Love it or hate it, but everything is coming back nowadays. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though. It worked out alright for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the series’ reinvigoration on television with Star Wars Rebels. Jurassic Park has been no slouch either, with Jurassic World setting the charts on fire in 2015. And there are plenty of others, not to mention cartoon reboots of shows like Voltron and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The truth is, people love reboots, because why should something have to end? Now, we’re aware not everything needs a reboot, but there’s a time and a place for most things.
Look at Nickelodeon, a company that’s bringing back some of its classics like Rocko’s Modern Life and Hey! Arnold for one-off television movies. Cartoon Network even brought back The Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack. Things are looking good! On this list, you’ll find 15 classic cartoons that we’d like to see rebooted. Some haven’t been gone all too long, but some we haven’t seen in decades. Because let’s be honest, if Transformers can get five live action films and an entire catalog of animated television shows, what’s stopping these ’80s keystones and classic cartoons from coming back?
C.O.P.S. was way more awesome than anyone could have imagined. Adapted from a line of Hasbro action figures (as are many shows on this list), the show centered around a group of police specialists who basically just fought really bad guys, also known as members of C.R.O.O.K.S., in cool ways. Of course, it’s not a basic story, since many of the cops have enhancements, including the main character, what with his bulletproof body and all.
In a similar vein to shows like G.I. Joe or Transformers, C.O.P.S. worked hard to make its team dynamic its bread and butter, and it worked (sort of), despite the series only running for about five months. We think the show deserves a second chance, and now’s a good a time as any.
14. JONNY QUEST
Jonny Quest was one of the first cartoons to really capture the feeling of adventure in an imaginative way. But let’s be honest, the 1964 series and even those that followed it are outdated, politically controversial and more than stale. In 2017, a Jonny Quest reboot would take inspiration from the original, sure, but also from DC’s line of Hanna-Barbera comic books, which feature reimagined and modern versions of The Flintstones, Jonny Quest and more.
So let’s get weird with it. Follow the plot of Future Quest, the comic, and bring Harvey Birdman and Space Ghost in. Let’s get the Wacky Racers involved too. Make it a celebration of all things Hanna-Barbera told from the perspective of Jonny and his friends. Now that’s a show we would watch.
13. CAPTAIN PLANET & THE PLANETEERS
With the topic of climate change still fueling much of the political news cycle, there’s never been a better time for Captain Planet and his Planeteers to return and show us all how to lead lives with small carbon footprints. The original show was cringe-filled and laughable, sure, but it was a wonderful after school show that had quite an impact.
And sure, there is a live action film in the works but the beauty of Captain Planet is that we’d get to see what he could accomplish on a weekly basis, traveling the world to combine powers with his teen friends and prevent any number of environmental disasters. But if they do decide to continue with that live action movie, we think Don Cheadle did a pretty good job and could do it again.
Of all of the action figure properties to need a return to the cartoon format, M.A.S.K. is at the top of our minds, and why shouldn’t it be? The original series was like a cross between G.I. Joe and Transformers, and featured suped-up soldiers with transforming vehicles. What’s not to love? And guess what? The groundwork for this potential reboot is already there.
IDW Publishing has a line of comics that essentially continue the stories of everything you loved about cartoons as a kid, including the aforementioned Joes and Transformers. But they also have a M.A.S.K. series, and it regularly crosses over with the others. The comic take is an action-packed romp grounded in whatever sort of reality it’s created for itself — and it would adapt wonderfully to television.
11. KIM POSSIBLE
As one of the “newer” shows on this list, Kim Possible rose above its at-the-time competition to give us a stellar cartoon that felt like Mission Impossible meets The Breakfast Club. The characters were wacky, cape comic-inspired and super fun. Villains were developed over multiple seasons, relationships grew, and the main character was an empowered female super spy — yeah, it’s time for Kim to come back.
Now, a reboot might not work as well as a continuation of the series, but an honest retread of the show’s themes could be used to inspire a new hero, someone to take up the mantle of Kim Possible. With Disney’s recent return to its television roots (see DuckTales, Raven’s Home or Girl Meets World) we wouldn’t be surprised to see this as a possibility.
10. TEEN TITANS
A reboot of Teen Titans might make some people mad. After the hilarious, but tonally different Teen Titans Go! hit the air, fans of the critically-celebrated original show were understandably angry. This new slapstick take on the show referenced its events, but lacked any sort of consistency or emotional impact. A reboot of the show would wipe the slate clean and reintroduce us to the main cast: Robin, Beast Boy, Starfire, Cyborg and Raven.
So, how would it be different than DC’s other mature-themed young superhero show, Young Justice? Well, it would be more contained. The stories of Teen Titans focused mainly on the core group, while Young Justice has to manage a much larger cast. But in all honesty, the two shows could coexist, each offering a unique take on its heroes, while Teen Titans maybe would have a bit more humor than its sister show.
Greg Weisman, who you’ll know from stellar television series The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice, was actually part of the original pitch group of Gargoyles to Disney, and despite receiving no official credit, has expressed interest in wanting to return to the program. And why not? The series, inspired by classic themes and motifs, was kind of incredible, drawing critical praise since its third season ended.
The show was dark, brooding and carried its characters through emotional arcs, even though it was really centered around a bunch of magic statues from a time long past adjusting to modern day life. Imagine Gargoyles dealing with even more modern day adjustments, everything that has come up since the series ended in 1997. Count us in, just make sure you bring back the original theme song, too.
