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10 Animated TV Series Based On Movies

There's a long history of turning popular movies into TV series. When the films in question are particularly popular with kids, there has often been attempts to turn them into animated series. This was particularly prevalent in the 80s and 90s when it seemed like every franchise worth its salt had an animated spin-off. Sometimes they were a natural fit for animation... other times, not so much. Join us as we look back at a selection of the animated series adapted from movies. How many do you remember?

Back To The Future (1992-93)

The 80s classic series was one that adapted pretty well to the animated format, running for 2 seasons between 1992 and 1993. The series took place after the movies, with Doc Brown now settled and living with his wife and kids. The freshly rebuilt DeLorean is now able to travel anywhere in time and space (so it's basically a TARDIS), allowing Marty and Doc to go on all kinds of adventures. Several actors reprised their roles on the series, but Michael J Fox was a no-show. Doc Brown was voiced by Dan "Homer" Castellaneta in the show itself, but Christopher Lloyd reprised his most famous role in live-action segments that ended each episode.

The Real Ghostbusters (1986-1991)

Thanks to another series nabbing the "Ghostbusters" title, the spin-off of the classic 1984 Ivan Reitman film had to make do with an alternative title. In many other ways though the series captured a lot of what made the film so great, with some great characters and spooky spectres.- to kids at the time it could often be genuinely creepy. The series took the character of Slimer and transformed him into a lovable mascot- essentially turning him from malevolent creature to the Ghostbusters's pet ghoul. Bill Murray's Peter Venkman character was originally voiced by the late Lorenzo Music, best known as the voice of Garfield.  In a neat twist, Bill Murray would himself go to voice Garfield in the two movie adaptations. In 1997 the series was followed by sequel series Extreme Ghostbusters.


Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventures (1990-1991)

More fun time-travel based shenanigans ensued in the further adventures of Ted "Theodore" Logan and Bill S Preston Esquire. The series originally stuck closely to the source material, with the Wyld Stallions going on more time jaunts in order to help with their school work. Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter and George Carlin also reprised their roles from the movie too. By the time the second season came around through, Fox were planning a live-action TV series, so recast the leads to match. Unfortunate neither the new animated version or the live-action version lasted long, and the second season was ditched after 8 episodes.


Rambo: The Force Of Freedom (1986)

Back then a little fact like being R-rated wasn't enough to stop you getting a cartoon version. So it came to be that the ultra-violent Sly Stallone franchise was turned into a kiddie-friendly series that ran for an impressive 65 episodes. John Rambo is joined by a gang of ethnically diverse kids who make up the Force Of Freedom. Together they fight evil terrorist organisation named Specialist-Administrators of Vengeance, Anarchy and Global Extortion or S.A.V.A.G.E.


Toxic Crusaders (1990-1991)

You thought Rambo was a weird choice for a kid's cartoon? Toxic Crusaders was based on The Toxic Avenger a film made by Troma. For the uninitiated, Troma films are a zero-budget studio that makes films full of violence, gore and sex and that make this a very strange choice for an adaptation. Presumably riding the wave of popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it similarly featured heroic mutants. In this case however the series had an ecological bent and featured the heroes fighting to protect the world from pollution.


Clerks The Animated Series (2000)

Based on Kevin Smith's cult movie, this was an attempt to turn it into a prime-time animated series. Following the movie's slacker protagonists Dante and Randal- and of course Jay and Silent Bob, the series was notably toned down from the extremely adult original. Although later attaining cult status with Smith fans on DVD it flopped on TV and was canceled after only two episodes aired.


Godzilla (1978-79)

Co-produced with original Japanese studio Toho, this series was based on the classic monster movie franchise. The series followed a group of scientists with a habit of being attacked by various giant monsters. Luckily they also have the King Of Monsters on their side. Less luckily, they also have Godzilla's cousin, Godzuki- who's notoriously a bit rubbish, a bit like a reptilian Scrappy Doo.


The Mask (1995-1997)

The cartoonish style of the 1995 Jim Carrey movie made this a natural candidate for the animated treatment.  So it turned out, and the manic style of the original made this translate very well indeed,  running for an impressive 55 episodes of the further adventures of Stanley Ipkiss. Legendary voice-actor Rob Paulsen voiced the lead, in a performance that combined elements of Carrey's original blended with his own myriad talents.


Robocop (1988/1998)

As such an iconic character, the robotic copper has had numerous incarnations- including two animated versions. The first was a short-lived version made by Marvel Entertainment- long before their domination of the movie world. Almost 10 years later, MGM had another crack in the form of Alpha Commando which saw Murphy reactivated to fight criminal organisation DARC.


Napoleon Dynamite (2012)

The Creators of the original cult comedy Napoleon Dynamite had long ago decided that an animated sitcom was the only way to continue their oddball comedy. They eventually got their wish, when Fox ordered six episodes of the series. The original cast reprise their roles in a show that perfectly captures the feel of the original movie. Whether this is a good thing or not is entirely down to you- it certainly has a love-it-or-hate-it style. Sadly, it never really attracted the audience so Fox decided against picking it up for any more episodes.