Nothing says “we’re gong to milk this critically acclaimed and financially successful film for every penny she’s worth” than an animated TV series. Ohh yes, my friends. We’ve talked a bit about sequels. We’ve spoken about hit singles. We’ve even touched on video game tie-ins. But now we’re diving headfirst into the Disney’s small-screen spinoffs. And ohh boy is there a lot to talk about! But for now I’ll just give a brief overview of what we’re dealing with.
Okay so after a bit of research, I hope I have compiled a list of all the TV shows based on Disney theatrical releases that managed to be officially broadcast:
- The Little Mermaid
- The Lion King’s Timon & Pumbaa
- 101 Dalmatians: The Series
- The Legend of Tarzan
- The Emperor’s New School
- Lilo & Stitch: The Series
I say this of course because some pilots or episodes from an unused series were turned into (awful) direct-to-video movies, most notably Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World, Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, and Atlantis: Milo’s Return.
Now, as I didn’t watch many of these as a kid (shock horror!!), I had to do..umm.. “research” by watching some episodes from each to get a better idea of the series. And you know what? For what they are, they’re not bad. They have significantly smaller budgets, and de-epicafy the legacy of each franchise to a major degree. But on the whole the writing, directing, and yes, even some of the songs (the odd show here and there was actually a musical), didn’t cause too much damage to the brand. And it was nice to check into my favourite characters for more adventures. They’d earnt it.
There is one thing in particular I would like to mention though. This was a cross-over episode of Hercules: The Animated Series, which featured the characters from the Aladdin tv series, which by this time had ended. Ho..ly crap!! This ep, entitled Hercules and the Arabian Night, was unbelievably cool. The diologue between Jafar and Hades was fantastic, and the interactions between Hercules and Aladdin (who due to an actually well considered plot device think each other are the bad guy), are really funny and character-driven too. Maybe they upped their game for this event.. who knows.
So yeah, on the whole, the TV series are a whole lot of meh – fluffy unforgettable fare. After all, they *are* just for kids, and they’re probably playing in the background while the kid is doing the equivalent of playing on an ipad in the 90’s. But I digress. there is some charm and wit to these old shows, and while they will always remain the cheap cash grab they were always destined to be, they don’t have zero value either.
As a follow up to the films, they suck. But as TV series int heir own right, they’re actually rather enjoyable. Please leave your favourite memories of these nostalgic shows and tell us what you thought of thise whole trend toward the small screen.