News

10 Reboots of Classic Animated Shows You Need to Watch

If you grew up on the MTV, Nickelodeon, and Disney Afternoon cartoons of the '90s and early 2000s, prepare for a heavy dose of nostalgia.

by | December 9, 2020 | Comments

Whether we like it or not, we live in an age of reboots. From ’80s franchises to ’90s sitcoms, every property with a significant fan base is getting a new chance to tell more stories, so it was inevitable that we would eventually get a wave of reboots of beloved cartoons from decades past. But just because an old title is being resurrected doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to be bad.

If you grew up during the era of Saturday morning cartoons and after the era of toy-commercials-turned-TV-shows, then there’s a big chance your favorite animated series is either getting a fresh start in the near future or has already been the recipient of a recent makeover. It’s a good time to be an animation fan, so we’ve prepared a list with the most exciting reboots of classic animated shows you should keep an eye out for… and a few you can watch right now.


Animaniacs

Why It’s Beloved: The original Animaniacs was unlike anything else in children’s animation. It featured a variety show format that consisted of wildly unpredictable segments that could always surprise you, a large cast of memorable and funny characters, and references to everything from classic Hollywood movies to the big players in the industry. Oh, and did we mention the amazing songs? Animaniacs had a lot of them.

How the Reboot is Different: Instead of reimagining the show, Hulu’s Animaniacs reboot actually picks up right after the original series ended, with the Warner brothers Yakko and Wakko and the Warner sister Dot reawakening after 22 years to provide new stories and make fun of everything you can imagine. In other words, it retains the spirit of the original, but updates everything for a more modern audience. The first season, which premiered less than a month ago, is also Certified Fresh.


Beavis and Butt-Head

Beavis and Butt-Head

(Photo by Everett Collection)

Why It’s Beloved: Before MTV’s Daria (see below) went on to inspire countless ’90s kids to embrace sarcasm, Beavis and Butt-Head connected with couch potatoes everywhere. It was an unadulterated satirical look at Gen X, blending poignant social commentary and lowbrow humor in a way that captured an entire generationThe show was so successful that it spawned not only a spin-off, but also a feature film and a previous revival in 2011, and there’s no sign of Beavis and Butt-Head stopping.

How the Reboot is Different: Creator Mike Judge will be back to spearhead the Beavis and Butt-Head reboot, which will, of course, deal with meta-themes relatable to both new and die-hard fans.


Clone High

Why It’s Beloved: People always love to look to the past to understand the present, so what if a cartoon actually depicted what important people from the past might do in the world today? Clone High had a phenomenal cast of historical figures and great voice actors, and it was a huge love letter to the teen drama boom of the time. Every trope of the genre is explored here, but because of its unique cast, the show was always able to put its own twist to things to hilarious effect.

How the Reboot is Different: This reboot is being described as an updated version of the show that will explore high school and also coming-of-age tension through historical figures. Also, show creators Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie21 Jump Streetwill return to write the pilot.


Daria

Daria

(Photo by ©MTV courtesy Everett Collection)

Why It’s Beloved: Sarcasm reigned in the 1990s, and no character embodied the sentiment of the decade as well as Daria, a high schooler with incendiary wit, razor-sharp insight, and a great cast of supporting characters surrounding her. Any teen who was going through rough time with student life could see themselves in Daria, a show that touched on feminism, social class, and even race. But those teens grew up, and now so has the show.

How the Reboot is Different: This one is actually getting more of a spin-off than a reboot, which is somewhat appropriate, considering Daria itself was originally a spin-off of Beavis and Butt-Head. Comedy Central will be airing a new series called Jodie, following Daria character Jodie Landon — now to be voiced by Tracee Ellis Ross — as she enters the workplace after graduation from college. Jodie aspires to be for Gen Z what Daria was for Gen X. It’s the first in a series of planned Daria spin-offs, and it will be the first adult animated show in decades to center on a Black woman (considering Tiffany Haddish’s character on Tuca & Bertie was technically a toucan).


Darkwing Duck

Why It’s Beloved: Before we got a Batman cartoon, we had Darkwing Duckthe best anatine superhero around. He had more gadgets than the Caped Crusader, a suave personality like James Bond, a sidekick who resembled Han Solo, and a theme song you’d want as your ringtone.

How the Reboot is Different: Avid fans will surely know that Darkwing Duck actually appeared very recently in the DuckTales reboot (see below for that), where the character is reimagined as an actor who decides to take on the role of a caped crusader after being inspired by his favorite movie character: Darkwing Duck. It is unclear at the moment whether the upcoming reboot — produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg — will follow this storyline or continue the original.


