Five Ways to Access Content for Free!

Ally's words of wisdom

Now that I’ve reeled you in with my flashy title, I shall reveal how to access content for free: The library!

bookshelves-at-the-library-361x544As a librarian, one of the major issues I face every day is the lack of knowledge about library resources. Every library that I know has a range of digital and physical resources available to patrons for free. While I cannot speak for your library, I can vaguely speak for libraries in general.

The below points are five resources and ways in which you can access content for free through your local library.

Continue reading “Five Ways to Access Content for Free!”

My Favourite Queer Films

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As someone who has previously studied film at a tertiary level, I have a intense appreciation for film and all that it can represent. Queer representation in film was a focus of mine, and even though I may be a bit rusty and not as up to date with films as I once was, I still know what I like. Which, fair warning, tends to be comedies or cheesy romances.

The Celluloid Closet (1995)

celluloidcloset

The Celluloid Closet is a 1995 American documentary film directed and written by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. The film is based on Vito Russo’s book of the same name first published in 1981 and on lecture and film clip presentations he gave in 1972–1982. Russo had researched the history of how motion pictures, especially Hollywood films, had portrayed gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters.

The Celluloid Closet is an important queer film because it documents and discusses the history of non-heterosexual characters within early Hollywood films. The film talks about how these characters were hidden in subtext, how they were portrayed as villains, and how censorship affects visibility. Continue reading “My Favourite Queer Films”

My Favourite Queer Musicians

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It seems trite to say that I’m a big fan of music, but I’m going to go ahead and say that I am a big fan of music 😛 I’m well versed in music theory, music making, I can play over five instruments, and I have music-listening-to down to a science!

It wasn’t until I was going through my most played playlists that I realised just how much I actively listen to queer music. I’m incredibly happy at the fact that I give almost as much time to my queer singers as my favourite hetero ones.

The below are just some of my favourite queer singers who are out there representing. I hope you enjoy the list and give some of these musicians a listen 🙂 Continue reading “My Favourite Queer Musicians”

Top Five Fictional Libraries

LibraryMonthLibraries represent a world of open opportunities, the ability to not only learn but to immerse yourself in any number of worlds fictional or not. The library is a magical place and often it is within fictional worlds that this is demonstrated the most. Fictional libraries are often depicted as either realistic spaces in which characters retreat to learn or they are majestic and magical beings.
 
The libraries that are featured within this list have been taken from a number of sources, ranging from films, television shows, books and even poetry. The libraries discussed within are huge and humble, magical and mundane, but what they all have in common is they all have a powerful presence. The libraries within this list all represent what is so wondrous about books and the libraries that house them. However, as with modern libraries, books are not all that lie within their shelves, there is so many possibilities within the buildings themselves. It is this potential that often sees fictional libraries held at a highly esteem, often at a magical and other worldly level.
 
So without further ado, here are my top five fictional libraries.
 
• Coming in at number five is: Belle’s Library from the Beauty and the Beast.

BelleLibraryThe library that The Beast presents to Belle is not only large but it is so incredibly beautiful. Within its walls are writing space, a fireplace and numerous spaces to just sit and read. The shelves that reach to the ceiling and the three levels and staircases used to access the books are so stunning. The amount of natural light and the soft blues of the decorating all combine to create a simply beautiful library. The fact that is a private, albeit royal, library makes it even more amazing.

There is a wonderful meme floating around that follows that while some children wanted the Prince, the library was what hooked people. For me, this could not have more true. While the film was not my favourite Disney film growing up as a child (Little Mermaid has that honour), Belle was the character I was most drawn too. ‘Her nose stuck in a book’ is something that strikes very close to home for me, so naturally the revelation of such a massive and beautiful library is one that created envious feelings. Indeed, in the idea of my perfect house, a library such as this was, and I will admit still, features quite heavily.

• In fourth spot is The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.

The_Fantastic_Flying_Books_of_Mr._Morris_Lessmore_posterThe 2011, American short film tells the story of Mr Morris Lessmore as he finds and interacts with a magical library of flying books. Directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, the film demonstrates the powers of not only books but that of storytelling. The Academy Award Winning piece is one that has made it onto this list because of its adorable depiction of a library populated by flying books.

