It worked for Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and even the Care Bears. Here are ten more 80s and 90s cartoons that deserve a (successful) revival:
10) Street Fighter
Hear me out on this one. I know the original U.S. Street Fighter cartoon was bad on a level few people can really fathom. I know that the animation was horrendous, the voice acting somehow even worse, and that it had the stigma of being tied to the live action film due to the timing of its release. I know all that, and that is exactly why it’s in such desperate need for a revival.
Street Fighter is, without question, one of the most iconic video games ever. There is deep lore for each for each of the characters, and enough variety in their appearance and personality to give the show life. Need a super serious episode? Ryu and Sagat’s rivalry would be epic. Want something funny? Toss together a training episode with Rainbow Mika and Zangief. The possibilities are endless. Tell the story through the eyes of Street Fighter Alpha’s Sakura or Street Fighter 3’s Sean, and you’ve got yourself something that could easily be enjoyed by kids, teens, and their parents who grew up playing the games.
9) Darkwing Duck
“I am the terror that flaps in the night!” Darkwing Duck was a revelation. Heavily inspired by the public’s adoration for the Tim Burton Batman films, and a full year before the debut of the absolutely brilliant Batman: The Animated Series, DD followed the adventures of Drake Mallard and his alter-ego, Darkwing Duck.
Assisted by his sidekick Launchpad McQuack, and his daughter Gosalyn, they protected the Gotham-esque city of St. Canard. In truth, Darkwing has already experienced a bit of a revival, with an 18 issue comic book series from Boom! Studios. The beauty of Darkwing Duck is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or change much– the characters are beloved, the design work is still inspired to this day, and the concept works, especially with the public’s current obsession with superheroes. The only thing you could really change would be to strengthen the ties with to DuckTales, and incorporate some of the elements that they did with the comic series, bringing in characters like Magica de Spell.
8) Dungeons and Dragons
The easiest way to reinvent the Dungeons and Dragons animated franchise is to get it onto a cable network. While D&D is, at its core, a game, it’s a game for teens and older – so capitalizing on the older demographic (as well as piggy-backing on the success of Game of Thrones) could really result in a lot of amazing high fantasy adventure.
Look no further than Beholders, Bugbears, Rakshasa for visually dynamic monsters that could make a D&D series a huge hit. Even better, as the world and lore expand, you could begin to bring in more aspects of the D&D mythology – each season could be a ‘campaign’, and a new season could result in adventures in the different universes that make up the overall D&D universe. Just imagine the possibilities of an Icewindale Trilogy or Forgotten Realms animated series.
This one is almost too easy, given the name, but ReBoot is one of the best, and most underappreciated animated series in history. A CGI series before CGI was affordable, ReBoot followed the adventures of Bob and Dot Matrix in their adventures in Mainframe. ReBoot was about 10 years ahead of its time, and was sadly shuttered due to expenses.
With CGI being considerably less expensive in this day and age (seriously, everything on Disney Junior is CGI now) it’s only logical to bring back the franchise. And, much like Darkwing Duck, the stories and settings wouldn’t need to change much – you’d have to update some of the VERY 90s character designs for the cast, but overall, everything still works. You could make it a sequel where Bob is a bit older– maybe glitching a bit as his code starts to deteriorate, and the focus of the series is now on Enzo Matrix, Dot’s little brother.
6) G.I. Joe
OK…I know. There’s already been a million G.I. Joe animated series, but there’s been no staying power for a series since the original Sunbow run. The easiest way to revive G.I. Joe is by spinning it off of the upcoming third movie, and using the Transformers Prime formula.
Loosely base it on the movies to get people in the door, tell solid stories, and then build your universe into something unique and different. You can focus the entire series on Roadblock, Scarlett, and Snake Eyes, and have a rotating cast of characters around them – need an espionage episode? Chuckles. Deep cover, in the dark of night? Low-Light. The Joe’s need a new series with a serious commitment from Hasbro to allow it to grow, and there’s no time like the present to make that happen.
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