[Keep up with the "Special Feature" column and Christian Fannin will sit you on his lap and talk to you about whatever movie-related topic he feels like.]
To be considered for this list, a franchise must have had separate TV and movie incarnations. For example, The Simpsons would not be counted since the movie and show are one continuity with the same characters. Sherlock Holmes would count since the Robert Downey Jr. version is a unique universe. But it didn't make the list. Put number 5 on the board and let's begin.
5. Pee-Wee Herman
(Pee-Wee's Big Adventure / Pee-Wee's Playhouse)
Tim Burton's take on Pee-Wee's Big Adventure recently had me laughing harder than I have through any modern "comedy". That was back when Burton knew how to limit his quirkiness without shoving it down our throats (I'm lookin' at you 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'). There's so many unforgettable scenes from 'Tequila' to the snakes to James Brolin. The Playhouse was equally memorable if for no other reason than it's creepiness, Cowboy Curtis, and AAAAAHHHHH!!!!! the secret word.
This may be a soft spot for me since I grew up on this stuff but even today's kids can enjoy the wackiness of 'Pee-Wee's Playhouse'. Now that Paul Reubens is bringing the character back, let's hope there's at least one more movie or series left. Oh, and one of these days I'm going to cause a ruckus riding that bike through the Warner backlot. Promise.
4. Jim Henson's Muppets
(The Muppet Christmas Carol / The Muppet Show)
This list won't all be kid's shows but who doesn't love anything with a Muppet? The Muppet Show was very adult oriented anyway. Not that it was raunchy or too inuendo-y but it was humor everyone could enjoy. There have been so many characters over the years that everyone can relate to at least two or three of them. My personal favorites were Animal, Fozzy, Beaker, and Gonzo. Maybe that says something about my mental state but I'm fine with it.
I can't go on without mentioning Muppet Babies; easily one of the top three kids shows of all time. There's the abundance of Muppet movies: 'Muppet Treasure Island', 'The Muppet Christmas Carol', 'The Muppet Movie', 'The Great Muppet Caper'. For the most part, they're all pretty good in their own ways. I'm sure Jason Segal (who did a great job with Dracula's Lament in 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall') will do them justice in The Muppets this fall.
3. Star Trek
(Star Trek: The Original Series / Star Trek )
I'm a sucker for cheesy sci-fi from the 50's and 60's and 'The Original Series' is the motherload. Unfortunately it was canceled way too soon (only 79 episodes) but what we were left with has been kept alive by millions of crazy fans. Spanning six series and eleven movies to date, Star Trek easily lands a spot on this list.
J.J. Abrams Star Trek took some of the nerdy out of liking the franchise even though he turned a blind eye to Willilam Shatner in the process. Maybe he can patch things up for the sequel in 2012. Trek better watch its back though, in case the Star Wars TV series actually makes it into production. Unless it's anything like the prequels.
(Batman  / Batman [1966-'68])
Nu nu nu nu nu nu nu nu, nu nu nu nu nu nu nu nu Batman! A lot of people trash talk the 60's series for being corny and lame but it was made for KIDS! I have an imagination so I'm still able to enjoy it and not whine about it. Adam West was perfect and the props and sets were truly iconic. It's a franchise with fantastic design that can translate well from the campy series to the darkest movies.
Batman: The Animated Series is unlike any other by not dumbing down it's storylines for it's younger audience. I "got it" when I was little and I appreciated that it wasn't treated like "just a cartoon". No other version has been able to showcase the Rogue's Gallery in quite the same way. Each character was spot-on and though I prefer Caesar Romero and Jack Nicholson's Jokers to Heath Ledger's, Mark Hammill can't be topped. He's the only one that everyone likes and that makes him the ultimate Joker. Go make your own site and cry about it Heath Ledger fans.
1. Robin Hood
(The Adventures of Robin Hood  / The Adventures of Robin Hood [1955-'58])
The legend of Robin Hood is timeless and the story has and will outlast all others on this list. Errol Flynn's original classic, The Adventures of Robin Hood, is one of the few movies I would consider perfect. It has everything: adventure, romance, treachery, brotherhood, the rich, and the poor. With so many classic actors in glorious Technicolor it couldn't help but be awesome. You have Claude Raines as the backstabbing Prince John, Basil Rathbone as the evil Sir Guy of Gisbourne, Olivia de Havilland as the lovely Maid Marian and Errol Flyn as the one and only Robin Hood. You won't find too much praise for the mediocre Kevin Costner version here and I didn't even bother with Russel Crowe.
Lately I've been watching and enjoying every episode of the Richard Greene series, also titled, The Adventures of Robin Hood. All 143 adventures in the series for under twenty bucks on Amazon.com makes this a complete steal. It's one of the MillCreek titles that has been done right and deservedly so. Of course there have been many other TV series based on the legend and I plan on eventually seeing them all. One of the most underrated Disney movies is Robin Hood  with the foxes, lions, Sir Hisses, and a Roger Miller rooster. As with 'Batman: The Animated Series', it wasn't afraid to go dark at times. Animal characters used crutches and were shackeled up in prison, lots of sword fighting, and a climactic blazing castle. Oo-de-lally oo-de-lally golly what a day!
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