TV Article

Kids: More Fine Tooning Than Ever Before

New cartoons for animated adventure fans -- A look at toons for all types of viewers including ''Tale Spin,'' ''Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,'' ''Bobby's World,'' and more

While the grown-ups are working late or sleeping in, children rule the remote controls. So with the proliferation of families in which both parents work, it's no surprise that TV programmers have come up with one of the most diverse kids' show schedules in recent years. A selective guide to the new offerings:

In Steven Spielberg's Tiny Toon Adventures, Elmer Fudd's homeroom at Acme Looniversity is packed with a new generation of famous cartoon names he ran around with in the old days, including Buster and Babs Bunny, Plucky Duck, the piggy Hamton, and Calamity Coyote. Updating the kooky slapstick of the old Looney Tunes, the half-hour Tiny Toon Adventures (syndicated; weekdays) may be the year's best bet for a constant smile. Fox's Peter Pan & the Pirates (weekdays, 4:30-5 p.m.) offers a more literary take on toons. Inspired by J.M. Barrie's novel Peter and Wendy, this fantasy-adventure series features stunning animation and a sweeping musical score. Actor Tim Curry (Wiseguy) is the voice of Captain Hook.

Evoking all the daring and dash of a '40s movie serial is Disney's richly animated Tale Spin (syndicated; weekdays). The cartoon features familiar Disney characters Baloo the Bear and Shere Khan (from The Jungle Book) as a barnstorming pilot and his air-pirate nemesis.

The greening of America continues with the network debut of the previously syndicated comedy-adventure series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Saturdays, CBS, 10-11 a.m.). Each new episode will contain two hero-on-the-halfshell stories and end with an ecological tip. Environmental awareness is the theme of Captain Planet and the Planeteers (syndicated, and on TBS, Sundays, 8:30-9 a.m., 5:30-6 p.m.), in which teenagers battle greedy eco-villains. Captain P's best line: ''But enough fun — there's trash to take out.''

Two new cartoons are about the young alter egos of two famous adult comedians. Little Rosey (Saturdays, ABC, 12-12:30 p.m.) combines the feelings of a sweet, feisty 10-year-old with the wit of Roseanne Barr (a creative consultant for the show). Bobby's World (Saturdays, Fox, 8-8:30 a.m.) is about an imaginative preschooler whose thoughts are magnified in fantasy, including dreams of adventures with Captain Squash, the Caped Zucchini. Howie Mandel does the voices of both Bobby and his dad.

Music moves The New Kids on the Block (Saturdays, ABC, 10-10:30 a.m.) and Kid 'n Play (Saturdays, NBC, 10- 10:30 a.m.). Both combine live-action intros with animated adventures. The New Kids also includes interviews with the band and concert footage. Rapper Kool Moe Dee and comedian Sinbad will be among the guests during the real-people segments of Kid 'n Play; the cartoons will be based on the rap group's coming-of-age adventures.

Wake, Rattle & Roll (syndicated; weekdays) will try to get kids up in the morning with a hip-talking robot and a People Processor that can summon up any person from history, plus two new cartoons, the auto-racing ''Fender Bender 500'' and the totally goofy ''Monster Tails.''

No kids' season could be complete without a couple of takes on school. In Zazoo U (Saturdays, Fox, 8:30-9 a.m.), gross cartoon creatures ride the school bus, attend class, create mischief, and learn real-life lessons. In Rick Moranis in Gravedale High (Saturdays, NBC, 9:30-10 a.m.), Moranis' voice and cartoon image preside over a roll call of monster misfits that includes practical joker Frankentyke and Cleofatra, a mummy with a penchant for fast food. Other voices will be provided by Shari Belafonte, Ricki Lake, and Jonathan Winters.

But the year's most intriguing kid-show concept has to be Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (Saturdays, Fox, 9:30-10 a.m.), an animated version of the low-budget 1978 sci-fi comedy movie. F.T. (Fuzzy Tomato), the hero, teams up with Chad, the ''only sensible 10-year-old on earth,'' to fight crazed, world- controlling scientist Putrid T. Gangreen and his rotten crew of round, red accomplices. The Tomatoes' motto: ''You ignored them in salads. You took them for granted on pizzas. Now they're here to kick stem!''

Originally posted Sep 14, 1990 Published in issue #31 Sep 14, 1990 Order article reprints