I don't think it's any coincidence that the shows I was really into actually had a continuing plot. I was even psyched about 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo when I first saw it on TV.
"WHAT!!!??? YOU MEAN THEY HAVE TO COLLECT ALL 13 IN A BOX!? AWESOME!!!"
I recently saw an episode of this on a flight home from JP and wanted to shoot myself in the face with a large and powerful weapon but hey, at least the story continued.
Anyway, I may have mentioned this before but I think that's the reason I'm such a manga nut. Sure, when you become an adult you obviously have more sophisticated tastes and normally enjoy long and complex stories. But when I was still stuffing cotton in my ears for the fun of it, I was enjoying shows that had ongoing stories.
I think Batdan mentioned shows today insult kids' intelligence. Well, shows today are quite different. They focus on another kind of nurturing which seems to be more focussed on attitude and place in society. You've got characters who deliver some really complex lines (gone are the days of Hanna Barbera granite-like delivery) and some really diverse themes within those 30 minute blocks of non-continuity. I don't mean anything that's gonna make your head-spin but if I had that new Batman series when I was like a toddler growing up, holy crap dudes. My head would've spun around in circles. There's just so much going on. That said, even though there is a lot going on in the shows, there still isn't much to keep the individual pieces held together.
Fans say they like anime because its deep and complex. Well, it's true there are a few series out there that will get your noodle working, but they're still not much more than something you'll find in a Tom Clancy book. There are of course a few exceptional examples which are mostly that way since they go way the hell outta their way to be abstract, but when you boil it down, anime isn't REALLY all that complex, what it mostly is, is long. I'm sure if someone sat down and wanted to make real stories out of Scooby Doo instead of 22 minute piles of poo (sorry scooby fans) Scooby Doo would be 'complex' too simply by the nature of it being a story that goes on for X episodes and will contain real plots instead of cookie-cutter crap.
Take One Piece, there ARE themes in OP yes, but that doesn't make it complex. Try to explain OP to someone who isn't familliar. I mean from the start to right now. Now take into account that without pictures remembering names is a lot harder than usual but the story of OP can EASILY be explained…..it just takes a helluva long time!