TMcBee’s Top 10 Animated TV Series from Canada

Oh Canada, home of hockey games, maple syrup and Bare Naked Ladies. I am proud to be a Canadian, but I’m also proud to be a fan of animated shows from my childhood or teenage years.

To celebrate Canada Day that’s coming this Sunday, I’ll be listing down my top 10 animated TV series from Canada. These choices are decided whether  these shows were helped, distributed or created with the help of Canadian talents in animation production.The shows I’ve picked for the countdown are from the mid 1980s to mid 2000, so shows like Johnny Test, 6Teen and Scaredy Squirrel will not be on the list. Now here are the shows that are from the place I was born and proud to be.

10. Yvon of the Yukon

Who would expect Canadians making immature humour in a show like Yvon of the Yukon? The show ran on YTV from 1999 to 2005 and had won a few awards for best Children’s Programming.

The show is about a 17th century French explorer named Yvon, who gets frozen in ice during his travel overseas. 300 years later, a sled dog, owned by an Inuit boy named Tukyuk, urinates on the ice block Yvon was in. That is no joke, that’s what really happened. Yvon adjusts his new life in the present, seeking new adventures with Tukyuk in the fictional town of Upyer Mukluk in the Yukon.

Even if the shows’ sense of humour sometimes felt forced and provided more butt cracks and cultural stereotypes than your mature animated sitcom, but the character designs and catchy intro were the highlight of Yvon of the Yukon. Plus I found some gags were pretty funny, which reminded me of a modern Canadian version of Ren and Stimpy, but not as charmingly insane and disgusting as Ren and Stimpy.

I was around 13 or 14 when this show first aired, but Yvon of the Yukon wasn’t afraid to take some immature jokes that was suitable for children and pre-teens and made one entertaining show out of it. That is the Yukon way!

9. Donkey Kong Country (the TV series)

Animated shows based on video games can be either enjoyable or utter garbage, but would you be surprise that both a French and Canadian studio produced a show based on Nintendo’s Donkey Kong Country? Now that’s pretty cool.

The plot focus on DK protecting a powerful artifact called the Crystal Coconut in Cranky’s Hut from the evil clutches of King K Rool and the Kremlings. Though when nothing bad is happening in Congo Bongo Island (don’t ask why it’s called that), DK is either goofing off or going gaga over Candy Kong. You’ll see some familiar faces like Diddy Kong and newer characters like Bluster Kong, though the new characters aren’t that worthy to be as memorable as the original cast from the game.

Sure the show was corny in every episode, but there was one thing that the show got right which was capturing almost the same style as the game, but in full 3D design. Also, who cannot forget the singing? The singing was the most hated aspect of the show and fans hate it to this day, but I didn’t mind some of the songs and found some of them quite catchy. My first reaction to hear DK sing was “Holy Banana Pie! Who invited Lenny Kravis into the recording booth?”

The DK TV series had only 40 episodes in total with 2 seasons.  Even if the show was pretty cheesy in presentation, it was at least one show based on a video game that made slightly more sense than any other. I’m looking at you Captain N, the Game Master!

8. Jim Henson’s Dog City

When you combine traditional animations by Nelvana Studios and puppetry work by Jim Henson, you get an antropmophic bite crime series called Dog City. Dog City began its pilot as a movie special in 1992 and started to run its animation/puppetry series afterwards from 1992-1995.

The animation portion of the show revolves around a canine private detective named Ace Hart who solves and fight crime to stop the most bad and meniacle thugs in the Dog City universe. The live action segments revolves around a German Shepherd named Eliot who animates the story of Dog City and created the characters that are based on the residents in his apartment.

What makes Dog City such a splendid cartoon series is it’s creativity, witty dialogue and the interactions between Ace Hart and Eliot felt fresh to view. And you know how much Jim Henson loves breaking the 4th wall.

I loved watching Dog City as a kid, but as I got older, I’ve realized the show got a bit hooky and even confusing at times. This show may not be Jim Henson’s best work, but it’s the only Jim Henson show that has ever teamed up with Canada to produce one ground howling cartoon.

7. Beast Wars/Beasties

The Transformers was a franchise I couldn’t get into as a kid. But when animals or prehistoric creatures are combined into morphing robots is where I got interested in Beast Wars or the Canadian title Beasties. Canadians were a bit touchy with titles that had “war” in children’s programming.

