Thu
Oct 25 2012 6:00pm

6 Things You Don’t Remember About The Real Ghostbusters Cartoon

We all love Ghostbusters and sometimes Ghostbusters 2, but what about the cartoon The Real Ghostbusters? What the hell was that thing? It’s populated by Ghostbusters who don’t look like themselves, brightly colored costumes, the guy who does the voice of cartoon Garfield, plus the seemingly inexplicable qualifying adjective “real” before the title of the show.

So this thing sucks, right? Well, yes and no. The most surprising thing we’ve all forgotten about The Real Ghostbusters is how genuinely creative some of the stories were. Here’s some samples of the awesome high-concept notions this forgotten cartoon peddled right under our noses.

 

6. The Writing Was Trying to be Smart

The first two seasons of The Real Ghostbusters were overseen by script editor J. Michael Straczynski. This is prior to JMS becoming the stalwart of science fiction with Babylon 5 and a comic book guru with Amazing Spider-Man, Thor and other titles. JMS’s background in 1986 was primarily television, his biggest credit at the time being He-Man & The Masters of the Universe. With Ghostbusters you get the sense JMS was already forming his own version of this science fiction universe as he explored the implications of how a ghost-busting organization would function on a day-to-day level. We see how their co-habitation operates, the demands on their time, and how their interests and their relationships with each other actually unfold. More importantly though, actual cool concepts were being floated right way. The FIRST regular episode of the show was called “Ghosts R Us” and featured a trio of escaped ghosts who set up their own rival ghost-busting service. Whaaat? The first episode tries to invert the premise of the show? Now, that’s what I’m talking about!

 

5. The Ghostbusters Do a Fair Amount of Time Travel

In the first season, not only do the boys travel back in time, they also seem to cross into a parallel dimension. The episode “X-Mas Marks the Spot” asserts casually that the events of the Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol are actually true, or at the very least, in the same fictional universe as The Real Ghostbusters. After accidentally finding themselves transported back to a Victorian setting, the Ghostbusters zap and entrap the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Upon returning to the present day, they find the world completely changed. Essentially, because Scrooge never reformed, his practices eventually became the world standard! The Ghostbusters must set right what is now wrong, resulting in Egon having to go into the containment unit and pull out the other ghosts. How do we feel about asserting the events of A Christmas Carol as historical fact on par with any other major historical event? Would Dickens be okay with the Ghostbusters? I think so.

Further, in a 5th season episode called “It’s About Time,” when the firehouse is threatened with being torn down in the present, the Ghostbusters randomly end up in 1957 where the firehouse is under attack from ghosts. After thwarting the ghosts and returning to the present, the boys have seemingly created a predestination paradox as the firehouse is now a historical landmark because it was saved by some mysterious strangers back in the ‘50’s! This makes Doctor Who’s “Father’s Day” look like a joke.

 

4. The Fictional Physics of the Ghostbusters Tech and Universe are Fleshed Out Considerably

Where do the ghosts go when they’re put in the traps? What’s the inside of the containment unit like? Is there a separate “world” in which the ghosts of this universe reside and how do we communicate with it? Why do certain ghosts stay on Earth and others don’t?

Almost all of these issues are addressed at some point, but the notions about what goes on inside of the Containment Unit are the most interesting. In the aforementioned “X-Mas Marks the Spot” Egon has to go inside of the machine, which is depicted as a kind of ethereal world with floating rocky platforms connected to nothing. A ghost purgatory, if you will. Not surprisingly, Slimer goes inside of the Containment Unit more than any other character, simply because he is already a ghost and getting him in is easy. (Note: there’s a creepy compliancy on Slimer’s part here. He’s okay with all of his ghostly brethren being imprisoned, and doing the dirty work for their jailers. Slimer of the cartoons may be the biggest example of someone with Stockholm Syndrome.) Notably Slimer goes in twice to get the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man out, because in this reality the Ghostbuster didn’t destroy the Marshmallow Man, but rather, “busted” him and stuck him in a trap.