8. G.I. JOE
Go Joe! Look, G.I. Joe has been around the block. There have animated television shows, live actions attempts, straight-to-DVD movies and more, but none have matched the power of the original series. Let’s diversify and make G.I. Joe for a new generation, bringing in all of the wackiness, the euphemisms and the badass characters to a new generation. Because let’s be honest, the series hasn’t worked so hot outside of the original cartoon,
Imagine the series with a look not unlike the recent Castlevania Netflix series. An anime style could be hit or miss, but it’d be different enough to keep things fresh while riffing on an age-old format. Get all of the classics in there too, whether they’re like they were before or redesigned for 2017: Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Duke and the rest.
7. THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS
The Real Ghostbusters was very much a product of its time, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a totally awesome compliment to the film franchise. While the rebooted film was met with mixed critical reviews, it did retain much of the hilarity and plenty of the lore that the original films set up. A new animated series would allow writers and animators time to flesh out this new world, introduce us to a new, diverse cast of Ghostbusters and build a new franchise from the ground up.
This generation could use the Ghostbusters, and with plenty of other ‘80s franchises coming back into the spotlight, there’s no reason for them not to return to television. Let’s just hope it’s absolutely nothing like the Extreme Ghostbusters. We don’t like to talk about that one.
6. THE SUPER MARIO BROS. SUPER SHOW!
Ok, before you all freak out, hear us out. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! was absolutely a product of its time, and the public perception and understanding of the Mushroom Kingdom is wildly different now than it was in the late ’80s, but hey, if Mickey Mouse can poke his head out television every few years, why can’t Mario and Luigi?
Honestly, we’d like a rebooted series to have a deadpan tone, maybe in line with Cartoon Network’s last few years of more mature properties. It would be perfect in a 2D, hand-drawn style show and would complement any number of other shows on the network. With Nintendo making a big push back into the mainstream with the Switch, it’s a good a time as any to get the plumber brothers back out there.
5. SPEED RACER
In a perfect world, Speed Racer would have never ended. The original Japanese cartoon was a treat, and its subsequent reinventions weren’t so bad either. Heck, even the Wachowskis’ 2008 live action film was pretty wonderful — at least visually. The world of Speed Racer is dystopian, kind of scary, but also completely enthralling. In a world where the Fast & Furious franchise dominates, Speed Racer would be a welcome gear shift.
Characters like Speed, Pops, Racer X and Trixie led each episode with a caricature-like style and grace. Oh, and we can’t forget Chim-Chim, the wonderful pet chimpanzee who stole every scene. It’s 2017, and we think it’s time for the poorly dubbed, fast-talking world of Speed Racer to make a triumphant return.
Look, a few years back there was a Thundercats reboot on Cartoon Network. It was kind of awesome, and if only it had released a few years later, maybe on a platform like Netflix, it could have survived a cancellation or two. In this way, Thundercats deserves the treatment that the well-received Voltron: Legendary Defender has gotten, as that series is now on season three.
The world of Thundercats begs for exploration, and its riffs on ‘80s character themes combined with the wackiness of today’s cartoons and anime are a match made in heaven. Lion-O, Tygra and others are bombastic and loud, and we think its time for them to return to glory. The original series, along with a few similar shows, helped create a generation of adventurous, imaginative thinkers and with so much slapstick out now, it’d be nice to have more Thundercats.
Now, we know the X-Men are no stranger to television. Sure, there were follow-ups to the popular 1990s X-Men show like X-Men Evolution and Wolverine & The X-Men, but none captured the charm and camaraderie of the original series. Lately, the X-Men franchise has been ripe for live-action television, spawning shows like The Gifted and Legion, and while the movies continue to be at least a moderate success at the box office, we’re left wondering where our Saturday morning cartoon fix is?
With Marvel’s “ResurreXion” line cleaning up continuity in the comics, there’s never been a better time to bring the classic X-Men team of Wolverine, Cyclops and co. back to the cartoon world. We want it poppy, we want it weird, but we want it endearing and emotional too.
2. CAPTAIN N: THE GAME MASTER
Alright, so this one would take a bit of doing. The original Captain N: The Game Master ran from 1989 to 1991 and billed itself as a digital journey into the world of video games — most of which were Nintendo properties. The main character’s goal was to defeat Mother Brain (from the Metroid series), but characters from third party games like Simon Belmont from Castlevania and Mega Man showed up, each bringing their own style and flat to the show.
In a perfect reboot, the new show would take on a Tron meets Wreck-It Ralph sort of identity, again blending the worlds of Nintendo video games as this human boy and his dog jump between them and meet wacky characters. How many Nintendo staples have appeared since 1991? Get Kirby or Star Fox in the mix. Maybe the Inklings from Splatoon. The possibilities are endless.
1. HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE
You knew it was coming. He-Man and the Master of the Universe ushered in a new age of fantasy cartoons. Despite being the butt of plenty of modern memes, the world of He-Man is rich and full of wonder — everything from He-Man and his Battle Cat to the evil Skeletor and his armies of evil. While the 2002 Cartoon Network reboot did a solid job of reintroducing He-Man, not much else has happened since, except for a comic book series.
So let’s bring He-Man back into the fold, in a classic cartoon format, and introduce a new generation to the power of Grayskull. I mean, they still sell the action figures, so it’d be nice to have a new show to go along with those, especially if that live action film is gonna take a million years to get made.
Did your favorites not make the list? Let us know in comments.
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