Nostalgia is back on the menu, and TV executives from across the board are starting to get wise. Everyone from Netflix to Nickelodeon to Warner Brothers is looking at revisiting their old properties, but the real winners here are the audiences who grew up with them. TV reboots and revivals have been getting more and more popular with the wild success of Doctor Who in 2005, Ben 10, Arrested Development, and so many more!
Nickelodeon especially has expressed an interest in revisiting much of their classic ’90s catalog as that was the period in their history with the most critical acclaim, and Netflix has had a lot of success with their series revivals and reboots, so they have a lot lined up for the future as well. Properties from as far back as the ’60s all the way up through the ’80s and ’90s are planned to make their return in the form of TV specials, 90-minute movies, full-on revivals and even live-action adaptations. There’s a lot to be excited for, and your old favorite could be making a return to tv or movie screens soon, so check out the 15 cartoons from your childhood that are getting a reboot and mark your calendars!
15. INVADER ZIM
Invader Zim only enjoyed a brief two-season run on Nickelodeon from 2001 to 2002, but it has since solidified its place as a cult classic thanks to its offbeat humor, dark (sometimes disturbing) imagery and the cutest idiot robot to ever grace television screens. The show followed Zim, an alien invader who was terrible at his job, and his defective robot slave, GIR, as they repeatedly failed to take over the world.
Since its cancellation, Nickelodeon has recognized the post-cancellation popularity of the show, and after 17 years, we’re finally getting the conclusion we’ve been craving in the form of a 90-minute TV movie written by creator Jhonen Vasquez and bringing back the original main voice cast to reprise their roles. Details are still limited, but it should release sometime in 2018.
14. THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS
The Magic School Bus began as a series of educational children’s books about an eccentric elementary school teacher named Ms. Frizzle and her magic school bus that had the ability to do pretty much anything in the pursuit of education. The show has been gone for over 20 years now, but it’s had staying power in the hearts of ’90s kids who grew up with it.
It’s no surprise that Netflix, the master of bringing back shows we used to love, decided to produce an all-new series with a new animation style and updated theme song performed by Lin-Manuel Miranda titled The Magic School Bus Rides Again, starring Kate McKinnon as the original Ms. Frizzle’s younger sister and bringing back Lily Tomlin, the original Ms. Frizzle, now a professor.
13. KING OF THE HILL
Kids shows aren’t the only ones coming back from the ’90s. King of the Hill began in 1997, but only left our tv screens seven years ago. Still, it’s one of the most beloved adult animated series of all time and the creators are eager to bring it back with Fox, reportedly in response to the current political climate of the country.
Talks began between Fox and the show’s creators, Mike Judge and Greg Daniels, in early 2017. Fox stressed that the conversations were very preliminary, but that all parties are excited about the prospect. Mike Judge is still hard at work on his show Silicon Valley, and Greg Daniels, well known for The Office and Parks and Recreation, is an executive producer on People of Earth and the upcoming series The Cops with Louis C.K. and Albert Brooks.
12. HEY ARNOLD!
Nickelodeon is hitting that nostalgia button hard, revisiting all of the biggest hits from its ’90s catalog. Few, however, are more exciting than the revisiting of Hey Arnold! for one reason if nothing else. Hey Arnold! is coming back in the form of a 90-minute TV movie tentatively titled Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie.
Fans of the series will recognize that this hints at the never-resolved plot line of what happened to Arnold’s parents. In the show, he lives with his grandparents after his parents went missing and were presumed dead in the jungle of South America. Craig Bartlett, the show’s creator and writer for the movie, has confirmed that this will be the plotline for the film. Could Arnold’s parents still be alive? The movie is set for a November 2017 release.
11. ROCKO’S MODERN LIFE
Rocko’s Modern Life was a surprise hit for Nickelodeon between 1993 and 1996. It followed Rocko, a young wallaby, trying to make his way in ’90s America with his two friends, Heffer and Filbert. The show was filled with send-ups of everything that defined society at the time, from infomercials to a country-wide obsession with shopping malls and globo-gyms.
Nickelodeon has announced that Rocko and his pals will be returning for a one-hour special titled Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling, which brings the characters back to Earth after being lost in outer space since 1996. The teaser promises to do the same for the current era, parodying smart phone obsessions, social media, energy drinks and everything else Rocko has missed in the last 20 years.
10. MUPPET BABIES
The original Muppet Babies ran from 1984 to 1991 and was itself a spinoff of The Muppet Show, featuring the characters we know and love but as babies in a nursery. Now, Disney Junior has announced that it’s currently producing a revival of the Muppet Babies series set to release in 2018, with a similar mixed animation style that featured in the original show.
While the original was primarily hand-drawn animation, this series will rely on CGI to give the characters a more realistic puppet look. Also unlike the previous series, this version of Muppet Babies will feature two 11-minute shorts per episode as opposed to the 22-minute story format. There has been no confirmation yet as to whether original voice actors will return to reprise their roles.
DuckTales was one of Disney’s funniest, most adventurous and all-around best cartoons ever. The show followed Huey, Dewey, and Louie, the nephews of Donald Duck and their adventures solving mysteries and rewriting history with their uncle Scrooge McDuck.
This new iteration of DuckTales has already aired the one hour premiere, but a full season is on its way. The revived series features Doctor Who alum David Tennant as Scrooge McDuck, Community‘s Dani Puddi as Huey, Parks and Recreation‘s Ben Schwartz as Dewey, Saturday Night Live‘s Bobby Moynihan as Louie and Garfunkel and Oates’ Kate Micucci as Webby Vanderquack. Launchpad McQuack is also back with his old tricks as the crew’s pilot and Donald Duck appears to be a regular cast member in the revival as well.
