Movies & TV Shows Geeks Pretend Don’t Exist

Published 5 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 6:28 am,

transformers gi joe cartoon spinoffs Movies & TV Shows Geeks Pretend Dont Exist

’80s Cartoon Comebacks

One of the latest geek trends in Hollywood is making movies out of the Saturday morning cartoons and toys we ’80s babies hold dear to our hearts. By now everybody knows the Transformers and G.I. Joe movie franchises, while properties like He-Man, Voltron, and Thundercats have been in the process of cinematic development for some time now.

You hear people saying it more and more often these days: “Dude, Michael Bay ruined my childhood with that crap Transformers movie!” or “Why did they have to ruin G.I. Joe?” And while there are certainly good reasons for those comments to be made, I think some people forget that our favorite 80s cartoons were being exploited and “ruined” long before today’s Hollywood sharks ever came to cash in.

Take the Transformers franchise: we all love the original 1984 cartoon series – some of us even give a pass to the cult-classic 1986 animated movie the original series spawned. But after that original Transformers show came the spin-offs – you know, the ones a lot of geeks have conveniently forgotten:

Beast Wars: Transformers arrived in the mid-90s; it had poor CGI animation and tried to carry the premise of the original cartoon into a prehistoric animal setting. UPDATE: While the look of Beast Wars is dated now, it was, relatively speaking, an admirable attempt at expanding the Transformers Universe, and included some great story archs. After Beast Wars wrapped, a spin-off of THAT spin-off, Beast Machines: Transformers, gave the prehistoric premise a sleek futuristic makeover but lost the the epic story of Beast Wars (not that many of us ever cared).

Transformers: Cybertron came in 2005. It followed the Autobots and Decepticons in a race for magic keys to stop a black hole from consuming their planet. Lately we’ve seen the debut of Transformers: Animated, which is basically a reboot of the original series, only in anime style animation. This epic list doesn’t even count the Transformers cartons that were produced overseas (see: Transformers: Superlink or Transformers: Armada).

So that’s Transformers, but what about G.I. Joe? The property has a a long history stemming back to the 60s when the toy company Hasbro (makers of Transformers) launched the first G.I. Joe dolls. G.I. Joe hit the mainstream thanks to the 80s animated series, which culminated with an awesome animated movie.   But after that first cartoon wrapped, we got yet another string of knock-offs.

G.I. Joe relaunched in 1989 with “Operation: Dragonfire”, an animated miniseries that was both an epilogue to the animated movie and a reboot for the franchise, kicking-off a new 90s animated series, in which G.I. Joe became “International Heroes” instead of just “Real American Heroes.” The new series also tried to tackle topical issues such as the war on drugs and terrorism, often to hilarious results. Next we got G.I. Joe Extreme in the mid-90s, which was…pretty much what the title would suggest.

After the 90s series we got the multitude of one-shot animated features, miniseries, and the seldom-recognized G.I. Joe shows, such as the CGI animated Valor vs. Venom (2004), and anime-inspired G.I. Joe: Sigma 6 (2005).

By the time the live-action G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra movie arrived in 2009, the franchise had been through some really dark times. Sorry geeks, you can’t put ALL the blame on Stephen Sommers and Channing Tatum for defiling the Real American Hero.

Continue to TMNT, Voltron, He-Man and more…

« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8»

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Am I the only one who found the Masters of the Universe reboot highly enjoyable?

    • I disagree with several items on this list. The He-Man reboot wasn’t that bad; Mattel’s mad need to control everything brought an unfortunate early end to it. Val Staples made a fantastic comic book series to go along with this.

      For Star Trek – I agree that Star Trek V and Nemesis and abominations and should be stricken from memory. Voyager is still an enjoyable series, but I could never get into Enterprise. What about the nightmarish Star Trek animated series?

      Thundercats does have a reboot series, which started last year. It’s not bad, though I was a little disappointed by some of the changes. I have not seen the second season, so I can’t comment on it now.

      As for missed nightmares, I think you have missed many choices. The Matrix sequels, as another poster mentioned. What about the Joel Schumacher Batman travesties?

      Indy 4 I thought was meh, but didn’t find that it required psychotherapy. Daredevil should be on this list: now THAT’S a crap movie! And the Phantom with Billy Zane – yikes! The Disney Atlantis: The Lost Empire was pretty bad, too.

  2. Hey I can find u a night light if u need one. There’s nothing to be afraid of I swear. JK

    u should probably mention who and what u were talking about no idea what ur disagreeing on.

    • Lone Gunmen, never saw it but you make it sound like it was the cast from Toxic Avenger’s trying to do a musical X-Files (wait a minute…). Couldn’t have been all that bad.
      Star trek: Enterprise, my god that was one of the best Star Trek series to date (not taking on debates, just saying). I can’t think of any major glaring flaws with that series. What with the excellent writing and cast, i mean Scott Bakula as Captain…oh and don’t forget the amazing Evil Alternate episodes.
      Other than that, yeah we pretty much agree, all one stinking pile of mind scarring garbage.

  3. The Cartoon Network He-Man reboot used the artwork for a He-man series continuation called “Son of He-Man”. It was dismissed by the producers (maybe the darker tone of the designs?) of the original He-Man.

    Had they kept to the original creators/writer team story, the reboot might not had ended up on this list 😛

  4. The Flash TV series from the ’90s had some great episodes. Plus, with a theme by Danny Elfman, and Mark Hamill as the Trickster, it doesn’t deserve to be put along side Superman III and the Justice League TV series.

    Also, what about Howard the Duck? The first comic-movie adaptation definitely should be put on this list. More fuel for the flame-war between Marvel and DC fans.

    Go DC.

