The entertainment industry has evolved in some surprising ways over the past year, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of extra precautions to be put in place. While live-action projects are still gradually getting off the ground, this year has seen an unexpected renaissance for animated productions -- especially revivals of beloved animated shows. Recent years have brought revivals or reboots of Young Justice and DuckTales, this month will bring new Animaniacs episodes to Hulu for the first time in decades, and revivals or spinoffs of Beavis and Butt-Head, Clone High, Mission Hill, Daria, and Ren and Stimpy were all confirmed in some capacity over the summer. And just a few weeks ago, Tiny Toons was the latest series to join that list, with a new follow-up series, Tiny Toons Looniversity, confirmed for HBO Max and Cartoon Network.
There's definitely no shortage of beloved animated series that are set to return to television screens, but they arguably only scratch the surface of what fans would like to see. With that in mind, here are ten more classic animated series that deserve to be brought back.
If you've been on the Internet at all in recent years, you've probably seen the ever-growing campaign to see the return of Gargoyles. The animated series, which aired from 1994 to 1997, follows an ensemble of gargoyles from medieval Scotland to modern-day New York City, which they then decide to protect. The series remains beloved to this day, and is continuously praised for its urban fantasy elements and its approach to worldbuilding.
Multiple cast members - and the series' creator - have openly advocated for Gargoyles to be brought back in some capacity, and the series quickly became a hit once it was available to stream on Disney+. As more and more animated series seem to be getting the revival treatment, Gargoyles begins to feel more and more like a no-brainer.prevnext
X-Men: The Animated Series
Another popular Disney+ title - and one that has had ever-growing rumblings about some sort of revival - is X-Men: The Animated Series. Airing from 1992 to 1997, the series had a wide-ranging episodic approach to the iconic Marvel Comics group of the same name, one that forged its own identity while adapting iconic comic storylines of the same name.
For many fans, X-Men: The Animated Series is regarded as the gold standard for non-comic adaptations of the X-Men -- and while it is far from the most recent time the group has been adapted in animation, it still remains incredibly beloved. With Disney+ continuing to promote the series - even editing an MCU-style movie trailer for it just a few weeks ago - and revival talks reportedly already happening, it seems like new episodes of X-Men: The Animated Series could be the perfect way to tide fans over until the X-Men arrive in the MCU.prevnext
The Spectacular Spider-Man
As is the case with X-Men, The Spectacular Spider-Man is far from the latest animated series devoted to Marvel's favorite wall-crawler -- but depending on who you ask, it's definitely the best. The animated series, which aired from 2008 to 2009, shoved a slew of Spider-Man iconography and canon into a two-season run, while also giving the whole affair a high school setting. While the series did have plans for a third season, it was ultimately canceled due to legal troubles between Sony Pictures Television and Disney, who had just purchased Marvel during that time.
Obviously, Sony and Marvel's relationship is wildly different than it was in 2009, which has made many wonder if a new iteration of The Spectacular Spider-Man could be a possibility. While it's obviously way too early to say, recent tweets from series creator Greg Weisman have certainly kicked up the possibility among fans again.prevnext
While it's a lot lesser-known than Animaniacs and Tiny Toons, Freakazoid! is often regarded in a sort of trifecta with the other two Steven Spielberg-produced series. Created by Batman: The Animated Series' Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, Freakazoid! followed its titular eclectic superhero on a series of adventures, with a similar self-aware approach to humor as the other Warner Bros. Animation series of the same time. The series aired from 1995 to 1997, but became a cult hit in the years afterward thanks to reruns on Cartoon Network.
