Hello my Movie Geeks
I was watching a new interpretation of kids TV show Scooby Doo and it got me thinking. This kids cartoon has told the same story for over 40 years. It then made me think about Daphne and what she’s doing with that dork Fred!
But then I got to thinking of other TV shows from when I were a lad and how good they were. I remembered that many of them had influences from movies. Movies that weren’t made for kids.
For starters there are the obvious cartoons that were based on R Rated movies. But this article will also touch on those cartoons that threw in the odd reference.
Conan the Adventurer
Based on the 1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger led movie series Conan the Barbarian and it’s sequel Conan the Destroyer.
Well, ok it’s not, it’s actually based on the literary character created by Robert E Howard in the 1930’s. But it’s still an R Rated movie series starring the Austrian Oak at his mightiest.
Not only did this series span 65 episodes from 1992 to 1993, but it also had its own toy line.
For a movie that has vengeance, murder, sex, torture, and crucifixion it seems an odd choice for a kids cartoon show and toy line.
Not forgetting Conan’s favourite thing being:
“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women”
The Toxic Crusaders
This movie was a Troma Entertainment movie that focussed on Splatter film Horror. Spawning three sequels it was more of a splatter comedy than anything.
Despite not having a rating, it included a man being set on fire and hideously deformed, attempted rape, attempted castration and bloody, bloody vengeance. Clearly a prime candidate for a kids TV show.
The kids’ show, however, (which I remember watching as a little lad) veered away from the gory violence and sexual content to make a kind of pro-environmentally friendly show.
Toxie and his friends battle intergalactic polluters from the planet Smogula. The planet Smogula is a planet where pollution is as natural as air and water. The Smogulans live off pollution and their plan is to pollute Tromaville.
One of my earliest memories of this cartoon is where they placed a glass dome over Tromaville and pollute it from the inside. I also remember the mop being sentient, and I think I had a couple of toys. Yes, there was a toy line for these too.
Only 13 episodes it clearly made an impact on me, and possibly even the environmentally leaning Simpson’s Movie!
Rambo: The Forces for Freedom
Basically this series is just G.I. Joe but with Rambo as the front man.
First Blood from 1982 and its follow up Rambo: First Blood II are two brutal action movies about a Vietnam Vet who had severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The series was mostly built off the back of Rambo: First Blood II as that film sees Rambo save POW’s after the Vietnam War is over.
War, Death and Destruction sprinkled with a PTSD, sounds like a plan for a kids TV show with merchandising options!
The Series sees Rambo and his team of Freedom Enforcers fight an evil organisation called S.A.V.A.G.E which stood for the ‘Specialist-Administrators of Vengeance, Anarchy and Global Extortion’.
Despite the source material coming from a testosterone-fuelled Sylvester Stallone movie series, the tv show was basically a way to sell toys. The show ran for 65 episodes, so it was quite popular.
Highlander: The Animated Series
Highlander, the Christopher Lambert movie from the 80’s with a killer Queen soundtrack.
This film was essential watching for me growing up. It was silly, funny, brutal and violent. The story follows Connor McLeod as he realizes he is an Immortal who needs to Play the Game until there is Only One who can Win the Prize. To win the prize you need to behead another Immortal, so again, great kid’s television.
But, this tv series was quite a mature semi-follow on. Yes, they got around the beheading the Immortals for the Quickening by sharing the power.
The show still had the antagonist Kortan who continued the old ways. But by having the protagonist share the quickening, the immortals were allowed to live as mortals. It was quite a complex and clever show and was basically a sequel to the films.
Connor McLeod appears at the beginning as this series is set in the future, he and the other Immortals have a truce to try and save the world after the world fell into a nuclear winter.
All immortals swear an oath to not pursue the Prize and stop fighting to help humanity. All but one, Kortan continues killing. McLeod challenges him and as he breaks his oath he is defeated and killed. They killed The Lambert!
This series was a bold move, taking the protagonist from the films and killing him off.
The series lasted for 40 episodes and again spawned a toy line.
Sadly, it wasn’t as good as Highlander 2….
Robocop: The Animated Series
The ultraviolent-squib fest of a film, which to be honest doesn’t need any introduction. Alex Murphey played by Peter Weller is a cop killed on duty. When I say killed, he’s proper killed. It’s basically an extended scene of hundreds of squibs exploding in a spray of blood.
It’s a film that is an 18 now and was an 18 back when it was first released. So clearly this had to be a kid’s show. Also, there was a series of TV movies released in the 90’s that diluted the violence for a family audience.
The Animated series was again like the Highlander series a fairly mature with themes of racism, prejudice, terrorism and environmental espionage.
There is also a quick child-friendly version of Murphey’s death in the title sequence. It does change a lot though, replacing bullets with laser beams, having robots living in the city as well as the city being more technologically advanced.
The gang who killed Murphey in the film and who also died in the film are antagonists in the series.
Now this one is a tricky one, but worth a mention.
There was a toy line of Aliens, the Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise released in the 90’s. I knew people who had them (unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed them as they were too old for me). Little did I know at the time that these were a tie-in toyline for a cartoon series called Operation: Aliens.
Based off the Action movie beats of James Cameron’s Aliens, it would have been an action cartoon that had been an episodic bug hunt. Judging by the toys, it would have had a vast array of types of Aliens, which included the Snake Alien, and the Scorpion Alien.
Maybe we should start a series called ‘What Could Have Been’.
But whilst we’re on the subject of Alien, does anybody remember the Xenomorph popping up in other kids shows?
Well I do, and here they are.
Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (I’m English, the 90’s didn’t like Ninjas).
It had an episode where Krang, Shredder and Baxter booby-trap some pizzas with the eggs of a Xenomorph type creature. When microwaved the monsters grow and attack anything in their way.
Now TNMT should really be on this list anyway being an adaptation of the brutal comic book series. But alas, this series made it a worldwide phenomenon and it was for kids.
There were also episodes that featured robot cops and Baxter Stockman is transformed into a fly, which is linked to the 1958 and 1986 movies the Fly.
David Cronenberg’s 1986 version is a mental body horror picture that kept me up at night.
Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers
Now despite the two titular characters wearing the costumes of Indiana Jones and Magnum PI (Ironically both costumes worn by Tom Selleck!), that isn’t the movie reference I want to make!
But, during one episode ‘Dale Beside Himself’ the Rescue Rangers are watching TV in their tree house and the movie that is playing is Aliens.
You see ‘Ripley’ running through the corridor carrying a flame thrower and then she is attacked by a creature with an elongated head and several mouths inside of little mouths. When I was a kid, I remember seeing this and wondering what that was.
This series also has an episode where someone gets transformed into a Fly creature just like TNMT did.
There’s also a great episode where they parody Sherlock Holmes story the Hound of the Baskervilles. I really liked this series.
So there you have it, movies for adults clearly influenced kids TV shows.
Have I missed any? Is there a series that you really liked that was based on an adult property?
Let us know in the comments below and if you liked this check out the other articles. There’s a particularly good one about Power of Grayskull: The Definitive History of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Or maybe an article on The Beginners Guide to Anime.
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