The Flintstones vs. The Jetsons: Which was better?


Fact Box

  • Hanna-Barbera Productions, the production company responsible for both The Flintstones and The Jetsons, was founded in 1957 by animators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, who famously worked together at MGM developing the award-winning Tom and Jerry cartoon characters.
  • In 1962, The Jetsons became the first TV show broadcast in color by ABC; however, only 3% of Americans had color television sets at the time.
  • Voice actress Jean Vander Pyl worked on both shows, voicing the main characters of Wilma Flintstone in The Flintstones and Rosie the robot maid in The Jetsons
  • Animated crossover TV movie, The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones, debuted in 1987 and involved the space-age family using a time machine to travel for vacation, with their dog, Astro, accidently switching the dial to “past.”

Bethany (The Flintstones)

The Flintstones was superior to The Jetsons in many ways, the foremost being that it was pioneering for its time. The Flintstones premiered first in 1960, while The Jetsons, 'loosely based on The Flintstones' debuted two years later. Fred Flintstone and his prehistoric friends were a staple television show in the 1960s and ran for a whopping six seasons, while The Jetsons ran for only one season in the 1960s and two seasons in the 1980s. 

The Flintstones' creators were an ingenious bunch, using animals as machinery and taking their natural shape into consideration for functionality. Additionally, the show was the first animated television series to feature a husband and wife sharing the same bed--which was a groundbreaking move--as the first live-action show to do this was Mary Kay and Johnny, only 13 years prior, with many other shows slow to do the same.

Aside from its pioneering nature, The Flintstones also had more characters outside of the focus household family than The Jetsons did, which made for more interesting interactions and a greater potential for shenanigans--a part of the comedy style that made The Flintstones great. 

Additionally, The Flintstones had its own rather long run of spinoffs, 14 to be exact, with one more potentially coming in the future, announced in 2019. While many of these spinoff shows didn't last more than a season or two, The Jetsons had only six--many of which happened long after its debut and to little fanfare. 

Finally, The Flintstones paved the way for the boom of adult-oriented animation of the late 80s,90s, and today, such as The Simpsons and Family Guy. Without 'yabba dabba do!' there would be no 'd'oh!' 

Chad (The Jetsons)

While The Flintstones was an imaginative and entertaining show that was hugely successful, The Jetsons was more forward-thinking and had a better message for young viewers.

The Flintstones were highly inaccurate, placing humans and dinosaurs in the same time period, despite their 65 million-year separation. This is misleading and has confused many children and even many adults, with almost half of America thinking they coexisted together just like in the show they grew up watching. 

Meanwhile, The Jetsons lived in a sky city due to runaway pollution on the ground. This was likely a warning to viewers at the time about the dangers of runaway environmental destruction for the sake of capitalism and economic or technical progress. The Jetsons also touched on many other important societal themes, such as worker rights and the destruction of indigenous cultures by industry, as in their 1990 movie

As kids, many of us were excited about the technology of the future where robots did all our daily chores. Still, most of us missed the dystopian themes of the show at that age. The show also portrayed how only the ruling class would escape the worst effects of climate change. Its future excluded all minorities--warning us of the issues in environmental justice we struggle with to this day. 

While the show had many blind spots that we can look back on and criticize under the framing of today's more progressive society, it was ahead of its time and gave us a warning about a future that may seem fantastical but also had a dark underbelly where our technology leads to widespread social injustices and environmental destruction. The limited scope presented by The Flintstones simply does not compare.

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