Grading The Disney Movie TV Spin-Offs

We’re admitted Disney-philes who spent many years watching anything Disney served its fans. Even at our age, we’re still very invested in almost anything Disney creates, and growing up in the nineties, we spent many afternoons watching Disney animated series. Most of what Disney gave fans in the realm of animated series were shows based off of their hit movies and classics, so fans interested in seeing more of their beloved cinematic characters had the chance to see more from them in televised form. While they weren’t always home runs, they were surefire animated shows that could never quite be compared to modern animated series. Here are our thoughts and grades on TV Spin offs that stem from Disney movies.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1988) – A+
Lasting 83 episodes total, “The New Adventures” aired on ABC television in America during the afternoon, shortly before the Saturday morning animated line up ended. “The New Adventures” was a sweet and subtle series that chronicled the life and misadventures of Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the hundred acre woods.

With occasional appearances by Christopher Robin, Winnie and Piglet spent the day looking for fun and would always walk in to a new adventure in their land. It’s a fine show with a great legacy, and it’s one I fondly remember watching every Saturday as a child.

Chip ‘n Dale (1943)
Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers (1989) – A+
The mischievous and rambunctious duo of chipmunks featured in various Disney shorts spawned their own spin off in the adventure age from Disney studios. This time, Chip ‘n Dale are a freelance pair of special agents who fight crimes and help people. Chip dons a fedora and fighter jacket a la Indiana Jones, while Dale garners a Hawaiian shirt a la Magnum PI.

With their friends crusty pilot Monterey Jack, Zipper a courageous blue fly, and Gadget, a spunky female chipmunk with a knack for creating machines, the group go on epic missions in their massive world. “Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers” is an action packed and excellent series that has yet to show its age, and is filled with fun adventures.

Jungle Book (1967)
TaleSpin (1990) – A+
How do you take a great character like Baloo and give him his own series? Well if you’re the Indiana Jones-centric Disney of the nineties, you give him an adventure show. “Jungle Book” is the result of a Baloo spin off and it is one of the best animated shows of the nineties. Perhaps of all time. Kids from the nineties fondly remember this wonderful adventure series where we set down on a world of anthropomorphic talking animals who lived in a massive city named Cape Suzette.

Baloo stars as a slacker pilot who runs his own cargo business with his beloved plane the Seaduck. There’s no Mogli to be found, but Baloo does adopt and bond with a young cub named Kit Cloudkicker who helps Baloo with his adventures, and brands him “Papa Bear.” Louie the chimpanzee is Baloo’s best friend who runs a juice bar for local pilots, while the devious Shere Kahn is a cold businessman constantly the target of villains and monsters. “Talespin” is a wonderful animated adventure series filled with heart, laughs, and exciting action for the kids. It’s an unusual twist on the spin off but it works ten fold.

Goofy (1932)
Goof Troop (1992) – A+
Goofy, the lovable oaf from the Disney shorts and animated movies is now a domesticated widowed dad coming out of the eighties. Goofy has left his old town after losing his wife, and moves in to a new suburb with his son Max. Max is a rebellious nineties kid who loves skateboarding, video games, and baggy jeans, while Goofy is a neurotic and clumsy single dad who means well, despite his mishaps.

They live alongside the obnoxious Pete whose family is filled with hilarious odd balls. Max befriends rotund PJ, and the pair take on the world, while Goofy and Pete find themselves in all kinds of hijinks. It’s a fun and hilarious series that spun off in to two really good animated movies.

The Little Mermaid (1989)
The New Adventures of The Little Mermaid (1992) – C+
The Little Mermaid appealed mainly to girls so, of course, the TV show was mainly a series for girls. “The Little Mermaid” took off from the excellent original film, and followed Ariel and her group of sea pals as they ventured in to the deep sea to battle villains and over come obstacles.

Set before the movie, Ariel is the heroine who deals with life issues, and learns about friendship and battling evil. The show is a dreamy and whimsical take off on the movie, and will really only catch the attention of young girls who want to see more from Disney’s version of Ariel.

Aladdin (1992)
Disney’s Aladdin (1994) – B-
Many argue that “Aladdin’s” real pilot episode was “The Return of Jafar” which hyped itself up as a legitimate sequel, but was a glorified TV movie. “Aladdin” as a series is good enough, with Aladdin now a sultan who engages in all kinds of mystical and magical adventures with Princess Jasmine, Abu, and their cranky sidekick Iago who became a good guy for the sake of the series. It’s a watchable series with some interesting ideas, but it’s not all too memorable. Even with the Aladdin cast crossing paths with the cast from the “Hercules” Disney show, it’s not all that memorable.

The Lion King (1994)
The Lion King’s Timon & Pumbaa
(1995) – C-
It was only a matter of time before the entire “Lion King” franchise shifted from Simba and the pride of lions to his wacky pals, Timon and Pumbaa. Following the pair of slapstick friends, they engage in all kinds of adventures, some times in Africa and some times in the more modern world where they get in to all kinds of adventures. It’s a very forgettable and boring show that wears its welcome out quickly. Especially when the theme song is an altered version of “Hakuna Matata.”

Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Sing Me a Story with Belle (1995) – B-
Rather than try to recreate the amazing world that was put on the animated movie, this spin off opted for a more Mister Rogers feel. Belle is portrayed by Lyndsey McLeod who, as Belle, now owns her own music and bookshop. She has a variety of friends including a cat, and two bookworms, and she invites children in her shop.

There she sings to them, teaches them life lessons, and shows a cartoon here and there from the Disney library. “Sing Me a Story with Belle” is another of the Disney shows that appealed mainly to little girls, but as a spin off it’s decent.

“Disney Spin Offs” Part Two >>