Oh, Disney. At best, it's a magical world in which you can forget your troubles and all your dreams will come true. At worst, it's a multitude of parental deaths and delusions upon delusions, mass produced, with heavy emphasis on the "mass produced" part. That's why there are so many Disney straight-to-video sequels out there in the world for when you just can't say goodbye to your favorite characters. However, I seem to remember that there were more than a few Disney TV shows based on your favorite classics that were somewhat acceptable... maybe even (GASP) enjoyable!
I know this sounds crazy. But, before the days of Hannah Montana and Suite Life of Zack and Cody, the Disney Channel was populated by a slew of actual cartoons. See, instead of making shows into movies (High School Musical 3, ya'll), they made movies into shows. It's a lot to process for our small child demographic, I'm sure, but I promise this was a thing.
Anyway, the rest of us will remember those serialized Disney movies with fond memories. And I've collected all those memories to properly evaluate each and every show. Did they live up to the original movie? That's what I'm gonna find out. So here are eight Disney shows based on movies, definitively ("definitively") ranked from bleh to best.
8. The Legend of Tarzan
I never get the sense that Tarzan is anyone's favorite Disney film, because, aside from that Oscar-winning Disney song, it's not really memorable. Therefore, The Legend of Tarzan, which follows Tarzan's post-movie adventures, is a bit of a snorefest. I wouldn't go so far as to call it an abomination, but Tarzan has been done and overdone in other media, and better.
7. All Dogs Go To Heaven
6. Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command
Buzz Lightyear probably strays furtherest from the source material, focusing on the cartoon adventures of Buzz the character (versus Buzz the toy). Props for the risk, but honestly? I have minimal interest of watching a Toy Story production without the 3D graphics, poignant sense of sentimentality, and um... actual plastic playthings.
5. The Little Mermaid
I'm pretty anti-Ariel when it comes to ranking the Disney Princesses, and this is a fact widely published along the Internet. Putting that bias aside, The Little Mermaid show is aggressively fine. It's frivolous and cute, and definitely a big win for all you mermaid enthusiasts.
4. 101 Dalmatians: The Series
Cruella de Vil is a monster and probably Morrissey enemy number one, but you gotta love her. 101 Dalmatians was created a good deal of time after the original movie, and somehow it feels like that distance allowed for it to be something more modern and fun. I don't know if I'd go out of my way to see it, but it's definitely inoffensive.
3. Hercules: The Animated Series
Was it necessary to zoom in on Herc's pre-hero days? No. Does it kind of stilt the continuity of the movie? A little. However, it was a smart and funny way to explore Greek mythology, if you're into that kind of thing (and being a Tsagarakis, I totally am).
2. Timon And Pumbaa
Listen, there's never a bad time for more Timon and Pumbaa, hence the glorious success of The Lion King 1 and 1/2. I would watch a 5 a.m. Timon and Pumbaa talk show if I could, my love is that strong. So, suffice it to say, you pretty much can't go wrong with a Timon and Pumbaa cartoon... and with this one, it felt so, so right.
Truth? This doesn't hold a candle to the original movie, because, well, it can't. Aladdin is really up there on the list of best Disney films. With that in mind, it totally made sense that we should follow him on his new adventures. Yeah, the sequels are pretty meh, but I feel like in half hour doses you really get a good, casual Arabian adventure, and I am all about it. Honestly, I would ride that magic carpet any day.
Image: Walt Disney Pictures (1)