Thundercats Ho! Thundercats may not be getting a full series revival, but a movie is in the works and some interesting casting calls have already been made. Milla Jovovich has expressed an interest in playing Cheetara, and names have been thrown around left and right for the coveted role of Lion-O, the property’s main hero.
Of course, attempts have been made from dozens of directors to revive the Thundercats franchise in some way since 2007. The series even saw a brief revival as a cartoon reboot in 2011, but it sadly didn’t last long. If the Thundercats movie manages to do well, it could easily be a launching point for a trilogy or even the ever popular cinematic universe. Rumors suggest that the movie could premiere sometime in 2018.
7. CARMEN SANDIEGO
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? started life as an educational series of point-and-click computer games, before it grew popular enough to land its very own tv series from 1991 to 1996. The tv show was a kids’ game show where junior detectives answered geography questions to track down the elusive super thief Carmen Sandiego.
It’s no surprise that Netflix has decided to breathe new life into this classic series as executives made it clear they want to expand their children’s programming lineup. Gina Rodriguez of Ugly Betty fame has already signed on to voice the titular Carmen Sandiego, and Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things will take the role of Player, Carmen’s chief accomplice and friend. The new show will have more story and background than the original, delving into who Carmen is and why she became a super thief.
6. INSPECTOR GADGET
Inspector Gadget ran from 1983 to 1986 and spawned multiple video games, movies, spin-offs and television specials. It even saw a brief revival in France and Canada in 2015. Starting in 2017, Netflix has decided to start producing new seasons where the 2015 series left off.
Inspector Gadget follows the titular Inspector Gadget, a human who has been augmented with a seemingly infinite supply of mechanical attachments, presumably after some kind of accident. He’s also extremely dim-witted, so he’s aided in his investigations by his young and brilliant niece Penny and their dog Brain, as they face off against the evil Dr. Claw and his wide array of criminal henchmen. The new series uses an updated CGI animation style as opposed to the hand-drawn animation of the ’80s.
5. THE WILD THORNBERRYS
With Nickelodeon’s current plan of reviving its most popular series from the ’90s, you can expect to see almost all your old favorites in some form or another in the coming years. Included among that roster is the somewhat cult hit The Wild Thornberrys, which even in the past few years has been getting a lot of attention thanks to one amazing character: Tim Curry’s Nigel Thornberry.
Tim Curry wasn’t the only big name to work on the series though. The main protagonist Eliza, who had the ability to talk to animals, was voiced by Lacey Chabert and the wild kid Donny was voiced by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Nickelodeon currently has plans to bring the series back as a 90-minute TV movie to air in late 2017 or early 2018.
With Nickelodeon revisiting so much of its classic catalog, it should be obvious that it would bring back what was possibly its biggest show ever, Rugrats. It ran for nine seasons from 1990 to 2003 with multiples TV specials, movies, and even a five-season spin-off series titled All Grown Up!
The tricky part about bringing back Rugrats is tha,t tragically, some of the main cast have passed away since the show’s finale, including Jack Riley who played Stu Pickles, David Doyle who played Grandpa Lou Pickles and Christina Cavanaugh who played Chuckie Finster. There would have to be some heavy recasting, but Nickelodeon has expressed an interest in bringing the babies back for a TV movie, which could lead to a full-on reboot of the series if interest is high enough.
3. REN AND STIMPY
Ah, Ren and Stimpy, the show your parents weren’t sure you should be watching (and they were probably right). The original, which ran from 1991 to 1996, and was jam-packed with dirty jokes and adult imagery so unsubtle the censors must have just been too overwhelmed to cut all of it. It was briefly revived on Spike TV as Ren and Stimpy “Adult Party Cartoon,” which ditched the pretense and just went as dirty and gross as they wanted to be.
When that failed after one season in 2003, most assumed that our offbeat dog and cat team would never appear again, but Nickelodeon has made it official that it will receive a 10 to 11-minute short film to air before the new Spongebob Squarepants movie in 2019, which, if popular enough, could lead to a full-on series revival at Nickelodeon.
2. THE JETSONS
The Jetsons has pulled off a pretty impressive feat in that the original series only ran for one season between 1966 and 1967 before it was revived almost 20 years later for a second season in 1985 and a third in 1987. The future family got its very own movie in 1990, and despite never having a series that lasts all that long, somehow managed to have staying power in pop culture to the point where anything futuristic is described to be “like the Jetsons.”
So it’s not a surprise that, eventually, we would be seeing them again, only this time, in the form of a live-action multi-camera sitcom at ABC. Robert Zemeckis of Back to the Future fame will be the executive producer, and Gary Janetti, who’s written for Will and Grace and Family Guy, will write the pilot episode.
Is there any more beloved kids’ show from the ’90s than Animaniacs? Among a handfull of animated shows produced by Steven Spielberg between 1993 and 1998, it was by far the most popular, and featured the wacky, off-the-wall, and sometimes dirty humor of the Warner brothers Yakko and Wakko, and their sister Dot. It spawned Pinky and the Brain, which became its own series, and dozens of other beloved characters.
After coming to Netflix and discovering a massive surge in popularity, Amblin Television and Warner Bros Animation have decided the time could be right to bring back the hilarious trio after almost 20 years. The project is still classified as being in early development, but Steven Spielberg has expressed an interest in returning, and even revisiting some of his other cartoons. Freakazoid revival, anyone?
Which of these cartoons piques your interest the most, and which others would you like to see rebooted? Let us know in the comments!
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