All in all, the nerdiest interesting thing about the Containment Unit is that it’s…wait for it…bigger on the inside.

 

3. The Cartoon Asserts a Meta-Fictional Shell Around the Films

Before I explain to you how it is possible to reconcile the continuity of The Real Ghostbsuters cartoon with the events of the two films, consider the following: the character of Peter Venkman is played by Bill Murray in the movies, but voiced by Lorenzo Music in the cartoon. Now, Lorenzo Music is slightly more famous for providing the voice of Garfield in the Garfield cartoon. But, when a feature film of Garfield rolled around, Bill Murray did the voice. So, clearly a dimension doorway is swinging between cartoons and real life already.

The real reason the show is called “The Real” Ghostbusters is because there was another cartoon called Ghostbusters which had nothing to do with anything. The producers wanted kids to know this was the “Who ya gonna call?” guys and not some posers. And yet. They are kind of posers, right? I mean, they don’t actually look anything like Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, or Harold Ramis. (Interestingly, Annie Potts’ portrayal of Janine in Ghostbusters 2 looks more like the cartoon version of Janine than she does in the first film.)

So what’s the deal? Well, the in-universe explanation for this discrepancy is that the Ghostbusters of the cartoons are the real Ghostbusters and the films exist within their fictional world as films based on their lives. Think of the Ghostbusters movies then as the published Watson adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and the Ghostbusters cartoon as the actual, raw source material.

While some of this is alluded to in “Citizen Ghost,” the straight-up metafiction all goes down in an episode called “Take Two” which involved a movie being made about the life of the Ghostbusters. Cartoon Winston believes the names “Ramis, Aykroyd, and Murray” sound like a “law firm.” After a good deal of antics, the boys end up attending the premier where Peter complains movie-Peter looks nothing like him.

 

2. The Definition of “Ghost” is Blurred in a Big Way

Unlike the Slimer of the first film, who had liquid pouring through him as he drank it, the Slimer in the cartoon seems to be able to actually consume large amounts of food and liquid. For a “ghost,” he always seems to be hungry, which makes no sense. And really, if you get right down to it, most of what the Ghosbusters fight with (or co-habit with) are more like monsters and less like ghosts. This is oddly similar to the film, since most of what they deal with are terrible, demon-like creatures. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man isn’t “the ghost of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man” instead, he’s a conjured-up demon, technically a kind of demi-god. The Ghostbusters don’t really bust legit ghosts!

This gets even weirder in an episode called “Elementary, My Dear Winston” in which the belief in Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson manifests real life versions of them in the actual, physical world, which Egon calls “ghosts.” At this point the word “ghost” is really more like a “spirit” or a manifestation of something unreal. From this perspective, the “ghosts” in “Ghostbusters” are simply “the unreal.” But The Real Unreal-Busters would have probably been a terrible title.

 

1. Arsenio Hall Played the Voice of Winston for Three Seasons

Yep.


Ryan Britt is a staff writer for Tor.com.

This article is part of Ghost Week on Tor.com: ‹ previous | index | next ›
50 comments
Marc Houle
1. MightyMarc
That was Arsenio Hall? I love the show all the more now, knowing that.
Improbable Joe
2. Improbable Joe
Look...

As long as you covered the Lorenzo Music/Bill Murray thing, you're OK in my book. :) Of course, in my book it is normal to know a whole lot about The Real Ghostbusters, so take it for what it's worth.
JoeNotCharles
3. JoeNotCharles
Forgotten? Sucks? No way!

The cartoon does the one thing that the movies don't - establishes the Ghostbusters as a longterm business that faces a wide variety of stuff. If you go just by the movies they'd have only really gone up against the supernatural twice, with 5 years of dead time between them. That gives the cartoon as a whole a more epic feel than the movies, to me.

