Cue that Mark Mothersbaugh theme song and get out your favorite Reptar plushy: Nickelodeon’s Rugrats are back on the playmat! Today, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures announced a two-part relaunch of the classic cartoon from the 90s and 2000s: First up for Nickelodeon is a new, 26-episode animated-series revival; second is a live-action film with CGI characters, which will be handled through Paramount Players, the new film division launched to develop projects based on properties from Viacom cable channels. Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, Susie and Angelica will all return in new adventures on both the big and small screens, and each project will also introduce a new world of characters.
Returning to the new TV series as executive producers are the show’s original creators Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó and Paul Germain. Production is already underway at the company’s Burbank studio, though more information as to a release date and casting will be announced in the weeks and months to come. (Note: Nickelodeon will have a big presence at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con, so perhaps they’ll sneak in a surprise Rugrats panel!) As for the movie, David Goodman (Family Guy) will write the script; the targeted release date is currently November 13, 2020. (Variety)
As for the rebooted animated series, sure, I’m all for it. Sarah Levy, COO of Viacom Media Networks and interim president of Nickelodeon, basically summed up how I feel about the idea, saying:
“Rugrats is hands-down one of the most celebrated cartoons in TV history, and we are thrilled for a whole new audience to meet these iconic characters in brand-new adventures. What was true in 1991 when the original show premiered is still true today: kids are fascinated with the world of babies. We can’t wait for today’s kids to meet Tommy, Chuckie and pals.”
As for the live-action movie with CGI characters however, I need to wait and see what exactly that looks like before signing off. The lumpy-headed design of the classic cartoon characters will be a real test for the Uncanny Valley aesthetic.