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.


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You’ll be surprised by the latest DC Comics character getting a spin-off series; Veronica Mars prepares for season 4 with a full-length trailer; short-form streaming service Quibi signs big-name stars, and more of the week’s biggest TV news.


TOP STORY

All the New Stranger Things Product Tie-In

Stranger Things 3 stars Millie Bobby Brown, Sadie Sink (Netflix)

We’re just weeks away from Stranger Things season 3’s July 4 release — which means it’s time for brands to inundate you with their tie-in marketing. Hey: nothing says 1980s like a bitchin’ brand deal! The latest round of merch includes:

Burger King: On June 21, get a Whopper served upside down (get it?) at select locations in Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. Or, ya know, you could just order a Whopper and flip it over any time you want.

 

Coke: Share a New Coke with your friends with a limited run of the failed product, which you can get via a limited-edition Stranger Things glass bottle, at a pop-up vending machine, or with a gift or ticket at the company’s Atlanta headquarters.

Nike: Throw it back to 1985 with modern takes on authentic Nike styles from that year.

Baskin-Robbins: The ice cream chain is releasing tie-in sundaes and flavors including an Elevenade Freeze drink, Byers’ House Lights Polar Pizza Ice Cream Treat, USS Butterscotch quarts, and more.

H&M: Loving the retro summer style in the series’ first season that takes place over summer break? Check out H&M’s Stranger Things line for eighties-inspired clothes, swimwear, accessories, and more.

Big Mouth: The company behind everyone’s favorite donut-shaped pool floats has released a line of Stranger Things–shaped inflatables perfect for Instagram, including a massive Demogorgon lawn sprinkler, a waffle pool float, and a Christmas light beach blanket.

Lego: Now available: The Upside Down deluxe playset.


DC’s Newest Spin-off

KRYPTON -- "Ghost in the Fire" Episode 202 -- Pictured: Emmett J. Scanlan as Lobo -- (Photo by: Steffan Hill/SYFY)

(Photo by Steffan Hill/SYFY)

The latest DC character to get its own TV series is space bounty hunter Lobo. Emmett J. Scanlan, who will play the character in season 2 of Superman prequel Krypton, has signed on to head up the potential live-action series.

The DC Comics character, whose name means “he who devours your entrails and thoroughly enjoys it,” hails from the utopian planet of Czarnia — where he wiped out his entire race of people, and eventually took his rocket-fueled motorcycle and became the “best bounty hunter in the galaxy” with his strong fists, advanced haling powers, and unquenchable thirst for blood. He’s true to his word, and takes particular joy in apprehending people “as painfully as possible.”

His first appearance came in Omega Men #3 in 1983, and his powers include super strength, invulnerability, super speed, healing factor, alien technology, combat skill, weapons expert.


Trailers: Pennyworth, Legion, More

The week’s biggest trailer is the first full-length look at Pennyworth, the upcoming Batman prequel series about the early life of the caped crusader’s butler. The series premieres July 28 on Epix.

Other trailers include:


Veronica Mars Heads to Hulu

Before season 4 of Veronica Mars debuts on Hulu July 26, you can catch up with the titular character’s life as a teen private eye in seasons 1-3 of the series: They’ll premiere on the streaming service July 1. The cult favorite series ran from 2004-2007 and returned with a fan-funded movie in 2014. The 2019 revival will consist of an eight-episode fourth season of the series, with Kristen Bell and most original cast members reprising their roles. Watch the first trailer for the new season, released this week, above.


Daria Spin-off Details

DARIA, Animated MTV Series, 1997-2002. © MTV/Everett Collection

(Photo by MTV/Everett Collection)

MTV has ordered a spin-off of its ’90s animated series Daria, focusing on a classmate frequently seen in the original series: Jodie. Tracee Ellis Ross will serve as an executive producer and voice the titular character “as she comes into her own and enters the workplace in her first post-college job in tech,” according to the official description. The upcoming series is the first adult animated show in nearly two decades to star a black woman.


Who’s Watching When They See Us? Everyone.

Netflix revealed an interesting viewership factoid about its Central Park Five miniseries from Ava DuVernay.


Orphan Black Lives On

BBCA

(Photo by BBC America)

Tatiana Maslany is returning to Orphan Black – sort of. The Clone Club president will narrate a new audio series called Orphan Black: The Next Chapter. It will serve as the official continuation of the BBC America series, which followed a group of women (all played by Maslany) who discovered they were clones created as part of an experiment. The new series will premiere this summer on Serial Box.


