Sunday, 20 November 2011

Five Lesser Known 90s Cartoons

The Nineties were an odd time for cartoons. For every Batman: the Animated Series which managed to grab a slice of longterm nostalgia, there were at least five other shows that managed to disappear into the gloom, only to emerge later to the horror of innocent viewers later on.

Here are a couple of those such shows. Some good, some bad, some downright bizarre, but all not really that well remembered by people these days. So here goes!

5. Free Willy
Yes, the movie series about a disobedient whale did in fact spawn a cartoon series that ran for a while. Like many a show of the time it took an evironmental stance, but FW took... a somewhat bizarre approach to combine that with potential toy sales.

Namely, they looked at the concept of a boy befriending a killer whale in the Pacific Northwest and decided, "Needs more cyborgs, dammit!". This lead to a clash of tones that borders upon hilarity, especially upon the revelation that the reason why the dude's a cyborg is because Willy PARTIALLY ATE HIM.

4. Extreme Ghostbusters
Already partially covered in my Halloween Post, this show followed the adventures of the new Ghostbusters team ten years after the originals disbanded. The Extreme prefix causes a lot of people to be kinda derisive towards this series, but for the most part it's very well put together with a lot of memorable monsters and riffs on horror fixtion. They have a Clive Barker/Stephen King homage, for example.

The show does decline in quality as the series progresses though, despite it's very good beginning few episodes.

3. Men in Black
Okay, this one was actually really cool. A semi-spin off from the Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones movies (which in turn was based on an indie comic, I should point out), this was a suprisingly slick piece of work, with great animation and suprisingly dark storylines.

Give it a go if you see it around.

2. Jumanji
Yes, this the book/movie got a tv show as well, see a pattern? For those unfamiliar with the story, the plot consists of a pair of recently orphaned kids moving into an old house, in which they come across a cursed boardgame that attempts to murder them with a variety of stereotypical African things. Killer lions, insane great white hunters, witchdoctors etc. etc.

Mostly pretty good, though it's fixation with turning the male lead into stuff got a little creepy. Look, I get that he gets turned into a monkey in the movie, but does he really have to get turned into warthogs and the like on a frequent basis?

1. Phantom 2040
A spin-off from the extremely long running superhero series, Phantom 2040 follows the adventures of the newest titlular Phantom as he fights crime and corruption in a city of the future.

I remember this as being pretty badass, and along a similar concept to Batman Beyond, though I'm not 100% certain which came first. Really badass opening sequence though, even if it could be vastly improved by ditching the narration,

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