Mr Morris, transported to the mysterious world by a hurricane, looks after the needs of the flying books all the while writing within his notebook. A lovely part of the short film is when other people of the world visit the library and take home a book; they go from being black and white characters, to multi-coloured, fleshed out ones. The books within the library literally colour and illuminate the people who read them. It is often the contents of a library that defines it, just as a special collection can become a defining feature of a library, so too is Mr. Morris’ library defined by its adorable flying books.

 

• Coming in at third is: The Library from Doctor. Who.

Doctor-Who-Silence-Library-PlanetIn episode eight of the fourth season, the Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate – who I would argue is the best companion – please don’t kill me Dr. Who fans) visit the greatest library in universe. Within the planet sized library is a copy of every book ever created; in addition to the largest hard drive that holds not only the index of the library but a digital copy of every text. The sheer size of the library grounds is only trumped by the rich story telling that happens within the many library buildings.

Without giving away the whole plot of the episodes, the library is not only a glorious one but it is one that holds many secrets and dangers. The library is the largest in the universe, boasting a copy of every text ever created but it is also strikingly beautiful. Within many fictional library representations, the buildings themselves are described and represented as things of great beauty.

 

• In second place is the rather unusual, Library by Albert Goldbarth.

More of a metaphysical library than a ‘real’ fictional library (if you can even claim such a thing) the library in question is comprised simply of lines from a poem. Each sentence within the list poem, Library, begins with the line, ‘This book.’ Following this repeated line are a wide range of sentences that describe an even wider range of, one hopes, non-existent books. Each line and each new book described within the poem are what are used to create and make up the library of the title.

The very first line of the poem starts off as, ‘This book saved my life,’ and then continues to list many other books. The books included within the poem and ‘library’ range from the humourous (‘This book smells like salami’), to narrative based snippets (‘This book I stole from Cornell University’s Olin Library in the spring of 1976. Presumably, its meter’s still running. Presumably, it still longs for its Dewey’d place in the dim-lit stacks’), to the downright beautiful (‘This book poured its colours into my childhood so strongly, they remain a dye in my imagination today’). Not only is the poem an enjoyable read but each individual book and snippet featured within the poem are enough to create an immerse and diverse library.

 

• In first place is The Great Library featured within the Thursday Next books by Jasper FForde.

cover600x420Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series is an experience. The word creation and depth that the stories create is staggering. Set in an alternate universe, the protagonist Thursday Next finds herself at the mercy of a number of fictional issues. The whims of a villain, issues concerning space and time and the need to police the literary world are only the tip of the iceberg that is the world Fforde has created. Within this entire universe however is the Bookworld and within this world is The Great Library.

Run by the head-librarian, the Cheshire Cat (although now known as the Cat Formerly Known as Cheshire) the Great Library is described as having 52 levels, 26 upper and 26 lower levels (It should be noted that a Great Library exists for every language). Not only does the library house every manuscript ever published but it also housed every manuscript ever created

What sets the Great Library apart from other fictional libraries are the lower 26 levels. This area is known as the Well of Lost Plots and is where the unpublished manuscripts are kept. The abandoned novel of yours hidden safely away in your bottom drawer is in fact a living breathing world, occupied by the characters you have created. Not only does the library house this special collection but it often serves as the base of operations for the JurisFiction. The operation and operatives, Thursday Next herself included, police the activities and narratives of literature, making sure that plots are not changed and characters continue to perform their proper roles. Not only is the Great Library number one on the lost but the entire series comes highly recommended as they are all highly entertaining and vastly imaginative reads.

 

The libraries featured within this list are all ones that embrace the importance of libraries, with each one displaying different nuances of the purpose of libraries. Where The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore shows the transformative powers of libraries, Goldbarth and Fforde show the playfulness of such sites, indeed the Doctor Who library shows the immersion that can occur within library walls. However the libraries within the list exhibit a certain beauty and majesty which, seen primarily in Belle’s library, is something that all the fictional libraries within the list share. Just as libraries hold an important place within fictional works, so too do libraries hold a significant and important place within the world today.

