Saturday mornings and after-school hours have always been prime time to catch everyone’s favorite anime series. Nobody knows that better than Walt Disney Studios. Disney has always been known for its groundbreaking animated films.
But along with the creation of their various television networks, Disney has also produced dozens of animated series, so many that a number are mostly forgotten. Only the most committed Disney fans will remember the iconic lineups of the ABC saturday morning and Disney afternoon.
The Substitutes (2006)
The replacements follows the misadventures of foster children, Todd and Riley. Siblings have the ability to replace any adult in their lives with a cooler adult. They begin by replacing their parents, who are never shown. Soon, the couple begins to swap every adult in their lives who gets in their way. They soon discover that the replacements are more of a problem than a solution and must work to get the real adults back.
Initially, The substitutes aired in prime time at 8 p.m. on Saturdays, but was soon moved to the more competitive after-school slot at 5 p.m. on Mondays. The show ran for three seasons before being canceled in 2009.
Buzz Lightyear from Star Command: The Adventure Begins (2000)
Before there was the toy story spin-off movie, Light year, there was Star Command’s Buzz Lightyear: The Adventure Begins. The series follows Buzz Lightyear and his fellow Space Rangers on their missions to protect the Galactic Alliance from the evil Emporer Zurg.
With the popularity of toy story franchise, the Buzz Lightyear series is often overlooked. The show premiered as part of Disney’s Saturday morning lineup before moving to the Disney cartoon channel. After a run of 65 episodes, the series ended in 2001.
Hercules: Zero to Hero (1998)
Before realizing his potential as a demigod, Hercules was a mortal. Hercules‘ Best Episodes extended the film’s training sequences showing how Disney’s Hercules went from ‘zero to hero’. Throughout the show, Hercules encounters other Greek gods voiced by guest stars.
The series was one of many series produced by Disney in the 90s that served as midquels to their animated films. Hercules holds the record for the most guest stars in a single anime series season in 1999, according to DAWN. With its two-season run Hercules: From Zero to Hero is often overlooked, especially given the resurgence in popularity surrounding the film.
Timon and Pumbaa (1995)
After the popularity of The Lion King, Disney has produced an animated series following the adventures of Simba’s sidekicks, Timon and Pumbaa. The show followed the dynamic duo as they travel across Africa and find themselves in sticky situations.
While most anime series air for one to three seasons, Timon and Pumbaa ran for five seasons over four years, making it one of Disney’s longest-running animated shows. Despite its long duration, Timon and Pumbaa is only remembered by true Disney fans since reruns of the show aired early in the morning before most children were awake.
Gargoyles was one of Disney’s darkest animated series. The main storyline followed a century-old curse being broken and awakening the gargoyles. When they realize they are a long way from home in Scotland, the gargoyles swear to protect New York, but not all gargoyles mean well. For example, Demona, one of the main villains of the series, wants to rid the world of humanity.
The show featured Disney alumni Keith David and had guest appearances from Ed Asner. The series ran for two seasons before being canceled in 1996. Even the most dedicated Disney fans may not remember the show, mainly because the show changed channels before its final season, moving to premium Disney afternoon align with ABC saturday morning.
The Little Mermaid (1992)
In 2008, Disney released a direct-to-video prequel to The little Mermaid, title The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginnings. But 16 years earlier, Disney aired the first episode of The little Mermaid TV shows. The show served as a prequel to the story told in the first film. In it, the audience learned how Ariel first met Ursula and collected all of her human treasures.
Ariel’s voice was provided by Jodie Benson, who played Ariel in the films. The show was part of Disney’s Saturday morning lineup, but the show only lasted three seasons, despite the film’s popularity. The series came out when most Disney animated films received spinoffs. It was also the era of Disney’s best-known princess films, leaving The little Mermaid series behind.
Goof Troop (1992)
As one of the iconic members of Disney’s Fab Five, Goofy got his show in 1992. Goof Troop centered on Goofy as he tries to navigate life as a single father with his son Max. The series ran for two seasons before being canceled. However, the series didn’t officially end there. A Movie Goofy continued the story, with The extremely clumsy serving as the official ending to Goofy and Max’s story.
The series was Disney’s first animated sitcom. Since the films set an intense backstory, fans often forget that there was an entire series dedicated to Max and Goofy’s life before he was a teenager.
Darkwing Duck (1991)
Set in the Duck Tales universe, Darkwing Duck follows the title character on his superhero adventures in the town of St. Duck. Like all great superheroes, Darkwing Duck balanced a double life. When he wasn’t fighting crime, he was taking care of his adopted daughter. dark duck was one of Disney’s longest-running series, with three seasons airing before the show was canceled in 1992.
dark duck faced backlash after some controversial episodes were deemed to contain subject matter unsuitable for children, leading to the show’s eventual cancellation. However, dark duck could have a reboot in 2022, according to Variety.
Centered on the characters of The jungle Book, StorySpin follows Baloo as a pilot and his crew in their attempts to save their courier business. StorySpin was one of nine shows featured on the Disney afternoon programming range. A comic book of the same name accompanied the show, often following storylines later adapted for television.
Most people don’t remember the show because Disney walked away from the show until Disney+ came out. Two episodes that have since been banned featured stereotypes of Asian culture, according to RBC. The show was never officially canceled but ceased airing in 1991.
Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers (1989)
The classic Disney cartoon, Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers, follows the two iconic chipmunks as they solve crimes. Shortly after its pilot episode, the show became part of the Disney afternoon line up. Later the show was moved to Disney cartoon before Disney closed the channel in 2008 and became Disney XD.
With the rise in popularity of live-action shows in the 90s and early 2000s, Disney moved away from animated series, leaving Chip N’ Dale to fade into oblivion for a time. Since its cancellation, the cartoon has been reworked as a live-action feature film that will be released on Disney+ in 2022.
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