Digimon Adventure

Why It’s Beloved: Millions of kids around the world were first introduced to anime during the late 1990s, mostly thanks to two showsPokémon and Digimon: Digital Monsters. The latter in particular was also unique among cartoons for its serialized story that continued week by week, its flawed protagonists, and its surprisingly dark themes. It was a kids’ show, to be sure, but it also helped introduce those kids to more sophisticated storytelling.

How the Reboot is Different: This year saw the return of Digimon with a new reboot that reimagines the original 1999 show as taking place in 2020, with all the new technology we have today. Additionally, the show does a great job of including a whole lot of mythology from latter seasons, resulting in a series that has enough surprises for fans old and new.


DuckTales

Why It’s Beloved: The original DuckTales was a phenomenal adventure series that took viewers to fantastical and remote locations in stories that had fans of Indiana Jones hooked for 100 episodes. Plus, it has one of the best and catchiest theme songs around.

How the Reboot is Different: For one, the Disney XD reboot has done a much better job of integrating Donald Duck into the narrative, which is a lot more serialized in this version. There is a lot of depth to the story now, and the characters are more fleshed out, finally giving Huey, Dewey, and Louie distinct personalities beyond their different-colored hats.


The Ren & Stimpy Show

The Ren & Stimpy Show

(Photo by Everett Collection)

Why It’s Beloved: The Ren & Stimpy Show was one of the original Nickelodeon toons, a show that was as beloved as it was controversial for its raunchy, gross-out humor and sometimes dark themes. The series was purely creator-driven, aimed at kids but with adult humor that any grown up could appreciate, and featured a cast of beloved and ultra weird characters. It has since become a cult classic.

How the Reboot is Different: Comedy Central announced that they will air a new reboot of Ren & Stimpy, albeit without the involvement of the show’s controversial creator John Kricfalusi, who retired from the business after a number of sexual abuse allegations surfaced in 2018. As of now, we don’t know who is returning or what the reboot will be about, but fans of the characters may be pleased to see them back again.


Rugrats

Why It’s Beloved: The original Rugrats was a clever show with a simple concept: What if we do everything regular sitcoms do, except through the eyes of babies? The characters were likable and hilarious, creating a Peanuts for a whole new generation. The show was even able to play with mature themes like divorce and even the death of a parent, despite also being mostly about baby talk. It was also a trailblazer at times, being one of the very first animated series with an episode focused on a Jewish holiday.

How the Reboot is Different: It was originally announced in 2018 that a new film will be made as a live-action/CGI hybrid, but those plans got pulled. Then, we learned just this October that a proper Rugrats series reboot would be coming in 2021 with, yes, 3D animated characters, and it will see the return of most of the cast and the original creators. With a world constantly changing, Rugrats is a show that’s always been able to boil down what’s going on around us through the eyes of the youngest of us.


Tiny Toon Adventures

Tiny Toon Adventures

(Photo by ©Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)

Why It’s Beloved: Before we were introduced to Yakko, Wakko, and Dot in Animaniacs, Buster Bunny, Babs Bunny, and Plucky Duck showed ’90s kids that the Looney Tunes could still be hilarious and fresh after so many decades. The main characters were the young relatives of the famous Looney Tunes characters we know and love, and they grew to become just as beloved.

How the Reboot is Different: Like Animaniacs, the upcoming reboot is more of a direct continuation, dubbed Tiny Toons Looniversity. The characters will now attend an esteemed institution of higher hijinks learning to become professional toons. That Steven Spielberg returns to produce the show should have fans of the original excited.


