Julien Neaves – Editor
Netflix recently dropped a Jurassic Park animated series called Jurassic Park: Camp Cretaceous. But did you know there was a plan to make an animated series way back in the 90s after the original movie came out and devoured the box office? Well I didn’t know but I’m not surprised, as back in the day almost every licensed property (adult oriented or not) had their own cartoon, from Rambo to Robocop, to The Real Ghostbusters and Police Academy.
But for every licensed series we got there were several that never made it past the pilot stage, and some not even past the concept stage. For today’s nostalgiatube list I will be revisiting five cartoon series that never were. So it’s time to go back. Way back. Back into time.
#1 Battletoads – 1992
Any retro gamer worth his 1ups will tell you that NES Battletoads is one of the coolest and toughest games you will ever play. Personally I am a huge fan of the game, though I have never been able to beat it. The trio of butt kicking toads – cool Rash, smart Zitz and strong Pimple – were clearly meant to capitalise on Ninja Turtles mania, but they were cool enough to stand on their own, especially with their space theme and ridiculously over the top moves.
An animated series reached as far as a pilot and it is not half bad. I was not a fan of the set up of three geeky kids transforming into the toads. Why couldn’t the toads just be toads man? Other than that it was pretty faithful to the games and included characters like Professor T. Bird, Princess Angelica and the sexy Dark Queen. You all know she sexy! The episode is a fun, silly romp with the typical corny jokes and some half decent action. The animation is not the best but still passable.
The overall quality seemed about on par with most of the shows at the time, so I don’t known why it never got picked up for a series. Maybe people just dismissed it as another Turtles rip-off. It’s a shame because I would have loved watching at least one season. Heck, I wouldn’t mind a new series now. Just keep the original designs and don’t base their look on the new game.
You can watch the episode for yourself here.
#2 Bubsy – 1993
I have never played a Bubsy game but I have heard from reputable sources (aka guys on the internet) that the games are not that great, and Bubsy 3D in particular is one of the worst games ever made. So when checking out the pilot I had no exposure or attachment to the character, nor could I tell you if it is faithful to the source material.
But I can tell you it is not very good. Bubsy the bobcat is obnoxious and grating, his twin relatives are your typical precocious child characters, and the plot of a virtual reality headset that affects actual reality is just a set up for a bunch of shenanigans, none of which are very inventive or entertaining. So of the five entries on this list I think it’s a good thing Bubsy was cast into the litter box.
You can check out Bubsy for yourself here, but remember I did warn you.
#3 Crash Bandicoot – 1996
Okay, this one is a bit of a cheat as there are no reports (as far as I could tell) of a planned series based on the PlayStation character. But they did shoot some animated scenes and planned to incorporate them as cutscenes in the game. And these few scenes show that Crash would have been perfect for a wacky comedy series. Mario and Sonic both got multiple animated series. Why no love for PlayStation’s goofy and lovable mascot?
You can check out the cutscenes here and tell me if you would not have loved this as a TV show.
#4 Sgt Kabukiman NYPD – 1991
This is the sole entry that is not video game related. Instead we move over to the sultans of schlock movies Troma, known for The Toxic Avenger movie series. Now while Toxie had his own series with the much toned-down The Toxic Crusaders, fellow Troma mascot Sgt Kabukiman NYPD (a clumsy cop who has the powers of a Kabuki-themed superhero) never made it past a few scenes for a promo. And from those scenes it looks like the kind of superhero nonsense that I would have loved growing up, and would still be moderately entertained by now.
You can check out the promo here.
#5 X-Men – 1989
The 90s X-Men animated series is inarguably (well you can argue, but I will shut you down sucker!) one of the best cartoons ever made. After that we got the decent X-Men: Evolution, criminally short but fantastic Wolverine and the X-Men, and even an X-Men anime which I have seen one episode of but it looked cool enough. But before all of this there was a 1989 pilot for an X-Men series and that episode was called Pryde of the X-Men.
And this one is the best on the list. The episode finds Kitty Pryde joining ths X-Men who are made up Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Dazzler, and are led by Professor X. On the positive sides the animation is good, the prospect of Colossus and Nightcrawler as regulars would have been great, the use of powers is (mostly) faithful, the voice cast is (mostly) very good, and the villain roster is large including Magneto, Emma Frost, Juggernaut, Toad, Pyro and the Blob. On the negative side Kitty is a bit whiny, Dazzler is on the team and she is tre lame, and why the heck does Wolverine have an Australian accent? You all do know Australians and Canadians don’t sound the same right?
But overall I enjoyed the episode and I would not have minded seeing more. Though I doubt it would have been better than the awesome series we did get. And btw if the mutant line-up seems familiar that is because it was the basis for the supremely awesome 4/6 player X-Men arcade beat-em up. So you can blame Pryde of the X-Men for getting you stuck with playing with Dazzler.
To check out the episode yourself you can click here.
So that’s my list. Any failed cartoon pilots you wish would have made it to series? For my Top 20 Cartoons from the 90s you can click here. And for more nostalgic TV articles you can like and follow Redmangoreviews on Facebook here.
Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.
I can also be found posting on Instagram as redmanwriter and talking about TV and movie stuff on Facebook at Movieville.