There are many things inevitable in life: The sun will rise and set everyday, Mondays will always be painful, and if a good cartoon comes out, it's almost guaranteed that it will get a remake somewhere down the line. While not true in all cases, there's no denying that networks love being able to capitalize on a property so much that they can try to recreate the show to capture the magic once again. This strategy can work well in some cases. A proper remake not only brings back what made the original series so great, but builds upon its themes to deliver something much deeper than a Saturday morning cartoon. It's those remakes that stand above the rest and offer a lot of insight as to what can be done with older properties.
However, there are a lot of times where this doesn't work. Some remakes are thrown out just to cash in on the licensing and don't have the heart or passion of the originals. These shows are practically a slap in the face to the dedicated fanbase and serve as a reminder that just because something is attached to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles doesn't automatically make it good. Numerous cartoon remakes have popped up over the years, trying to breathe new life into franchises. Sometimes it works and sometimes it leaves everyone feeling despair on the inside. Join CBR as we look at 10 cartoon remakes that were better than the originals and 10 that were much worse.
20 BETTER: DUCKTALES
DuckTales was one of the most beloved cartoons that Disney ever created. Featuring a memorable cast of characters, countless crazy adventures for them to have, and one of the catchiest theme songs in the history of animation, it was a show that was hard to beat. When it was announced that a reboot would premiere on Disney XD, there were plenty who were afraid to see the results.
Much to everyone's surprise, the new DuckTales show, in many ways, is even better than the original. It takes where the first show began and brings back the tone in full while adding in a few surprises that are welcome additions to the universe.
19 WORSE: THE POWERPUFF GIRLS
Craig McCracken's The PowerPuff Girls was one of the most well-written cartoons on Cartoon Network during its time. After ending with a movie that performed less than what Cartoon Network wanted, it seemed like we would never see Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup again. However, Cartoon Network pulled through and chose to revive the series in 2016.
Unfortunately, it was a pitiful shadow of the original show. Where the animation of the first series was punchy and memorable, the new show looks like flash animation, and it lacks depth. Then there's the fact that designs were changed with little reason and Miss Bellum was removed from the series altogether.
18 BETTER: VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER
Voltron was a big '80s cartoon and while it never reached the heights of the Transformers franchise, it was still a popular show that captivated many young minds. Fast forward a few decades later, and Dreamworks decided to reboot the property for a Netflix series. Much to everyone's surprise, the show not only improves on what made Voltron so great in the first place, but it goes above and beyond.
The writing is punchy, the action is well-choreographed, and the animation is near perfect (which is to be expected from the talented people who animated The Legend of Korra). Fans of the series have much to love with this show.
17 WORSE: TEEN TITANS GO!
Is anyone surprised that this show made the list? While Teen Titans GO! isn't the absolute garbage fest that some people make it out to be, calling a good would be a vast overstatement. A lot of the episodes build themselves a singular joke that overstays its welcome soon, the Titans are all unlikable characters, and the animation quality seems lazy in a lot of ways.
To add more fuel to the fire, there are many episodes where the show tries to address the criticism it receives, and it seems oblivious to the fact that it does a lot of things wrong.
16 BETTER: SCOOBY-DOO: MYSTERY INCORPORATED
Scooby-Doo was a brilliant series that took old mystery stories and brought them to a younger audience. Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated took that premise and updated it with more modern technology to deliver a series that ultimately leaves a bigger impact. How does it improve on the original? Part of what was done better is that the tone was changed to be more ambient and scary, leaning into the "mystery" in the title.
As you might expect, the animation quality was vastly improved, giving the show a unique feel all its own. Arguably the biggest advancement is how it also focused on over-arching stories rather than just episodic plots.
15 WORSE: BEN 10
Ben 10 was one of those cartoons that helped Cartoon Network get back on track when animation was on a decline in quality in the mid-2000s. Since then, the series has been given sequel shows that all work together to tell the narrative of the titular character. In 2016, the network decided that, instead of continuing the show, they were going to reboot it.
