear.
The popular retro cable channel Boomerang recently spun off their brand into a streaming service that provides audiences with over 5,000 episodes from the libraries of Warner Brothers, Hanna-Barbera, and MGM’s animated content and new original content.
Furthermore, it’s now the only place that streamers will be able to find Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo, The Jetsons, Tom and Jerry, and The Flintstones. That’s nothing to shake a stick of TNT at.
Accordingly, we’ve assembled an easy-to-follow list outlining some of the most memorable and hilarious classic cartoons on Boomerang’s subscription service. Before you know it, you’ll be getting whacked over the head with so much nostalgia you’ll think that a 10-ton anvil just fell on you!
What’s It Like?: Monty Python’s Flying Circus meets The Muppet Show
How Long Is It?: 1039 Episodes
Best Episode: “Duck Amuck”
Looney Tunes is the crown jewel of classic cartoons. There’d be no point in Boomerang even launching such a service if Looney Tunes wasn’t a part of it. The variety-style program is the home of so many beloved characters. Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, Marvin the Martian, and Daffy Duck are only the tip of the iceberg.
Looney Tunes is a true master at character-driven comedy. The series has an incredible knack for turning one-note caricatures into unbelievable goldmines of comedy. Something silly like the laws of physics aren’t going to get in the way of some bizarre slapstick gag. The fact that the show is broken up into short, digestible segments makes it even easier to enjoy, too. Segments like “What’s Opera, Doc?” and “Baton Bunny” are also utter triumphs of animation and must-sees for any fan of the medium.
Boomerang also utilizes an interesting strategy where they curate playlists and “shows” by character. For instance, you can get a huge lineup of content from various episodes from other shows that only contain Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, or whoever your favorite is.
In this sense, I’d easily select a playlist of “Road Runner and Coyote,” “Sylvester & Tweety,” and “Foghorn Leghorn” selections as some of my Top Picks, even though they’re not technically shows on their own right. That being said, Boomerang organizes them and has them able to be viewed just like any other show, so it felt necessary to single them out.
What’s It Like?: The Honeymooners meets Land of the Lost
How Long Is It?: 166 Episodes
Best Episode: “The Flintstone Flyer”
The Flintstones is certainly the biggest hit from out of the Hanna-Barbera side of Boomerang’s library. It’s also the best cartoon set during the prehistoric era. The family of the Flintstones might be billed as “the modern stone-age family,” but the series takes that anachronistic mentality to heart.
The show operates as a family sitcom that depicts zany adventures intersecting with the normalcy of married life. It just also happens to have tiny dinosaurs functioning as garbage disposals or wooly mammoths being a must-have for any bathroom. “It’s a living,” indeed. The cartoon also gains points for “aging” its cast and evolving their lives through the show’s six seasons. Both Fred and Wilma and Barney and Betty end up with growing offspring by the end of the series.
The Flintstones also earns the cool distinction of being the first animated series to air during primetime. Perhaps that kind of explains the inexplicable laugh track that the series has. It’s a cartoon! What audience?
What’s It Like?: The Strain meets Pinky and the Brain
How Long Is It?: 40 Episodes
Best Episode: “Puzzle Madness”
Bunnicula is an odd little selection in Boomerang’s library. It’s definitely one of the newer titles that they offer. This highlights the service’s interest in programming to both adults that grew up with classic cartoons, as well as children that are currently experiencing new hits in the making. Bunnicula takes the absurdly adorable concept of a vampire bunny (in fact, he was Count Dracula’s pet) who feasts on the juice of vegetables.
This series combines the super cute with the macabre and spooky in a very effective manner like no other show on here. Not only that, but this series takes this beloved character from James and Deborah Howe’s children’s book series, but really evolves the premise. For example, the cartoon has a lot of fun with that idea that the juice from different vegetables will bestow Bunnicula with various supernatural powers. Garlic turns him into a skeleton bunny, rutabagas give him telekinesis, leeks give him spider legs. You know, the typical things. The character is so much more than just a vampire bunny.
Boomerang is also the only place that you’re going to find new episodes of this off-kilter series. With the steady improvement in quality that the series has shown through its run, future installments of Bunnicula are going to be a must.
What’s It Like?: Rick and Morty meets Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations
How Long Is It?: 17 Episodes (34 Segments)
Best Episode: “See-Saw to Arkansas/Creepy Trip to Lemon Twist”
The elevator pitch for Wacky Races doesn’t exactly sound thrilling: Let’s put a bunch of weirdos in even weirder vehicles and have them race across America episode. The Slag Brothers, for instance, are two truly weird additions to the Hanna-Barbera universe. And yet, Wacky Races is some of the strangest, yet most satisfying material that Hanna-Barbera would ever put out.
Upon recently re-watching the show, I was genuinely shocked at how far some of the gags on this cartoon went and just how risky it could be. Each segment sees the wacky racers racing wackily through some real places in America. It’s not afraid to lean into stereotypes and broad characterizations, accordingly.
While anticipating who is going to win the latest race is always entertaining, it’s just as fun watching the latest scheme of Dirk Dastardly and Muttley fall to pieces. They’re essentially Hanna-Barbera’s answer to Wile E. Coyote. Wacky Races has remained so popular with audiences that there’s also a reboot of the series that’s happening soon, set to exclusively air on Boomerang.
