Depending on your age, you may or may not remember a time when animated shows were all shown together, usually on Saturday mornings.  With all three of the then-extant networks needing to fill blocks of time, animated adaptations were all the rage: Everything from the Universal Monsters to Archie to the California Raisins got cartooned, and often times, the cartoon version was inexplicable.  The Dukes Of Hazzard got an upgraded magic car and raced around the world, while The Professor was able to get the castaways off Gilligan’s Island, only to strand them in outer space.  So, y’know, he’s got that goin’ for him.  Still, a few of them transcended the material, such as when Mister T got animated and beat up a crocodile with the help of teen gymnasts, leading to today’s does-whatever-a-Spider-can query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) always felt that Filmation’s Star Trek was not only the best of that studio’s output, it was often as good as the best TOS episodes, asking: Which cartoon version is actually as good or better than the thing it is adapting?


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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. I would completely agree with you about Star Trek being the standard here.

    But, depending on who you define ‘adapting’, I’d also throw my vote behind ‘Talespin’, it being a riff on the Jungle Book. Who could forget Shere Khan and the awesome Don Karnage?!

  2. Star Trek, Batman: The Animated Series (and the DCAU in general), The Real Ghostbusters (a bit cheesy, but still fun), Ultimate Spider-Man, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Young Justice…

    Seriously, the list could go on. There are a number of animated adaptations I found were on par with or greater than the source material, as well as some that I loved even though I didn’t care for the source material.

  3. Usually, animation has more freedom than live action movies. Case in point, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles was much better than the movie Starship Troopers.
    I would have to agree that The Batman: TAS was much better that most of the movies. They brought in many of the classic villains that were impossible to film otherwise. Plus Bruce Timm’s writing was out of this world. Mr Freeze was one of my favorite villains.

  4. Malone_hasco on

    Many good ones have already been mentioned but I’d like to add Star Wars: The Clone Wars animation. Its a lot better than any of the episodes 1-3.

    • That is certainly an understatement. I don’t loathe the prequels, but I still thought the Clone Wars series told a much more engaging story than they prequels did. Even the Jar Jar episodes weren’t too bad, all things considered.

  5. Hannah Jones on

    Men In Black. It was pretty inexplicable, but somehow really well done. Just weird, and funny, and great. I miss that show, I wanted The Noisy Cricket like crazy when I was a kid.

    Actually, that explains a lot about why I’m so weird now.

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