Following from Damon’s entry on Warner Brothers’ latest revamped Tom & Jerry animated series, I got to thinking about what other former Hanna Barbera franchises could WB bring back from the abyss, if they cared enough about any H-B properties besides T&J and Scooby Doo, that is.
A new take on Hong Kong Phooey might be entertaining. I read a few years ago that there are or were plans to make a HKP live action movie, but that news was at least 2 years ago, and I’ve since heard no follow up to it. The movie would likely have Penry Pooch (Hong Kong) as a “real” dog who somehow becomes anthropomorphic and gains mad Kung-Fu skills. I know that after the major bomb-a-saurus that was the Underdog movie, a lot of people would (understandably) not like this idea, but at least that would make a tad more sense than Phooey being the only anthro in a world full of humans and yet no one was smart enough to make the connection that Penry and Phooey were one and the same!
Someone suggested that WB revive The Jetsons, but frankly, the idea of a new Jetsons series wouldn’t excite me. As much as I like the idea of a Utopian future as a setting, I find the characters themselves to be rather dull and generic. The Jetsons was basically the Blondie movies set in the future, and the series as a whole might have been better if it had made better use of it’s fantastic setting. Compare to the far better Futurama.
When talking about potentially reviving old H-B properties, I guess I’d pretty much have to mention the grand daddy of them all, The Flintstones. Now, The Flintstones celebrated it’s 50th anniversary last year, and Cartoon Network did nothing to commemorate the occasion. All that happened was a 24 hour Flintstones marathon on Boomerang and Post released a specially made Pebbles cereal, Cupcake Pebbles, and a single commercial advertising the product, with no mention of the occasion that sparked it.
Now, my initial thought was “This is wrong. Warner Brothers and Turner should do something to commorate The Flintstones‘ 50th anniversary besides just this. Why not make a new series or at least some new animated shorts (Seth MacFarlane was going to produce a remake of The Flintstones that was to air on FOX in 2013, but Seth already has too much on his plate and so production on this reboot series is on hiatus until ???)?” But then I thought :What could do they do?” What could WB and Cartoon Network studios possibly do with the The Flintstones that hasn’t already been done? It seems like the series has been around longer than Europe, and in at least the 42 years and 5 months that I’ve been alive, we’ve already seen the Flintstones and the Rubbles become parents. We’ve seen the Flintstones contend with not 1, but 2 sets of monster neighbors (first the Gruesomes and then later the Frankenstones). We’ve seen Fred and Barney meet up with a magical alien with the voice of Harvey Korman. We’ve seen Fred do the James Bond spy shtick in a theatrical film. We’ve seen the families travel to the Old West on numerous occasions. We’ve seen Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm as teenagers (who not only got together, but were in a band at one point). We’ve seen Fred and Barney as cops. We’ve seen Wilma and Betty doing double Lois Lane duty opposite Captain Caveman. We’ve seen Dino doing the Tom & Jerry thing with an obnoxious cave mouse. We’ve seen Fred, Wima, Barney and Betty as preteen kids. We’ve seen Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Dino solving mysteries a la Scooby Doo, and through made-for-TV movies, we’ve seen Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm get married and then subsequently move to Hollyrock and become the parents of fraternal twins. About the only Flintstones related things that we haven’t yet seen are Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty as unmarried twentysomethings or the Flintstones and the Rubbles as grandparents, and I personally have zero desire to see either of those things.
But, it’s not as though the Flintstones’ characters have been completely forgotten. Recently, there have been a new revamped set of Post Pebbles cereal commercials which feature the characters rendered in a new animation style (stop motion puppettoons) and after 3 decades, they’e finally moved on from the “Watch me trick Fred out of his Pebbles!” shtick. These new ads aren’t the worst thing that I’ve ever seen. The different animation style is interesting and the guys doing Fred and Barney’s voices at least sound enough like the oriignals for it to not be an issue. The main thing that I find somewhat odd about these current commercials is how unbelievably calm and laid back Fred is in them. At no point does Fred look even remotely as if he’s about to lose his temper. I guess that he’s mellowed with age.