You might remember one or two of these, but looking at this slew of them, you just got to wonder WTF.
Star Wars: All of Them (1985-present)
Droids, Ewoks, The Clone Wars, and Star Wars: Rebels gave us some highs and lows, but kept the fire for all things galaxy far far away burning, and the merchandising flowing.
Muppet Babies (1984-1990)
In the wake of The Muppet Show, The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, this cartoon series gave cute new incarnations of kids’ favorite characters all while looping in clips from Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Ghostbusters. Can you kids say “cross-promotion”?
Black Dynamite (2011-2015)
The celebrated R-rated Blaxploitation spoof proved solid source material for Adult Swim’s TV-MA line-up, and had Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson and Byron Minns reprising their roles.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1990-1991)
A cartoon based on a daffy, doofy time-travel comedy for kids, yeah that works. Totally excellent bonus: it even had Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter and George Carlin reprising their roles.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1995-2000)
Considering Jim Carrey’s brand of comedy has always leaned hard on his rubber-faced mugging and silly slapstick, this isn’t too far-fetched an idea, especially when you can loop in a spunky monkey sidekick.
Dumb and Dumber (1995-1996)
Yup. 1995 brought not one but two Jim Carrey-inspired series. This one added a purple pet beaver to the mix. Because fuck you.
The Mask (1995-1997)
Did I say two? I meant three. There were three Jim Carrey-inspired cartoon series in 1995. Seriously, fuck you.
The Real Ghostbusters (1986-1992)
Between Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, children of the ’80s relished in these animated adventures that brought in more color, played up Slimer’s involvement, and gave Janine her edgy makeover ahead of the sequel.
Men in Black (1997-2001)
A comedy that was essentially sci-fi Ghostbusters followed in its footsteps down the animated adaptation path. Duh.
What better way to capitalize on the success of a family-friendly adventure comedy than spinning it into an ugly animated series? A 2016 reboot you say?
Back to the Future (1991-1992)
Time travel gives tons of opportunities for fun plot lines. So naturally after exhausting the family-friendly film franchise with the nonsense of the Wild West-set Back to the Future: Part III, the property turned to cartoons, and brought Doc’s creepy kids with it.
Teen Wolf (1986-1987)
Another cartoon that ran on the fumes of residual Michael J. Fox charisma, this thing decided more werewolves in the family means more fun. Nope.
Karate Kid (1989)
By the end of the 80s, Ralph Macchio was 28, and really pushing the definition of “Karate Kid.” So after three movies, the franchise took a spin at an action-packed animated series…which lasted 13 episodes.
Police Academy (1988-1989)
The first Police Academy was rated R. The second rolled back the raunch to get a PG-13. By Police Academy 3: Back In Training, the franchise had turned PG. Following Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach, a cartoon was almost a given, though still not a good idea.
Napoleon Dynamite (2012)
That a groundbreaking comedy got a cartoon spinoff makes sense. That it was launched eight years after everyone was wearing “Vote for Pedro” shirts, less so.
After Michael Keaton thrilled the world as the ghost with the most, the character was re-imagined as less malevolent and more mischievous. And instead of trying to force Lydia Deetz into being his child-bride, she became his willing bff, going on adventures in the Neitherworld. I know I should roll my eyes at that cash-grabbing backflip, but, guys, I really loved this show as a kid. ~Ducks onslaught of hurled rotten tomatoes~
Little Shop (1991)
Forget the horror movie Little Shop of Horrors, and the musical horror movie of the same name it inspired. Actually, drop “horror” altogether. This short-lived series replanted Audrey II as a friendly fixture in a florist shop instead of an extraterrestrial invader hell-bent on world domination. Because fuck you more times.
Rambo: The Force of Freedom (1986)
One one level, basing a kid’s cartoon series on First Blood, a very violent, R-rated actioner about a vet experiencing serious PTSD, sounds like a terrible idea. On another, G.I. Joe was very popular at the time. So, let’s just wipe away the blood and nipples and focus on the red headband, shall we?
MTV produced this series inspired by the 1995 Ice Cube comedy. That part makes some level of sense, since the network had seen success with teen-aimed cartoons like Beavis and Butt-Head, Daria, and Celebrity Deathmatch. What didn’t make sense: This spin-off toon came 12 years after Friday, and five after its second sequel. Little wonder it only lasted 8 episodes.
Today we all scoff over Roland Emmerich’s misfired 1998 Godzilla reboot. But back then, Emmerch and company were so confident in its success they launched an accompanying cartoon series, where future Sharknado star Ian Ziering led the voice cast.
Between Kevin Smith’s foul-mouthed, career-launching directorial debut and its oh-right-that-was-a-thing sequel came this quirky cartoon that ran for two episodes before ABC shit-canned it.
Free Willy (1994)
Look. I loved that orca-centered drama as much as every other girl who briefly dreamed of being a marine biologist. But how do you build series around Willy and his angsty boy bestie? Oh. You add a cyborg villain. Okay. Sure.
Return of the Planet of the Apes (1975)
After Planet of the Apes, Beneath The Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Escape from Planet of the Apes, and Conquest of The Planet of the Apes came this show, which I’d never heard of before today. And you know what? Based on this cryptic opening with its crucified ape-men and eerie score, I’m good knowing nothing more.
What better for a Saturday Morning line-up than a spin-off of an aggressively violent R-rated dystopian movie? Literally anything. We’d rather see The Revenant re-imagined with Leo and the Bear being buddies who traverse the Wild West.
Did we miss one? Tell us where it ranks in ridiculousness below.
Kristy Puchko tries not to think too long on how many of these she’s watched.