Courage the Cowardly Dog
What’s It Like?: Lassie meets Carnivale
How Long Is It?: 52 Episodes (102 Segments)
Best Episode: “The Mask”
Courage the Cowardly Dog is one of the better shows in Boomerang’s library that can be enjoyed by both children and adults. This bizarre program manages to expertly tap into comedy, horror, mystery, and drama (“Remembrance of Courage Past” is shockingly sad and poignant), making each episode a surprise in a whole new way. Courage is a chameleon like no other show and it’s as if Tex Avery and Salvador Dali got drunk and made a cartoon together.
The cartoon follows the simple premise of Courage’s peaceful life being invaded by aliens, monsters, or the Next Scary Threat, with the terribly underclassed dog doing his best at keeping the world from falling apart. That’s not a very complicated story for a show, but that’s probably for the best. The cartoon finds infinite ways to have fun with the idea as well as digging deeper and revealing a twisted backstory to the storytelling when needed.
Also, this show could be creepy like no other! Revisiting installments like “The Magic Tree of Nowhere” or “Courage in the Big, Stinkin’ City” will remind audiences just how weird and unusual this children’s show could be. Although maybe afterwards you’ll wish that you hadn’t…
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
What’s It Like?: Bored to Death meets Penny Dreadful
How Long Is It?: 41 Episodes
Best Episode: “A Night of Fright is No Delight”
Everyone and their mask-wearing janitor knows about Scooby-Doo. If for whatever reason you’ve never had the time to actually check out the series, Boomerang has made that easier than ever. Scooby-Doo has a deceptively simple format to it. Presumed monster. Mystery hunting. “…if it wasn’t for those pesky kids.” Repeat.
Somehow this cartoon was able to turn an infinitely repeatable formula and turn it into a sprawling franchise across media that’s showing no signs of slowing down. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! is the humble cartoon that started it all though. Sometimes there’s just nothing more satisfying than kicking back and letting the Mystery Machine work its magic. The silly (and sometimes actually scary) monsters are a blast, but watching Hanna-Barbera slowly master a growing, colorful animation style is another highlight of this early classic.
While the original Scooby-Doo series is one of the finest executions of the premise, Boomerang also offers up other takes on the mystery-solving bunch, like What’s New, Scooby-Doo? and Be Cool, Scooby-Doo, too. Now to just find the perfect Scooby Snacks recipe…
Droopy, Master Detective
What’s It Like?: Monk meets Curb Your Enthusiasm
How Long Is It?: 13 Episodes (39 Segments)
Best Episode: “Sheep Thrills/Screwball Out West /The Maltese Fossil”
While actually a spinoff from Tom & Jerry Kids (also available on Boomerang), Droopy, Master Detective finds a unique way to re-invent the curmudgeon-y wet blanket of a character. In a very Frasier-like move, the series pairs Droopy up with son, Dripple, who doesn’t fall from the whiny tree. Watching this lethargic pair tackle any story would be a fascinating spectacle, but the fact that this is a love letter to detective yarns and noir cinema is the icing on the cake.
There might not be a whole lot of Droopy, Master Detective but the cartoon makes every episode count. On top of the antics of Droopy and Dripple, the series also functions as a platform for other fledgling Tom and Jerry characters, like Screwball Squirrel, Wild Mouse, and Lightning Bolt the Super Squirrel. Together the group almost functions as a team of misfit toons from the corners of Hanna-Barbera’s history.
Boomerang also has traditional Droopy cartoons at its disposal, but the crime-solving filter works so well for the character that you’ll wonder how he ever did anything else before it. Until Boomerang gets around to adding Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries to their library (which they’ve confirmed is not far off), this is the best, weirdest detective work that’s out there!
What’s It Like?: Fraggle Rock meets The Prisoner
How Long Is It?: 256 Episodes (418 Segments)
Best Episode: “Gargamel’s Time Trip”
When you really break a show down to its core parts, does it honestly get any weirder than The Smurfs? A bunch of blue, pint-sized creatures who are constantly saying the name of their species. Oh, and there’s only one female Smurf. Seems like the perfect playground for children to have some fun. In all seriousness though, in spite of how The Smurfs’ reputation over its modern versions has been lukewarm, the cartoon was a force to be reckoned with for most of the ‘80s. The exploits of Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy Smurf, and the rest of the bunch are full of wholesome storytelling, while also taking place in an elastic reality where anything feels possible.
Coming from the mind of Belgian cartoonist Peyo, the cartoon contained many European sensibilities that helped the series stand out amongst the rest of the animated crowd. The series would frequently use famous classical works of music to fill out its score and compliment the Smurf-y scenes. Watch an episode or two and see how Smurfing is properly done and why recent takes on the property have struggled to recapture its magic.
Popeye the Sailor
What’s It Like?: Black Sails meets Ash Vs. The Evil Dead
How Long Is It?: 231 Episodes
Best Episode: “Goonland”
Popeye the Sailor is the story of the everyman. He’s Walter White. He’s Don Draper. He’s Rick Grimes. He’s Rick Sanchez. There’s something deeply relatable over the idea of a sailor—a common workingman—getting his love stolen from him until the magical properties of spinach give him super-strength and he can end up on top. He’s Clark Kent one second and Superman the next.
Popeye might seem like a crude invention, but these cartoons really pushed the limits of animation at the time by featuring terribly dynamic background and characters designs.
It’s also crucial to understand that Popeye goes through psychological and emotional trauma in a way that other cartoon characters of this era simply weren’t experiencing at the time. While Popeye is reduced into a broad caricature when many people think of the guy, he’s an absolutely crucial figure in the development of cartoon characters becoming fully realized protagonists with depth and not just outlets for comedy.
*Boomerang is available for $4.99 a month, or for $39.99 for a full year
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