Top 5... - February 13, 2015

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and five other kids' TV shows that need to be made into films)
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor,

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and five other kids' TV shows that need to be made into films)

Beginning life in 1987 as an animated TV series aimed at children, the four humanoid reptiles known as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have already enjoyed several outings on the big screen, firstly in the early 1990s with a series of three live action films, then again in 2007 with the entirely computer-animated TMNT. Last year the franchise was given another live action reboot and from next week (February 16th) you'll be able to buy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on DVD & Blu-Ray.

Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, the new rebooted version mixes live action with CGI and stars Arrested Development's Will Arnett alongside Megan Fox in the role of reporter April O'Neill, with the voices being provided by the likes of Johnny Knoxville (Leonardo) and Tony Shalhoub (Splinter), while elsewhere there are also appearances for Whoopi Goldberg and William Fichtner.

The plot sees the turtles emerging from their lives in the sewers under New York City to face their old adversary, Shredder (Tohoru Masamune), and this time he's a lot bigger and more fearsome than you might remember. Can the mutant ninjas save the city from the menace of Shredder and still keep themselves hidden from the public eye? If you missed the film in cinemas last year, you'll have to pick up the DVD next week if you want to find out...

It's by no means the first TV show for kids to find its way onto cinema screens and Michael Bay, the film's producer, has been carving out a niche for himself recently with a spate of these adaptations, including the Transformers series and, reportedly, an upcoming Thundercats movie in the works. There are however some kids' favourites that remain conspicuous by their absence on the big screen, so we've picked out five of the shows from the 80s and 90s that we think are ripe for a live action movie. You can also watch the trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles below...



Along with Transformers and Masters of the Universe, M.A.S.K. was one of a series of shows in the 1980s that seemed to be almost entirely designed as a method of advertising for the action figures and merchandise manufactured by companies like Kenner and Hasbro, but where the others have both enjoyed outings on the big screen, a M.A.S.K. film has yet to find its way into a cinema. It has all the ingredients to make a big-budget live action movie though; the heroic crime-fighting organisation, the crazy vehicles, the gadgets... it even has the evil crime boss Miles Mayhem, leader of M.A.S.K.'s criminal nemesis V.E.N.O.M., which is just about the best name for a super-villain you could think of. Get it done, Hollywood...


Ulysses 31

For pretty much the entirety of 1980s, production companies DiC Entertainment and Saban specialised in a series of French-Japanese (and sometimes American) collaborations that produced a seemingly endless supply of kids' cartoons, from Inspector Gadget to The Care Bears. One of the more obscure of these was a series called Ulysses 31, a sci-fi / fantasy series that combine space travel with Greek mythology. Set in the 31st century, Ulysses defies the gods of Olympus to save his son and, as revenge, is condemned to travel space looking for a way home. Don't ask us why, but we keep envisioning Jeff Bridges in the lead role and, given the right director, we think this one could be a hit. Maybe Terry Gilliam would be interested?


The Mysterious Cities of Gold

Sticking with the DiC / Saban connection for a moment, another of their most popular shows was this odd but charming cartoon series set in 16th century South America, involving three kids who are trying to find El Dorado, the mythical 'golden city' that so many Spanish conquistadors tried to locate. Given the popularity of teen-orientated films like Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, this could be a different angle that might work well on the big screen. Sadly though, nothing in the pipeline on this one either.


Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?

Originally a character in a series of educational computer games that saw the player join the ACME Detective Agency, Carmen Sandiego was the villain of the piece, a former ACME operative turned master thief. It was briefly reimagined as an odd game show for children, where the kids would solve clues to win prizes, as well as an animated series, but we like the idea of a live action feature film with a mischievous female anti-hero, so why not?



Billed as a 'space western', Bravestarr was one the last cartoon series made by Filmation and featured a central hero named Marshall Bravestarr who was, confusingly, a Native American cowboy, with the power to call forth special abilities normally associated with animals. These included enhanced eyesight (inherited from a hawk), hearing (wolf), speed (puma) and strength (bear). He also had a pretty awesome nemesis in Tex Mex. Seriously, how many space western films can you name?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Jonathan Liebesman

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