Cartoon Network just launched a subscription-based streaming service, the cable channel’s first. Don’t expect to find Steven Universe or Adventure Time on the mobile and desktop platform, though; the mobile and desktop app is based on Boomerang, Cartoon Network’s retro-skewing sister network.
For $4.99 per month, subscribers get unlimited, ad-free access to more than 1,000 episodes. (There’s also an annual membership for $39.99 upfront.) There are more than 20 different shows and movies available right now, although Variety notes that the Boomerang app will feature a rotating lineup of content.
The app seems like a smart play on Cartoon Network’s part for keeping its old-school catalogue relevant. Old episodes of shows like Looney Tunes, Yogi Bear and Tom and Jerry are available a la carte and in a format familiar to kids who grew up using Netflix. There are even curated playlists of episodes from a variety of shows, something Netflix hasn’t even gotten right yet.
But Cartoon Network isn’t only using the Boomerang service to resurface all the hits the kids of today are missing out on. Also thrown into the mix are newer shows, some of which can make a reasonable case for the title of modern classic. Others? Not so much.
Courage the Cowardly Dog is just shy of 20 years old, but the cartoon horror-comedy maintains a devoted cult fanbase. It’s a pleasant surprise on the Boomerang service’s current lineup, as is the underrated action show The Life and Times of Juniper Lee.
Meanwhile, My Gym Partner’s a Monkey failed to win over many fans when it aired for 52 episodes from 2005-2008. It’s joined by the animated version of Bunnicula, which premiered last year and airs on both Cartoon Network and the TV version of Boomerang. There are also revamps of classic shows tucked into the app, like New Looney Tunes and Be Cool Scooby-Doo!, neither of which look so enticing to old-school fans.
These are the words of a jaded, nostalgic cartoon viewer from a bygone era, of course. The promise of The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and different Looney Tunes selections to come still makes Boomerang an intriguing sell thus far, as does the bulk of its current lineup. A limited-time free trial is available to newcomers who want to check out the streaming service’s library; that lasts either one week or one month, depending on which membership plan users are checking out.