Honourable mentions: The Pagemaster, Harry Potter, Unseen University Library from the Disc World series.

Top Five Companies that Celebrate April Fools Day

In recent times there has been a trend by companies, especially those centred around the internet and other such net based sources, to pull April Fools Day pranks on their users. Sometimes these pranks back fire, sometimes they are genuinely amusing but the pranks that stand out the most are the ones that are clever. Businesses such as Google, mentioned later in this list, are masters at the funny April Fool prank that some how manage to not enrage their users. In Google’s thirteen years experience pulling pranks, they have ranged from the convincing, to the obvious, to the out right fantastical.

What makes an online prank pulled by a business a success, is not how convincing they are, or how much hype they create but how engaging they are. If someone is pulled into the prank well enough, they are made to momentarily care, the following feelings of disappointment can be overcome quickly if the revelation moment can be turned into a moment of awe. The ‘that would have been awesome if it were true,’ feeling is largely what can be used to signal a successful online April Fools prank. 

  • Starting the list at number five is Hulu and the companies new line of shows that were supposedly meant to première in April 2013.

Hulu-April-2The April Fools Day prank saw the main page of Hulu showing upcoming releases that originated from other fictional televisual worlds. The prank saw the site feature shows such as ‘Captain Spacetime’ (from Community), as well as ‘Sick Sad World’ (Daria), ‘Mock Trial with J.Reinhold’ (Arrested Development), ‘MILF Island’ and ‘Rural Juror’ (both from 30 Rock).

Not only is this prank one that makes people double take but it is one that plays on the interests of its users. The cult following of a number of the shows featured are what make this prank such a classic. The excitement and momentary hope that fans of the show felt is enough to disappoint, however it is also enough to keep people laughing.

  • Although not a company, the hype and following that George Takei receives on the Internet deserves note and thusly he comes in at number four.

george-takei-swThe title ‘Master of the Internet’ should be awarded to Takei as each year, despite the date, millions of people fall for his April Fools pranks. In 2013, Takei posted that he would be playing the part of Master Ceti Maru, a member of the Jedi High Council, in a Star Wars movie. Never before have there been so many excited and then disappointed Trekkies and Star Wars fans. 

In the previous year, Takei had also posted news about a new Star Trek movie. Detailing the characters involved and the cast, Star Trek: Excelsior saw the return of Captain Sulu. Each post was received by many hopeful fans, many of whom expressed glee at such new roles for the actor. I myself fell for this delightful prank and was saddened to know that the Internet explosion surrounding it was not, in fact, real. Additionally it is worth following Takei on Facebook or Twitter, not only for the impending prank but for the wide range of humourous material he shares.

  • google mapComing third is Google which features numerous pranks on its sites each year.

Google always seems to embrace April Fools with pranks, starting with the MentalPlex hoax in 2000. Other past examples have seen numerous parts of the site embrace the day with pranks such as an 8bit Google Map, new Comic Sans font for everything and a Google Translate that could let you talk to animals, just to name a few.

Last year saw Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail and many more feature April Fools pranks. Google Maps transformed into a treasure map, YouTube announced it was shutting now, Gmail revealed a new blue look with many more announcements being made across the Google-sphere. Every year Google rolls out numerous April Fools pranks and hoaxes such as Google Nose, a new product that allows you to search for smells and Google SCHMICK which allowed you to redesign your house on street view.

Needless to say, do not believe anything you see or hear about Google on April Fools Day.

  • Coming in at second is ThinkGeek which is a wonderful shop that caters to all things geeky. Every year there is a perfectly time product release that, if one is caught out, is quite devastating.

thinkgeek_april_fools_2011Starting in 2001, the site released caffeinated meatloaf, a new Atari system, and remnants of the Mir Space station. Last year saw a release of a 3d Play-Doh printer, Bane Mask walkie talkies, an interactive Adventure Time Beemo, and an Eye of Sauron desk lamp. Sadly I as caught out and fell in love with the desk lamp. Upon entering the shopping cart page, I was sadly informed that, April Fools, the item didn’t exist. There is a silver lining however as due to the popularity of some of the items, ThinkGeek has actually manufactured a few of them. So no matter what is released, there is still a glimmer of hope!

