If you fell in love with a Hanna-Barbera cartoon as a kid, can you go home again? Yes and no. The Flintstones, the first prime-time animated sitcom, remains a rock-solid delight. The show was initially aimed at adults, smartly restaging The Honeymooners in a prehistoric suburban setting, and the opening season abounds in prickly, still-funny marital combat between bellicose Fred and long-suffering Wilma. (Their snarkiness fades in seasons 2 – 6, especially after baby Pebbles arrives.) By comparison, the Saturday-morning show Scooby-Doo, about a gang of mystery-solving teens and their cowardly Great Dane, comes off as a pretty mangy enterprise. The characters can be amusing – especially foodaholic Shaggy (voiced by Casey Kasem) – but the carbon-copy plots, with fake-occult criminals always ending up in a sheriff’s custody, get monotonous fast. Even the sound effects and music cues are numbingly repetitive show to show, so you might be better off catching a Cartoon Network rerun. EXTRAS ”All About the Flintstones” runs only five minutes, while a gallery of TV ads omits a hot collectible: Fred and Wilma hawking Winston cigarettes (one of the show’s original sponsors). The Scooby snacks are downright pitiful, extolling tie-in merchandise and spinoff video titles. As Scooby might put it, Rut a racket!
Posted March 19 2004 — 12:00 AM EST
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