Sure, cartoon Venkman isn't as funny as Bill Murray, but you can't expect that - it was a Saturday morning cartoon from before the modern golden age of cartoons. It was better than 90% of what was on at the time.
Trevor Vallender
4. tsv
If you honestly don't have fond memories of this, your childhood must have been a strange, hollow place. Seriously, I thought everyone loved this!
Jenny Thrash
5. Sihaya
Point #2: "For a “ghost,” he always seems to be hungry, which makes no sense."

Eastern ghosts are legendarily hungry. I think it's Tor.com that turned me onto Yang Chang Compestine's A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts. In the author's note at the beginning, she says, "China has a long tradition of honoring the dead with food, stemming from the belief that hungry ghosts linger on to haunt the living." Irish legends, too, have stories of the dead coming back to the dinner tables and eating every last morsel, though I don't know if those particular spirits are called ghosts. On the Day of the Dead, families bring picnics to the cemetary with the expectation that the spirits of their departed relatives will join them for a bite. Slimer's gluttony (and his inability to fulfil it) seems very ghost-like to me. For all I know, it's why he's still restless.
David Goldfarb
6. David_Goldfarb
I have fond memories of the episode "The Collect Call of Cthulhu".

"Cthulhu makes Gozer look like Little Mary Sunshine."
A G
7. grilojoe77
I totally remember this cartoon and loved it. I guess the "real" part is inexplicable if you don't remember the other Ghostbusters cartoon (by Filmation) that was running at about the same time.

I've really really wanted to watch these over again, but have been afraid that the Suck Fairy might have intervened and ruined my fond memories of the show. I suppose it's high time to set those concerns aside and begin the rewatch posthaste. Thanks for this.
A G
8. grilojoe77
oops. Sorry. I missed where you mentioned the other Ghostbusters cartoon. apologies.
Christopher Bennett
9. ChristopherLBennett
In its first couple of seasons, when JMS was the story editor, this was a great show. Unfortunately, it was only really able to come into its own in the episodes that aired in first-run syndication, which was basically just episodes 14-65. All the rest were on ABC Saturday mornings and were subject to much more censorship and kiddification.

But those first couple of seasons were really great stuff, quite cutting-edge for animation of the time. RGB was a pioneer in taking American animated TV in a more sophisticated direction, and without it, we might not have had the likes of Batman: The Animated Series and Gargoyles further down the road. It deserves a lot more credit than it gets. And it had an impressive roster of SF/fantasy writers contributing to it.

The production values were terrific too. The cast was great, not just Music and Hall, but Maurice LaMarche (aka the Brain from Pinky and the Brain, aka Kif, Morbo, Calculon, and countless other Futurama characters) as Egon and the ubiquitous Frank Welker as Ray and Slimer (and most of the ghosts/monsters), plus Laura Summer as the original Janine (before she got de-accented and prettified by network mandate). The music by Shuki Levy and Haim Saban (who did practically every animated show's music at the time) was probably their finest work, with a rich mix of musical styles and some really effective danger/chill cues. And the animation in the first couple of seasons was generally excellent. Though the animation house wasn't specified in the credits, it looks to me like it bears the characteristic art and movement style of Tokyo Movie Shinsha, whose work has always impressed me.

By the way, about the other Ghostbusters cartoon: actually Filmation used the name first, in a live-action '70s show called The Ghost Busters starring Larry Storch, Forrest Tucker, and Bob Burns in a gorilla suit. Columbia had to sue Filmation for the rights to the name when they made the movie, and the settlement let Filmation retain the right to use the title themselves. So when the movie was a hit, Filmation naturally capitalized on its success by creating an animated sequel to their original series (revolving around the sons of Storch & Tucker's characters). That's why it was possible for two competing shows to legally use the name at the same time. The Filmation version was initially announced as The Original Ghostbusters, but ended up just being called Filmation's Ghostbusters.
Lee Whiteside
10. LeeWhiteside
My favorite story from jms about his working on the show is how they had to change Janine's glasses to be round instead of pointy because children don't like pointy things....
Improbable Joe
11. StrongDreams
Now I want a Pinky and the Brain re-watch!
Improbable Joe
12. MikeNam
There was quite a bit of references to mythology in the shows too. Marduk & Tiamat, Ragnarok, Samhain, and even the fictional mythology of H.P. Lovecraft...of course, tweaked or distorted for a kids' animated series, but the show did inspire me to go to the library even more often.
Thomas Simeroth
13. a smart guy
What?!!! There was a Ghostbusters cartoon??? I guess it was before I was born. :( Still seems pretty awesome though.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
14. Lisamarie
I remember loving this cartoon as a little kid although I don't think I really twigged to any of this stuff when watching it. I just though Egon had the best hair.

