If you haven’t had a chance to read the news, or you happen to live under a rock, then you may not know that The Power Rangers have recently made a comeback… sort of.
A fan-made film by Joseph Kahn called Power/Rangers was recently released on YouTube and has already gathered over 12,000,000 views. A gritty, disturbing, and action packed short, this not-for-kids version of The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers has proved that while some shows might be for children, their film adaptations would be perfect for adults.
But Kahn isn’t the first one to prove this.
Back in 2011 a fan-made, live action trailer for the non-existent film Pokémon Apokélypse was released to the excitement of fans. The trailer showed a truly twisted and disturbing look into the world of Pokémon training, where trainers would do anything to win and no one was above murder.
In light of these dark adaptations of some much beloved ’90s television, we at Sound on Sight got to thinking about some other shows that could use a more adult makeover. So sit back, relax, and grab the popcorn as we count back the top five cartoons from the ’90s that should be made into R-rated film.
- Pinky and the Brain (1995-1998)
The story of two genetically enhanced mice living in ACME Labs and trying to take over the world from the confines of their cage, Pinky and the Brain was one of the 90’s greatest shows. Originally two characters from Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain got their own spin-off show by Kids WB, in collaboration with Steven Spielberg, in 1995. Although it was a fun kid’s show, Pinky and the Brain often dealt with darker themes, and Brain’s constant plotting was something to be wary of. As a film for adults, it’s safe to guess that the Brain’s plot to take over the world would be less whimsically fun, and more genuinely terrifying. Plus, the idea of two tiny eyes watching you in the dark, plotting your death, is definitely enough to keep most people up at night.
- Dexter’s Laboratory (1996-2003)
If you didn’t watch Dexter’s Laboratory growing up, then you seriously missed out. This show launched on the Cartoon Network in 1996 and followed the story of Dexter, a child genius whose super secret lab just happens to be built under his parents’ house, and his meddlesome sister Dee Dee who, despite his best efforts, keeps getting into his lab. From impossible chemistry concoctions, to improbable inventions, Dexter’s Laboratory was full of dark twists and turns. While the show was intended for children, it’s not hard to imagine a more nefarious Dexter’s Laboratory for adult audiences.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog (1999-2002)
For most kids suffering from nightmares in the ’90s, chances were Courage the Cowardly Dog was to blame. The story of Courage, a pink yellow-bellied dog, who helped to protect his elderly owners, Eustace and Muriel, from a host of misadventures and paranormal forces. For most kids, this show was a constant source of entertainment and terror. From zombies and grim reapers, to a particularly disturbing episode where the corpses of Muriel and Eustace are used as marionettes, Courage the Cowardly Dog was not for the faint of heart. As a particularly disturbing show for children, with the right VFX and jump-scares, this show would make the perfect film to scare the pants off adults, and keep them up well into the night.
- ReBoot (1994-2002)
An animated series that made its first television appearance in 1994, ReBoot was one of the biggest 3D animation projects for TV at the time. The brainchild of Vancouver-based Mainframe Entertainment, this show followed the story of Bob and a band of heroes trying to protect the Mainframe from a collection of evil viruses determined to destroy it. With villains like the terrifying Hexadecimal, a chaos virus who expresses her emotions by literally changing her face, and her brother Megabyte, this show has definite potential to be turned into a disturbing tech heavy remake for adults. Although the series was slated for a film trilogy, it was announced that the project was dropped back in 2011. Fingers crossed that they’ll reconsider their decision.
- Sailor Moon (1995-2000)
Sailor Moon has seen it all. Originally a manga that first saw publication in 1991, then was adapted into an anime series which premiered in Japan in 1992 and North America in 1995, this show has been adapted and reinvented a hundred times. Although it was made into a live action series in Japan, it couldn’t hold a candle to the beloved children’s cartoon. The series follows the adventures of the Sailor Scouts, lead by Sailor Moon, as they defend Earth against villains that would see it destroyed… while also dealing with boys, school, and growing up from teenage girls to incredible young women. The show was filled brim to brim with action and adventure, and never shied away from darker themes or character deaths (the image of the much beloved Nephrite being speared through the chest has been seared into the brains of children around the world for the rest of time). A series with featured strong, independent women who knew who to kick some serious ass, this ’90s cartoon would make a perfect, and gritty, film adaptation for adult audiences.