Hellloooo, nurse: It’s time for “Animaniacs” – again!
Amblin Television and Warner Bros. Animation are kicking around a brand new version of the hit 1990s cartoon, IndieWire has learned. The potential reboot comes as “Animaniacs” has experienced a new surge in popularity since arriving on Netflix last year. Steven Spielberg, who developed the original as a follow-up to the success of his “Tiny Toon Adventures,” is expected to be on board in crafting the updated version.
There’s no home yet for “Animaniacs,” and insiders caution that it’s still in the early stages of development. But 1990s nostalgia is big business these days – witness the success of another Warner Bros. TV title, “Fuller House,” which is one of the most-watched originals on Netflix.
“Animaniacs” ran for 99 episodes – from 1993 to 1995 on Fox Kids, before moving to Kids’ WB from 1995 to 1998. It also spawned the primetime spinoff “Pinky and the Brain,” which aired on The WB.
The cartoon consisted of various segments (including “Pinky and the Brain”), all tied together by the Warner siblings – Yakko, Wakoo and Dot, who were said to have been trapped in the Warner Bros. lot watertower since the 1930s until their escape. Tom Ruegger, who oversaw the show’s creation, was inspired by his own three children in developing the characters. “Animaniacs” was popular with kids, but young adults also gravitated to its sophisticated humor and references.
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Voice stars on the series included Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille, Jess Harnell, Sherri Stoner and Maurice LaMarche. Each episode was also heavily scored with original songs and music.
“Animaniacs” won eight Daytime Emmy Awards during its run, as well as a Peabody Award. “Too often today, animation on television is produced in a workman-like manner, with little attention paid to characterization, illustration, and above all, narrative storytelling,” the Peabody website says in explaining the 1993 honor.
“This series, with appeal to adults as well as children, reminds us of the glory days of Hollywood animation and brings that period up-to-date with sparkling characters, witty dialogue, and stunning production. The magic touch of executive producer Steven Spielberg is in evidence in the work of senior producers Rich Arons and Sherri Stoner, and the rest of the outstanding production team. For restoring quality to the daily animated television series, and for doing so in a thoroughly engaging and highly kinetic manner, a Peabody to Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs.”
The show ended with the 1999 direct-to-video release “Wakko’s Wish.” But the show remains so fondly remembered that Paulsen and the cast recently announced plans to reunite via “Animaniacs Live!” stage shows, including one last month in La Mirada, Calif., with more dates later this year.
To refresh your memory, below is the famed “Animaniacs” theme song, as well as the equally classic “50 State Capitals” song (still used in schools to this day).