So on Friday I shared with you my picks for the Top 5 Greatest Animated Series Based On A Feature Film, now it’s time to get to what are by far the worst animated series based on movies. Unfortunately, there’s just so much to pick from… 101 Dalmatians, Droids, Ewoks, Problem Child… the list goes on. In any case, I’ve narrowed my choices here to five modern series that should never have even crossed the threshold of animated adaptation.
Ozzy & Drix (2004)
Spun off from the horrible Osmosis Jones, itself a cinematic amalgamation of live action and animation, Ozzy & Drix followed the further adventures of heroes Osmosis Jones and Drix. In this take off, they enter in to a new body of a young boy named Hector. Here, in Hector’s immune system (“The City of Hector”), they are basically tasked with protecting his growing body while fighting off various diseases and menaces.
This spin-off from Warner Bros. was less violent and disgusting than the original film and had no live action segments. Instead, Hector went through life growing up and experiencing childhood challenges, while Ozzy and Drix kept his body strong and occasionally influenced him from the inside to make smart decisions about his life (like eating healthy) to keep their jobs easier. All in all a forgettable and dull retread of a terrible movie, the show was cancelled mercifully after two seasons.
Kong: The Animated Series (2000)
This animated series, which follows the action packed exploits of the genetic clone of King Kong, originally served two purposes. First released in 2000 to compete with the “new” Godzilla cartoon (more on that later), it was later rerun on cable television in 2005 to coincide with the hype and acclaim of Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong. Both attempts basically failed as Kong managed to be a pretty bland and uneventful animated series, taking the concept of King Kong and missing the whole point entirely.
This time, Kong served as a sidekick to a group of explorers who get into constant adventures in the jungles of Skull Island. When events take a turn for the desperate Jason Jones, Kong’s caretaker, would mentally “link” with Kong, forming an intelligent monster warrior to battle other monsters. I presume this was another attempt to build a series around the Kong franchise, but the cartoon itself was uninteresting with stock action characters that never quite stood out.
Godzilla: The Series (2000)
Remember the end of the 1998 reboot of Godzilla when the eggs were revealed to be in the bottom of Madison Square Garden? Did you ever wonder what became of them? Yeah, me neither. But just to inform you anyway, the eggs didn’t survive and only one Godzilla really hatched. After imprinting itself on Nick Tatopoulos (the show spares us the bland droning of Matthew Broderick in favor of the more charismatic Ian Ziering), the “hero” returns to look after the new Godzilla and trains the beast to become a hero for good by fighting other monsters who try to take over New York City.
In spite of using the great animation style we saw in Men in Black and Extreme Ghostbusters, FOX’s Godzilla spin-off of the Roland Emmerich lemon is just about as forgettable as the movie… considering that Nick is able to tame a giant lizard and keep it as a pet while also hanging out with a covert group of agents that help fight off other Kaijus. The show, thankfully, only lasted two seasons and even that’s two too many, if you ask me.
The Mummy: Secrets of the Medjai (2001)
Initially conceived as simply The Mummy: The Animated Series, this pale imitation of Jonny Quest was renamed after only one season to Secrets of the Medjai. For some odd reason Universal must’ve thought the adventures of pseudo Indiana Jones and his British gal from the feature film were old hat, so in the sequel, The Mummy Returns, we were introduced to their young son. Of course Secrets of the Medjai continued on this path, with the animated show following the further exploits of the O’Connell’s son Alex and his family as they flee the repeated attempts at world domination by the dreaded Imhotep.
Eventually the show focused less on Rick and Evy and more on Alex as he joined the Medjai and became a young agent to help fight the evil of Imhotep and keep the secrets of his scrolls safe. The animation was terrible, the storyline stunk, and Alex was retconned from a young British boy to a young American boy, only to then revert back to being a British young man in the third film. The show was cancelled after two seasons.
The Jim Carrey Trifecta (1995)
Sure, I’m kind of cheating with this choice, but it’s really difficult to decide which of these attempts to capitalize on Jim Carrey’s comedy domination were worse. The 90’s belonged to comedy star Jim Carrey and, for some reason, whenever he released a hit film you could count on a really bad animated series to follow. For The Mask (1995) poor Rob Paulsen was given the job of replacing Carrey, playing Stanley Ipkiss as shrill and whiny while the show removed all the elements we enjoyed from the movie… like the foxy Cameron Diaz. Dull and obnoxious, “The Mask” aired for a horrific two seasons and has thankfully never re-surfaced.
Also released in 1995, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was even worse. A flat and often painfully dull series featuring terrible animation, lame voice acting the series tried its best to launch Ace as a children’s hero. In an act of desperation, Ace and The Mask even teamed up in an episode of their respective series – what joy.
Finally there’s Dumb and Dumber (also 1995)! Based on the movie that featured Jim Carrey molested by a trucker in a bathroom, Jeff Daniels spewing his bowels in a toilet, and Carrey ripping the heart out of a man, this shoddily animated and badly acted adaptation – by way of Hanna Barbera – lacked the wit and hilarious one-liners of the movie. Instead it just opted to show Harry and Lloyd goofing around and delivering groan-inducing dialogue to one another as the show implemented animal sidekicks to react to their antics. Thankfully Dumb and Dumber only lasted thirteen episodes.