From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Saturday Morning Cartoon: A new definition for “excellent”

Amidst all the grumbling about the recent remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still was the usual griping about Keanu Reeves’s ability (or inability) to act. Some say his best role, aside from the first–and I insist only–Matrix film, was as Ted “Theodore” Logan in the seminal Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Many feel the sequel was as bogus as advertised, but there’s no disputing that the wacky movie about two teenage rock stars and their time-traveling phone booth helped launch an impressive career and indoctrinated legions of fans into the joys of temporal paradox.

Perhaps all but the most hardcore, one might even say cultish, followers of that first excellent adventure are blissfully unaware of the horrors that followed, or they’ve simply blanked them from their minds in an effort to regain a semblance of normal living. Bill and Ted made two forays into television, assaulting hapless viewers in their own living rooms with a two-pronged approach: both a live-action and an animated series, each optimistically titled Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures.

The atrocious live action series featured two replacements for the movie stars, Evan Richards and Christopher Kennedy (in what appeared to be a ridiculous wig). The show ran on (what else) the Fox network.

The animated series, however, had the dubious honor of the film cast reprising their roles, for at least the first season on CBS. Thus, that’s really Keanu Reeves you hear–far more animated than in most of his subsequent roles. Alex Winter held onto his acting career a little longer, and George Carlin and Bernie Casey also provided voice work. Add a catchy-to-annoying title theme and some odd animation, and you have the perfect Saturday morning fare to poison the minds of kids like me.

Through the magic of my own time machine (ie. YouTube), you can now experience the same morning cartoon I did, but probably with a bit more criticism. Here then is the appropriately titled “A Black Night in San Dimas”, episode 7 (air date: 11/3/90). Party on, dudes.


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