Also, for many years I thought Bill Murray was the voice of Garfield because of the Venkman thing, haha. And then of course he WAS cast as Garfield :)
jon meltzer
15. jmeltzer
A very well written, witty, fondly remembered cartoon. Is it available on DVD?
Christopher Bennett
16. ChristopherLBennett
@15: Some of the series is available on DVD, but I don't think the whole thing is.

Murray getting cast as Garfield surprised me, because I don't think he and Lorenzo Music sounded anything alike. In fact, the reason Music was dropped after the second season is because Murray had commented that Music didn't sound like him, and the network executives misinterpreted that as a complaint and demanded that Music be replaced. The role was taken over by Dave Coulier doing a Bill Murray impression, and it just didn't work as well.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
17. Lisamarie
Wait, DAVE COULIER did a voice on this show?

So, like, two of my favorite childhood 80s things just totally intersected?
Keith DeCandido
18. krad
Ryan, you've lost about a jillion points in my book by proceeding from the ridiculous premise that The Real Ghostbusters was ever anything other than totally awesome. To my mind, this article is trying to prove that the sky is blue -- to wit, the awesomeness of TRG was self-evident, and it doesn't need defending.

Having said that: bravo for provoking happy nostalgic memories. :)

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Brent Longstaff
19. Brentus
I watched this as a kid because I loved ghosts but was too scared by the live action Ghostbusters.
Keith DeCandido
20. krad
Oh, and they eventually did an episode that explained why Janine went from sounding like Annie Potts to sounding like someone less abrasive.

---KRAD
Christopher Bennett
21. ChristopherLBennett
@20: Yeah, "Janine, Is That You?" was one of the few high points of the later seasons. JMS had left as story editor by that point, and the network had insisted on changing Janine's appearance and voice to be "more attractive" (although Janine's original character design was actually pretty dang hot under those granny glasses). But JMS came back to write this really great episode that made lemonade out of those lemons, acknowledging the change in her appearance and using it to make a pretty nice commentary about society's standards of beauty and how they can undermine our self-esteem. Not to mention advancing the simmering Egon-Janine romantic tension considerably -- something that was abandoned when subsequent seasons followed the lead of GB2 and paired Janine with Louis Tully (a character who hadn't previously been included in the animated series).
Improbable Joe
22. Omorka
@15: Yes, it is, but it'll cost you a pretty penny. The complete series is available (in a box done up to resemble the show's firehouse) for about $160. The individual seasons were each released as smaller sets, too, for about $30 each, but I think they've gone out of print. Both releases have a fair amount of bonus material, mostly in the form of interviews and commentaries with the various writers; JMS and Mark Scott Zicree are both particularly entertaining.
Ashe Armstrong
23. AsheSaoirse
When I say Ghostbusters was my jam, I'm not exaggerating at all. I mean the whole thing. The movies and ESPECIALLY the cartoon. And goodness were those first seasons so good or what? Fleshing out the tech and the world so much, so fantastic. Even if they took a few liberties, like ignoring the power cell half-life for needing the packs to be charged (something Extreme Ghostbusters carried over with the redesigned packs).

