What Current Shows Would Make Good '80s Cartoons? - Macleans.ca

What Current Shows Would Make Good ’80s Cartoons?


A lightweight question as the weekend approaches: if people were still making prime-time shows into concurrently-running Saturday morning cartoons, the way they did with The Dukes of Hazzard or Laverne and Shirley or Punky Brewster, then what shows would you choose to be made into cartoons, what would be the wacky premise, and who would be their cute animal sidekick?

Mad Men: The evil wizard and advertising mogul Pryceo and his cat Madison (voiced by Frank Welker) wants to take over the only advertising agency he does not yet control: Sterling Cooper. Fortunately, the good wizard Papa Bert creates a magical cloak that makes it impossible for the bad guys to find their agency. But Don Draper, Betty and their pals can’t resist leaving the agency and going outside into early ’60s New York. Look for Ann-Margret to reprise her Flintstones role as Ann-Margrock in episode 3.

The Big Bang Gang: There’s no show that lends itself more to a Saturday morning cartoon adaptation. Hell, the characters have already had a time machine in their apartment, even though it didn’t work. When Sheldon rigs the time machine so it will actually work, the clutzy fighting of Howard and Raj accidentally sets it off and gets the whole gang trapped in an endless time-loop, along with Penny’s talking cat Cheesecake (voiced by Frank Welker).

Bones: In this animated version, Booth and Bones are among lots more bones, because they live in prehistoric times, in the dinosaur age! Cavemen come to them, asking them to use their mystery-solving skills to solve scary mysteries: it seems that giant lizards are trying to scare away the dinosaurs. But don’t worry: Booth, Bones, and their baby Stegosaurus sidekick Steggo (voiced by Frank Welker) discover that it’s just a Tyrannosaurus disguised as a giant lizard.

Being Erica: Pretty much the same as the current version except that instead of being sent back in time by a psychiatrist, Erica meets a blue goat named Grogar (voiced by Frank Welker) who magically sends her back to learn lessons about Canadian history. Episode 1: Erica meets Mary Pickford.

Cougar Town: Courteney Cox and whoever else can take time off to do the voice is transported to the real Cougar Town, where cute baby cougars — all of whom are female — sing songs, play games, and occasionally maul intruders. Told in serialized 15-minute instalments, where the cougars’ new human friends help them fend off attacks from the wicked cougar-hunter Pelto and his magical, evil dog Skinny (voiced by Frank Welker). The other 15 minutes of each episode are taken up by Modern Family Adventures: every week the adults make a mess of one of the three houses, and have to clean it up before the kids get back.

Lost… in Space!: This one pretty much speaks for itself. Except that half the cast is replaced with animals (voiced by Frank Welker). Plus the addition of The Monster, the wacky blue-haired sidekick who keeps almost falling off the floating island at the end of every episode.

Saturday Morning Lights, where the characters take time off from football practice to play groovy music in their band, including their hit song “Pounce Like a Panther, Baby.” When they’re not playing the tunes or running circles around their inept football opponents, they’re solving the many jewel thefts that occur in a small Texas town.

Other suggestions would be welcome. For a primer on how to make one of these spinoffs, someone has uploaded a full episode of Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, featuring three characters from the original show, those Hanna-Barbera “zap” sound effects, and a dog voiced by… wait for it… Frank Welker.


Rest of the episode after the jump:



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What Current Shows Would Make Good ’80s Cartoons?

  1. House+4. Grumpy Dr Gregory House gets a new team — of kids! Three precocious youngsters, Bop (a hip hop beatbox-er), Sweat (a brawny but brainless athlete type) and Twig (a glasses-wearing brainiac girl with an attitude). Plus their best pal, WIlson the Monkey! They drive around the country in their souped up ambulance solving mysteries and making sure everyone gets the message to Just Say NO to Drugs!

  2. Psych! Shawn & Gus (practically cartoons already) are on a case when they get accidentally hit with the "Kid-izer Ray" thus turning them into 10 year-olds. Joined by their new pal, a smart-alek talking cat named Mr. Fibble (voiced by Casey Kasem), they solve crimes in their Southern California town. Meanwhile, Shawn's father tries to reverse the effects of the "Kid-izer" Ray while Det. Lassiter does his best to keep Shawn & Gus in pre-teen status, ensuring hilarity in every episode!

    • Was totally going to suggest Psych.

