'They Did What!?!': 10 Animated Series Based Off Movies

You know how modern studios are obsessed with recognizable stories and characters? They will grab anything from the past that was the least bit popular and try to reform it into something new in hopes of capitalizing on nostalgia to get a hit. Well, that isn't really a new thing. If you want any proof, then you just need to look at network cartoons from the 1980s and 1990s that constantly tried adapting movies and video game or whatever else they thought might get kids to eat sugary cereals in front of the TV. They would even do it if the source material were very un-kid-friendly. 

Despite being a Saturday morning cartoon warrior, there are several cartoon series based off movies that I either never stumbled across or I've completely forgot about. Maybe I was too busy getting down with the MC Hammer cartoon. 

In the quest to find recognizable stories that could be turn into entertainment for kids, there was some wild decisions. I can't believe that some of these were attempted as animated series for kids.

10. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective: Jim Carrey was a cartoon character, but the movie wasn't kid-friendly. Actually, it wasn't very adult-friendly either. 

9. Back to the Future: The Animated Series: I'm shocked that I never watched this considering how much I adore the movie trilogy. My only guess is that considering it premiered in 1991, I had slowed down on my Saturday morning cartoon love at that point in favour of sleeping-in. Apparently, this series is set after the third one but considered to be an alternate 'what if' timeline.

8. Dumb and Dumber: Networks were all over Jim Carrey comedies, though I question how appealing those series would be with a guy trying to mimic the voice and energy of Carrey rather than having the actual actor.

7. Highlander: The Animated Series: Nothing says cartoon series for kids than being based off a movie that is all about chopping off other people's heads. I wonder how often they mention the Quickening?

6. James Bond Jr: Not only did I have no clue that this animated series existed, but it apparently got a 65-episode run, and must have been in daily syndication as it lasted one season. The character was a big enough deal that he also had a spinoff novel, comic book series and a Nintendo video game. Who would have thought there was so much money to be made based off many 1980s kids' make-belief play in their backyard?

5. The Karate Kid: This animated series was the inspiration for doing this in-no-particular-order random list, because I only learned in the past year that back in 1989 one of the greatest movies ever has a globetrotting animated adventure series. This was originally going to be a 65 episode daily syndicated season but then moved over to a 13-episode Saturday morning carton on NBC. I actually have access to this series, and I am tempted to review it.

4. Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm: I get it was based off a video game that lots of kids probably played, but a video game where the goal was to literally tear your opponent apart doesn't seem like the best idea for a kid-friendly cartoon. This was a huge flop with audiences and critics, so that is probably why I never heard of it.

3. Police Academy: The big question is if the cartoon series is funnier than the movie, because this is one of the cases where Saturday morning cartoon storytelling may have been a step up. I'd have been totally down with cartoons in 1988, but my guess is this may never have made it on a station I had in Ontario. Or for my own safety, my brain has blocked this series from memory.

2. Problem Child: Sometimes a network or cable channel just needs anything to fill-up a half hour space on the schedule. 

1. Toxic Crusaders: While several of the cartoons on this list are surprising because they are based off movies not geared towards kids, at least you could say all were pretty big box office hits. Someone thought what kids really needed was a cartoon series based off a very violent, edgy, cult exploitation picture from infamous low-budget film studio Troma. Toxic Avenger is very much not kid-friendly, but they at least softened the series significantly and gave a Captain Planet style environmental message.