Whenever a franchise gets popular, you can bet the companies behind it will want to market it to as wide an audience as possible. Once upon a time, this meant that just about any toy line, movie, or video game you could think of would get a kids cartoon series. Some, like Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, were awesome. Others, like these 10, are just weird.
1) Donkey Kong Country (1997)
The Source Material: Popular platformer video games on the Super Nintendo about a family of apes that fight crocodiles to recover their bananas.
The Show: The characters from the games still duke it out, but spend more time going through strange adventures. Also, for some reason, it was a musical. Literally every episode had at least one song and dance sequence.
2) ProStars (1991)
The Source Material: Athletes Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, and Wayne Gretzky
The Show: Said athletes have superpowers based on their sports, and use them to fight crime, give kids advice, and save the environment. None are voiced by the real athlete, and the show was so poorly received it was canceled after three months.
3) Hammerman (1991)
The Source Material: Rapper MC Hammer, best-known for “Can’t Touch This”
The Show: Hammer (né Stanley Burrell) plays himself as a youth center worker who transforms into the superhero Hammerman via a pair of magic dancing shoes (that can talk). It lasted 13 episodes.
4) Highlander: The Animated Series (1994)
The Source Material: Mature film/TV action series about a centuries-long conflict between humans who are Immortal. They behead each other with blades, and when only one is left, they will achieve a new level of power/existence called “The Quickening.”
The Show: A post-apocalyptic science fiction show where a devastated Earth has been overtaken by the Immortal warlord Kortan. Quentin MacLeod, the last surviving Immortal to contest Kortan, must achieve The Quickening and save what’s left of earth.
5) Street Fighter (1995)
The Source Material: Popular fighting game series by Capcom featuring a massive cast of characters.
The Show: The undercover peacekeeping force “Street Fighter” must fight M. Bison’s evil Shadaloo organization. Based more on the live-action movie than the game, features some amazingly bad voice acting.
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6) Captain N: The Game Master (1989)
The Source Material: Nintendo games like Castlevania, Mega Man, Kid Icarus, and Metroid, as well as a comic from Nintendo Power Magazine.
The Show: Teenager Kevin Keene is routinely sucked into Videoland and forced to fight the forces of evil based on Nintendo games. Regularly teams up with Mega Man (who adds “mega” to the start of almost every sentence) and fights Mother Brain, who looks like if Ursula the Sea Witch had no body.
7) Rambo and the Forces of Freedom (1986)
The Source Material: The (VERY R-rated) movie franchise starring Sylvester Stallone as a battle-scarred, permanently affected Vietnam War veteran who is routinely called back into action.
The Show: John Rambo leads a G.I. Joe-ripoff team of commandos against a terrorist organization called S.A.V.A.G.E. PTSD is never once mentioned.
8) Godzilla: The Series (1998)
The Source Material: The poorly-received Hollywood adaptation of the Japanese giant monster series, starring Matthew Broderick.
The Show: Broderick’s character and his team of researchers battle monsters across the globe, always resorting to needing Godzilla to save them.
9) Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series (1996)
The Source Material: Live-action movie trilogy about a pee-wee hockey team.
The Show: Hockey-playing alien ducks from the planet Puckworld come to Earth to both play hockey and defend the planet from the alien overlord that enslaved their world. Seriously.
10) Free Willy (1994)
The Source Material: A movie about a boy who bonds with a captive Killer Whale while dealing with his family issues.
The Show: The boy can now talk to animals, and him and his whale buddy have to defeat an evil cyborg captain who’s convinced Willy took his limbs.