  •   The BBC comes in at number one because of the long history the channel has of pulling April Fools pranks with the channels first one taking place in 1957.

swissspagThe BBC has a long history as a reputable news and entertainment channel, therefore whenever the company releases a prank, it is one that causes a few moments of second guessing, none more so than the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest Hoax. Airing as a five-minute documentary, the prank details the process of one family from Switzerland who pick and grow spaghetti trees. Similar to that of Orson Wells, War of the Worlds radio play, when the video was screened on television a number of people saw and believed the clip.

Since then the BBC has kept up a long tradition of April Fools pranks. Other pranks include a Brawl taking place behind a calmly speaking news presenter, the replacement of the national anthem with a German anthem, smell-o-vision television, and in 2008, footage of Flying Penguins.  The BCC tops the list though because it is believed that the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest was the first time that a company had used multi-media for April Fools.

Honourable Mentions: Netflix, deviantART, Virgin Airways, and Twitter (or Twttr)

Guest Top Five Musical Productions

I was first introduced to the world of musical theatre when I was around five years old. Back then my Aunt would make a weekend out of it and we’d watch the classics on VHS. When I was seven, we moved onto visiting the theatre to watch some of our favourites and so my love of everything theatre related was born. Almost twenty years later, I still love the Arts and frequently head to Sydney to see productions. So today I want to share with you some of my favourite productions and just what makes them so great. Having gone to so many over the years, I’m going to limit this list to my top five, otherwise we could be here all day!

5. Next To Normal. ( Original Broadway cast includes: Alice Ripley, J. Robert Spencer, Louis Hobson, Jennifer Damiano, and Aaron Tveit).

Like many productions, I first came across this musical when browsing iTunes one day. On a whim I purchased the album and it’s been one of my favourites ever since. The music is beautiful, and the lyrics surprising. Unlike many musicals, this is not a musical for the faint hearted. In fact it is a gritty take on mental health and how that can affect an entire family structure. It speaks about loss, and feeling neglected, about being drugged, and choosing drugs. It features a broken family who are struggling to survive and what they endure to try and ‘right’ themselves. Stand out tracks include: ‘Who’s Crazy/My Pharmacologist and I’ ; ‘Perfect For You’ ; ‘I Miss The Mountains’ ; ‘Super-boy And The Invisible Girl’ and ‘Maybe (Next To Normal).’

4. Avenue Q (2009, Sydney Australia).

One of my best friends recommended this musical to me. Having never heard of it before, I was intrigued by the idea of puppets and people together on stage and jumped at the opportunity to go see it in Sydney. The plan at the time was to see it blind, having never listened to the soundtrack. This didn’t quite eventuate though, as I cracked the day before we were meant to see it, and listened once to the songs. I’m glad I did, because although I’ve been to a few musicals without knowledge of the songs (Jersey Boys), I felt the prior knowledge allowed me to take in the full story better. Not to mention gave me a bit of warning for what I was in for too. This musical is not for kids folks, and I admit to being dumbfounded when we noticed a father and his young daughter (I’m talking about at least ten) in the audience. I can only imagine there were a lot of questions the following day! Stand out tracks include: ‘Purpose’ ; ‘There’s A Fine, Fine Line’ ; ‘I Wish I could Go Back To Collage’ and ‘The Internet Is For Porn.’

3. Wicked (2010, Sydney Australia).

I first heard the songs from Wicked when I was in High School back in 2006 and I fell in love instantly. For close to a year, the soundtrack was blasted through my bedroom and my family in turn grew to know every single lyric. I hadn’t read the book at this stage and although I knew it was on Broadway, I’d never seen a clip or Youtube video of the performance. Thankfully, what I grasped from the soundtrack was somewhat close to the story line and I sat through the entire stage performance in awe. Although a bit sad that Sydney didn’t get the flying monkeys over the audience (Melbourne apparently were treated to this). This was the musical through which I was introduced to the extraordinary vocal talents of Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, both of whose career’s I have followed since discovering the soundtrack. Stand out Tracks Include: ‘Gravity’ ; ‘Thank Goodness’ ; ‘For Good’ ; ‘The Wizard and I’ and ‘One Short Day.’