I still need to get the big ass box set.
Christopher Bennett
24. ChristopherLBennett
Ahh, I was wondering when Extreme Ghostbusters would be brought up. I have mixed feelings about that sequel series. It was fairly good overall, though not on the same level as JMS's RGB, and it was nice that it tried to be a continuation of RGB and brought back Maurice LaMarche as Egon (and eventually the later RGB cast -- Coulier as Peter, Welker as Ray, and Buster Jones as Winston -- in a guest appearance). Plus the young Ghostbuster team was reasonably appealing, and played by a good bunch of voice actors -- Rino Romano (who'd later play both Spider-Man and Batman), Tara Charendoff (now known as Tara Strong, perhaps the most popular and prolific female voice artist in the business today), Jason Marsden (later Richie in Static Shock among many other roles), and former Fresh Prince of Bel Air co-star Alfonso Ribeiro. I also loved composer Jim Latham's new arrangement of the Ghostbusters theme song, which he made much spookier and less cheerleadery.

But at the same time, EGB didn't quite work as a continuation, because it ignored some of the continuity from RGB. It had the new Ghostbuster team taking on variations of supernatural entities that the RGB had already tackled in their show, yet it was always treated as if it were the first time. And it ignored RGB's development of the Egon-Janine relationship and reverted it to the original status quo where Egon was oblivious to Janine's crush on him. Slimer (now played by Billy West) was also reverted to a less verbal state, much as he'd been in the earliest RGB episodes.
Improbable Joe
25. your Mom
I have some very fond memories of watching this cartoon with you and your sister. It is a little frightening how much some of your readers know about the intricate details of the show. Of course most Tor.com readers are not normal, including me. If your article made your readers remember a happy time then writing it was worth your time. Good job. :)
Ashe Armstrong
26. AsheSaoirse
EGB had its flaws but as a kid who wanted more Ghostbusters in 97, maaaaaan, I was in heaven. Still, I DO wish they'd have kept the continuity tighter in hindsight (because, again, at 12, MORE GHOSTBUSTERS, YAAAAAAAAAAAY) but still.

The current IDW series is pretty dang good. And it does an interesting job of going from the movies and using some of the RGB continuity ideas as well as referencing and playing some of EGB ideas.
Christopher Bennett
27. ChristopherLBennett
I just can't get over how badly off-model Peter is in the screencap at the top of this post. What episode is that from?
Ashe Armstrong
28. AsheSaoirse
That's actually from the original short pilot episode that mostly ended up being used as the intro sequence.
Christopher Bennett
29. ChristopherLBennett
@28: Oh, I wondered if that might be the case. It would explain Egon's pompadour being a little different too -- more a solid puff of hair rather than the bizarre cylindrical thing it ended up being.
Improbable Joe
30. Cody M.
Good grief, did/do I love this show... I ordered that firehouse box set the day it was available for pre-order and go back to it on a regular basis. Heck, my girlfriend and I watched "When Halloween Was Forever" and a few others during our Halloween viewing extravaganza this year (on Pumpkin Carving/Cartoon Night, mixed in with some vintage Treehouse of Horrors).

I did love how it tied things in with the movie universe... you mentioned "Citizen Ghost" above, and I also remember a mention of Vigo the Carpathian and seeing a Terror Dog (can't remember the episodes off-hand, but they were there; the Vigo mention might have been in "Beneath These Streets" but I'm not sure).

