So here we are: Humanity has evolved to the point where we have a dark, gritty-ish movie reboot of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.” Amazingly, this project was announced well before reality turned into a funhouse cartoon. We’ve long been used to Hollywood’s disinterest in new ideas, or ideas that aren’t secretly connected to some bigger franchise. (Hello, the nevertheless excellent “10 Cloverfield Lane.”) But at this point we’re scraping the bottom of the nostalgia barrel.
If the new, weirdly titled “Saban’s Power Rangers” is a monster hit, what other bygone kiddie fare could hit the big screen next? We’ve already had an instantly forgotten “Jem and the Holograms” movie, but as this list shows that, there’s always more gems to grind once more:
He comes from a planet that was destroyed by nuclear war. He’s prone to PTSD and loneliness. He wants to eat the family cat. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch reworking a short-lived pop culture phenomenon — who never really did come back in pog form — into something darker and grittier. It could even have one of those noisy, city-destroying climaxes where ALF battles, let’s say, a rogue president who wants to blow up the planet with nuclear weapons.
‘Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers’
It wasn’t the most inventive in the old “Disney afternoon” toon line-up; that honor arguably goes to “Darkwing Duck,” but we may also accept “TaleSpin.” (Or, OK, “Duck Tales” was pretty great, but it’s also already being rebooted.) But it could be turned into a more straight-faced adventure romp, in which the odd couple chipmunks (and their two mouse and housefly companions) fly about, solving crimes. Gadget could be played by Gal Gadot.
Female heroes were thin on the ground on ’80s television, just as they are now. That’s one reason girls at the time clung onto the female He-Man, who was invented, in a heartening development, so that it wasn't just boys who had an awesome action figure to play with. He-Man hasn’t had the best cinematic track record, but since it looks like the superficially similar “Wonder Woman” is going to be another superhero movie cash bonanza, why not double down and give moviegoers another female ass-kicker who’s mean with a sword? We nominate Blake Lively, and Tom Hardy for He-Man.
We’re imagining a 3-D CGI fest where one-year-old Tommy Pickles is a little more mischievous, and the gang take over the world a la the classic/ridiculous 1968 dystopian film “Wild in the Streets.”
‘Ren & Stimpy’
OK, maybe it’s hard to make a darker version of a show that featured a tooth fairy that collects nerve endings. Or where Ren contracts “space madness.” Or where Ren wears a “happy machine” and beats his own skull with a claw hammer. We’d just love for John Kricfalusi to bring his belovedly deranged characters, plus his demented, garish, doodly style — where, in the early days, no two drawings could look the same — to an IMAX screen. It would be rated R.
Snorks! What are Snorks again? We had to look them up. It was Hanna-Barbera’s aquatic attempt to milk their own runaway hit, “The Smurfs,” with another fantastical species, this one with snorkels on their head. (You see, that’s why they’re called “Snorks.”) We imagine they’ll combat environmental disasters, like oil spills and over-fishing, with a dastardly food entrepreneur discovering they’re actually quite delicious.
Well, it's not exactly a children's show (unless the children are super cool). But, I mean, Daria was just awesome. This cruel, dittoheaded world could use some Daria right now.
Amazingly enough, this never quite took off, dying a quick death on prime time, but the very title is just too delicious to let disappear into the ether of history. Besides, it has character names like “Inspector Gil,” “Mayor Cod” and “Mussels Marinara.” Perhaps the Trump era is the perfect time for a show that can explore a group of law-keeping fish dealing with institutional racism and the militarization of police forces.
So long, the plucky go-getter of the live-action ’80s tween show; hello, the constantly distracted slave to her smartphone, who spends most of the show communicating with her friends via Snapchat and making fun of her elder guardian’s inability to understand a single word she says. She would also be a YouTube star.
Also obviously not a children's show, but we adore Jon Lovitz’s prime time animated comedy about a vaguely Roger Ebert-ish film critic who struggles with a demanding Ted Turner-esque boss and his fallow love life. But a movie version in 2017 might be the bleakest film on this list. The new “Critic” would find Jay Sherman unable to handle the new, digital, clickbait-y culture of journalism very well, all while being harassed by online trolls for hating on the latest comic book movie or reboot of a beloved but dodgy ’90s children’s show. He would eventually be forced to take a buyout and spend his remaining days watching FilmStruck and going to the Metrograph — except his remaining days would be short because Donald Trump robbed him of his health care. It would stink.