  3. Survivorghost. Join Les Stroud (voice of Townsend Coleman) as he is whisked away each week to other uninhabited planets…or ARE they? Armed with only his power gauntlets, camera equipment, his harmonica and the famous Leatherman multi-tool, Stroud is constantly watched by the evil Rakkor (voice of Jim Cummings), who wishes to eliminate Stroud once and for all.

    The New Adventures of Bat-Christine: Join Christine (voice of SNL‘s Julia Louis-Dreyfus), gym owner by day, neurotic crime-fighter by night. Christine battles arch-nemesis Rich Richard (voice of Frank Welker) with the help of her straight-talking alien friend Barb-Mite (voice of Kath Soucie.) Produced by Filmation.

  4. Dollhouse.

    Everyday teen Caroline Farrell finds a magical chair in her attic, that once belonged to her grandma. When she uses the chair, she gets magical powers! With the help of best pals Victor and Sierra, she uses her powers to take on the evil sorceress Adelle… Who wants that chair for herself!

    Animal sidekick: Caroline's dog Topher (Frank Welker), who hilariously hops in the chair and gains powers himself!

  5. Actually, if it were about 25-30 years ago, I think The Big Bang Gang really might've happened. With a premise remarkably similar to what you suggested.

  6. I'd love to see 30Rock as a full-on Muppet show, as they did in a few scenes last season.

  7. Well, there's Kid Chuck: nerdy teenager by day, sneaker covert practical jokester by night.

    24 Minutes: which is how much time Jack's new teenage daughter has to solve / prevent a crime.

    Survivor Smithsonian: Lock 8 twelve-year-olds in the Museum of American History, eliminate one-by-one based on their knowledge of culture and history found therein.

    And, anticipating a spring blockbuster, a toon version of the A-Team.

  8. CPAC

  9. Hannah Barbera's 30 Rock: Launched by the crossover TV movie The Flintstones Meet 30 Rock, the prehistoric gang at TGS with Tracy Jordstone has to balance putting on a show every week, Frank and Toofer's secret lives as superheroes, and Tracy's uncanny knack for hijinks, all while avoiding the ire of their diminutive, rage-prone boss, General Electrock (later replaced by Commander Caststone). The show recycles scripts from I Love Lucy, with Liz trying to get in the show being her character's new main motivation. Pete has a much larger role, as Jack's dim-witted sidekick, but, unfortunately for Scott Adsist, has become an anthropomorphic triceratops (voiced by Frank Welker).

  10. Well, in the name of which original 1950s-60s voices to put in the worst, here's mine.

    Hanna-Barbera's and Disney's coproduction the Jonas Brothers and Sissy Ann, with the Jonases [voiced by themselves] and SIssy ,a girl [voiced by Janet Waldo], a talent agenr [voiced by Frank Welker], a dog [voiced by Frank Welker] who can change into musical notes, with a giddy female makeup girl [voiced by Jackie Joseph, Josie's Melody to Janet Waldo's Josie when speaking], a cat [Welker again][ and a narrator [something different-Frank Welker-as a narrator, something different.] Done in combo Klasky-Csupo/Iwao Takamoto-Al Toth HB style [ARRGHH..did I just create a mental nightmare for us all or what?]

    How aboiut 1990s shows like Saved by the Bell – actually a good 1990s show and miles above the Smurfs and other 80s animated shows, with the original cast as a rock band [Buffy the Vampire salyer has merit there..]

  11. Oh, and prime time I would go with Sex and the Kittys Hanna-Barbers and Showtime, both under the WB corporate umbrella, voiced by the live cast, Sarah Jessica Parker and the others, the girls meet Top Cat, Snooper [with Blabber taking notes just in case a case happens], and Mr.Jinks, with the Cattanooga Cats trying to appear but being too "bubblegum" LOL Beats me as to who I'd cast to replace the great Daws Butler and Arnold Stang. S.J.Paker would as usual narrate.

    Finally there would be High Schoiol Musical by Disney back in the Roman days, where Disney can try to make the one-and-only other Roman cartoon [Hanna-Barbera's 1972 Roman Holdiays, btw, was an actual show set there.] Or go through time..

    How about 1950s-70s shows that never were animated but could have been..an animated "Family Affair"…an animated "Hogan's Heroes"..? BTW RIP Barry E.Blitzer, the writer for many of those kinds of shows..