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

YouTube Valentine's Day Video Games Turner Classic Movies comic books Awards Tour Captain marvel adaptation 2017 Adult Swim venice award winner President blockbuster Holiday Summer TruTV Rom-Com boxoffice Brie Larson Showtime cooking Pride Month Trivia ESPN Quiz screen actors guild CBS archives die hard DC streaming service Mystery Peacock 2019 Animation OWN ABC movies The Arrangement The Witch Sundance TV movie facebook war NYCC twilight Marvel Studios Television Academy singing competition dramedy fresh video Turner Britbox hist Lifetime Comedy Central finale Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt indie cancelled TV series PlayStation chucky Ovation Heroines rt archives book Awards Hulu Family Black History Month dceu 45 anthology a nightmare on elm street political drama foreign FX romance LGBT composers scorecard Tarantino Spike VH1 Song of Ice and Fire Warner Bros. SDCC Sundance Vudu Amazon Studios animated Pop adventure directors Walt Disney Pictures spain Kids & Family australia Starz Nickelodeon Martial Arts robots 2016 Marvel Television vampires mockumentary Women's History Month Superheroes San Diego Comic-Con criterion Cosplay YouTube Red Shudder comic Food Network FXX Masterpiece Mary Tyler Moore batman canceled New York Comic Con diversity serial killer Year in Review revenge series Grammys hollywood indiana jones Star Trek Amazon CNN TCM disaster concert Comics on TV witnail Western kids SundanceTV sequels Musical Star Wars Photos space RT History critics YouTube Premium Countdown First Look American Society of Cinematographers versus Universal cops Sneak Peek Emmy Nominations politics FX on Hulu VOD GoT Winners Netflix Christmas movies Schedule MCU worst WarnerMedia USA Network ratings toy story Lifetime Christmas movies SXSW elevated horror Writers Guild of America TCA Winter 2020 GIFs period drama classics Extras Musicals Baby Yoda Comedy Disney Channel Syfy halloween tv crime thriller transformers best Avengers The Academy name the review crime drama dragons 007 Pop TV Mindy Kaling halloween boxing X-Men Tubi hispanic Film Festival stoner travel Mary Poppins Returns Anna Paquin BET National Geographic APB spider-man casting AMC Esquire Hallmark Christmas movies canceled TV shows Opinion Epix spanish language rotten movies we love deadpool Best and Worst sag awards Shondaland science fiction Disney+ Disney Plus Polls and Games DC Universe true crime Comic Book DirecTV teaser cartoon nfl green book cancelled TV shows documentary cults USA cats films children's TV supernatural Logo dogs based on movie Sundance Now slashers japanese 99% Trophy Talk Podcast werewolf french Binge Guide 21st Century Fox stand-up comedy technology Apple TV Plus 20th Century Fox Character Guide Paramount Network Academy Awards Emmys PBS cinemax christmas movies Ghostbusters Marathons biography Ellie Kemper Fantasy Pirates Columbia Pictures CBS All Access Nat Geo Alien 2018 HBO Go Television Critics Association TV harry potter Apple NBC Calendar Chilling Adventures of Sabrina E3 crossover Crackle blaxploitation Classic Film Bravo Paramount YA Country IFC Films BBC One Sony Pictures Dark Horse Comics TCA 2017 History 71st Emmy Awards CMT unscripted historical drama Holidays Crunchyroll 2020 talk show FOX TV Land Infographic streaming A24 Discovery Channel nbcuniversal Biopics cancelled television zombie ITV Cartoon Network MTV child's play joker ghosts Election Creative Arts Emmys Film anime sequel james bond Apple TV+ theme song independent Marvel crime richard e. Grant screenings Nominations psychological thriller DC Comics renewed TV shows LGBTQ Disney worst movies PaleyFest ABC Family Box Office CW Seed cancelled discovery quibi festivals First Reviews spinoff toronto HBO BBC America italian sitcom Rocketman Christmas parents breaking bad Pixar Amazon Prime Video BBC GLAAD reviews Chernobyl news 4/20 doctor who 72 Emmy Awards latino franchise sports south america medical drama TCA Awards game of thrones zero dark thirty See It Skip It MSNBC game show Hallmark WGN BET Awards comedies stop motion reboot Lionsgate Fox Searchlight asian-american ID documentaries superhero Premiere Dates Mary poppins Tomatazos DGA The Purge Rock free movies cars Arrowverse golden globes spy thriller IFC jamie lee curtis mutant fast and furious thriller Spectrum Originals emmy awards natural history rotten Watching Series El Rey strong female leads Trailer OneApp E! Fall TV nature laika Funimation Teen Freeform remakes Set visit comiccon football Hear Us Out police drama Travel Channel romantic comedy Stephen King Winter TV Elton John aliens Thanksgiving TIFF TBS TCA Spring TV obituary BAFTA HBO Max Oscars TV renewals video on demand miniseries zombies tv talk what to watch justice league Netflix mission: impossible all-time A&E Action The Walking Dead docudrama RT21 Disney streaming service festival Pet Sematary Acorn TV Superheroe The CW Lucasfilm spanish Horror Cannes dc Music Super Bowl Reality Amazon Prime Fox News scary movies dark binge comics 24 frames Interview Black Mirror VICE Red Carpet psycho Reality Competition Toys 2015 Tumblr black Rocky universal monsters TLC Disney Plus Sci-Fi Drama Certified Fresh Endgame satire Mudbound social media TNT television