Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Flintstones: An Important Review

Hanna and Barbera's The Flintstones was a great cartoon. I've got to qualify it however, the show that ran on ABC from 1960-1966 was great--everything else? Positively shitty.The Flintstones were one part reality program (notice the Mark Burnett credits in season 3) and one part, total sci-fi. How else could you explain a quite comfortable co-existence of the pre-historic underpinnings crossed with Grade A '60s cheese. Admittedly the show very rarely achieved "Flintstone Flyer" like excellence, but the first four seasons were solid programming. As early as the fourth season what we saw was a diluted Flintstone, a once vital man subjected to B list stories and an increasingly failing supporting cast. Hey, that sounds like my last few dates. By 1966 the Flintstones: Classic Edition, closed up shop. What was next? Nearly 40 years of total irrelevance. The franchise has coasted on the initial series run--and deservedly so.

The Trouble Signs: What else? Fred as race car driver Goggles Pisano, the Hatrocks and Gruesomes. But then again I was stunned when the Gruesomes weren't spun off into their own series. Of course among the culpable, the nostalgia proof Great Gazoo. The personification of "running out of material," Gazoo was neither needed or likeable. His poisonous presence took the remaining wind out of failing series.

The Low Lights:
The Pebbles and Bamm Bamm Show (1971-1972)
The New Fred and Barney Show (1979) I've never seen anything tagged "new" that actually worked. By this point we lost Alan Reed and therefore lost the definitive voice of Fred Flintstone. Henry Corden took over Fred's vocal chores.
The Flintstones Comedy Show (1980-1982) Woo wee, not funny. NBC was responsible for this travesty. This is where Fred and Barney had to share the spotlight with the much-hyped Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels among other so-so cartoon characters.
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