2. The Lion King (2014, Sydney Australia).

I know this production toured some ten years back, but I missed out on seeing it then. And I’ve mourned that loss out loud for years. So naturally when I heard the production was returning to Australia late last year, I quickly secured tickets for early 2014 and waited eagerly to see the most talked about musical. The costuming in this production was simply astounding – and although I’d been warned off this, it’s something entirely different to see costumes first more. I thoroughly enjoyed watching some of my favourite Disney characters being brought to life, even despite the few narrative changes. Stand Out Tracks: ‘Circle Of Life’ ; ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ and ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight.’

1. Mary Poppins (2011, Sydney Australia).

 I saw this production live in 2013 and was blown away by the talented cast. But what stood out for me even more was the incredibly unique and versatile set. You see, the Sydney production’s set was basically a house on stage that moved, with pieces attaching and detaching, opening and closing like a doll-house. I’ve never before seen something like it, and I expect I never will again. Also note worthy was Matt Lee’s performance, and his chimney sweep dance number on the streets roof tops. He even tapped upside down. The costuming was superb, and the songs and dance numbers uplifting. If it ever tours Australia again, I highly recommend you go see it. Stand Out Tracks: ‘Chim Chim Cheree’ ; ‘Step In Time’ ; ‘A Spoonful Of Sugar’ and ‘Suparcalifragilisticexpialidocious.’

So there you have it, my top five stage productions/musicals. I’m curious what would you include in your own list of favourite musicals/stage productions?

 

Guest reviewer Jess’ blog, The Never Ending Bookshelf, can be found here.

Top Five Australian Films

In light of the upcoming celebration of Australian Day, or Invasion Day as it is also know, I thought it a prudent time to list my top five Australian movies. Admittedly, I will be the first to express a certain amount of hesitance in regards to typical ‘Aussie’ movies. The over-use of the underdog story-line coupled with the ‘occa’ attitude so often seen in films such as ‘Crocodile Dundee’ and The Wog Boy,’ are often what put me off.

In light of this, the top five films listed here are representative of the more story heavy and genre centric films of Australian cinema. However what you will notice, no matter the budget or overseas influence, is that the films display a lot of heart and possess a strong emotional centre. Let it be know though, that you will find no overt utterances of ‘struth’ or ‘crikey’ in this list.

 

  • 11163644_800Starting the list off at number five is the well-known film, Babe.

Directed by Chris Noonan, Babe tells the story of a pig who wishes to be a sheep dog. Featuring the ever-lovely Magda Szubanski and American actor, James Cromwell, Babe is an emotional story filled with both comedy and drama. The effect that the film has had on a larger scale can be seen in the ready use of quotes from the film within popular culture. From Shrek to numerous inclusions on prime time animations, the phrase, ‘That’ll do pig’ and even the odd ‘Baa-Ram-Ewe’ can be see reappearing quite often.

 

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Directed by Yahoo Serious, Young Einstein presents an alternate history of the life of Albert Einstein, with the main exception being that he is born and raised in Tasmania. As a poor son of an apple farmer, Einstein discovers the theory of relativity while attempting to add bubbles to beer. The rest of the film follows Einstein as he travels to Sydney to patent his idea and his resulting adventures. The absurdity and almost mindless fun of this film is what makes it such an endearing watch. The charm of Yahoo Serious and his portrayal of Einstein allow viewers to easily watch the historic figure as he invents rock n’ roll, romances Marie Curie, and also stop a nuclear reactor from being built thus saving the world.

