The 80's & 90's were an amazing time to grow up! The freedom of being a kid, the delicious candies, the unbelievable action figures and of course the unforgettable cartoons. The majority of the toons on TV during this time were created to sell toys, foods and other awesome merchandise, but what do you do when the popularity of a franchise is wearing off? You introduce new characters and give them their own shows to create more toys, foods and merchandise. The shows listed below are some of my favorite spin-offs from some of the most iconic shows of my childhood. Let me know in the comments which ones you liked when you were a kid!
She-Ra: Princess of Power
The character She-Ra first appeared in the animated film "He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword in 1985". After this introduction to the world of the Masters of the Universe She-Ra was given her own cartoon series that lasted 2 seasons from 1985-1986 for a total of 93 episodes. She-Ra was created so the MOTU brand could reach the female toy buying demographic and it succeeded. Not only was the toy line and cartoon popular with girls, but boys also enjoyed the new troop of bad guys, The Horde led by the evil Hordak!
The premise of this series is pretty basic, after years of busting ghosts the Ghostbusters have seen little to no activity in the area. They all decide to go their separate ways, but Egon stays behind to monitor the containment unit, take care of Slimer and continue his studies while teaching a college course on the paranormal. So, when ghost activity picks up and Egon has no one to call for help, he recruits a team from his students. I really liked the new team of busters compiled of Kylie, Roland, Eduardo and Garrett. I thought their personalities and backgrounds really could have led to some interesting turns in the series, but unfortunately it only lasted one year in 1997 and ran a total of 40 episodes.
Pink Panther and Sons
I really liked this cartoon as a kid! So much so that I had Pink Panther and Sons bed sheets! The series focuses on the two sons of the original Pink Panther, Pinky & Panky. Panky is a toddler who was always getting into trouble and his older brother Pinky was the leader of the Rainbow Panthers Crew. This show had a close resemblance to Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, but with talking animals! Each episode contained a few Pink Panther shorts that would run before each Sons cartoon. The series had a pretty short run of 26 episodes and was on air from 1984-1985 on NBC before it switched networks to ABC in 1986.
Pinky and the Brain
Following the success of Tiny Toon adventures the show Animaniacs was launched in 1993 and ran until 1999. It was in this run of 99 episodes of zaniness that we were introduced to the lab rats turned would-be world dominators, Pinky and the Brain. As many of you know, the Brain is obsessed with taking over the world and each night he creates more and more elaborate plans to do so. When these plans almost reach their goal, somehow someway Pinky, the clumsy sidekick, finds a way to ruin it! During the 66 episode run from 1995-1998 this dynamic duo never completed their goal. I think maybe it's time to bring these guys back so they can finish what they started all those years ago.
This one may be a little bit of a cheat, but technically this show did spin-off from the extremely popular DuckTales cartoon. It even shares a few characters including bumbling sidekick Launchpad McQuack and super hero Gizmoduck! This was one of my favorite cartoons at the time and we would go over to a friend's house to watch the episodes he recorded before we had to head to soccer practice. This series ran from 1991-1993 for a total of 91 acion packed episodes as we saw our hero Drake Mallard aka Darkwing Duck fight off the likes of Megavolt, Liquidator, Bushroot and Negaduck! This is an amazing series that I really don't think gets it's due as the other Disney Afternoon shows get. We took the kids to DisneyWorld a few years back and I was stunned at the lack of Darkwing Duck merchandise. Maybe that will change with his recent appearances in the new DuckTales reboot?