It’s sad that the days of the Saturday morning cartoons are gone, and even sadder that the Saturday morning cartoon adaptation of televisions shows is even longer gone. In case you’re too young to remember, or old enough to block it out, back in the day, the more popular television shows had animated counterparts. The Star Trek animated series may be the most memorable, but that was a more faithful adaptation than some of the others.
They got pretty bizarre. Lavern & Shirley were army grunts, and their superiors were pigs. Yes, pigs. In The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, they flew around in a time machine that also traveled into space (so basically, a T.A.R.D.I.S.), with the zany Cupcake and Fonzie’s cool dog, Mr. Cool. And Gilligan’s Island was upgraded to Gilligan’s Planet.
So I started wondering what Saturday morning cartoons based on TV shows today.
Breaking Bad’s Adventures in Science
In their magic, flying RV, Walter White and Jessie Pinkman, travel through space and time to other planets or dates in history where important scientific discoveries were made. Without fail, Jessie will do something stupid and endanger the discovery, but Walter White will put things right. Sometimes Jessie’s bungling will pay off, like when he spills battery acid on Alexander Graham Bell, causing him to shout the famous: “Mr. White! Come here! I want to see you!”
And at the end of each episode there’s Stupid Science Tricks, where Walter White shows you fun experiments you can perform with basic household items.
Modern Family in the Past
If you think they’re having trouble coping in the modern world, wait until the Pritchetts, Dunphys and the rest get trapped in a crazy house that constantly transports them to different times and countries. Under the guidance of the brainy, bookish Alex Dunphy, they’ll learn how people lived back then: from cavemen, to medieval serfs, to colonial puritans. The family will have adventures and learn something new every week, while trying to survive the occasional witch-hunt and barbarian attack.
And Phil’s three little ducks from this season are transformed into fun, cartoonish sidekicks.
Game of Thrones: The Cartoon
Think She-Ra meets Masters of the Universe in Westeros. The Starks live happily in Winterfell, the happiest (and most alive) family you ever did meet. But every week, the evil Cersei and her son, King Joffrey, come up with a sinister plot to take their land. And every week the Starks find a way to foil them, and teach Joffrey a lesson at the same time. Comic relief can be found with the impish Tyrion, whose lust for sex is replaced with a lust for food. He’ll sometimes mess-up his sister and nephew’s schemes on his quest for roast beef.
In between the main story would be a short featuring Daenerys Targaryen and her three little dragons. Each week they help those in need, whether it’s planting a garden or stopping a Lannister assault on a village. Those dragons are so darn cute.
The Crawling Dead
Baby versions of Rick, Glenn, Daryl, Carol and Michonne go to the same daycare. They are the only walking and talking toddlers among a gaggle of crawling, drooling, diaper pooping babies. Each week they must reach some goal, like unlocking the captive chocolate milk, while avoiding the crawlers.
Sons of Anarchy: Mystery Solvers
Before Jax Teller grew up and joined a motorcycle gang, he led a tricycle gang. Each week he and his good friends will ride around town solving mysteries. And learning about themselves at the same time.
There’d certainly be cartoon versions of Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica and Firefly (could we persuade somebody to make the Firefly one a reality… please!). And inspired by Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies, I’m sure we’d see True Blood Babies, Mad Men Babies and Grey’s Anatomy Babies.
But Saturday morning cartoon spinoffs are now a thing of history. Hmmm… maybe they should stay that way.