17 small-screen 2D cartoon spin-offs from SF franchises
No 3D GGI affairs allowed – good old-fashioned animation only!
1 ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES: THE ANIMATED SERIES
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Original broadcast: 1990-1992
Bizarrely, we have the Muppet Babies to thank for this show, in a roundabout way. The original movie Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes was a low-budget pastiche of creature features that became a cult favourite, but the follow-up, Return Of The Killer Tomatoes was a long time coming. In fact there weren’t any plans for a sequel at until a mid ’80s episode of the Muppet Babies featured clips from the original film for an episode in which Baby Fozzie Bear fought against the “silly tomatoes”. The episode became a cult hit itself, and the production company behind Muppet Babies, New World, approached the original film’s producers with a financial inducement to make a sequel. That resulted in Return Of The Killer Tomatoes (1988) which became a surprise box office hit. The next (not so) logical step was, clearly, an animated kids’ show based on the film…
The first season of the TV series featured Dr Putrid T Greenberg, voiced by Gomez Addams and The Riddler actor John Astin, basically playing a different version of the same character he had in the films (Mortimer Gangreen). Greenberg wanted to take over the world using his evil tomato henchlings, but two of his failed vegetable experiments escape – Tara Boumdeay, a tomato who looks human, and FT (short for Fuzzy Tomato) who can be passed off as a dog. They team up with the young nephew of a Great Tomato War veteran, Chad Finletter, to defeat Green berg’s nefarious plans. The show was pretty much as zeitgeist-aware as Buffy, lampooning and referencing countless TV shows and films, and even poked fun at its own low-budget roots.
Things changed a bit in season two (allegedly the first US cartoon show to make use of computer animation) when Greenberg actually managed to conquer the world, then went a bit soft and was overthrown by the even more evil Zoltan, formerly one of his tomato elite. Greenberg then teams up with Chad and co to defeat Zoltan. Whereas the first season was a story-of-the-week affair, the second season was far more serialised. And not as much fun.