Scott Bradlee & Co decided to bring us a funky fresh take on one of the '90s greatest animated shows, Animaniacs!
*puts on his nerd glasses*
During the animation boom of the late '80s and early '90s, Steven Spielberg produced a number of animated shows with Warner Bros. Animation. The first of which was Tiny Toons Adventures. While Spielberg did have a hand in getting some really great shows made, the real star here, in my opinion, is Tom Ruegger.
In the 80's, Ruegger worked for the great Hanna-Barbera animation studio. Working as a writer, animator, creator and at times producer, for shows such as The Snorks, later versions of Scooby Dooand even an episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
In '89, Ruegger began working with Spielberg and Warner Bros, striking on a decade long run of great shows. Tiny Toon Adventures, Taz-Mania, Batman: The Animated Series, The Plucky Duck Show, Animaniacs, Freakazoid!, Pinky and the Brain, Pinky, Emlyra & the Brain and the '99 Animaniacs movie, Wakko's Wish.
Ruegger is still making cartoons to this day.
As for the show we're focusing on today, we have to take a quick stop at Tiny Toon Adventures, first.
After the huge success of Tiny Toon Adventures, Spielberg asked Ruegger and his team to come up with another series, suggesting that one possibility could be a spin-off show staring Plucky Duck from Tiny Toon Adventures. While The Plucky Duck Show did become its own series, Ruegger had been working on a three characters based on his sons.
He combined these two ideas into the first incarnation of the Animaniacs.
However, they realized that there was far too many bird-based shows, at the time. Disney had Donald, Ducktales, Darkwing. WB had Daffy and Plucky. It wasn't original enough.
So Ruegger switched things up, instead going for a trio of anthropomorphized 'animals', - who's species has only been labeled as "Cartoonus Characterus" - drawn in a style reminiscent of characters from the 1930s. Taking huge inspiration from shows by Chuck Jones and Tex Avery, the series was a hit.
The show starred Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell and Tress MacNeille as the "the Warner Brothers (and the Warner sister)", Yakko, Wakko and Dot. All of whom have done tons and tons of notable voices through their careers. As well as over a dozen other voice actors who have done tons of things we've all heard and loved, even if you don't know their names.
Each episode follows the antics of the Warner Brothers (and the Warner sister), through the Warner Brother's lot, as well as other locations from time to time. From giving Dr. Otto Scratchansniff horrible migraines in his gigantic noggin, to ogling Hello Nurse, to toying with Ralph, the dimwitted Warner Brother's security guard who has been tasked with recapturing the Warners and putting them back into the water tower. Every episode was a collection of self-contained zaniness, with other short self-contained shows staring supporting characters cut in. One of which was so good it spawned its own series, Pinky and the Brain.
Animaniacs featured very intelligent writing, appealing to children for its craziness and to adults for its consistent use of innuendo.
The show originally ran from '93 to '98 and was syndicated into the early 2000s. It spawned its own comic book series, a feature film, multiple video games, toys and even multiple musical albums, as the show features many songs.
Animaniacs was and still is a fantastic show. It is well worth revisiting, or visiting for the first time if you missed it back in the 90s.