The show focused on two robot factions called the Maximals and the Pedacons, the descendants of the Autobots and the Decepticons (that’s a no brainer there). They crash to a world filled with wild animals and dinosaur fossils in which both groups are forced to scan DNA of organic creatures to use their new beast forms in order to survive the planet, which contains raw materials called Energons that is like Superman’s Kryptonite to both factions.

Though the story in Beast Wars was and still is highly confusing, I did like the development and personalities for each characters, whether they were with the Maximals or the Pedacons. The characters had their mature and comic relief moments that made the show amusing to watch, except for Scorponok. I couldn’t take him seriously and he literally became my least favourite in the show.

The series had other spin-offs, which weren’t as successful as the original. Beast Wars/Beasties was the show that made me appreciate transformers with a fresh new concept.

6. Stickin’ Around

What do you get when you view stylized animations that looks like children drew it? You get a show like Stickin’ Around! The show ran for two seasons, played countless of reruns on YTV and had won a Gemini Award for Best Animated Series in 1998.

Stickin Around was about two best friends name Stacey and Bradley, who take on imaginative adventures with their friends, family and even foes from their hometown. They encounter with troublesome scenarios in their daily lives but use their imagination in order to stop their problems.

Stickin Around was a great Canadian show for kids because it had funny dialogue, memorable characters, good morals, and creative imagination that children would actually think of.  I don’t know how the censorship let an episode like Buttochino (a parody of Pinocchio with its butt growing bigger) on TV at the time, but a concept that immature is something that kids would find funny.

Stickin Around looked pretty simplistic, but it was the show that made me think outside the box as a kid, admitting to others that I was not afraid to use my imagination. Holy Mackerel! This show was great!

5. Cybersix

Originally based on a comic book done in Argentine, Cybersix brings animations from TMS entertainment and NOA studios with the help of Canadian voice talents to debut this bizarre, but awesome show on Teletoon.

Cybersix is about a female superhero that fights off morbid creatures from Von Richter, a Nazi professor who originally created the creatures, including Cybersix. By day, Cybersix disguises her identity as a male high school literature instructor named Adrian, but by night, she becomes the female cape crusader to take substances from Richter’s creatures in order to survive and to stop Richter with the help of her panther/brother Data-7 and her new friends Lucas, Julian and a few others.

What I loved about Cybersix were the animations. The settings, character designs and atmosphere of Meridiana were gorgeous that the Japanese animators in the animation department designed its universe outstandingly. Even the voice work was pretty good too, especially the child star actors that sounded believable with the acting. But what got me into the show was its heart-wrenching intro. It literally gives me the good chills every time I listen to it.

Cybersix had a bizarre cool concept, but unfortunately the show only ran for one season with 13 episodes in total, leaving a bit of a confusing open ending at the last episode. The show had little explanation about Cybersix’s story compared to the explicit original comic series, but the drama and action sequences might be your vile of substance to try out.

4. The Raccoons

How can I not forget one of the first well-recognized animated series done in Canada? The Raccoons ran on TV from 1985-1991 with 5 seasons of 60 episodes in total, including four television specials. This show even got to air on other TV channels worldwide, even on the Disney Channel.

Three raccoons named Bert, Melissa and Ralph get themselves into hearing greedy schemes from Cyril Sneer, an aardvark that wants to make forest property into industrial corporations. With the help of Schaffer the sheepdog and Cyril’s son Cedric, the Raccoons either try to reason with Cyril to stop his greediness or enter through other adventures dealing with valuable lessons or environmental problems.

There was a subtlety of messages, adventuring and the presentation that The Raccoons provided unlike other children’s programming that usually dumbs down the audience, i.e. Care Bears. The Raccoons also had a great visual presentation from the ambient backdrops and pretty decent animations, though the same stocks of animations appear in a few scenes. The first season provided better animations but okay designs, while in later episodes it was vise versa.

The Raccoons is a Canadian classic with memorable characters, a catchy ending theme and montage sequences (though the song choices sometimes didn’t really fit to the plot of the story).  Though there were many repetitions with the show and the newer characters in later episodes were okay at best, but this is one Canadian children’s program from my childhood that will never be forgotten.

3. ReBoot

I cannot forget the most innovated show that was ever made in Canada. ReBoot was the first full 3D animated series that originally aired on YTV from 1994-2001 that grew popularity in mega seconds.

The plot in ReBoot sets in the inner computer world called Mainframe. A guardian sprite named Bob protects the citizens of Mainframe from the evil clutches of Megabyte and unexpected Users. With the help of his friends Dot and Enzo, including some newer friends to the adventure, Bob has to stop the Users from winning a game so that the targeted spot in Mainframe doesn’t end up being destroyed.  That’s basically the main episodic concept of ReBoot, but then in other seasons, the show changes with a grander story arc and stronger character development.

