Animaniacs, the beloved 1990s cartoon series, will become the next nostalgia-powered reboot series to arrive, prospectively bringing the catchphrase, “hello, nurse!” back into the contemporary colloquial and reviving happy afterschool memories of a generation.
According to IndieWire, Amblin Television and Warner Bros. Animation are, indeed, making moves to revive Animaniacs with a reboot series, with film visionary Steven Spielberg, who served as executive producer on the original series, reportedly expected to return for the effort. The original Animaniacs debuted in 1993 as a satirical weekday afternoon afterschool offering – in the same vein as Tiny Toon Adventures – on Fox’s “Fox Kids” block, subsequently moving to The WB in 1995, where it remained until it concluded in 1998. While Animaniacs has been dormant since the 1999 direct-to-video movie Yakko’s Wish, the property experienced an upsurge in popularity when the series arrived on Netflix last year; an occurrence that reportedly incited this reboot effort.
Animaniacs is a madcap satirical variety show, centered on a trio of original characters in Warner brothers Yakko and Wakko and Warner sister Dot, cleverly irreverent and ultra-energetic troublemakers who escaped from the locked confines of the famous Warner Bros. lot water tower after having been secretly stowed there since the 1930s. The series is also an episodic showcase for the equally popular (and eventually spun-off) duo of world domination-plotting lab mice Pinky and the Brain, as well as the adventures of the Goodfellas-influenced urban avians of Goodfeathers, the jaded tree-dweller Slappy Squirrel, the story of a collie caretaker of a perpetually wandering young girl in Buttons and Mindy and the story of a singing cat and her clueless dog companion in Rita and Runt.
Besides becoming a generational centerpiece, Animaniacs also achieved notable awards right out the gate in 1994, winning the Peabody Award along with Daytime Emmy wins for Music Direction and Song. The series would go on to nab Daytime Emmy wins in Outstanding Animated Children’s Program in 1996 and 1997, garnering eight Emmy wins overall during its run.
The efforts for an Animaniacs reboot series will certainly ring as good news, not only for the series’ now-grown fans, but due to the series’ ability to exist in a broad spectrum of humor, mixing slapstick with satire and often obscure pop culture references clearly aimed at adult viewers, all while managing to be educational for children. This was notably demonstrated by Yakko’s indisputably iconic “Nations of the World” musical interlude. Indeed, if DuckTales can be rebooted, then Animaniacs is undoubtedly a perfect piece to be put through an increasingly complex contemporary lens.