  5. Man I wish they’d make some Matrix sequels – those would be cool.

    Or how about some Aliens vs. Predator movies, those could be very cool.

    Or maybe an Alien 4 – that has some potential too.

    How about a Judge Dredd movie?

  6. Knowing who Qui Gon Jinn is, isn’t the problem. The problem is the crap-tacular film he was surrounded by, and the ridiculous Midichlorian BS he was saddled with explaining.

  7. In my group of 5-6 friends, only I had watched the Original Trilogy, which I loved. However, my friends, who had only seen the Phantom Menace, thought that Star Wars was garbage. I had a hard time convincing them that Star Wars’ greatness is not the newer films, but the older ones that came out before any of us were born. But I made them see it, and each and every one of them loved it. My friends are all 20-25 years of age and were lucky I was there to show the original trilogy to them. But it’s not so lucky for the current generation, who are sure to directly watch the prequels, and not like Star Wars. So basically, Star Wars shall live on in the minds of we guys, who watched the original trilogy. Most of the newer generation kids are sure to not like it because of the prequels.

  8. That’s funny I don’t like star wars because of the originals havnt even seen the prequals aside from episode one which I saw years after I saw the originals.

    • it’s not necessary to like Star Wars because of the Originals, but I think it’s certainly not possible to love it by watching the prequels.

  9. Highlander 2 was better when they took the outerspace crap out of it. 1990’s Flash was awesome at the time it was on tv. Anything after the original Transformers Generation 1 in cartoon format sucks. LOL hate to admit but i still watch The Masters of the Universe movie. I have it on DVD along with KRULL and The Princess Bride.

  10. The Flash tv series from 1990 doesn’t really deserve to be in here.

  11. Transformers: Animated was NOT “anime style.” That is a ridiculous statement. Freaking Japanese series of Transformers were “anime style” because they WERE ANIME. TF Animated is a jokey, silly, badly animated pile of crap.

  12. I thoroughly loved the Star Wars prequels to death, so sue me out of my life savings, why don’t ya’!!!

    The mentioned Trek movies were’nt so bad either.

  13. I wish to disagree about the original battelstar. I tried very hard to get into the version, but come on the fact that after a few episodes there were no redeeming qualities to the humans. 1) they never banned together to save what was left of their race. and 2) they started the war that caused the attacks. the original series was cut and dry good verses evil.

    • I’m with Vidmann9: I watched the old and new Battlestars. While the old one was campy and schlocky, at least there were likable characters. I never found myself caring about ANY of the reboot’s characters – I’m not sure any of them had a single redeeming quality. It didn’t have any heart at all. Even Adama was a complete ass. I wouldn’t have followed that man anywhere (unlike the Adama of the original). I found myself rooting for the Cylons the whole time.

  14. Maybe its because i was only ten when phantom menace came out i have a better opinion of the prequels. But believe me, even at age 10 i was an avid fan of the original trilogy and still am to this day. But, Phantom menace had a great story and was great to set up anakin skywalkers story. Why must fanboys discredit the whole film for the awfulness of Jar Jar? I do agree that the second film was awful and a detriment to the prequel trilogy. But revenge of the sith wholly made up for the awfulness of Jar Jar and the entire second film. The prequels should be seen as separate, and an homage to the original trilogy, by no means forgotten however. Its the “origin story” of Star wars, and we fanboys love our origin stories. The real abomination is the clone wars animated series that too this day confounds all logic

  15. How the F### can you say that new Battlestar Galactica is better than the original….whoever wrote this must be young indeed…..the original was great science fiction that was super popular….the only reason it was canceled was because of it’s high budget….the cylons were great looking…..the new series is totally cheap…..yeah lets make the cylons look human….they can be cyborgs… that hasn’t been done a million times before….they just didn’t want to drop the cash for costumes or props.

  16. my wife and i have watched and enjoyed most of the shows on this list and have them on dvd. most not all. alot of people seam to forget that the old animation style does not appeal to younger generations. my kids refuse to watch older cartoons because the animation isnt nearly as smooth as it is today. we look back at our childhood cartoons and treasure them but our kids do not. the new series is made for them, not us. we dont really look back at our parents shows the way our parents do so dont expect our kids to watch our shows with the admiration we have for them. in all honesty as an adult watching the old cartoons, they get pretty freakin stupid, all of them. doesnt mean i dont still enjoy them.

  17. Horrible List

    Search for Spock is great and so is Voyage Home.

    TMNT 2003 is also good, this list is retarded.

    And beast wars isn’t bad either it just has crap CG. If you went back and took off your nostalgia blinders you’d probably see that He-Man and Thundercats weren’t gold.

    In fact the Thundercats remake on now is way better than the original especially in terms of animation

  18. Hmm, a few things to mention. The TMNT reboot cartoon is very much a mixed bag for me. The new theme song totally lame, but the plot of the show much more in keeping with the original comics, so it was actually pretty good. Though I did miss a lot of the stuff from the original cartoon. So it was kind of fifty fifty for me. The 2002 He-Man reboot cartoon was amazing. That reboot I would definitely not call a secret shame.

    There is a untalked of shame in regards to Star Wars that you forgot to mention. Lucas’s revisit to the original trilogy and subsequent changes to said trilogy, ie Han not shooting first and all that. Yeah, I understand though, we all want to forget about those changes as well. Still, they did happen, and well, it’s hard to find the original theatrical releases on DVD so we kind of have to live with the new versions, don’t we? Dammit!

  19. Isn’t that Christopher Reeve not Reeves, though? For a supposed geek-obsessed website you show surprising disdain for accuracy in things like names.

  20. “Voyager” was a decent “Star Trek” series, and vastly superior to TNG in many ways. “Enterprise” though was the “Phantom Menace” of “Star Trek.”