 

The relatively recent, the most recent of the films in this list at least, film Happy Feet directed by George Miller makes it into this list for a mix of reasons. First and foremost of these reasons is the amazing soundtrack, where a mix of genres and new versions of classic songs feature heavily. The concept of the heart song is an incredibly sweet one that sets the film up for its main concept of fitting in and difference.  This story telling, coupled with the great voice acting by Elijah Wood and Brittany Murphy, are what really make this film a stand out in amongst other animated films.

 

adventures_of_priscilla_queen_of_the_desertThe mix of camp and stunning Australian landscapes are what make this film stand out. As one of the most internationally successful of the films featured on this list, Priscilla has become a cult classic as well as a hit musical. Featuring Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce, the film is not only enjoyable but it is an important one in regards to its depiction of GLBIT issues. If there were one film on this list that people have not seen, this would be the one that I would recommend watching the most.

 

strictlyballroom_dvd_largeFrom the genius mind of Baz Luhrmann comes Strictly Ballroom. As the first film of the Red Curtain Trilogy (the other two are Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!) Strictly Ballroom is a story that is reminiscent of the classic Cinderella story. Frumpy, beginner dancer Fran (Tara Morice) is swayed into being Scott Hastings (Paul Mercurio) dance partner after his own partner ditches him because of his use of non-code dance moves. What follows is the slow transformation of Fran as she develops a stronger confidence in herself, all the while learning and in turn influencing the new way in which Scott dances.

Strictly Ballroom is a lovely, feel good movie. Through the early yet still distinct direction of Luhrmann, the film features bold colours and beautifully shot scenes. The reason this film has topped my list is purely because of the pleasure I gain from watching the film. It’s hard not to watch the movie without a small smile firmly fixed on their face.

Honourable mentions: The Dish, Paperback Hero, Kenny, and anything else by Baz Luhrmann.

Top Five Contemporary Cartoons

Rather than having a grand sweeping list of the best cartoons, which would be an incredibly difficult endeavour, the cartoons in this list are representative of what I consider the best of the new and current cartoons available on television at the moment.

Admittedly the shows included on this list are not only contemporary but they’re arguably adult in nature. While certainly some are aimed at children or younger audiences, the content and sub-textual value that can be taken away from adult viewers provide the shows with a refreshing depth that places them so high on this list.

gumball

This Cartoon Network produced, British-American show is not only visually stunning but it is genuinely funny. Following the antics of Gumball (a cat) and Darwin (an evolved pet goldfish who was welcomed into the family) the show is one that explores the pairs school and home life. While Gumball may be the name sake of the show, his family, school friends and teachers nevertheless play important parts in the narrative.

What makes The Amazing World of Gumball stand out from other contemporary cartoons is the visual style of the show. Gumball and his family are animated in a 2D style, while other members of the community are created using special stylised 3D, realistic 3D and even stop motion techniques. This diversity of animation styles coupled with the photo realistic backgrounds make this show such an incredible visual pleasure.

Similar to shows such as Malcolm in the Middle and The Middle, The Amazing World of Gumball is one that paints a more realistic, yet hopeful picture of the lower income family. One issue that has proven to be an annoyance is the amount of material that has been censored for Australian audiences. While no drastic changes have taken place, moments such a same-sex chaste kiss and small violent incidents have been cut from the show; the necessity of such changes is, I feel, questionable. However, relatable yet still incredibly imaginative story lines mixed with genuine belly laughs are what make this cartoon stand out from the crowd.

archer-post1Putting Archer in fourth place does in no way do the show justice. The show, that focuses on the exploits of ISIS (International Secret Intelligence Service), is not only action packed and story driven but it is down right, hilarious.

Protagonist and name sake of the show, Sterling Malory Archer, is a secret agent whose blasé proficiency and hilariously deep-seeded mother issues drive the whole show. This show cannot be discussed without mentioning the cohesion and hilarity that the rest of the cast provide. From a bitter and alcoholic mother Malory, a rich yet insane Cheryl, to a even more insane mad-scientist Krieger and (a particular favourite) human resource manager and all around arse-kicker Pam, this ensemble of characters is one that continues to grow, evolve and keep audiences watching.

