Back to the Future (1991–1993)
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Following on from Back to the Future Part III, this animated series continues the adventures of Marty McFly, Doc Brown and his family, and other residents of Hill Valley. It's now 1991 and the Browns - Doc, wife Clara, sons Jules and Verne and dog Einstein - have moved back to the 20th Century. Marty is still dating Jennifer Parker and the two are now in college, but their time travel adventures haven't stopped! Using the new DeLorean and the time train, both of which now can travel through space as well as time, our time travellers explore the past and future, whilst trying not to get into trouble with the various Tannens throughout history! I haven't seen every episode of this series (I've seen 14 out of the 26 episodes made), but from what I have seen so far the series is quite good. For a movie spin-off series, it stays familiar to the original films (unlike some other series from this time) and the characters we know and love from the films transfer well to the series. The animation is mostly of a good standard, and although there are some animation mistakes (as in every series!) it looks visually good, with some good backgrounds. The characters look like their film counterparts, except for Jennifer who for some reason has gone blonde, and Biff who does not look like the 54 year old man he should be by 1991 (here, he looks more like his 18 year old self from 1955). Most of the time the characters act like they did in the films, although some BTTF fans might be slightly annoyed that the main focus of the series is on Jules and Verne rather than Marty and Doc (some episodes do not feature Marty at all). Marty sometimes acts a bit stupider than he was in the films - luckily, moments like this are rare.
Tom Wilson and Mary Steenburgen reprise their roles as Biff Tannen and Clara Brown respectively from the films, and Christopher Lloyd plays Doc in live action sequences beginning and ending each episode, although he does not voice the animated Doc for some reason. Dan Castellaneta, who voices Doc, does a very good imitation though. David Kaufman takes over from Michael J Fox as the voice of Marty, and although his voice isn't *exact*, it is still close enough, although there were times when I thought he didn't sound like Fox that much. The voices of Jules and Verne (neither of whom spoke in their one scene in Part III) are spot-on, with extra praise for Troy Davidson who voices Verne.
Now, onto the episodes. These do vary in quality. Some are very good. Others are not so good. The best episodes in my opinion are those where the time travellers go to some time and end up changing history, and have to change it back (my favourite episode, "Go Fly A Kite", deals with this - in this episode Verne accidentally interferes with Benjamin Franklin's famous "Kite" experiment.). A few episodes did not involve time travel, and in my opinion these were the weakest. However, every episode that I have seen so far has had a few moments that made me laugh or smile, or a line that was funny.
Overall, not a bad series, that although not as good as the films, and despite many continuity flaws (for instance, in the films Doc was 65 in 1985, but according to the series he was 4 in 1926...), still manages to entertain and occasionally educate as well. There were some very good episodes in the series, and a few not-so-good ones, but every episode is worth watching at least once. Luckily, most of them can be watched again and again and can still entertain. 7.5/10.
Instead we got Doc Brown and his family. Bumber. I mean, Marty was in it, but he wasn't the center, central driving force of the story and as kids we didn't like that one bit.
Sure...it was still fun. It was still funny, and Marty was still there, but the focus was on the Brown children, likely because the people that made the cartoon decided that--despite the fact that there were tons of cartoons about teenagers and adults--that children wanted a cartoon about kids their own age.
And because of that it really wasn't Back to the Future.
You couldn't buy us off that easy.
Cons: The animation is typical Saturday morning, the jokes usually fall flat, and the two new kids of Doc and Clara, Jules and Verne, really make the show worse. They are super annoying and unfunny, and if they weren't even in the show, it would be 3x better, and i would give it 8 out of 10, but they just aren't good. I also don't understand why Christopher Lloyd couldn't be Doc in the animated segments, but can be Doc in the live action segments.
Pros: It is at least trying to give you good entertainment. The episode Brothers is pretty good, and is one of the only good episodes in the short lived series. It has more laughs, more plot, and better Jules and Verne, surprisingly. Doc actually sounds like Doc in this episode. But those are the only pros in the show.
Overall, I have mixed to negative reception to this animated show. The mixed part is the plot. Its sometimes pretty good, but some of the episodes have a really bland one. The negative is everything else. At least try new animation. It would be better. I won't really recommend this if you love the movies, but I guess its enjoyable for the young ones.
This is definitely one of the better cartoon adaptations of a film series as it often uses time travel to teach different morals to kids but it can also teach them small bits about history such as the fact that the Pilgrims would sentence people they accused of being witches without hearing their side of the argument.
Despite being a decent adaptation, it suffers through its characterisation of Marty. He is not the same as he was in the films and is reduced to the idiot friend of the main character. Although Marty had his silly moments in the films, the cartoon goes overboard with this which makes him too dumb to live.
Another problem with Marty is his hypocrisy. In an early season 1 episode, he gets mad at Jennifer when he jumps to the conclusion that she is going on a date with another guy, but he flirts with multiple women from the different time periods.
One thing that may disappoint some viewers is the lack of episodes that just focus on Marty and Doc Brown who were the focus of all three films and the majority of the episodes focus on the Brown children, Jules and Verne despite the fact that they don't appear in the trilogy until near the end of the third film.
Overall, an okay adaption of a film series with good lessons and history facts but suffers from dumbing down Marty's character and focusing on minor characters that did not appear until the end of the trilogy.