The show is (appropriately) called Ben 10, but is a reboot in the same style of The PowerPuff Girls or Teen Titans GO!. It focuses on comedy and simpler animation over the compelling narratives of its predecessors. That would be fine, if the show was ever genuinely funny or interesting.
14 BETTER: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are some of the most popular characters in television history. They've had several different shows before, but none could hold a candle to the original until 2012. Nickelodeon decided to reboot the series into a CGI cartoon with controversial redesigns for the turtles. While some weren't expecting much, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ended up being one of the best shows on the network at the time.
It was an impressive blend of drama and action, and they actually found a way to make the CGI animation work for it rather than against it. There was also a ridiculous amount of fan service that went a long way to making the show more loved.
13 WORSE: REN AND STIMPY: ADULT PARTY CARTOON
Ren and Stimpy was always exciting because it pushed the boundaries of what was allowed for animation. Its grotesque animation combined with its loud main characters and jokes that hit home with adults more than kids made it one of the more memorable Nickelodeon cartoons. The show eventually saw its end, though, but that didn't stop it from fading away.
Eventually, the show got a reboot on an adult channel titled Ren and Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon. Unfortunately, giving the show no boundaries led to something that was gross and tasteless rather than clever. The humor was all just for the shock value and nothing else.
12 BETTER: SONIC BOOM
Sonic Boom was an attempt by SEGA to reboot the blue blur into a new and successful franchise. While the games were dead in the water, the show was a different story. It started out quite formulaic, but the writers eventually decided to become more self-aware and create a series that was much better than it had any right to be.
The Sonic Boom cartoon was constantly referential to the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise as well as its fanbase, with smart writing and jokes that actually landed more than they didn't. It became better than just about any Sonic cartoon to come before it, and we're all surprised by it.
11 WORSE: BE COOL, SCOOBY DOO!
Be Cool, Scooby Doo! isn't much different from the franchise as a whole. It still involves a lot of the mystery-solving, wacky action that made it famous all those years ago. That said, it does falter in some serious areas. For starters, the show has a greater focus on the type of "random" humor that is present in a lot of Cartoon Network's current shows.
As you might expect, it falls flat more often than it lands. Perhaps the greatest sin of the show is the art style. The characters (particularly Scooby-Doo himself) just look off. Don't worry, though, the series will probably be rebooted in the next few years.
10 BETTER: THUNDERCATS
Thundercats was a popular yet campy cartoon from the '80s featuring a lot of crazy characters that captivated young minds. Cartoon Network is rebooting the show yet again into a humor-focused, simple art style show -- we're starting to notice a trend.
What a lot of people don't realize is that a more action-heavy, story-focused reboot had already been made. The 2011 Thundercats series took the show's initial formula and brought a lot of character development to the mix. On top of that, the animation was reminiscent of anime, which made it look a lot better. Everything about the show holds up today.
9 WORSE: THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS RIDES AGAIN
The Magic School Bus was one of those cartoons we all remember watching in school to learn about how the world worked. To hop onto the nostalgia train that has been fueling pop culture the past few years, Netflix decided to bring back the series in the form of The Magic School Bus Rides Again.
Right away, it's hard not to notice how much worse the animation looks. The character designs look nearly identical and the animation looks stiff and lifeless. There is also a random absence of the character, Phoebe, that just happens, so there's that. There's also a new Ms. Frizzle, and the entire show just feels generic in the end.
8 BETTER: THE LOONEY TUNES SHOW
Looney Tunes is one of the most iconic cartoons ever created. Not only does it hold some of the most iconic characters to be put on-screen, but it pioneered a lot of humor and writing styles that others would try to emulate in the future. Move on to The Looney Tunes Show, which was a modern reboot of the characters and their universe.
What's impressive about the show is that, while it still embraces the wackier episodes full of comedy, it isn't afraid to ground it in reality. Bugs, Daffy, and the rest of the bunch all feel like real people with real motivations. This change in pace makes the universe more relatable, and that makes it a standout reboot.