Great stuff, thanks for this article! There is a more than decent chance that I will watch some more episodes this weekend.
Improbable Joe
31. Timewalkerauthor
In talking about the manifestations of Holmes and Watson, which weren't actually ghosts, I was reminded of another episode; and unfortunately my memories of it are long enough ago that I can't remember titles; I was, what, twelve when I watched this? Maybe. At any rate, the episode was supposed to have been immediately following the events of one movie or the other, and in it, their uniforms (because of exposure to ectoplasm and bad vibes, I guess) actually came to life and attacked them. No actual ghosts required. Don't know why that one stands out to me, but it always did.
Christopher Bennett
32. ChristopherLBennett
@31: I believe that was "Citizen Ghost," the flashback episode explaining how Slimer came to be the Ghostbusters' mascot following the events of the first movie.
Improbable Joe
33. Ron-rod Man
Being a kid from the 80s, RGB were huge during my childhood. I also liked very much the movies, but my fondest memories are asociated with the tv show.
I also pre-ordered the DVDs as soon as they became available (a few years back) and, since then my family and I have made annual marathons during the halloween-thanksgiving-christmas months. One of the BEST cartoons ever!
I am very happy my kids, nieces and nephews also love the show. They are already looking forward for the GB 3 movie (to be released in 2015).
Kimberly Johnson
34. fantasy4life
I remember this show, grew up watching this. Used to love watching that.
Improbable Joe
35. Cold Drake
This cartoon was great. One of the few 80's toons that still holds up
Improbable Joe
36. Nick Tick
I think the REAL in RGB was there because it came after the concept of the original Ghostbusters cartoon...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DuseyorgTY
Christopher Bennett
37. ChristopherLBennett
@36: Yes, that's essentially right. See the last paragraph of my comment #9 above.
Improbable Joe
38. Fox l mccloud
The box set is now available for 99 bucks from time life star vista. Just got it in today and it is well worth every cent
Improbable Joe
39. tmlfan1977
@38: I just ordered the box set for the same price last week from Time Life. I wanted it for years but it was always a little too expensive for my budget. Anyway, the set arrived in the mail on Monday, and I've been enjoying it immensely all week! Sometimes it pays to wait!
Improbable Joe
40. DarthRandal
@1: What's even crazier is that apparently Ernie Hudson auditioned for the part of Winston and was turned down. That means the guy who WAS Winston in the movies couldn't get a job being his own character.
Christopher Bennett
41. ChristopherLBennett
@40: Well, voice acting is a different discipline than on-camera acting, and being good at one doesn't necessarily mean being good at the other. A few years before RGB, Hudson did the voice of Cyborg in the last couple of seasons of the Superfriends franchise, and he really wasn't very good there, even though he's a very good actor onscreen.
Improbable Joe
42. Yes,I'mAGeek
"So this thing sucks, right?"

Emphatically, NO. Well, it went downhill in the later seasons; but that happens with most long-running shows (IE: The Simpsons).

"The most surprising thing we’ve all forgotten about The Real Ghostbusters is how genuinely creative some of the stories were. Here’s some samples of the awesome high-concept notions this forgotten cartoon peddled right under our noses."

This show is not forgotten by me and/or the many others who grew up with it. The writing, animation, and voice acting were excellent. Many of the episodes were thought-provoking; taking on philisophical issues and concepts. Though I admit my bias, I feel The Real Ghostbusters was a genuinely good show (in contrast to many of its contempories which existed mainly to sell toys).
Improbable Joe
43. Spock
I really loved this series (I’m Costa Rican) I watched as a child in my home country in Spanish, it was one of my favorite and we used to play Ghosbusters in the school yard, I always was Ray. Actually I saw the animated series before the movies wich I rented on VHS because I was born in 1982 so for when I was a boy the movies were already “old”.

I think most of the Ghost in RGB were more like “poltergeist”, I mean, they were actually spirits and demons and not really souls of the dead. Some were (like the Peterson in Ray’s cousin farm, although they were also like zombies, or the ghost the Citizen Cane parody episode named “Ghosbuster of the year”). Even Slimmer I think is not the soul of a dead, althoug I may be wrong. Samhain, on the other hand, is clearly a spirit or a pagan god.

