15 Cartoon Reboots That Didn't Live Up To The Originals
Who doesn’t love a good reboot? Whether it’s restarting a popular superhero franchise for the third time, or revitalizing an old video game series for a new generation of gamers, reboots of popular media franchises continue to be the lifeblood of the entertainment industry. Try as they might, however, not every reboot can be a success story. For every Spider-Man, there’s a Spider-Man Unlimited. And for every new Looney Tunes Cartoons, there’s a Loonatics Unleashed.
Cartoon reboots, just like any other reboots, can fail to attract the attention of the modern audiences it’s trying so hard to appeal to. Sometimes the worst cartoon reboots happen because of the poor or misguided direction of the new show, such as taking old-school Looney Tunes characters and turning them into edgy superheroes. Other times, a great cartoon reboot can get the ax for reasons out of its control, such as disappointing toy sales. There are also times when a failed cartoon reboot won’t get the appreciation it deserves until years after its release. Whatever the reason, these cartoon reboots failed to reach the critical and commercial acclaim of their predecessors.
- 1867 VOTESPhoto: Cartoon Network
In 2016, Cartoon Network brought back its 1998 mega-hit, The Powerpuff Girls, for a brand new TV series. While The Powerpuff Girls had been revived for specials, such as its 10th anniversary special “The Powerpuff Girls Rule!!!” the 2016 series was a new TV run by an entirely new crew.
Shockingly, the original voice actors for Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, were replaced by new and younger actors, while the remaining characters stayed mostly the same. Original series creator, Craig McCracken, had no involvement with the new series, but made it clear that Cartoon Network had contacted him about possibly working on the revival, but had to turn it down due being contracted by Disney at the time.
The 2016 series faced further criticism when fan-favorite character Ms. Bellum was written out of the new series for her suggestive appearance. Many fans felt the removal of Ms. Bellum went against the feminist message of the series, as it was basically punishing her for her looks, while making the cast more male-dominated. The episode, "Horn, Sweet Horn,” was also criticized for falsely marketing itself as a trans-positive episode, while the actual episode unintentionally included several transphobic gags. However, what ultimately hurt the reputation of the new 2016 series was its unbelievably bad animation filled with inconsistencies and errors.
- Actors: Amanda Leighton, Natalie Palamides, Kristen Li, Tom Kenny
- Premiered: April 4, 2016
- 2420 VOTESPhoto: LBS Communications
The New Adventures of He-Man was a new 1990 animated series based on the Masters of the Universe toy line. The new series was intended to be a continuation of the original 1983 cartoon, but the dramatic shift in tone contributed to a sense of discontinuity between the two shows.
In The New Adventures of He-Man, He-Man is summoned to the futuristic planet of Primus to help them fight off the evil Mutants of Denebria. Making matters worse, Skeletor follows He-Man and aligns himself with the evil Mutants. The futuristic tone for the show was chosen because Hasbro wanted to move He-Man away from his barbarian portrayal and focus more on the sci-fi elements of the franchise. Unfortunately, The New Adventures of He-Man and its toy line didn’t sell as well as Hasbro had hoped. Some of toys from The New Adventures of He-Man were repurposed as toys for the 1993 Demolition Man movie.
- Actors: Don Brown, Garry Chalk, Ted Cole, Mark Hildreth, Antony Holland
- Premiered: September 10, 1990
- 3340 VOTESPhoto: The Summit Media Group
Years before DreamWorks Animation successfully rebooted Voltron for Netflix, Netter Digital and Splash Entertainment tried their hand at revitalizing the 1984 series. The new CGI series was set five years after the original Voltron series and followed the story of the Voltron Force reassembling to take on Prince Lotor, who escaped his imprisonment in deep space.
Despite some high-profile action being involved in the series, such as Tim Curry voicing Prince Lotor, Voltron: The Third Dimension was commonly criticized for its bad CG animation. Only 26 episodes were made. While the series was previously available to purchase digitally, Voltron: The Third Dimension has been removed from iTunes and Google Play.
- Actors: Neil Ross, Michael Bell, Kevin Michael Richardson, B.J. Ward, Billy West
- Premiered: September 12, 1998
- 4327 VOTES
ReBoot: The Guardian Code
ReBoot: The Guardian Code is, well, a reboot of the 1994 CG-animated series, Reboot, by Mainframe Entertainment. A big difference between the new 2018 show and the original is that The Guardian Code was a live-action/animated hybrid that followed a group of teenagers who have been recruited to save the world through cyberspace.
The premise of The Guardian Code was very similar to the French animated series Code Lyoko and its 2012 sequel series Code Lyoko: Evolution, which was also a live-action/animated hybrid. Thomas Romain, a co-creator of Code Lyoko, even called out The Guardian Code for its eerie similarities to his series on Twitter. The closest tie-in The Guardian Code had to the 1994 ReBoot was a few cameos of the original animated cast and its villain Megabyte. Even though the live-action angle was the only way the staff could sell a new ReBoot series to TV, it wasn’t enough to retain an audience for The Guardian Code.
- 5465 VOTESPhoto: Nicktoons
As the name suggests, Speed Racer: The Next Generation was a 2008 animated series that followed the next generations of racers inspired by the original Speed Racer. Speed Racer Jr., or “Speed” for short, is the second son of Speed Racer. He enlists in a racing academy to become more like his dad, who left him in an orphanage before mysteriously disappearing from the world.
Peter Fernandez, the original American voice actor for Speed Racer, appeared on the new series until his passing in 2010. Only two seasons of The Next Generation were made before its cancelation in 2013.
- Actors: Peter Fernandez, Sahra Mellesse, Kurt Csolak, Robbie Sublett, Carter Jackson
- Premiered: April 27, 2008
- 6311 VOTESPhoto: Claster Television
Feeding off the EXTREME energy of the 1990s, G.I. Joe Extreme was a new line of military-themed toys that followed the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toy line. Just like the previous series, G.I. Joe Extreme received an animated series that took place in the “near future of 2006.” In the new series, the Joes fought against a new global terrorist organization called S.K.A.R, led by the evil Iron Klaw. The visual design of G.I. Joe Extreme was reminiscent of the bold comic book style of Todd McFarlane. G.I. Joe Extreme didn’t succeed like its predecessor, resulting in the cancelation of its second wave of toys and animated series.
- Actors: Jim Byrnes, Garry Chalk, Blu Mankuma, Richard Newman, Matt Hill
- Premiered: 1995