When a smash series’ success starts to diminish and possibly fade into the background, there are a lot of tricks and tools that companies use to revive interest in it. Tools of the trade includes reboots, revivals, change of settings and so much more. One that was a bit more common, especially in the 80s, was the concept of exploring your characters when they were younger. There are a string of cartoons that take popular characters and make them younger, whether it makes sense or not in the context of the original series. Below, you will find our pick for the Best attempts at this. Not all of them were successful, but they tried!
7) Gadget Boy- Take Inspector Gadget de-age him about several decades, get rid of Penny, Brain and the Claw, and you got Gadget Boy! An attempt to revive the franchise, but at the cost of almost everything else on display. Also, I’m not even sure if it makes sense, I couldn’t find Gadget’s origins, but fairly certain he had all of that stuff implanted when he was older.
6) Baby Looney Tunes- I will say this right now, this list is taking popular characters and de-aging them for a new series because we all know that Tiny Toons would be on this list if it was a lot broader. However, Tiny Toons wasn’t the only attempt at making popular Warner characters younger, Baby Looney Tunes is the most recent show on our list, and also CLEARLY aimed at a much younger audience. It has no whims with that, and it’s perfectly fine. The characters remain just as adorable as ever. And as long as Loonatics exist, there will always be a worse Looney Tunes spin-off in the wild!
5) Yo Yogi- Who’s younger than the Average Bear? It’s Yogi! I’ll be perfectly honest, I don’t get what point of the original Yogi Bear series. I enjoyed them, but it was basically a bear being chased by a park ranger as he tried to steal picnic baskets. That’s about it. Yo Yogi seems to be grander in ambition re-imaging Yogi and his friends as younger crime solvers. This is mostly on the list for the crossover factor as it includes other popular-ish Hanna-Barbera characters like Huckleberry Hound and Snagglepuss with villain Dick Dastardly and Muttley not too far behind. Also, a fairly catchy theme song.
4) Tom and Jerry Kids- Now we’re getting into an era of shows that I grew up on. Tom and Jerry Kids pretty much keeps the core concept of the Tom and Jerry cartoon, which is the continuing feud between Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse. They are younger, but their antics are just as dangerous and over-the-top. The show also kept the legacy of Tom and Jerry being silent characters for the most part alive.
3) The Flintstones Kids- This is one of the shows that goes against a lot of the established continuity of the original series to make sure all the characters make it over. It was shown that Fred and Wilma met when they were older, and only got Dino as a pet after they were married, but here are all the elements. It’s not a deal-breaker because it is a fun show with a lot of interesting content. I also really dug Captain Caveman!
2) A Pup Named Scooby Doo- Scooby Doo has had MANY MANY variations, spin-offs, revivals, whatever you want to name them. One of the best, and longest-lasting for me was a Pup Named Scooby Doo, which re-imagined Scooby and the gang as a pre-teens who dealt with actually being meddling kids! Best of all, no Scrappy Doo either! It also had great writing, bare breakdown of the characters and of course Red Herring, which was a fun little running gag.
1) The Muppet Babies- Take some of the most beloved characters of all-time and go completely bonkers with pop cultural reference and a child like imagination, and you have The Muppet Babies. One of the finest cartoons of all-time, and an EASY number one for keeping the spirit of the characters alive while changing their age. There really isn’t anything to say about this show, other than it’s criminal not available for consumption anymore!
There you have it, 7 franchises that attempted to thrive again by re-imagining their characters as much younger version of themselves. Tell us what you think in the comments below.