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Top 10 Best Cartoon Shows Based on Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by Ryan Hechler

These are straight from the big screen to your home TV! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 cartoon shows based on movies. For this list, we’re looking at full-length animated shows based on films that were successfully received during their televised run! All TV shows on this list have to be derived from a movie and the cartoon show had to debut after its film counterpart. 

Special thanks to our users Leon Rochester for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Transcript
Script written by Ryan Hechler

Top 10 Best Cartoon Shows Based on Movies


These are straight from the big screen to your home TV! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 cartoon shows based on movies.  

For this list, we’re looking at full-length animated shows based on films that were successfully received during their televised run! All TV shows on this list have to be derived from a movie and the cartoon show had to debut after its film counterpart. 

#10: “DreamWorks Dragons” (2012-) 

The critically acclaimed “DreamWorks Dragons” is based off of 2010’s 3D animated box office hit, “How to Train Your Dragon”. Much more than just a mere spin-off, this wonderfully crafted series prominently features the beloved Viking kids and their dragons, and even actor Jay Baruchel has reprised his role as Hiccup for the TV series. The events of this show are not mere random adventures though, as they operate as a bridge between the first film and its 2014 sequel, “How to Train Your Dragon 2”!

#9: “Men in Black: The Series” (1997-2002)

“Men in Black” was a blockbuster hit in 1997, thus it came as no surprise when a cartoon TV series was quickly developed and released a few months later to follow the further adventures of Agents J and K.  Just like in the film, we got to see our beloved agents trying to protect Earth from aliens, which the government intentionally hides from public knowledge. Don’t expect any thought-provoking material here; but because the series was action-packed, funny, and featured some dark undertones, it appealed to all ages.

#8: “The Emperor’s New School” (2006-08) 

While “The Emperor’s New Groove” was wonderfully received in 2000, this follow-up series wasn’t released until 6 years later - a delay that is not typical for Disney. Regardless, the show continued to follow the cutesy antics of the film’s star emperor Kuzco, a reformed royal brat that has decided to go back to school so that he too can enjoy the benefits of an education. While the message of the series for kids is clear, the storylines are hilariously executed and the movie’s most beloved characters make prominent returns. 

#7: “The Penguins of Madagascar” (2008-15)

While 2005’s “Madagascar” featured an all-star cast voicing its main characters, audience-goers instantly fell in love with the comedy’s background plot, which featured a slapstick troupe of penguins that find themselves joining the rest of the stranded animalson the tropical island of Madagascar. Quickly seizing on the public’s interest, the film’s creators developed a series devoted to the shenanigans of these extremely popular birds while living in the Central Park Zoo! The animation and humor of “The Penguins of Madagascar” are easily on par with the beloved counterpart film series and earned the series the #2 spot among kids age 2-11 in terms of animated TV programs in 2010.

#6: “The Real Ghostbusters” (1986-91)

As was the trend with most hit films from the ‘80s, the 1984 hit “Ghostbusters” received its own animated adventure.  The result was a cartoon series that also did it better than its contemporaries – this, despite the fact that the film’s stars didn’t reprise their roles as their cartoon counterparts. In addition, many of the “Ghostbusters”’ characters were tweaked: for example the gruesome Slimer became a beloved sidekick instead of a bad ghost.  The film’s dark humor was also toned down for a younger audience and, as with all successful ‘80s shows, the series spawned a wildly successful action figure line.

#5: “The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” (2002-06)

Who doesn’t love a boy genius that confronts scientific problems? Jimmy Neutron may’ve first appeared on Nickelodeon in a few shorts and a pilot, but he was first introduced at length in 2001 feature film that led to a full-blown TV series a year later! After the enormous success of the computer-animated movie, Jimmy Neutron continued to puts his friends and family ahead of himself on the small screen, all while continuing with his creative inventions and crazy contraptions. The show retained the same irreverent humor as the film as well as some of the movie’s cast.

#4: “The Lion King’s Timon & Pumbaa” (1995-99) 

The 1994 Disney blockbuster “The Lion King” almost immediately spawned a TV spin-off thanks to its mega success!  While the film featured a wide-range of lovable jungle animals, duo Timon and Pumbaa clearly stuck out the most and provided comic relief at all the right moments! And so the animated show continues to follow the fast-talking Timon and gassy but fierce Pumbaa and the many adventures they go on in Africa. Once in awhile, fans were treated to cameos from the film’s characters, like Simba.

#3: “Aladdin” (1994-95)

Disney’s 1992 hit “Aladdin” featured a highly dynamic cast of characters. As one of the animation studio’s first serious attempts at adapting their feature films for the small screen, the “Aladdin” animated series prominently featured all of the film’s main characters and continued to follow their experiences after the movie’s events. While Scott Weinger reprised the voice of Aladdin, Dan Castellaneta, also known as the voice of Homer Simpson, wonderfully replaced Genie’s voice actor Robin Williams! Meanwhile, Gilbert Gottfried continued lending his voice to the feisty Iago, but as a parrot on the side of good this time.

#2: “Star Wars: Clone Wars” (2003-05) 

Many “Star Wars” fans were surprised when the creator of “Dexter’s Laboratory” and “Samurai Jack”, Genndy Tartakovsky, was handed the creative reigns to fill in the gaps between the live action “Star Wars” prequels in the animated world! Tartakovsky collaborated with George Lucas to create this 2003 series, which was supposed to add storylines between 2002’s “Attack of the Clones” and 2005’s “Revenge of the Sith”. Tartakovsky’s sharply animated, colorful style superbly mixed with the “Star Wars” universe and received many positive reviews.  However, it was not re-used for “The Clone Wars” 3D series that came out in 2008.

Before we get to our number one pick, here are some honorable mentions:
-    “Toxic Crusaders” (1990-91)
-    “Beetlejuice” (1989-91)
-    “Lilo & Stitch: The Series” (2003-06)
-    “Back to the Future” (1991-92)
-    “The Mask: Animated Series” (1995-97)

#1: “Batman: The Animated Series” (1992-95)

After Tim Burton’s critically acclaimed “Batman” and “Batman Returns” in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, it was only a matter of time before the caped crusader was going to have his own animated series! The show carefully adapted the films’ dark tones and exceptional stories to make them fit a TV show. This helped it transcend any one demographic, with both children and adults tuning in to watch. Winning 4 Emmys, “The Animated Series” has been praised as one of the best comic cartoons ever and one of the bestanimated TV shows ever, and also launched more series, video games and feature films. 

Do you agree with our list? What are your favorite cartoon shows based on movies? For more excellent Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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