7 WORSE: YO YOGI!
Hanna Barbera is one of the greatest studios in animation. Creating a lot of simple and iconic cartoons, their style would be the foundation to what modern cartoons were based on. Popular shows like Scooby-Doo and Wacky Racers would come from this studio, so it's surprising to hear that they rebooted one of their shows, and it was awful.
For the '90s, they decided to take Yogi Bear and make him a hip teenager with a sleek jacket and a passion for skateboarding. Not only is this show a clear product of the '90s, but it also throws out everything that made the character and his show popular in the first place. Just listen to the theme song to get a clear picture of it.
6 BETTER: TRANSFORMERS: PRIME
Imagine if the serious tone of the Michael Bay Transformers movies were combined with good writing, great humor, and a story worth getting invested in. That's exactly what you get with Transformers: Prime. Regarded as one of the best shows of the franchise to date, it did for the Transformers series what The Clone Wars did for Star Wars.
It wasn't afraid to deal with mature themes and have actual character development, all while sporting a visually stunning animation style. The writers were also fans of the original series, as there are plenty of homages to the classics, which are sure to make audiences happy.
5 WORSE: LOONATICS UNLEASHED
With Looney Tunes being such a popular cartoon with plenty of interesting characters, it was only a matter of time before spin-offs and reboots came to its doors. There were clever shows like Duck Dodgers, which helped to flesh out the cast while still containing the on-point writing and humor of the original.
Then there are shows like Loonatics Unleashed. This show was determined to take Bugs, Taz, Daffy, and the gang, and turn them into futuristic edgelords. Trying to make the series cool and hip for young viewers, the show falls flat on its face. It's not a good show.
4 BETTER: TOM AND JERRY TALES
There have been countless iterations of Tom and Jerry. The show was a classic cartoon that made a heavy case for why slapstick deserved to be in animation rather than just films. Since then, many reboots and re-imaginings have come out that were either on par or much worse than the original shorts.
Tom and Jerry Tales is probably the best out of the bunch, featuring a modern yet classic-feeling art style. It also brings back a lot of the creative slapstick, which manages to be fun to watch, even in the present day. The only downside is that the show didn't last long, only airing for two years.
3 WORSE: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SPEED RACER
Speed Racer was a fantastic and poignant cartoon that has never been faithfully recreated afterward. The movie wasn't great, and neither were the show's reboots. One of them, The New Adventures of Speed Racer, was particularly bad. The show only keeps the DNA of the original intact by having the main character and a car that he drives.
Other than that, it's an entirely new show. A lot of the social commentary and conspiracy plots are thrown out the door in favor of having our hero time travel and race aliens on other planets. It's a Speed Racer show devoid of what made the original so great in the first place.
2 BETTER: BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD
When compared to Batman: The Animated Series, there is only one thing where Batman: The Brave and the Bold falls short: the art style. The original show had such an iconic and simplistic look that every other Batman cartoon after that has yet to properly recreate. Other than that, The Brave and the Bold is a respectable if not superior reboot of the Dark Knight in animation.
Pairing him up with new and lesser-known superheroes to fight an eclectic cast of DC villains is just pure gold to watch. On top of that, it paved the way for other DC superheroes to get their chance in the spotlight. Featuring punchy action and a lovable homage to multiple Batman media, it was a great show through and through.
1 WORSE: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF HE-MAN
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is one of the most popular '80s cartoons ever created. It was every bit as campy as the name implies, but it didn't stop anyone from falling in love with it. As such, it was bound to get a reboot. Enter The New Adventures of He-Man. It was the He-Man we all knew and loved, but he was thrust into space.
This shift in setting for the character was so random and unnecessary that even the writers weren't sure what to do with it. They even dragged Skeletor into the cosmos, but he ended up being more laughable there than he was in a fantasy setting. It was one of the worst decisions for the character.