The original prime time animated family is on its way back to television. Predating The Simpsons by 30 years, The Flintstones is set for a reboot thanks to filmmaker Elizabeth Banks and her company, Brownstone Productions. The new series is being announced as being a return to the shows origins as being meant for adults than children. Originally, the cartoon was supposed to be a send up of sitcoms at the time, namely The Honeymooners. However, like other Hanna-Barbera cartoons, the ubiquity of the show helped it survive while its inspirations ended up forgotten. What was meant to be a clever show made for prime time was, through endless spinoffs and remakes, created the impression that the show was always for little kids. One needs to only look at the cigarette ads made for the cartoon to see that the show was originally edgier than that.
The show has never really gone away since it ended its original run in 1969. There were tons of tv movies and other attempts to keep the brand alive. However the last time the characters were truly relevant was 1994’s live action movie, which predates the remake culture we are currently drowning in. The movie did some of the humor of the original show with characters referencing movies like Basic Instinct but it was mostly for young kids. The awful sequel Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas went even harder into being a movie that was strictly for 3 year olds who didn’t know better.
If the producers are really looking to make a version of the show that is more up to date, they only have to look at the recent comic book adaptation for ideas. That series, written by Mark Russell, helped make the family relevant as they deal with relevant issues regarding love, money, religion and war. Fred is now a veteran, Wilma is an aspiring artist and Pebbles is a teenager trying to figure out her future. It is really impressive that a series about cavemen can also have heartfelt monologues about marriage and financial anxiety.
The comic is proof that you can make something with these characters that can have something to say while still making stone age puns and animals acting as appliances. We could definitely use a cartoon that has more bite than something like The Simpsons which has only become more sanitized and safe over the past few years. Having someone like Banks involved in the production also is a positive sign since she has had experience in both broad comedy and more serious fare. I am hopeful to see what can be done with the property but it also depends on where it ends up being broadcast. The most logical choice would be on Warner Brothers’ upcoming streaming service, HBO Max. However, since the WB just set up Sandman for Netflix, it is still up in the air as to where the show lands. Either way, it is exciting to see if this will lead to my highly anticipated remake of The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones.