Yakko, Wakko and Dot return in the reboot of Animaniacs on Hulu, along with fan favorites Pinky and Brain.
Do you know what I find even more annoying than constant Hollywood reboots of successful properties? Critics constantly complaining about how Hollywood likes to reboot successful properties. If bringing back a famous TV show or film series to wring even more cash out of an eager fanbase is lazy, then trotting out this same old grievance certainly is as well. Reboots have been around a lot longer than objectors to the practice would have you believe, and I’m sure that we’ll all be getting yet another recast of Spider-Man long after the moon has fallen and the sun has burnt out. The only thing that you can really ask for is that they are done right, and I’m happy to report that Hulu’s recent revival of 90’s darling Animaniacs is one such reboot.
Last seen on TV in 1998, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot are back in their water tower and better than ever. Along for the ride are the equally iconic Pinky and the Brain, who, like the Warners, are voiced by their original voice actors under returning executive producer Steven Spielberg (the Warners and the mice are the only returning main cast members, by the way, which I don’t mind; I was never a fan of the gangster pigeons or the Bernadette Peters cat). Irreverent and offering hilarity to both kids and adults alike, it is easy to fall into the groove of this new series as if it were a natural, long-awaited, coda to the original run. After the initial episode gets our cast caught up to the current times, the familiar structure of the old series returns: A Warner siblings segment starts each episode, followed by a Pinky and the Brain segment, followed by another shorter Warner segment. It’s all very familiar, and I mean that in the best possible way.
It is not the exact same beast, of course: Thanks to new writers and a showrunner that hails from Family Guy, it feels like the balance between kid humor and adult humor that the original had may have shifted a wee bit to the adult side in the new episodes in order to satisfy the now-grown fans of the ’95-’98 series. Don’t get me wrong… the show is not adult by any stretch of the imagination; you can (and should) still watch it with your kids. It’s just a tiny bit less innocent and a little more meta. The satire also doesn’t seem quite as subtle as it once was in certain places, and some might complain about the lampooning of certain political figures and ideas (to them I would like to point out that the original had Bill Clinton in its theme song).
But despite a few quirks, there is no denying that this is a series lovingly cut from the same cloth as the original. There is even an entire albums’ worth of new songs spread across the episodes to enjoy, although I doubt any of them will be as helpful as the U.S. presidents song was to me in AP U.S. History. This is, simply, a reboot done right.
Animaniacs season one, as well as the entirety of the original series, is now available on Hulu.