Boomerang, the retro carton television channel from Cartoon Network, has launched it’s own streaming service for use on Desktop, Ipad, Iphone, and most Android devices. With promises of being able to have access to Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, Popeye, and more on demand. With so many streaming services already available, people may be wondering if it is worth subscribing to another video streaming service for classic animation, and just how deep the rabbit hole of cartoons actually goes. Below will be highlighted all the highs, lows, and question marks about the service.
It delivers what is promised out the gate
Right at launch, the most obvious properties available under the Boomerang brand are at the ready for watching. Classic Looney Tunes from the likes of Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, and Friz Freleng are readily available for watch. Tom and Jerry cartoons are available by the dozens. Hanna Barbera classics from “Scooby Doo: Where Are You?”, “Yogi Bear”, and even “Wacky Races”. The opening selection of shows available to watch should be what any normal person nostalgic for the toons of yore should be longing for.
It’s not quite TV ready
As of this moment, Boomerang can only be watched on your desktop, phone, or tablet. While this makes Boomerang perfect on the go watching, the fact that there is no support for Chromecast, Roku, and other similar services at launch feels like a major misstep. Boomerang seems to pride itself on being a family experience, and the fact that the app can’t be accessed on an Apple TV or PS4 is a big deal. Boomerang’s FAQ promises to have the service available within the next few months, but with no set date, this could be a set back for people who want to check it out. Also as of this writing, Boomerang is only available in the USA.
Some unexpected surprises
Boomerang is usually associated with the classic cartoons of Warner Bros, MGM, and Hanna Barbera, which is why it is interesting some of the shows ready to watch on the app are much more modern. There are some amazing choices to be had, such as Cartoon Cartoon favorite “Courage the Cowardly Dog” and the severely underrated 2011 “Looney Tunes Show” that are a perfect fit. Some stranger choices include a couple mostly forgotten shows on from Cartoon Network such as “The Life & Times of Juniper Lee” & “Bunnicula”. not to say it is a bad thing to have the option of watching these shows. More options are a good thing. But most people probably won’t be expecting “My Gym Partner’s a Monkey” to be on Boomerang before Quickdraw McGraw cartoons are.
The show layout is simple. To a fault.
When you click shows, the choices are separated by characters alphabetically from Atom Ant to Yogi Bear. This makes navigating the app very simple for children who just want to watch their favorite cartoons. Clicking on a character with multiple shows such as Scooby-Doo, currently gives you the option between watching the classic show, the 2000s show “What’s New Scooby Doo?” and the latest offering “Be Cool Scooby-Doo”. However, shows that are not on an episode to episode basis are listed alphabetically, which means if one decides to go on a Droopy marathon spree, it can start with some classic Tex Avery and go right to 1970s TV variety hour Droopy with no connotation. There is no search option either, so cartoon historians looking for a specific episode or director will simply have to dig through the episode available to see if they can find their favorites.
Boomerang remembers you…but doesn’t know you
Boomerang remembers what shows you had last watched and if you had walked away or locked your phone in the middle of an episode, will continue from where you left off. It may seem like a minor thing, but is greatly appreciated that is does so for every series you watch. Between six shows I am currently going through, it has saved my jumping off point on every single one. However, there is a “Top Shows For You” section on the front page that over the past few days has not changed. And again, I am watching six shows right now on the app.
Lots to offer with lots to fulfill
Between the tons of Looney Tunes & Tom and Jerry cartoons, as well as classic Huckleberry Hound, Magilla Gorilla, Smurfs, and even some classic Hanna Barbera movies, Boomerang has a hearty amount available on release. Having said that, there is more that can be put on the app to satisfy hardcore cartoon fans. More classic Hanna Barbera staples such as Top Cat, Secret Squirrel, and Snagglepuss are absent. Besides Tom & Jerry, only Barney Bear and Droopy have MGM representation, so more Tex Avery is never a bad thing. Plus with “Courage” on the service, this opens the door for more 1990s classics such as “Swat Katz” or “Cow & Chicken” to potentially be on the service. The Cartoon Network library is deep, and with promises to update with new shows every week, this could lead to an almost endless supply of classic shows to watch.
The Price Point saves everything
Despite everything, the biggest obstacle Boomerang has is getting the general public to spend money for these classic cartoons. And they were very smart with how they did it. The biggest point being that you do NOT need to have the TV channel or a cable/satellite provider to be able to enjoy Boomerang. Boomerang can be subscribed to in one of two ways. Either $4.99 a month with a 7 day trial period, or $39.99 for a whole year with a 30 day trial period. This pricing is what excuses most of the almost bare bones launch of Boomerang. The trial period lets people access the app for themselves and despite being such a niche product, it has a surprising amount to offer in terms of actual content.
Whether or not you will feel the service is worth it boils down to how much you enjoy these classic cartoons and if you are willing to (at least for the time) deal with a not yet completely functional service in exchange for a large variety of content for very little cost. Because while there may be some hoops you have to jump through at the moment, being able to watch literally hundreds of Bugs Bunny classics on a whim is an absolute pleasure to have.