IndieWire has some breaking news. The fine folks of Amblin Television and Warner Bros. Animation are planning to reboot the 1990s cartoon classic, “Animaniacs.” And even the original Executive Producer, Steven Spielberg, whose name was a part of the official title, is also reported to be involved in this new project!
The impetus for this appears to be the original series increased popularity after joining Netflix. So a new generation have joined GenXers in their appreciation of the Warner brothers, the Warner sister, in the zany antics, song breaks, and random hijinks.
The original voice cast of the Warner siblings – Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, and Tress MacNeille, are currently in the dark. But I can’t imagine anyone else voicing these characters. Perhaps they will have inside information by the time they get to New York Comic Con this October.
However, the 21st Century reboot will either succeed or fail on two factors: 1) whether or not they bring back the entire crew – Pinky & the Brain, The Goodfeathers, Rita & Runt, Slappy Squirrel, Mindy & Buttons, and even the disembodied voice of Tom Bodett to introduce the hilarious filler segments of Mime Time and Good Idea/Bad Idea; and (2) bringing back the original songwriters. The reason the original series is a classic (at least the first 69 episodes anyway) is mostly due to the songs, vis-a-vis the spoken dialogue. The original had Broadway star Bernadette Peters singing parodies of Stephen Sondheim musicals for chrissake! The series produced three full albums of original musical material. Animaniacs without song breaks or musical numbers is no Animaniacs. Heck, it wouldn’t even be a Warner Bros cartoon! Or should I say, a Merry Melodies cartoon.
Anyway, perhaps it’s time to bring the gang from alt.tv.animaniacs back again, and dust off the “Nifty Animaniacs Reference File” (NARF), the Pointers On Insignificant Technicalities (POIT), and the Zillions of Random Tunes (ZORT). [Full Disclosure: I was a contributor to all three, and the Cultural Reference Guide back in the day]
P.S. Here’s a shout out to all of my e-buddies from a.t.a. circa 1993-94. I had more friends of this message board then, than I did on the campus of Wesleyan University.