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Flintstones Get Family Guy Treatment- Plus Top 10 Resurrected TV Shows

Seth MacFarlane at the helm of the new show, and... animated Napoleon Dynamite?

Flintstones segment on Family Guy
Batman Animated Series
Courtesy Photo

Yesterday, Fox has made the announcement that the animation TV series The Flintstones, which ran for six seasons with 166 episodes from 1960 – ’66, is being brought to Fox as a new animated cartoon. 20th Century Fox and Seth MacFarlane, who can get raunchy in his animated TV shows (Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, American Dad) negotiated the deal with Warner Brothers. MacFarlane commented that Fred Flintstone is the first animated character he ever drew, and that "... it’s appropriate that events have come full circle, allowing me to produce the newest incarnation of this great franchise. Plus, I think America is finally ready for an animated sitcom about a fat stupid guy with a wife who’s too good for him."

We were reminded recently of the 1994 live-action The Flintstones (starring John Goodman and Rick Moranis) when Elizabeth Taylor died, since that was one of her last roles. It made over $300 million at the box office, but the sequel The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (starring Mark Addy and Stephen Baldwin) wasn’t so successful.

The reboot of The Flintstones is set to debut in 2013, and will join an animation line-up that still has The Simpsons, and another movie-to-TV animation – Napoleon Dynamite, with the lead voiced by Jon Heder.

Various TV shows have become movies; there have also been a number of movies that have become TV shows (the ‘70s seemed to be the decade for that, with M.A.S.H., The Odd Couple, Alice, etc). Here are the Top 10 TV shows that have become…TV shows again, sometimes for an entirely new generation:

1)THE OFFICE - It’s currently talked about because star Steve Carell is leaving to make movies. Will Ferrell (who did the movie version of the TV show Land of the Lost) did a few episodes in replacement, but didn't get to be the permanent boss of Dunder Mifflin. The Office started in England, with Ricky Gervais doing a mockumentary-style single season show about the boring and sometimes backstabbing lives of a bunch of office workers. Most thought the U.S. version would tank; it didn’t. It was a mid-season replacement on NBC in 2005 and is still going strong, even with the loss of its leader.

2)STAR TREK - They kind of cheated, as it wasn’t new actors playing Captain Kirk and Spock. It’s a whole different cast of characters. A lot of people don’t realize that the original Star Trek only ran from 1966 – ’69. An animated Star Trek series from ’73 to ’74. Star Trek: Next Generation ran from 1987 to ’94; 21 years after the original, and 100 years after the original timeframe (the year 2364 to 2370). Original creator Gene Roddenberry was behind this; Patrick Stewart was the break-out star from that cast. In 1993, Deep Space Nine ran twice as long as the original series, lasting until 1999. Roddenberry wasn’t associated with this series, which dealt with the cast at a space station, not in a starship. Since Star Trek Voyager came out in 1995, there was a bit of a Star Trek overlap. This version ran until 2001, and was the only version that had a female captain (Kathryn Janeway). After Voyager came Star Trek: Enterprise, which ran for four years. This Scott Bakula version was the last of them, and the first since the original to be cancelled by its network rather than the producers.

3)BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - This show has an interesting history. It was written in the ‘60s, and nobody had interest. That was, until Star Wars became a huge success in 1977. The following year, this show popped up (critics called it a cheap Star Wars knock-off). Lawsuits followed (Galactica won, partially because the claims that it borrowed from Star Wars sounded silly when Star Wars borrowed from a few different sources). After it’s one and done season, they tried for Galactica 1980. That didn’t take off, and it wasn’t until 2004 when Battlestar Galactica reemerged. It ran until 2009, with lots of critical praise, and fans of the original show not being disappointed.

4)BATMAN - It was easy to guess that super heroes would make a list like this. You’ll always have new generations that are familiar with their favorite comic book characters, and especially with films that have been made and are shown on TV or can be rented. The original series was with Burt Ward and Adam West (who ended up doing voice-over for MacFarlane’s Family Guy). It only ran from 1966 to 1968. After a couple of the Batman movies came out (in 1989 and 1992), Fox got an animated series that ran from 1992 – 1995. The Batman ran from 2004 - 2008, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold began in 2008 and will end this year after three seasons.

