Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters hits theaters in a couple months. The studio behind it, Sony Pictures, is doing everything they can to have the launch of this film usher in a new era for the franchise. One that meets or exceeds the significance and lasting output of the original 80s movies and all the merchandising and other media they spawned. They want it so much, that they are retreading previous extensions of the product. A recent example would be the resurrection of Ecto-Cooler; a sugary tangerine flavored drink made by Hi-C, which made its way into kids lunch boxed from the mid 80s and lasted while until the mid- 90s. It had Slimer on the box art and tasted like diabetes. And now its back!
Aside from the obvious assortment of new toys and clothing lines and what not, what else from the well will Sony pull from? How about another Ghostbusters cartoon…
Children of the 80s will remember “The Real Ghostbusters” which ran on ABC for 5 years in the classic Saturday-morning-cartoon lineup. The series followed the continuing adventures of the four Ghostbusters, their secretary Janine, their accountant Louis, and their mascot Slimer, as they chase and capture rogue spirits around New York and various other areas of the world.
Sony Pictures Animation has just announced a new Ghostbusters animated TV series to hit in 2018, titled Ghostbusters: Ecto Force. Will it have anything to do with the original cartoon or movie? Nope. Heck, it won’t even have anything to do with the new movie.
In a bizarre turn of direction, this new show will be set in the year 2050 — decades after the events of the old Ghostbusters or the new one.
Here’s how Sony describes the new Ghostbusters animated TV series.
A brand new animated television series, GHOSTBUSTERS: ECTO FORCE, will further expand the Ghostbusters cinematic universe and focus on a new generation of Ghostbusters in the year 2050 who capture ghosts around the world with help from local teams—and some very cool gear! The younger-skewing Sony Pictures Animation project is being creatively spearheaded by Ivan Reitman and his production company Ghost Corps. GHOSTBUSTERS: ECTO FORCE is eyeing an early 2018 debut.
Ghostbusters in the future? Well, there’s no concept so good that a bad artist can’t make it into garbage and there’s no concept too wrong that a good team can’t make it remarkable. Just look at Batman Beyond – a futuristic version of Batman that nobody initially wanted, including the shows creators Bruce Timm and co. The assignment was taken, they ran with it, and eventually turned it into what it became. However, there is one key factor Batman Beyond had that this new Ghosbusters cartoon doesn’t have… Batman! Haha, yes, a Ghosbusters/Batman hybrid sounds awesome but that’s not what I meant. Batman Beyond featured a new angst driver teenager tanking up the Batman mantle… but it still featured the original Batman, Bruce Wayne, in it as the lead characters sage/father figure. One of the main reasons that show worked (aside from good writing and director of course) was that it featured a major character, I mean THE major character from the original Batman: The Animated Series, to bridge the two animated series. Would anyone have been as interested in Batman Beyond had Bruce Wayne/Batman not been in it? Maybe so but probably not. Same with this Ghostbusters cartoon. Concept could work. Maybe with a good team behind it, the series could carve out its own path and become a thing to celebrate. But without something to act as a connective tissue to the either the original movies or the new one…. it will have trouble getting a audience to latch onto it. Here we are even with this new movie, which is a reboot, have no connection to the original film and fans couldn’t bemoan it further. The more a property like this digresses from the things the make it great, like established fan favorite characters, the harder it is to bring both old and newer viewers together.
Of course having said that, there’s no explaining/defending Extreme Ghostbusters in 1997 , which saw Egon Spengler recruiting a team of new, younger Ghostbusters. The argument that expanded universes of a movie franchise need to have original character or something of the sorts, may be a flawed argument.