After learning recently that “Fast and the Furious” actually had an animated series on Netflix for kids, I was stunned, but not entirely shocked. There’s still some cash to be mined from the series, and there’s room to appeal to kids. In either case, with that and with “Gremlins” also being turned in to animated series, I couldn’t help but think back to five great animated series I watched as a kid that were based on feature films. What are some of your favorites?
Thirty years after the Muppet Babies made their cinematic debut, it’s been hard to imagine the Muppet franchise without them. They’ve become as big a fixture as their adult counterparts, and other properties have tried mimicking them to a lesser degree. “Baby Looney Tunes,” anyone? Remember “Tom and Jerry Kids” and “Flintstones Kids”? In either case, now with the eighties series in limbo, Disney Junior has revived the property for a new audience offering an educational adventure series with the Muppet Babies, and it’s a nice revamp.
When I was a kid, Jim Henson was my absolute hero. He invented so many of my childhood characters, he pioneered some of my favorite television shows of all time, did so many great voices for various incredible characters, and voiced my favorite character all time, Kermit the Frog. So when he passed away it was a somber and heartbreaking occasion for me. I remember sitting through the memorial song played on television where the muppets are contemplating Henson’s death and I couldn’t even sit through it. Mid-way I literally got up and left putting the television on mute, barely able to come to terms with Henson’s passing. It felt like my grandfather, who spent so many years telling me great stories and inventing this magical world was gone. It was yet another artist going away forever.
The muppets and Sesame Street were never the same again. Sure they can pretend they rebounded, but when Jim died, everything else did, and universe for these characters was just completely pointless and oozing consumerism. Characters were no longer there to tell stories, they were just there to sell merchandise. One of the many reasons why i utterly despised and continue to despise Elmo. Seriously, I loathe that character more than Mickey an the entire cast of “Family Guy” combined. Since his death and my introduction to his work, Henson has been one of the major influences on my life inspiring my love for impressions and voices, and for creating my own characters, and I had to pay homage to the man, the legend, Jim Henson.
When last we saw the Muppets, it was 1999, we were following the muppets in to space and we were finally learning the secret behind Gonzo. And, let’s face it, audiences weren’t exactly clamoring to learn about Gonzo and his origin. Especially in the midst of game changing movies like “The Matrix” steamrolling theaters. This 2011 reboot basically acknowledges how antiquated the muppets have become in a society bred on computer animation and 3D and how dusty their parts have been in the face of a new generation. In spite of the nostalgia, the muppets aren’t exactly the most popular property out there and the makers behind this fully acknowledge that and create in the process a revival that’s both a tribute to the muppets and a hopeful restart of the franchise once and for all. I can’t be the only one hoping for new Kermit and Fozzy films.