Looney Tunes Return

Warner Bros. Animation has released the very first short from its Looney Tunes Cartoons series, which is bringing back the beloved animated characters for a new generation. “Dynamite Dance,” directed by David Gemmill, features Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny and is available to watch now. Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and other marquee characters are all returning in the series, which will feature a “cartoonist-driven approach to storytelling” in “simple, gag-driven, and visually vibrant stories.” Each cartoon will run from one to six minutes, and each season will produce 1,000 minutes of new Looney Tunes animation.


Steven Universe Stages a Musical

Chance the Rapper, Estelle, Patti LuPone, Uzo Aduba, Gallant, and Aimee Mann are among the artists contributing new music to the upcoming Steven Universe TV movie, set to air on Cartoon Network in the fall. Other musicians adding their stamp to the series include aivi & surasshu, Jeff Liu, James Fauntleroy, Macie Stewart, Mike Krol, Jeff Ball, Grant Henry, and Julian “Zorsy” Sanchez. Voice cast for the film includes Estelle, LuPone, Aduba, Christine Ebersole, Lisa Hannigan, Zach Callison, Deedee Magno Hall, Michaela Dietz, Tom Scharpling, Shelby Rabara, Erica Luttrell, Charlyne Yi, Grace Rolek, Jennifer Paz, Kate Micucci, Matthew Moy, and Toks Olagundoye.


Casting News

Daniel Radcliffe will star as Frederick in the upcoming interactive Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt special, set to debut in 2020. While details on his role have not yet been revealed, the special will feature Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) setting out on her biggest adventure yet. Per the official description: “Three states! Explosions! A dancing hamburger! And you, the viewer, get to decide how the story goes. Will you foil the Reverend’s (Jon Hamm) evil plan and get Kimmy to her wedding on time? Or will you accidentally start a war against the robots? So grab your remote and a tray of delicious scrod, ‘cause Kimmy’s got her own Netflix interactive special!”

The newest cast member to join Netflix’s women’s wrestling series GLOW: Geena Davis, who will play former showgirl-turned-casino entertainment director Sandy Deveraux St. Clair in five of the 10 episodes of the series’ upcoming third season. The new episodes will feature the ladies in residency at the Fan-Tan Hotel and Casino, where Davis’ character works.

National Geographic’s upcoming drama about NASA’s Project Mercury and the Soviet space race, The Right Stuff, has cast Jake McDorman and Game of ThronesJoe Dempsie as astronauts in the Mercury Seven. Also cast in the Tom Wolfe adaptation are Aaron Stanton, James Lafferty, Micah Stock, and Michael Trotter. Patrick J. Adams was previously announced as playing John Glenn.

Josh Hartnett and Bridget Regan will headline the new Southern Gothic mystery series Paradise Lost, set to debut on Spectrum Originals and Paramount Network. The series, about a psychiatrist who moves with her family from California to her husband’s Mississippi hometown, uncovering shameful secrets in the process, will also star Barbara Hersey, Nick Nolte, Gail Bean, Danielle Deadwyler, and Shane McRae.

Kelsey Grammer is joining Alec Baldwin and Jane Lynch as hosts of Ovation’s Inside the Actors Studio, interviewing director James Burrows for the latest iteration of the series. Other guests will include Henry Winkler (interviewed by Baldwin) and David Oyelowo (interviewed by Lynch), among others.


Development News

Michael Gibson/STX Entertainment

(Photo by Michael Gibson/STX Entertainment)

Idris Elba will star in a series for the short-form streaming service Quibi, which is set to launch in 2020. In Elba vs. Block, the actor will face off with star driver Ken Block in a competition pitting a variety of cars against each other. The two men will go head-to-head performing increasingly outrageous stunts to prove which car and which driver is best. The eight-episode series will be shot in London’s Docklands. Also working on a series for Quibi are Don Cheadle, Emily Mortimer, and Helena Howard, who will star in sci-fi drama Don’t Look Deeper, about a high school senior who can’t shake the feeling that she’s not human. Once she realizes who she is and where she comes from, her life will be in jeopardy.

WarnerMedia has ordered a series based on Frank Herbert’s Dune novels called Dune: The Sisterhood. The series will reportedly serve as a companion piece to the upcoming Dune feature film directed by Denis Villeneuve. Villeneuve will executive produce the series and direct its pilot.

Lena Dunham is returning to HBO as an executive producer of the new eight-part drama Industry, about the international finance world. Created by Konrad Kay and Mickey Down and based on their personal experiences, the series follows a group of twentysomething graduates angling for a permanent job at a top investment bank. The series will film in Cardiff, Wales over the summer.

James Purefoy stars in Hulu’s just-announced series Fertile Crescent, which will examine the Syrian civil war through the eyes of a young French man searching for his presumed dead sister who ends up teaming with a unit of Kurdish female fighters and traveling with them through ISIS-occupied territory. Felix Moati, Melanie Thierry, and more will star in the eight-episode series.

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