Coupled with this amazing cast of characters, blockbuster story-lines and (as is the production companies want) numerous narrative turns, Archer is a show that cannot be slowed down. Entering into its fifth season Archer is one that only grows and develops as it continues. Although, while the show can by no means be said to be ‘maturing,’ it nevertheless keeps producing top notch entertainment.

regular-show-8

Contrary to what the title suggests, this show is anything but regular. Set in a town park, Mordecai (a Bluejay) and Rigby (a Racoon) are groundskeepers who spend most of their time slacking off . The format of the show is similar to that seen on Cartoon Network, with the episodes being broken down into two eleven minutes slots, however the show follows an almost set formula. That is, while the show may start off in ‘normal’ terrain it slowly sinks into deeper and more outrageous ground before somehow righting itself and the ‘regular’ park.

Regular Show has many more adult jokes that are either blatantly obvious to older audiences or buried in sub-text, than any other Cartoon Network show. Even without these sly little nods to the adult viewers, Regular Show is one that still manages to entertain. Similar to The Amazing World of Gumball, there are moments that have been cut out of episodes screened in Australia. However this does not effect the impact of the show, rather it merely cuts out some of the more adult or violent moments.

The sheer quotability of the show will have moments re-playing in your head and the elongated ‘Ohh’ will no doubt be included in many a vocabulary. The sheer diversity of the narratives coupled with the engaging side characters are what makes Regular Show so great.

ventureThis show stands out above the rest with the sheer wit and amazingly complex storylines at work across all four (soon to be five) seasons. Following Doctor ‘Rusty’ Venture, his two sons Hank and Dean, and bodyguard Brock, The Venture Brothers tells of the second generation and almost repercussions of living in the shadow of a Johnny Quest father figure. Once a young adventurer now ‘Rusty’ Venture is a middle aged, two-bit super-scientist who lives off the remains of his fathers work, all the while going on numerous ‘adventures.’ His two sons, Hank and Dean, who are reminiscent of the Hardy Boys, coupled with their shared relationship with the ultra-violent Brock make this show both engaging and warm.

One of the numerous side characters who over the series have played more of a part, is the Monarch. This evil super-villain who has a monarch butterfly theme, his wife (Dr. Mrs. The Monarch) and his band of loyal Henchmen are the self-proclaimed arch-nemesis of the Ventures. Numerous storyline revolve around this ‘henching’ with the involvements and back stories of the characters becoming increasingly intermingled. The brilliant way in which the story has progressed and evolved is almost like watching a fossil being uncovered. All the hints are there, numerous moments of foreshadowing are present throughout the series and yet they still remain a mind blowing surprise when they happen. Creators Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick demonstrate episode after episode, pop culture reference after reference, their collective genius.

Despite the complexity of the storyline, The Venture Brothers in a surprisingly easy show to watch. The back story and connected relationships, while present remain in the background with hints and off hand comments only connecting them. This is not a show that you have to watch religiously from the beginning as any episode is one that can be watched out of context and still enjoyed. Although for people who want to get right into the new fifth season here is an 8 minute run-down of the four previous seasons. The hilarity and multitude of hidden references of The Venture Brothers are ones that will have you returning over and over again to the show.

bobs-burgers-17What separates Bob’s Burgers from the others in this list is not the humour or the characters but the sheer re-watchability. The premise of Bob’s Burgers is one that follows Bob Belcher and his family as they struggle to run a burger restaurant. This underrated show is one that consistently deliverers great laughs as well as narratives. The Belcher children are an almost endless source of humour with their personalities and relationships with each other providing numerous moments of hilarity.

Despite having seen each episode numerous times, I still find myself laughing, smiling and enjoying the show. It is this freshness that keeps me coming back for more and what makes Bob’s Burgers number one.

To anyone out there who thinks Cartoons aren’t a legitimate or good source of entertainment, I submit to you this list.The shows featured on here and in the honourable mentions are ones that call out to the child in us all, while some speak more to the adult than others, the enjoyment that the animation genre provides should not be devalued, rather, it should be celebrated.

Honourable mentions: Adventure Time, Daria, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Frisky Dingo, Gravity Falls and Robot Chicken.