(1993-1994, ABC)

The Intent: To entertain children on Saturday morning with tales of prehistoric fun – adding just a dash of science, for good measure.

In Actuality: The 11-year-old Cro (Max Casella) is dead – and has been for millions of years. The series centers around a woolly mammoth named Phil (Jim Cummings), who is found frozen in a block of block of ice by Dr. Cecilia (Ruth Buzzi) and Mike (Jussie Smollett). After thawing Phil out, Mike and Dr. C razzle the grief-stricken woolly mammoth into telling them tales of his prehistoric friends and family – friends and family that are not only dead, but who believed that Phil had also died millions of years ago, after falling into a crack in the ice.

Who would develop such a morbid television series for children to watch? Children’s Television Workshop, of course. You know, the same company that created Sesame Street.

If that’s not enough, the intro/theme song to Cro shows/sings this morbid premise in detail:


(1994-1995, ABC; 1996-1996, Syndicated; 1999-2001, Cartoon Network)

The Intent: To tell children a fantastical story about what happens inside their computer, on “The Net.”

In Actuality: The series centers around Bob (Michael Benyaer & Ian James Corlett), Guardian #452 and defender of the fictional city of “Mainframe.” Outside of battling the viruses Megabyte (Tony Jay) and Hexadecimal (Shirley Millner), with the help of Dot (Kathleen Barr) , Enzo (Jesse Moss & Matthew Sinclair) and Phong (Michael Donovan), Bob’s main focus is protecting Mainframe from the biggest enemy of all, “the user” – A.K.A. humans.

Whenever “the user” decides to play a computer game, a “game cube” falls upon a sector of Mainframe. Bob’s role is to enter the game before it begins, “reboot” into the correct game character and make sure “the user” doesn’t win. What happens if “the user” wins? That sector of the city that the “game cube” fell on is destroyed and everyone that was stuck inside the game would turn into energy-draining, worm-like parasites called “nulls.”

So, this premise basically meant that every video game-playing child watching was the ultimate villain in their favorite television show, and that each computer game that he/she played and won would result in them killing all of the characters that they enjoyed watching on Saturday morning. Yikes.

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