Freakazoid! might not be a household name yet, but it definitely could be, especially if the series was given a second go on a streaming service like HBO Max or Hulu. And given the overwhelming boom of superhero stories in other parts of our popular culture, including with franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Arrowverse, there's absolutely no shortage of things that the series could parody.prevnext
Krypto the Superdog
Another lesser-known superhero adaptation -- one that could arguably thrive in our modern superhero landscape - is Krypto the Superdog. Created by Alan Burnett and Paul Dini, the 2005-2006 series revolved around its titular character - a Kryptonian dog who arrives on Earth with powers similar to Superman, and uses those powers as a superhero while getting used to ordinary life with his young owner. As the series went along, Krypto joined forces with some of DC's other super-pets, including Streaky the Supercat, Ace the Bat-Hound, and Stretch-O-Mutt.
If anything, the only thing potentially standing in the way of Krypto getting a revival is the fact that Warner Bros. is developing an animated Super Pets movie. But the series' irreverent, wholesome approach to the DC canon would arguably be perfect for today, and would help introduce a new generation of fans to these characters.prevnext
American Dragon: Jake Long
Also in the category of "underrated cartoons from the mid-2000s" is definitely American Dragon: Jake Long. The series, which aired on Disney Channel from 2005 to 2007, starred Dante Basco as Jake Long, a Chinese-American 14-year-old who discovers he has the ability to turn into a dragon. Jake uses his powers to protect his community in Manhattan, while balancing life as an average kid.
With a unique sense of style and flair, American Dragon: Jake Long feels like one of those series that's on the cusp of being a cult classic -- and that could resonate with an even larger fanbase today. I mean, just look at the renaissance that one of Basco's other animated series has had over the past year.prevnext
If you watched Disney programming at all in the late '90s, odds are that you saw something tied to Pepper Ann. The series, which initially aired from 1997 to 2000, made history as the first Disney animated show to be created by a woman, cartoonist and producer Sue Rose. The series followed the journey of its titular protagonist, who tried to make it through life with her family and friends by her side.
Pepper Ann has become more and more revered in the years since it first aired, with fans acknowledging its earnest and necessary approach to feminist themes. While Pepper Ann was arguably ahead of its time, it could easily reach Daria levels of cultural prominence in the modern age.prevnext
My Life as a Teenage Robot
Originally spawning from a short in Oh Yeah! Cartoons created in the late '90s, My Life as a Teenage Robot aired from 2003 to 2009, creating a pretty underrated Nicktoons series along the way. The show followed XJ-9 - also known as Jenny - a robot girl who juggles the normalcies of teenage life with the responsibility of protecting Earth. The series blended action-comedy and a coming of age story with ease, while crafting its own unique world in the process.
The series was ultimately canceled in 2005 after airing two seasons, with its complete third season not airing in its entirety until years later. While My Life as a Teenage Robot arguably had a pretty conclusive ending, its approach to science fiction, sci-fi, and being a teenager could hit differently today.prevnext
Another Oh Yeah! Cartoons veteran, ChalkZone aired on Nickelodeon from 2002 to 2008 -- and brought an endearing story into the animated space along with it. The series followed 10-year-old Rudy Tabootie, whose love for drawing is further fostered when he finds a magical piece of chalk. This chalk allows him to access the ChalkZone, a realm where everything that has ever been drawn by chalk has become sentient.
The series was imaginative, ridiculous, and oftentimes trippy, and pushed the boundaries of what was expected of animation at the time. It's pretty easy to imagine the series working in a modern context -- and getting weirder along the way.prevnext
Space Ghost Coast to Coast0comments
Speaking of weird, there's nothing in the past twenty years of Western animation that's quite like Space Ghost Coast to Coast. The series, which aired 108 episodes from 1994 to 2008, repurposed artwork from the 1960s Space Ghost cartoon as a surreal and utterly ridiculous late-night talk show. The influence of the series can still be felt to this day, on everything from Aqua Teen Hunger Force to The Eric Andre Show.
Yes, the original run of Space Ghost Coast to Coast is almost too perfect to need to revisit, but its concept and its ridiculous approach to celebrity culture could be taken to a whole new level today, especially as comedy as a whole has followed suit.prev