Friday, January 6, 2012

5 Childhood Cartoon Knockoffs Gone Wrong

My list of 5 horribly, horribly bad cartoons that we were exposed to as children. These are shows with really, little to know redeeming value, often cliche knockoffs trying to pick at the popularity of the shows we actually wanted to watch. Either way, we all cringed when they came up in the Saturday morning lineup. So here are my top, or rather, bottom 5 picks for the worst cartoons that we suffered through.

5. Street Sharks - TOTALLY JAWSOME. Remember shouting that catch phrase out? No? Well me neither, because it was unabashedly idiotic. A blatant knock off of the fondly remembered Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, without any of the charm. Four conveniently color coded mutated brothers fighting crime and mad science. Oh, and add in a healthy dose of EXTREME! to the mix, as each has their own EXTREME sport and accessories. One can just imagine the creative process behind this series, "Turtles are making money, we need to get in on this! Quick, pick an animal, and make it extreme! The kids are into that aren't they? We can make them extra edgy, ohh yeah, skateboards, roller skates, bikes!" And in the end, they succeeded in making a particularly toxic melange that is recalled by 20 somethings to this day as the sucky show that was on when you didn't have any other decent choice.

4. Mighty Ducks - HERE COME THE MIGHTY DUCKS. Please, hide your children. So this came out at the tail end of the Mighty Ducks movie popularity, and had the appropriate quality of something coming from that end of a duck. Now, think back to the Mighty Duck movies, inspiring tale of underdogs, Emilio Estavez as the inspiring unorthodox coach, kids overcoming their issues and rising to the occasion. Okay, now replace all of that with: Aliens, anthropomorphized ducks, and a horribly overused plotline of "brave resistance fighters who have fled their evil oppressors to earth." And you have the Mighty Ducks cartoon. The only resemblance to the movie is their name and the fact that hockey is vaguely intertwined with, well I'm at loathe to call it a plot. Because coincidence of coincidences, hockey is a way of life for our alien heroes, thus we have vaguely hockey themed armor, a cast of insipid characters and aliens trying to play hockey. That anyone watched this show for more than a single episode thinking: "Oh hey, a cartoon version of the Mighty Ducks" and then cringing in absolute soul crushing horror as the realization settled in, boggles the mind.

3. Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century - Okay, so as much as I enjoy Sherlock Holmes stories, this series was just unnecessary. This is another show where one can imagine the creative process, "Sherlock Holmes is a classic! And Educational! Parents will MAKE their kids sit down for this. But we gotta add in Robots and gratuitous 3d. Oh, and it needs to be set in the future. And let's add in a female lead just for kicks and giggles." And thus, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century was born. If one stripped away the setting, and the 3d sequences, it might have made a good show. Instead, they tried to rehash old Sherlock Holmes plots with the added FUTURE elements. It simply did not work as intended, and the result was something that comes off as horribly dated and seemed to talk down to the audience at every step of the way.

2. Challenge of the GoBots - Do I really need to go into these? GoBots, for when your grandmother wanted to buy you those transforming robots and picked the wrong ones. Bog standard "formerly peaceful good rebels fighting their evil counterparts as the battle comes to Earth" plot, with the added horror of the fact that the Gobots were actually former flesh and blood beings implanted inside the robots. Yes, an extra serving of nightmare fuel for the GoBots. Just like you really would rather have had a real Transformers toy, you wished for the real Transformers cartoon when this came on.

1. Sonic Underground - There were good Sonic the hedgehog shows, there were decent Sonic the hedgehog shows, and then there was this crap. Because we all knew from the game that sonic was in a band, with his brother and sister, and heir to the kingdom, oh and they all sported bad 80's hair and sung at their enemies to defeat them. No? But, that was the premise of this piece of failed animation that found its way onto our TVs. The bog standard plot could even be slightly forgiven taking into consideration the source material, but the decision to have the main character in an 80's hair band and fight by music, that nothing can excuse. It feels like another of those: "What are kids into these days!" brainstorming sessions that came up with exactly the wrong thing. Now the reason this makes the top of the list is not simply the incredulity of the plot, but the fact that it had such potential to be a good show. They had the examples already of the atmosphere a good Sonic show needed, the animation for this was in fact better than most of the other Sonic series that had come out, and the theme song was surprisingly catchy. But, it failed to deliver, firstly by talking down to the audience with the whole fight evil with music thing, and secondly by pretty much ignoring the whole spirit of what made Sonic...well, Sonic.

There you have it, my bottom 5 childhood cartoon knockoffs. Disagree? Have fond memories of these? Well, let me know in the comments.

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