Considering the 2010’s appear to be the age of reboots, a list of non-cinematic works with reboot potential has been (badly) compiled here. This list focuses solely on Western animated series ostensibly made for children. A similar list that focuses on animation not originally broadcast in the English language e.g. anime is an objective for a future list.
Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers
Sometimes some crimes go slipping through the cracks- the same thing happens sometimes to animated series’ developed by Disney utilising some of their earliest original characters, but that’s not a catchy opening theme song line and possibly too meta. Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers brought new life (and clothes) to characters originally created back in 1941 (without clothes) but in more recent years have once again arguably faded into obscurity , at least compared to other original Walt Disney animal companions- unfairly too, given both have a lot more personality than Mickey Mouse ever seems to be given. The central team was allegedly formed after a friend of the principal cast, a dog, was framed and falsely arrested. The adventurous and light hearted tone of the series, as well as the fact a Duck Tales reboot is well on the way warrants a remake. Modern technology could greatly assist or possibly even hinder the procedures carried out by the titular duo . This being said, if a live action remake is issued, society will finally discover what staring into the abyss feels like. Aside from a well-balanced cast of central Rangers, the series employed an infectious pop-rock power ballad theme song.
The Adventures of the Gummi Bears
Another outing from Disney, this one with an even more enjoyable theme song- which the writer of this post doesn’t know the lyrics to because he’s not that sad (Plot twist: He does and he is). The series focused on a group of technicoloured forest dwelling bears and their protection of humans against an impressive rogue’s gallery with occasional help from an enchanted potion known as Gummi berry juice that gave them bouncing capabilities. Anyone who finds this premise ridiculous is probably not familiar with the Children’s Cartoons of today, compared to which this show is basically documentary level realism. A wide cast of generally well defined characters is offered by the series as well as a Medieval inspired high fantasy setting that viewers continue to enjoy today (mainly in the form of Game of Thrones which admittedly probably draws in a different crowd to The Adventures of the Gummi bears). In spite of a wide cast of heroes the rogues gallery was admittedly modest in comparison, and according to the popularity of several minor characters, even some of the heroic character were underused. These minor issues could easily be solved in a newer adaptation, and progress in animation could allow for a more vivid colour pallet. A newer series could occasionally delve into slightly darker territory, adding more genuine threat to central villain Igthorn’s characterisation, who’s potential for occasional formidability was arguably wasted at times. If a remake is developed, and should the cast of the titular creatures reduce as the series progresses, we can only blame our fondness for jelly based sweets.
They’re masked crusaders, they work overtime and they fight crime; Plot points I discovered through extensive research and not just from the first few seconds of the theme song on YouTube (Plot twist: exactly how I found out). These very few simple and vague details are reason enough for the show to deserve a reboot- Superhero media, particularly team affiliations, are hugely popular and Disney X D have shown in many of their series’ (mainly The Ultimate Spider-Man) that they can effectively manage comedy drama excitement and the faithfulness to source material that superhero series’ urgently need- making the channel a perfect candidate to show the series. The show boasted a wide range of characters (None of whom had green faces or wore yellow zoot suits) and truly unique costume design that would look even more impressive today (the image above is from the spinoff comic series but still gives a good stylistic idea). A fresh start would also allow more opportunity for the antagonist VENOM- who are not symbiotes- to display actual threat, and to avoid being reduced to idiocy after a few episodes. A subplot showing at least one member of the crew constantly getting fired from their regular jobs due to their tendency to leave their workplace when summoned by the team would be highly welcome.
Butt Ugly Martians
If anyone not only reads this but also thinks ‘I used to watch them! I’ll have to look for some of the episodes now’ then let it be known I tried warning you. The series does NOT hold up. The general scenario allows a lot of potential- Aliens who were sent to destroy earth become obsessed with American Culture so simply deceive their home planet superiors into believing they’re causing havoc. The style and movement is painful and the voice acting is occasionally grating or phoned in (not that virtuoso performances should be expected from a series that’s title references the derriere) additionally some of the scripts are incredibly lacklustre even for a series clearly aimed at children . These are problems a contemporary take on the series could solve- and the technology exists now to create captivating machine driven fight scenes that the original series seemed to yearn for (The suits above, activate when in “Butt Kicking Mode” were among the series’ aesthetic saving graces). There were some incredibly promising ideas mainly in the form of otherworldly threats sent to Earth ,including the Gorgon ,that it would be a shame not to revive. You should definitely listen to the theme tune, it definitely won’t get stuck in your head. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYlc4T8dxqA
The first British series to feature on this list. The premise was simple enough- Penny is a young aspiring artist who’s drawings often magically come to life, aiding her and her idiotic friend Dennis, who’s constantly telling her in the campest possible voice how clever she is. This scenario offers endless amounts of storytelling freedom and allows the characters to literally partake in world building. It’s unusual that of all the things Penny is able to bring into existence through art, the theme tune insists on letting us know this includes fish and chips on a plate…as if that’s the making of an exciting story. The premise still functions in a modern setting seeing as drawing is still one of the few activities that isn’t usually done electronically (for now) . Ironically considering the show focused on the power of art, the actual artwork was sometimes over simplistic and charmless, something that modern animation studios could rectify, Su Pollard’s casting as the eponymous character also caused some unsuited vocals, a true challenge for anyone in charge of a remake would be casting a voice that sound both age appropriate and not irritating.
