The 10 Most Disastrous Saturday Morning Cartoon Adaptations

In the '80s and '90s, it seemed like every cultural phenomenon was turned into a Saturday morning cartoon. It was a simpler time when kids still wanted to be like their parents and older siblings, and these shows gave them time-traveling, crime-fighting versions of the stuff old people talked about (when they weren't singing Huey Lewis songs or doing blow off the kitchen table).

But, not all fads translated well to Saturday mornings. Below, the 10 worst Saturday morning cartoon translations, complete with symptomatic title sequences and probably too in-depth analysis of why they sucked.

#10. Rambo and the Forces of Freedom

Based On:
The novel First Blood, as well as its film adaptation and its sequel Rambo: First Blood Part II.

Sucked Because:
Rambo was an expert in guerrilla warfare--a man who was the best with guns, with knives and with his bare hands. He was a man who had been trained to ignore pain, to ignore weather, to live off the land and to eat things that would make a billy goat puke. In Vietnam, his job was to dispose of enemy personnel. To kill! Period! Except in cartoon form, where Rambo was the leader of a multicultural, G.I. Joe-like squad of do-gooders, each with their own special backgrounds and talents.

Cartoon Rambo was a well-adjusted man, who never talked about his experiences in Vietnam as a prisoner of war or his lingering case of post-traumatic stress disorder. A man who was nonviolent and overcame his enemies through clever thinking rather than an explosive arrow tip to the chest. He was a man who could sustain a poorly-thought-out animated adaptation of source material wildly inappropriate for children for only one season before cancellation.

Evidence from the Title Sequence:
Here we have Rambo skiing down a snowy mountain and dodging flamethrowers, all in the name of protecting the innocent:

Nothing too outrageous there, right? Now check out the trailer for the upcoming John Rambo. Go ahead and skip right to 1:13 where Rambo starts decapitating people and turning entire human bodies into hamburger meat.

Coming out in January, just in time for those of us who grew up on the cartoons!

#9. Ghostbusters

Based On:
Not the 1984 film Ghostbusters, but the 1975—76 live-action TV show The Ghost Busters

Sucked Because:
After Columbia Pictures licensed the name Ghostbusters from Filmation for what turned out to be a surprise hit film, Filmation rushed to cash in with an animated revival of its live-action children' series about a pair of bumbling paranormal investigators. It's impossible to enjoy Filmation' Ghostbusters on its own terms. Many was the child who tuned in excitedly to watch the adventures of Venkman,Spengler, Stantz and Zeddemore, only to be crushed with disappointment at having to settle for the antics of Jake Kong, Eddie Spencer and Tracy the Gorilla (Why the gorilla isn't the one named Kong defies explanation).

Viewers used to the portable nuclear accelerators employed by the cinematic Ghostbusters may also be dismayed at the low-tech means used to capture phantasms here, which include trapping them in bubble gum and soap bubbles and throwing rope lassos around them.

Evidence from the Title Sequence:
It starts out as you'd expect: the busters are called to a scene that needs some ghost busting. When they arrive, the ghost in question inexplicably transforms into a random assortment of popular fictional characters including C-3PO, Skeletor and Pres. Teddy Roosevelt. Also, Tracy the Gorilla stands around and looks scared. Hopefully Shaggy gets him some Tracy-snacks from the van.

The first viewing of that opening sequence was a landmark event for many a young Ghostbusters fan, as it resulted in their very first utterance of the phrase, "What the fuck?!?" I mean, if only they'd made a cartoon based on the movie! That couldn't fail to be cool!

#8. The Real Ghostbusters

Based On:
The 1984 film Ghostbusters

Sucked Because:
They proved us wrong. Issues with the film' stars over likeness rights forced a redesign of the characters, leading to such oddities as the bizarre, peroxide pompadour sported by Dr. Egon Spengler above.

Bill Murray then asked producers why Dr. Peter Venkman sounded like Garfield rather than himself, which led to voice actor Lorenzo Music being sacked and Full House irritant Dave Coulier getting a steady gig voicing Venkman for the rest of the show' run (perversely, Murray took Lorenzo Music' job voicing Garfield in the 2004 feature film; if Lorenzo Music hadn't died in 2001, you'd think Murray really had it in for the guy).

Basically, Bill Murray did his best to wreck The Real Ghostbusters. But, even he can't be blamed for the elevation of Slimer from a small appearance in the original film to a full-fledged member and official mascot of the team, a move that made the cartoon somewhat more kid-friendly and exponentially more irritating.

Evidence from the Title Sequence:
The creators of the show were criminally out of touch with the liakbility of their ghosts. In the intro, the one from the logo has been turned into a hip cat jiving down the street like he' Michael Jackson in the "Billie Jean" video.

If ever there were a ghost you could get behind, it' this guy. He appears to be minding his own business and even avoids knocking over a couple of trash cans, when the circle with the bar across it swings down and hits him in the face. On the other end of the spectrum, the ghost they've taken as their mascot appears to be mentally retarded and commits an act of sexual aggression just moments after being introduced.

#7. Rubik, The Amazing Cube

Based On:
The Rubik' Cube, the fad toy of the early 1980s

Sucked Because:
How can you really make a television about an inanimate, plastic polyhedron interesting? They made the titular cube sentient and gave it a variety of magical powers, which might not have been necessary if he'd had any arms.

Being essentially a double amputee, Rubik was dependent on three Hispanic children who discovered him after he fell out of an evil wizard' stagecoach. Also boasting a theme song performed by a pre-Ricky Martin Menudo, Rubik was surprisingly Hispanic-friendly (Or maybe it wasn't--each episode revolves around the efforts of a trio of young Hispanic thieves to keep the cube' rightful owner from recovering his property, evil wizard or not).

Also, while Rubik could come alive when his puzzle was solved, he was easily scrambled from being merely dropped or touched. As dubious as this is, it' even more of a stretch that his first orders upon being descrambled weren't for the children to glue or tape his blocks permanently in place.

Evidence from the Title Sequence:
Not content with cynically exploiting just one popular '80s fad, the intro tells the story of kids on bikes in the woods finding an alien creature who enables them to fly away from a pursuer. But where do they fly to? Why to a picturesque shot of the children and the alien silhouetted against the moon, of course!

#6. She-Ra: Princess of Power

Based On:
The She-Ra series of Mattel toys, a spinoff of the more popular He-Man line.

Sucked Because:
It was essentially a gender-flipped version of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe meant to appeal to girls. But, the girls who wanted a He-Man-style series were just fine with watching He-Man. Meanwhile, boys who weren't turned off by She-Ra or by the character of Madame Razz (basically a drag king impersonating He-Man' Orko) found it hard to accept the token-male character, a bard named Bow. Bow essentially filled the same ecological niche as Eric Erlandson, the guy who played guitar in Hole; no matter how hard you rock, it' still totally emasculating to be the token dude in a chick band.

Compounding the problem, his appearance couldn't possibly have been gayer. Not only did he sing and play harp, but he sported a thick mustache and a heart on the chest of his uniform.

Evidence from the Title Sequence:
While most intros choose to dramatize the origin story, She-Ra directly addresses the camera and explains she' He-Man' twin sister, the producers figuring little girls' smaller brains couldn't be trusted to pick up on image cues. The end result is an intro that comes off feeling like a PSA about magical swords.

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