There’s been big news lately about popular Disney animated films becoming TV series. The newest trailer for Disney Channel’s Tangled: The Series was just released. And Disney XD is preparing Big Hero 6: The Series for sometime next year, too.
But what about all of the other TV shows Disney has created based on their animated films? Some of them are fondly remembered, while others have faded from memory. There’s too many to fit in one article, so here’s part one of our look back at TV shows based on Disney animated films:
Only a year after Hercules hit theaters in 1997, Disney premiered an animated TV follow-up. Hercules (or Hercules: The Animated Series) was a “midquel” to the original movie. That means it actually takes place in the middle of the animated feature film. The show followed a teenage Hercules as he trained to be a hero alongside his mentor, Phil. Tate Donovan returned to voice Hercules along with James Woods as Hades. Danny DeVito was replaced by Robert Constanzo for the role of Phil. The show ran for two seasons, originally in syndication and then on Saturday mornings, for a total of 65 episodes.
Jake and the Never Land Pirates
If you have young children, you’re no doubt already familiar with Disney Junior’s Jake and the Never Land Pirates. As the name implies, the show is a spin-off of the 1953 animated Disney classic, Peter Pan. The show follows the adventures of Jake and his young pirate friends as they spend their days outwitting Captain Hook and Mr. Smee. Although he’s often mentioned, Peter Pan himself has only appeared in a handful of episodes. Wendy, John, and Michael Darling have also made a guest-appearance on the show. The series began in 2011 and is still going strong. The newest season had a slight title change and is known as Captain Jake and the Never Land Pirates.
In 1994, Disney launched a series version of their successful 1992 animated film, Aladdin. The show took place after the direct-to-video Aladdin sequel, Return of Jafar. Most of the film’s cast returned, including Scott Weinger as Aladdin, Linda Larkin as Jasmine, and Gilbert Gottfried as Iago. Robin Williams did not return as the Genie. Homer Simpson voice actor Dan Castenella took on the role, as he did in Return of Jafar. (Williams did return for the third movie, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, which serves as a follow-up to the series).
The Legend of Tarzan
After the success of their 1999 animated film Tarzan, Disney launched a TV series called The Legend of Tarzan. It ran for two seasons and 39 episodes as part of UPN’s “Disney’s One Too” lineup. Actor Michael T. Weiss took over the role of Tarzan from Tony Goldwyn. Minnie Driver was replaced as the voice of Jane by actress Oliva d’Abo. April Winchell played the role of Terk, taking over from comedian Rosie O’Donnell. The show took place immediately after the events of the movie. Tarzan adjusts to his new role as leaders of the gorillas, with Jane now his wife.
Stay tuned for part two where we’ll explore even more Disney movies that were turned into TV series!