For years I struggled to remember the name of an animated series with a Native American hero who was mentored by an older shaman who may or may not have been his father- but didn’t have enough info for it to be worth trying a google search. After giving up hope on ever finding out what that vaguely remembered series was I accidentally came across the theme tune for BraveStarr, which may or may not have been the very series I was trying to find. BraveStarr is an animated series with a native American hero who is occasionally mentored by an older shaman who may or may not have been his father (he definitely wasn’t- don’t think he was ever even implied to be, that detail was just down to false memory) . More annotation; BraveStarr is set in the future on a planet where the Wild West apparently never went out of fashion- or possibly out then back in much like Christmas jumpers and vinyl’s on our planet. There are mystical elements as well, the shaman is naturally shown to possess magical powers and the villain seems to be a supernatural creature of some kind. It’s fair to say while there are still fairly recent examples of Western Films , the genre is basically underexplored in mainstream children’s cartoon series’ today, for this reason – and for the existence of Thirty-Thirty, BraveStarr’s occasionally bipedal anthropomorphic gun toting horse with CYNERNETIC ENHANCEMENTS- BraveStarr would be likely to draw in a fairly large audience even for the novelty value alone. In fairness, even adults who say they aren’t mildly impressed by the idea of Thirty-Thirty probably aren’t to be fully trusted. Hopefully not many TV companies would be opposed to commissioning a Space Western series- however after the treatment of Firefly it’s safe to say that if any company were to be sceptical, it’d be FOX.
Jem and the Holograms
This series was actually recently adapted into a live action film, but it’s original animated form, which it probably functions better under, hasn’t been explored since 1988. The one which has an opening where the lead characters sings something along the lines of ‘ooo me and my friends in a band la la la and we spend a lot of time with each other doing various things la la la’ – well, not quite like that. In more detail- Jerrica/Jem and her glam 80’s Girl Band that includes her younger sister partake in several adventures. Through the use of a holographic device invented by her father, Jerrica transforms into her pink haired alias. The technology reliant altered ego trope is proving consistently popular in the media (Iron man, The Power Rangers reboot, some other example that I can’t think of, the list goes on.). The musical element of the series and use of original music videos adds an extra degree of inventiveness and an opportunity for experimental artistry. The characters, limitless plotlines and genre fusions that allows exploration of various themes–including a complicated case of adultery that would either need to be addressed as negative or cut in a newer interpretation. Hilariously, the rival band of the Holograms were named The Misfits, asking the current line-up of the same-named Horror Punk if they’d be interested in cameoing would surely be worth trying . Yet another example of a series on this list that would be in need of solidified and texture animation . Also, more fluid movements would lend themselves to the music numbers. Staying close to the fashion of the original series is essential in this case, the showcasing of the eccentric styles of the 80s is in hindsight a major plus point of the show and could be used as a genre throwback gimmick. P.S the song in the link below is one that expert level musical analysts would call ‘An Absolute Banger’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEWWVYy9zeo
A sadly often overlooked Series from Cosgrove hall, aimed at a very young audience, this therapeutic woodland fantasy focused on Oakie Doke, a green semi acorn semi human creature who attempted to aid other forest residents. As with several of the other shows on this list, Oakie Doke provided a large number of regular characters – most memorably two scouse accented frog brothers named Neptune and Moses. In spite of the use of talking animals and an acorn man as the lead, the themes of episodes were generally grounded and many of the issues, if slightly tweaked, could conceivably occur in a series with a more mundane setting. Although recent remakes of Children’s show such as the reboot Noddy The Toyland Detective use modern technology, this would perhaps be best avoided in Oakie Doke given that the forest setting already causes the characters to be removed from civilisation and wouldn’t allow for good signal (although on the bright side, in the event of technology being used the line in the opening about crossing the Dell could be used as a reference to the computer company). Another misstep in a remake would be using 3d graphics to allow for a polished clearly CGI look, using CGI to emulate the stop motion style of the original would be the ideal approach to style, as without this aesthetic the series would lose a lot of its original charm.
One of several iconic series’ by Hannah Barbera, alongside classic like Whacky Races and Top Cat. The Jetsons are a typical wholesome 50-60s sitcom family living in an idealistic future where the standard work hours are only two per week and robot servants and flying vehicles are commonplace. While there is a 2017 film is released that links the eponymous family to WWE wrestling (honestly- it’s also been done with Scooby Doo) this isn’t a direct adaptation of the original series but seems a semi continuation rather than an actual fully concentrated retool. There is a clear market for comedic sci-fi features as Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and countless other works have proven. Additionally, children’s TV features very few cartoons in full and ultimately traditional domesticated settings- series such as The Amazing World of Gumball (a complete and utter masterpiece in its own right) does indeed features a family unit, but is not dependant on this feature, instead defined by endless levels of absurdness and limitless adventure. The Jetson’s approach to whimsy, which allows Science Fiction to simply flavour an otherwise once fairly typical Domcom rather than consume it, would be refreshing in this current age of Children’s animation.
Pocket Dragon Adventures
Small endearing mythical creatures? Check. Small endearing mythical creatures with discrete physical characteristics to tell them apart? Check. Small endearing mythical creatures each with their own solidly defined personas? Check. In a series almost always referred to as Pocket Dragons, a good portion of people in their very late teens to very mid 20s in the UK seem to vaguely remember the basic appearance of these characters. Makes sense, the series was broadcast on BBC in spite of being an American/Canadian production. Beyond the aforementioned basic appearance, little about this series seems to be remembered. Like BraveStarr this series combines historical ideas with futuristic ones – Sci-fi elements are occasionally present in this otherwise purely mystical, if vaguely surreal, medieval setting. The vast variety of species’ that stretches from miniature Dragons to…. Dragons who weren’t miniature. Other features included Wizards Gnomes and Malicious Vermin, providing even enough range to possibly keep teenagers entertained. For fans of the more absurd animation that rules Cartoon Network and to a lesser extent Nickelodeon and Disney X D these days there were sporadic bouts of bizarreness that were kept under control to avoid devaluation. Also, as it hasn’t been mentioned before, the show featured small endearing mythical creatures.