Look, I grew up watching the Powerpuff Girls. One of my first Halloween costumes was dressing up as Blossom back when I was a 5-year-old kid. However, when I first discovered the news of a new live-action series, I was less than interested – at first. Then I saw the premise, and the cast that they decided to go with, and I was like, “Alright, maybe I am on board.” With the number of shows already on the 2021 TV schedule, it’s nice to see a change of pace in regard to reboots.
I feel like with how saturated the genre of live-action has been lately, many folks don’t think about how some animated stories might work as live-action. Or, in the Powerpuff Girls case, they could be turned into a different concept from the original, and become a new phenomenon entirely. I always like to say that my generation – as well as the one before me – grew up on the best cartoons, and that’s why some of them could most certainly become live-action TV shows.
Codename: Kids Next Door
Codename: Kids Next Door was like a fever dream for me for a while. I remembered watching it when I was young and the episodes only just came back to me, but that doesn’t mean the show wasn’t great. Codename: Kids Next Door is all about a group of fifth-graders who operate out of a high-tech treehouse, fighting adult and teen villains alike under the global operation called “Kids Next Door.”
Honestly, this was the first show that came to mind when I thought of this list. I always thought of Codename: Kids Next Door as sort of the cartoon version of Spy Kids, with a lot of the missions these kids went on being so action-packed that they would fit the narrative of a live-action show. I mean, could you imagine the action scenes? It would be fantastic.
Man, Gravity Falls was lowkey after my time of consuming cartoons, premiering in 2012, but I’ve been informed of its greatness by many people. Gravity Falls follows the adventures of Dipper and Mabel Pines, two siblings who are sent to spend the summer with their uncle in Gravity Falls, where the paranormal and supernatural run wild.
Let me tell you, Gravity Falls would be perfect for a live-action interpretation, because not only are the characters super relatable and interesting, the story itself would make for an excellent mystery-drama if they wanted to upgrade to a more mature audience as they are for Powerpuff Girls. The history of Gravity Falls itself, and the lore that follows, is enough to carry its own series.
I always remembered Samurai Jack as being the show that followed Powerpuff Girls back in the day, and I always ended up watching it because it was so cool and badass. Samurai Jack follows a young prince from a feudal Japanese kingdom, whose father was given a magical katana from three gods, which he could and had used to defeat and imprison his arch-enemy, the shape-shifting demon Aku.
There’s so much more to the story, however, as Samurai Jack really does tell a complete action-based story, with plenty of lore and amazing animation. I could so see this story moving into live-action – maybe even as something that got picked up on HBO and modernized, if they wanted to make it more mature. It’s such an interesting concept. I know that there was recently a video game adaption, and a revival of the cartoon in 2017, but man, the live-action scenes on this type of show would be crazy. Definitely one of the best options out there.
To be honest, I always thought this show was entertaining, but scary at times. Does anyone remember the episode “Chicken Scratch”? God, I get shivers just thinking about it. Either way, Dexter’s Laboratory is about a boy named Dexter who is a genius and has a hidden laboratory under his bedroom, which, of course, no one in his household knows about.
Let’s not talk about how unrealistic it is (I mean, would no one notice the electric bills being way too high?), but discuss how fantastical some of these episodes are. I am always down for someone who is absolutely brilliant but has a sarcastic personality as Dexter did – I mean, look at Tony Stark from the MCU and how popular Iron Man became because of that. There could be so much included in a Dexter live-action series, especially with the types of daily adventures he could have. Plus, I can already see the cast list in my mind.
I remember when Monster High was only a book series. Then the books ended up getting so popular they received their own TV show and multiple animated specials. Monster High is exactly what you would expect it to be – it’s about a group of teenage monsters who are related to famous monsters – such as Dracula, Frankenstein, etc., - going to high school together.
This series blew up when it became a TV show, and I think it would be a better fit as a series, than as a movie – but it would have to be done right. I feel like Monster High would be brilliant as a Disney Channel show, where we could see the Monster High kids grow up and do normal teenage things with the twist of them being monsters. Disney has already put out hit movies like Halloweentown, Twitches, and Zombies where mythical creatures are the main focus – why not make a series out of it?
This hit show came out just as I was becoming a tween, and I still enjoy it to this day. Adventure Time is about two characters, Finn the Human and his sidekick, Jake the Dog, going on adventures together to take down enemies, both big and small.
Adventure Time became a runaway hit with both kids and adults alike, so much so that it ran for eight years with 274 episodes. With how popular this show was I was surprised that there hasn’t been a live-action adaptation already planned, but I could only imagine what they could do if they did end up going that route. Not only does Adventure Time have brilliant storylines with plenty of adventure, but there are also several characters who tackle real-life issues, such as depression, anxiety, love, and loss. It would be great if they brought that over to the live-action scene.
Another show that came a little bit after my time, but was still beloved by many all the same, Steven Universe became a popular animated show with many ages, from little children all the way up to full-fledged adults. Steven Universe is about the Crystal Gems, who live in a temple near the beach and protect humanity from monsters and other threats. They take the forms of female humanoids so they can fit in better with the world.
While the premise sounds a bit crazy, I promise you that it’s worth the time to watch. The story itself is filled with plenty of emotions, and the themes which are explored, like love, family, and the importance of having good relationships with others, is something that would be great to see kids deal with in live-action with this storyline. Plus the superhero aspect of the Crystal Gems would be fun.
I mean, you know it, you love it, it’s been around since the '60s... Scooby-Doo is all about the iconic gang of problem solvers, with their pal, Scooby-Doo, riding around in the Mystery Machine. While there have been two live-action movies, I could see Scooby-Doo doing the same with a series.
Why? Because I feel like Scooby-Doo could be darker, and not just in a funny-dark kind of way like the movies (which was done kind of poorly). Besides the obvious mysteries that would be fun to follow, the characters themselves could have developed backstories and more personality than in the cartoon. We’ve got shows like Supernatural and Twin Peaks with mystery and horror combined – why not do that with Scooby-Doo?
I’m usually not one for live-action reboots, but I truly do think any of these might work. However, until one of those is announced, I’ll stick to just rewatching the animated shows.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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