This article original ran on The Two-Headed Nerd Comicast on August 3rd, 2013. Give them a clicky click.
Last week I reminded you (whether you wanted it or not) of the many odd spin-offs mined from R-rated material. This week, I want to continue chronicling this strange landscape with a few movie spin-offs. The main difference is the source material (good or bad), is at least suitable for kids — you know, the audience they’re marketing this nonsense to. This category, too, is filled with plenty of horrible adaptations from equally bad sources, but at least there were more winners. Okay, like one more.
Here’s two interesting gems in the same vein. After the runaway success of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures, the movie was spun off into a 21 episode cartoon. The first season (13 ep.) had the cast reprising their roles. Then the show switched networks to Fox where the cast was replaced by the actors playing the live action counterparts. The cartoon made it longer than the live action show did. Not to be outdone, another popular comedy, Dumb and Dumber, received the 13 episode cartoon treatment. Joining Harry and Lloyd was their newly acquired female purple pet beaver, Kitty. Sure, whatever.
Staying on the Jim Carrey tip, The Mask and Ace Ventura were both animated, and surprisingly successful. They had 54 and 39 episodes respectively, with the former sporting a respectable cast. Yakko Warner himself, Rob Paulsen was the Mask, while Tim Curry voiced his antagonist. Jim Cummings (Darkwing Duck), Tress MacNeille (Simpsons/Futurama), and Frank Welker (Megatron!) provided voices. If there was ever a movie meant for animated, it was The Mask. Here’s a fun fact: Seth MacFarlane was one of the writers on the Ace Ventura cartoon.
The most successful — and, for my money, best — of all these spin-offs was Beetlejuice. The cartoon ran from ’89-’91 for an amazing 94 episodes. In ’91, new episodes ran weekdays on Fox and Saturday mornings on ABC. I have no idea why. The premise for the cartoon was slightly different from the movie, instead focusing on Beetlejuice and Lydia and their adventures in the Nietherworld. Much of the inherent grossness and macabre aesthetics made the transition. Tim Burton helped develop the cartoon, which explains why it translated so well. I remember KB-Toys running some promotion where you needed to say “Beetlejuice” three times to the cashier. By the time I got there, they had already run out of whatever it was. I don’t remember. The show recently was released in its entirety on DVD. As long as you don’t mind ickiness, it’s still pretty good.
And now for the requisite huh? category. For your amusement, I have three entries, and I can’t decide which one is worse. No, wait, yes I can. It’s Free Willy. That god awful movie had not only three sequels, but a 13-episode animated show. It had to do with the environment and the planeteers or something, whatever (the pic is from Free Willy, best i could find). The Neverending Story: The Animated Adventures of Bastian Balthazar Bux (not going to lie, copy and pasted that) had 26 episodes on HBO in the mid ’90s. Since everything that HBO makes is amazing, I can guarantee this show is worth the time (disclaimer: The Credible Hulk cannot honor this guarantee). Finally, 13 episodes of The Karate Kid aired in ’89. Daniel and Miyagi karate chopped their way around the world to reclaim some stolen idol. Yep.
I didn’t bother with most of these, catching an episode here or there, save for Beetlejuice. The quality here overall is better than the shlock from last week. Just wait till next week, it only gets better (note: not really).
Honorable Mentions: Fievel’s American Tails, The Wizard of Oz, Back to the Future, Alienators: Evolution Continues.
Any I missed? What was your favorite? If you say Free Willy, I swear I will find you and punch you. Comments, away!
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Somethings are meant to be forgotten, like everything here.