The Powerpuff Girls first came into our lives in 1998, and featured three super-powered, adorable heroes created by accident in Professor Utonium’s lab. These superhuman kindergarteners fought crime in Townsville against PG villains fit for a children’s network, including our personal favorite — the sinister and slighty bizarre HIM who for some reason always wore a tutu-ed Santa suit with lobster claws and spoke in a high-pitched voice.
It’s no surprise, with its unique characters and colorful style, that The Powerpuff Girls was a hit with kids, and consistently scored high ratings for Cartoon Network. The franchise has grown since then — with a movie titled The Powerpuff Girls Movie, an anime called Powerpuff Girls Z, and now a new series brin ging back The Powerpuff Girls name (which started airing on April 4th). If you’re feeling nostalgic like we are, keep reading to see which shows we would kind of love to see come back!
Easily one of the most tragically cut-short one-season-wonders in cartoon history, Clone High was a perfect parody of angsty teen dramas, set in a high school where all the students were clones of famous historical figures. In their 13-episode run, they tackled everything from AIDS to underage drinking, largely because every episode was a Very Special Episode. Rather than being personality duplicates, the clones tried to be normal teens while dealing with the stress of their important DNA. Abe Lincoln became awkward and unconfident, Joan of Arc became a goth, and Gandhi became a party animal after cracking under the pressure of his legacy. The creators have since gone on to bigger things: Bill Lawrence is better known for creating Scrubs, and Lord & Miller are now known for 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie. I am still holding out hope for that Clone High movie Lord & Miller have always talked about though. [Billy Arrowsmith]
Exosquad was a weird show. A mid-90s sci-fi cartoon that was a direct response to the rising popularity of anime like Gundam and Robotech, it’s one of those shows you look back on and wonder how it was ever greenlit for kids. The show focused on the “Neosapien War” a near future encounter between the Terran (Human) homeworlds, and the Neosapiens, a genetically superior slave race created by Terrans to help terraform new planets. As you might imagine, addressing a slave uprising, the ethics of genetic modification, and the effects of war on its combatants was pretty advanced stuff for the Saturday morning crowd. While anime had handled more mature topics like this for years, it was a rare anomaly in American cartoons, well ahead of its time. Now that the “cartoons are for children” stigma has softened, maybe it’s time for a second look. Also worth noting: the toys were awesome. [Michael Grimm]
Adventures of Gummi Bears
The Gummi Bears are a crew of anthropomorphic bears that centuries ago peacefully coexisted with humans, until the latter ruined everything per usual and sent their fuzzy friends scattered across the sea. Dashing and daring, courageous and caring, the bears have names such as Tummi, Sunni, Grammi…and Augustus. They mainly live in the underground world of Gummi Glen and hide from humans as much as possible, with the exception of a few young friends. They also fiercely guard their secret recipe for Gummiberry Juice, a concoction of different colored berries, magic, and who knows what else, which gives the bears super strength to bounce here and there and everywhere. The show would be worth bringing back solely for its theme song, one of the catchiest ever written (it even got an R&B makeover, courtesy of Alicia Keys). [Lesley Chen]
Jackie Chan Adventures
What the heck was going on in Jackie Chan Adventures? I have no idea, but Jackie Chan is my favorite actor/stuntman so I have to rep his show. The cartoon version of Chan always wore khaki pants and a blue sweater, and always kicked butt in it. Like actually, SLAYED. Let’s also not forget Uncle and Jackie’s niece Jade who were butt kickers in their own right. Please note that Uncle was an honest to god “chi wizard.” Although Jackie Chan is actually a real, living human being, the series made him an archaeologist, which then gave them artistic license to dip into fantasy (thanks, The Mummy) by adding chi, dragon demons, and god knows what else. Imagine all the possibilities if they brought the show back! [Grace Cheung]
I might be dating myself here but I’d rather enjoy a reboot of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons that were popular in the 1960s. Thanks to my Dad, I grew up watching The Flintstones, The Yogi Bear Show, and The Jetsons, which at the time put me at odds with other children my age. They were humming Disney songs and I was busy yelling “WILMA!” every time I “accidentally” got locked out of the house. Currently, you can only watch them on the premiere channel Boomerang, but it’d be nice to see them on a syndicated cable network. Heck, I’d even be happy with a Netflix limited release. [Amanda Velez]
I spent many an after-school afternoon as a kid plopped in front of the TV watching syndicated cartoons of all stripes, but perhaps my favorits were anything Tex Avery. While Looney Tunes was by far at the top of my list, that’s just too easy. Besides, Space Jam sort of put a cherry on that idea already. So I’m pulling out my second favorite one here: Droopy Dog! Droopy was always adorable, somewhat charming, and grossly underestimated. He could be tough when he needed to be. I’m imagining like an Adult Swim-like reboot that puts Droopy in more modern situations but still as slow-talking self. (He’s made one appearnce on Adult Swim already via Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law.) I can also see introducing some of the other characters from that era like the Wolf and Chilly Willy. Hello all you happy people. [Annette Cardwell]