Remember Flip Side? One of my favorite episodes. Does ghost come from there? Great series.
Christopher Bennett
44. ChristopherLBennett
@43: The makers of the original movie have said that they intended the fat green ghost (who wasn't named Slimer until the cartoon) to be the ghost of John Belushi. Although that doesn't fit the way Slimer was characterized in the show.
Improbable Joe
45. Odin Lowe
As far as I know, the cartoon was called The Real Ghostbusters, because when it was produced there was already a cartoon around called Ghostbusters. This cartoon had nothing to do with the universe set up in the Ivan Reitman movie. One of the main characters was a gorilla. A gorilla. Also, dyh.
C R L
46. Maac
This was still on the air when I started college -- my friends and Iwould quote the episode where Winston had to channel his ancestors to defeat a demon. Man I love that episode. This was a FANTASTIC show. Taught me that American cartoons could be just as "grown up" as some anime -- AND set in my hometown! (And yes, we all watched Batman: TAS in college too...)

"Puny hyoo - mahn.... you have not the power of Shimabuku!"
(And NOW I realize why that Hulk/Loki interaction cracked me up for the better part of a week -- it was half subconscious nostalgia!)
Chris Meadows
47. Robotech_Master
Real Ghostbusters went the way of most Saturday morning cartoon shows in the end. Really, someone should do an article looking at all the Saturday morning shows this happened to. It was like a truism that the most a Saturday morning show would get was one or two good seasons, then it would go right down the tubes.

Look at all the shows that started out good and got lame. Real Ghostbusters, natch, but just off the top of my head…

Scooby Doo: The defining principle of this show was that there was no such thing as "real" monsters. There was always a rational explanation for everything, even if you could usually tell who the villain was going to turn out to be ahead of time (his name usually started with "Old Man…") But after the first few seasons, in which the whole gang solved mysteries (sometimes involving celebrity guest stars, which was admittedly cheesy but still pretty cool), what did we get? Short films in which Scooby, Shaggy, and Scrappy went up against…that's right, real monsters, for the sake of cheap laughs. Laaaaame.

Ewoks: This show started out as a great half-hour action-adventure series, making a decent pair-up with the similarly adventuresome Droids (which was awesome in its own right as one of the very few continuing serial rather than picaresque adventure shows on TV at the time, hearkening back to the original source material that inspired Star Wars in the first place). But then Droids got the axe and Ewoks devolved into shorts in which the characters Learned Important Life Lessons rather than having adventures. Ugh.

Smurfs: Yes, that's right. Even the frickin' Smurfs. You would have thought that was an awfully low bar, but the earlier seasons of the show were definitely better than the later ones. There was more actual adventure (especially when Johann and Peewee were involved), the life lessons weren't as cloying, and they didn't have the annoying little-kid characters whose very existence was completely counter to the established nature of the setting so far.

And More: Inspector Gadget. Super Force. The list goes on and on.

My theory is that network execs couldn't bear to see a show produced by someone else be successful, so they took it over and fiddled with the formula, just to make it "different" so that they could feel like they did something to contribute to its success. Kind of like how dogs pee on trees to mark their territory.

But whatever the reason for it, it was aggravating. We kids could—or at least, I could—tell when we were being pandered to by people who had no idea whatsoever what we liked in a show, and apparently never bothered to ask us because if they did they would have come up with something better than that. But we watched the crap anyway, because what else could we do on a Saturday morning?
Christopher Bennett
48. ChristopherLBennett
@45: See my comments in post #9 about Filmation's Ghostbusters cartoon.
Improbable Joe
49. Waspinator
@44 That seems legit.

Kind of a play on his Animal House character ;)

I loved this show as a kid, I mean, I was obsessed. If my mom could have afforded it, I would have had all the crap that went with it, including the outfits they sold.
It was great fun. I didn't see the movies until about a year after II came out, and I rented them. I was so dissapointed in thm after having watched the show for so long. I mean, really truly and deeply dissapointed in the movies. They weren't as funny, or clever, as the show.
Of course, that was from the perspective of a kid that just saw some of his favorite people being...you know...not themselves. Rather like walking in on your parents while they are eating kittens.
Now that I'm older, I love the movies too, but they still don't beat the show. I just watched season 1 for the first time since...well...its been years, let me put it that way lol.
The memories...
Improbable Joe
50. Sávio Christi.
I like both franchises, but I prefer "The Real Ghostbusters"!

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