ReBoot was a great action adventure show that contained memorable characters, entertaining writing and best of all, great choice of voice cast for a kids show. When you have the late Tony Jay playing an evil villain in ReBoot, you know it will be good. Not only ReBoot had a great production for its time, the story concept was pretty unique. Seeing the Users as the antagonists on the show left me quite speechless.

ReBoot was a revolutionized series that wanted to bring new ideas to keep the series going. It took changes that made the show complex and pretty intriguing in later episodes. Though I hated how the 4th season was going, but the earlier seasons before Megabyte was defeated was one thrilling experience for an animated program.

ReBoot’s popularity still increases today with its massive fanbase, hopefully getting a trilogy film quite soon. No one knows for sure when the films will be release, but I’m sure us fans will attend to find out one day. ReBoot!

2. Delta State

Based on a comic book series that was never released, Delta State had a TV series in 2004 all done in rotoscope animations. This French/Canadian show had won an award at an international animated film festival and taken amount of months to complete the show’s production.

Delta State revolves around four amnesic roommates named Luna, Martin,Claire and Phil, who have paranormal abilities to look through visions and subconsciously enter a realm called the Delta State. Their missions are to stop an evil force called the Rifters, who seek to control human minds for their sinister needs. Not only stopping the Rifters is their main priority, they also have to seeking and regain pieces of their memories back.

There is no denying that this is the best presentation for an animated series I have ever seen. It’s written like a live-drama show, but all done with stylized designs, rotoscope animations and graphic novel backgrounds. The acting is really good and everything you see in this show is completely mind blowing. The story can be confusing if you aren’t into complex psychological plots, but the mysteries and clues you witness from the main characters pasts is what makes the show interesting.

Delta State only ran for one season with 26 episodes due to having a huge animation budget that the production could afford for long (though this info maybe more rumoured than fact). I do admit that the action sequences are so par, but everything else about Delta State is great.  This was a show that was hard to get into back in high school, but seeing it again this year made me appreciate Delta State a lot more.

1. Clone High/ Clone High USA

That is right everyone! This animated sitcom brought animation productions from US and Canada to create one comical series called Clone High airing from 2002-2003. I know this because my Life Drawing instructor a few years back was one of the layout designers for Clone High (even Dog City).

Clone High is about a high school containing teenage clones that are based on historical figures like Abe Lincoln, Joan of Arc, JFK, Cleopatra and even Ghandi. These teenage clones live in a modern society dealing with their high school issues and drama, like the love triangle with Abe between Cleo and Joan. How these clones came to exist were from a military force called the Board of Shadowy Figures who hired principal Scudworth to dig up the deceased famous figures to make genetic copies out of them. However, the Shadowy Figures have suspicious thoughts that Scudworth and his robotic butler Mr.Butlertron will use the teenaged clones behind their back.

If you guys asked me what are my favourite animated sitcoms, Clone High will be one of them. The concept and comedy of this show is spot on and randomly hilarious. In my opinion, this show is more hysterical than recent animated sitcoms that try to be randomly funny like Family Guy or Robot Chicken. No offense to anyone, but I think those two shows lost their sense of humour in later seasons.

Clone High not only had great humour, but had great writing, quirky characters and an art direction that looks like it was inspired by Picasso’s style. Also, there’s a choice of popular actors in voicing the characters, even Mad TV’s Mike McDonald to voice as Ghandi. Though the show increased in popularity and got great reception from reviewers, unfortunately it only ran for one season with 13 episodes. There was going to be a second season of Clone High, but the show immediately got cancelled due to Ghandi’s character depiction that raged the Indian community, which MTV had to make a quick apology and cancel the show.

It’s a shame because Clone High was so original and funny that we will never see a show like this ever again. Even if it had one season with a disappointing ending in the last episode, it’s still one of the better-animated series done with the help of Canadian and American animators and productions. Wanna watch this show with a cup of tea?…Wesley…


2 Comments on “TMcBee’s Top 10 Animated TV Series from Canada”

  1. Kenneth Says:

    Where is “What’s with Andy?” on this list? 😦

    • TMcBee Says:

      I am not extremely familiar with What’s with Andy. I heard of it, but it really never interested me when I was a pre-teen. I kinda thought the art style looked ugly back then, but compare to other animated Canadian shows I’ve seen, it doesn’t look too bad.

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