Thursday, July 4, 2013

Looney TV: Tiny Toon Adventures (1990)

In 1990, Warner Bros. & Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment introduced a new generation of Looney Tunes characters with Tiny Toon Adventures. Now, this was supposed to be, in a sense, a passing of the torch, as the WB legends, such as Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, & Daffy Duck, were professors at Acme Looniversity, where the new stars, like Babs & Buster Bunny, Hamton Pig, & Elmyra Duff, were learning the trade.

It was a great idea. Unfortunately, nearly 25 years after their debut, while the Tiny Toons crew has their fanbase, WB hasn't bothered to make use of them since the series ended. Bugs, Daffy, et al have made movies ("Space Jam", "Looney Tunes: Back In Action") and had a sitcom on Cartoon Network that is wrapping up its run as I write this. Why is that? Because the marketing department doesn't have much faith in Buster, Plucky Duck, and company.

Plucky, in fact, was spun off into a solo series after Tiny Toons shifted to the WB Network, and Elmyra was lumped in with Pinky & The Brain. Both efforts were poorly promoted, and thus didn't last long. Those failures were what convinced WB to give up on the Tiny Toons.

WB, though, tried passing the torch again in 2005 with the futuristic adventure series, Loonatics Unleashed, which lasted two seasons, despite being panned by fans and critics. The super powered future Looney Tunes haven't been seen again, either, but there is hope. The Hub picked up Tiny Toons, and is running it weeknights at 6 pm (ET) as of Monday, and since they already have a few other WB properties, including WB-Amblin stablemate Animaniacs, there's a chance that they could pick up Loonatics down the road, but I wouldn't hold my breath, and I'm one of the few Loonatics fans left.

Edit. 1/5/15: The original video posted was deleted. In its place, we will serve up a sample open, plus Buster (Charlie Adler) queuing up a video set to They Might Be Giants' "Particle Man", which has Hamton doing some lip-syncing.

Rating: A.


magicdog said...

I just caught that very episode last night - first time I'd seen TTA since the 90s.

It's still pretty funny but like Animaniacs, most jokes are dated since they were spoofing what was relevent at the time (Bush 41, etc.). Then again, the old Looney Toon shorts have that flaw as well.

I thought TTA worked because all the characters seemed to be the next generation of stars and I think if WB had chosen to feature them more - they could have been more than they were. It's not as if the original stars were forgotten as they were respected professors at Acme University - they were merely preparing the younger generation to pass the torch.

Loonatics had potential, but just wasn't well written - especially since their situation was very different. The creators wanted Looney Toons - type characters to be super powered heroes and that was just odd to many viewers.

hobbyfan said...

Loonatics was meant to be the future descendants of the LT crew crossed with the Justice League, but the initial designs were too dark & scary, and that ultimately hurt the series.

I think we're in agreement that WB blew it by not continuing to market the Tiny Toons after their series ended. Their loss, as usual.