Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rebooted: Cartoons from the 80s & 90s retold

I have been a regular follower of many of the animated series both available and unavailable in the subcontinent. And, I have a special liking for the cartoons from the 80s.
Now, this post primarily concentrates on the re-telling/reboots of some very popular animated series from the 80s and one from the 90s.Starting up with G.I.Joe:


Those familiar with the G.I. Joe, know that it is an uber-awesome global peace-keeping team with special operatives recruited from all across the globe, fighting against the terrorist organization Cobra headed by the megalomaniac, world domination loving and ever sulking Cobra Commander. In November, 2010 Hasbro reintroduced the team as a band of fugitives!! Well, obviously they are not fugitives, they were framed for the crimes they did not commit. 
Each of the 26 episodes from the series (except the first 2), started off with the following narrative:
Accused of a crime they didn't commit, a ragtag band of fugitives fights a covert battle to clear their names and expose the insidious enemy that is... Cobra. Some call them outlaws. Some call them heroes. But these determined men and women think themselves only as "Ordinary Joes". And this is their story.
which, sums the plot pretty much.
What makes this series different/better? The plot focuses on how the team comes together. Also, the back story of nearly every mainstream and/or popular character from the G.I. Joe mythos is explored and retold in a fairly realistic manner.

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10


Absolutely no need to introduce the X-Men! Anyway, for the sake of the non-believers:
X-Men are mutant heroes, who want to preserve the peace between humans and the genetically gifted(?) mutants.
Of all the X-Men Cartoons, X-Men: Evolution tops my list. Unlike, the other series this one features adolescent school-going X-Men characters. Mutants, with the usual Marvel universe issues plus the problems of being a teenager. I actually like the idea of having younger Scott and Jean, the students meanwhile, Wolverine and Storm alongside Professor X, themselves being the teachers. 
In a broader sense it was more like a good piece of fan fiction which materialized into a pretty good animated series. All the popular mutants from the X-Men and the Brotherhood attended the same school, and their principal was none other than Mystique in disguise! How awesome is that?
An intricate drama minus the redundant themes like Sentinel attacks, alien invasions and time travelling mutants (from the 1994 series), is what makes this series tick. The series is lot more youthful, one can  easily associate it with themselves.

You can watch the episodes on The Official Site itself 

IMDb Rating: 8.0/10


Remember that 80s cartoon with humanoid feline characters? The one, about the little sword (more of a dagger/knife) which expanded into a full-sized sword? The series revolved around the eponymous protagonists, the ThunderCats, apparently the last survivors of their species from a planet named Thundera.
A reboot to the ThunderCats was launched in 2011 in the form of an ongoing series. The characters except for Panthero, are a lot younger, more likely to be in their 20s. Instead of a high tech Cat race the Thundercats are here the residents of a seemingly medieval kingdom of Thundera on the planet "Third Earth" ruled over by the Lion clan of the Cats. The plot resembles that of a fairy tale, whereby Lion-O the prince of Thundera flees alongside his adopted Step Brother, Tigra and his sworn protector, Cheetara. The series also uncovers an extensive backstory regarding the Sword Of Omens, the power stones and Lion-O's own history with Mumm-ra, the main antagonist. 
Unlike the original series, this one is not as campy as its predecessor and we witness a plot involving a love triangle, sibling rivalry and issues such as trust, betrayal and loyalty. Another, fascinating feature being the newer looks to the characters. Lion-O is a lot younger, Wily-Kit and Wily-Kat are a lot kiddy. Cheetara is well... beautiful (and hot!). Tigra, is a lot more verbal and condescending unlike the reserved and calm Tigra of the original run. Panthero has been muscled up! He is huge and he appears to be more of a Bushido Warrior.
The story involved good twists and turns, but Cartoon Network decided to cancel airing the show after 2 good seasons.

IMDb Rating: 7.9/10


Who is He-Man? He-Man is everyone's favorite peace loving scantily clad Viking warrior from the planet Eternia.
"By the power of Grayskull...  I have the power!!"
Ring any bells?
Now, He-Man is actually Prince Adam of Eternia, who undergoes a transformation using his power blade after saying the above lines. Transformed into the mightiest hero in the universe, by the mystic powers of Castle Grayskull, He-Man fights for peace against the evil forces of Skeletor. The original concept of He-Man is believed to have been inspired from Conan the barbarian. The original 80s series followed the introduction of a toyline by the same name from Mattel. It was a marketing campaign for the toyline.
The original run was quite campy owing to the strict broadcasting regulations at that time. Which meant He-Man could not use his sword to hit any villain except for well... robots. The series was a hit. Hit enough to produce a live action movie (which did not fare that well at the box office).
Then in 2002-03, Mike Young Productions launched a reboot to the He-Man mythos to tie it in with a newer toyline from Mattel. Prince Adam is an adolescent and an insecure prince, who initially refuses the Power of Grayskull, but accepts it as a last resort to help his father and his allies against the armies of Skeletor who is seemingly pissed-off with the Eternians for having exiled him. 
After receiving the "Sword of Power" and the "Power" Adam transforms into a rather muscular and barely clothed He-Man, who turns the tables in the battle and defeats the forces of evil, and so ends the series of the 6 pilot episodes. 
Unlike, the original series, one can actually differentiate between Adam and He-Man. In the second season, the connection between Grayskull who happens to be an ancestor of Adam and He-Man is revealed. No campiness here, He-Man is entitled to all hitting, sword slashing, punching etc. Also, a convincing revelation of Skeletor's origin was also featured in the series. One can always watch the reboot and compare it with the original.

IMDb Rating: 7.3/10

What is your favorite cartoon from the 80s/90s? Feel free to leave your comments.

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