Why it's okay to reimagine childhood icons

19 Jun

cartoon network

At some point in your childhood you will have watched or have been influenced by a cartoon character in some way. These animated wonders known as cartoons are some of the first bits of television that we watch as children and for me are cherished memories as I'm sure they are for you too. To us they are and were (for lack of a better word) icons.

This is why we get a little defensive when we hear that a cartoon that we used to absolutely love as a child might be getting rebooted with an updated look and feel. We all think this is going to be an abomination to our eyes and an insult to our cherished memories.

However in this post I'm going to tell you why rebooting an old cartoon might not be such a bad thing and if done right can actually give birth to something that is monumentally better than the original material.

Recent Reboots

For those who don't follow the news it has recently been reported that two popular cartoons that have been off the air for well over a decade will be making a comeback to our screens; Danger Mouse and Powerpuff Girls.

Danger Mouse

If you've never seen or heard of Danger Mouse you probably didn't grow up in Britain or in the 80's. I will admit I had no clue who he was until I moved back over, but I could recognise a cartoon near and dear to my peers hearts a mile away. This cartoon was/is without a doubt a British icon that unfortunately does not have the level of international notoriety that it so rightly deserves.

Running from 1981-1992 this show followed the greatest secret agent (mouse) in the world and his trusty, bumbling sidekick, Penfold. Danger Mouse was voiced by non-other than Sir David Jason who you will probably know from the ever popular Only Fools and Horses, or more recently as the original voice of Holland & Barrett's Good Life advertisement campaign.

David Jason

David won't be reprising his role as the popular character's voice as much as some probably held out hope for him to do so. Instead someone new will be filling that role. It is unclear who that is currently but I'm sure CBBC will make the right choice in voice actor.

The new version of Danger Mouse will be brought into this decade with an "i-patch" that will have multiple technological functions and a state of the art headquarters. I know what you're thinking...this sounds like a dubious concept at best. However you have to remember this is a kids programme and if you were to go back and watch some of your cherished childhood programmes you might be surprised by how little they were able to stand the test of time.

Some however could stand the test of time better such as the other big reboot that was announced recently, which is of course the ever so recognisable Powerpuff Girls. This is great news for me as my Mojo Jojo cosplay for London Film and Comic Con is now very relevant.

My hope is that the intro seen above is kept largely the same as it was very representative of the series and was one of the most recognisable theme songs ever for a cartoon.

If I'm honest I expected the announcement of the new Powerpuff Girls series to come since earlier in 2014 when they had a special CGI episode released. While not exactly the girls that we all know and love, they were very tastefully rebooted keeping their core characters intact. The script could have been stronger but I think this special episode was mainly a way to gauge whether there would be an audience and what would need to be improved on if anything.

These are 2 recently announced reboots that we will have to wait to see if they do their predecessors justice however there are some cartoons that have been rebooted in the past that I have to say rival their predecessors.

X-Men

The first show that comes to mind has to be X-men which I think just about every kid in the 90's loved with a passion. I loved it along with Spiderman, Batman and every other show going. Say what you will about the 90's; awful style, cheesey movies...but they knew how to make a cartoon. Better yet they knew how to rock a theme song!

X-men

Xmen Evolution

X-men: Evolution; a rebooted version that launched in the year 2000, while shorter lived than the 90's X-men was actually quite good once you got past the fact that everyone was in their teens. It even gave birth to a new character that proved so popular that she crossed over into the comics!

Transformers

The next show that comes to mind that was a great reboot and is honestly a better example is Transformers: Beast Wars. The birth of Maximals and Predacons on our screens made our earlier memories of any 80's Transformers cartoons vanish in the shadows of our mind for these way cooler and complex characters. I think I even went so far as to get a computer game of this show (possibly the first ever 3D game I played...so slow).

But seriously what kid wouldn't be impressed by these stellar graphics:

Stuff of legend. (Okay we can all admit we've come a long way)

Justice League

My final example has to be Justice League. Now I'm willing to bet that the majority of people versed in cartoon knowledge will have heard of or seen a snippet Justice League/Justice League Unlimited. What most of them probably wouldn't have seen or heard of was the horror show that was; Super Friends. The name seldom heard but often joked about is of course a grotesque remnant of the 70's and 80's that I was unfortunate enough to have witnessed as a kid. I can never have that time back.

It did however make me appreciate just how good the reboot that Justice League (2001-2004) and better yet Justice League Unlimited (2004-2006) were. Strong, clean animation made it a joy to watch and the voice talent was top notch. Made with both kids and adults in mind it far outstipped the original that was Super Friends.


Obviously original programming is always good but sometimes taking a beloved cartoon from decades past (yes decades...we got old) and rebuilding it for a new younger audience can be a goodnay great thing...if done right.

I'll wait and see before I pass judgement on these newly rebooted cartoons coming out and I hope you do to so you can introduce your little siblings or sons and daughters to something you used to love.


This time I think I have to end with this or someone might kill me for not featuring it...

One of the greatest intros ever!


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Trevor Price

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