5)SUPERMAN - In the early days of TV, we got Adventures of Superman from 1952 – ’58. The last few seasons were in color. The show ended when star George Reeves killed himself (although there’s controversy surrounding that). The Superman movies started in 1978 (with actor Christopher Reeve). When it came back to television, it was Lois & Clark: New Adventures of Superman from ’93 – ’97. And then came Smallville. The idea for a show following Clark Kent when he was younger, before becoming Superman, was originally conceived after an idea for doing that type of show with Bruce Wayne (Batman) didn’t take off. Smallville started in 2001 and is still going strong, able to leap tall ratings in a single book.

6)PERRY MASON - Erle Stanley Gardner was one of the best-selling authors of all time and had 135 million copies of his books in print in America alone, the year he died in 1969. His characters were portrayed each day on a long running radio series (before TV was around), but once TV popped up, it became one of the most successful and longest-running lawyer series. The original Perry Mason ran from 1957 to 1966. Another series ran from in ’73 and ’74. More than 25 made-for-TV movies from the mid-80s till the mid’90s

7)HAWAII FIVE-0 - The show that gave pop culture the catch phrase “Book ‘em, Danno” and also the popular theme song (which was even joked about in the beginning scene of Twilight Zone: The Movie), came back for a second time. The original show ran from 1968 until 1980. At the time, it was the longest running drama on TV. When Magnum P.I. first aired, they often joked about the show. The first attempt at another version was in the mid-90s, with Gary Busey as part of the new team. As crazy as that casting sounds, coming off of his reality show fight with Meatloaf, remember – he played a cop well enough in 1991’s Point Break. It wasn’t until 2010 that Hawaii Five-O made the come back, a big 30 years after it stopped airing.

Courtesy Photo

8)DRAGNET - This show gave us the popular phrase “The story you’re about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.” The original, starring Jack Webb as Sgt. Friday, ran on radio from 1949 to 1957. It’s the only show on this list that doesn’t involve super heroes, that had a comic strip run in newspapers; from 1952 – 1955, Jack Webb co-wrote the strip. Dragnet went to a much larger box, making it to TV in 1951. It ran for eight years. It made a comeback in 1967, running until 1970. NBC’s radio and TV networks carried all three series. There were three Dragnet films (the last being a comedy spoof in 1987 starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks). After Jack Web died, two revivals were attempted. One in 1989, another in 2003; neither were successful.

9)THE TWILIGHT ZONE - The original series ran from 1959 – ’64. It wasn’t until the second season that we got that popular theme music that’s still used today to signify something weird happening. In the early ‘80s when Twilight Zone: The Movie came out, it got CBS interested in rebooting the series. Writer/creator/narrated Rod Serling had sold his share of the series back to the network, and it was cheaper for them to do a new version than buying another show. This version went from 1985 – ’89. In 2002, UPN gave it a shot. Forest Whitaker was brought in as a narrator, and Korn’s Jonathan Davis did the music. A few of Serling’s stories were used, but the show was killed after one season. That same year, Twilight Zone made it to the radio. A lot of the popular ‘50s TV shows started on radio, so it’s strange that this went to that medium when it did. It was syndicated all over the U.S., on radio and Sirius/XM satellite (as well as available for downloads). Stacy Keach narrated, and lots of celebrities have participated, including television stars Jason Alexander, Don Johnson, and Luke Perry.

10)DOCTOR WHO - I was reluctant to put this show on the list, since it airs in merry ol’ England. I had trouble coming up with a 10th show, though. And, Guinness World Records lists the program as the longest-running sci-fi TV show in the world, and as the most successful of all time (when you factor in ratings, DVD and book sales, and even iTunes traffic). It’s a big part of British pop culture, and is a cult favorite everywhere else. You can always hear folks talking about Dr. Who at Comic Con. The show originally ran from 1963 until 1989. They tried reviving it in 1996, but that was unsuccessful. It was almost 10 years later when Dr. Who made it back, as a combined effort of BBC Wales and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It’s currently going strong, and has a number of successful spin-offs.