This was the first of several TV Guide covers announcing that cartoons were cool with adults again. Variations on this article appeared again in 1991, 1992, 1993, and all the way until 1997. I was surprised to find a 1990 version, because as this cover suggests, not much in 1990 was intended FOR adults yet, and the 'toons-in-production they talk about inside wouldn't change things either. Captain Planet is mentioned as a show with possible adult appeal, because it was going to have people like Meg Ryan in it and according to the reporter, "the producers hope the campy villains and simple eco-adventures will lure kids, while double-entendres and underlying themes will keep adults tuned in." Where were the "adult themes" in freaking CAPTAIN PLANET??
Chucky the Killer Doll was getting his own cartoon that fall, although highly sanitized and with the voice of a Roseanne Barr imitator. Not only was this unwatched by any parents, no kids watched it either.* TV Guide's predictions were painfully off-the-mark and in some cases grounds for asylum incarceration: they also recommended the New Kids on the Block cartoon.
*Except...me....I may have watched it for a couple months. That doesn't leave this room, got it?
Further projects dating to 1991 and beyond are blurb-ly mentioned, including a pilot for a proposed live-action/animation hybrid Pink Panther show in prime time (how would that work?), something by Steven Bochco called "Aristocritters" (which must have become the short-lived "Capitol Critters") and something that made my eyebrows escape my forehead and hit the ceiling:
WHAT-WHAT-WHAAAAT??? IT WAS GONNA BE ANIMATED????
That would have been so much better! Even if the same stupid plot were used (and without live-action limitations there's no reason why it would need to be), the Koopas would still look like Koopas, Bowser would look like Bowser, Yoshi wouldn't be a Velociraptor...it would be a campy classic now, like The Wizard is. Just think, a real Mario movie! Boy, did we get shafted....
There's more than this, much much more. Sometime later, I'm going to devote a chapter to TV Guide's inability to predict trends. Back to the Simpsons.
Bart vs. Bill -- September 22, 1990