What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ghostbusters: The Animated Series is inspired by characters from the 1975 live-action series The Ghost Busters and is not related to the popular movie series or The Real Ghostbusters, its sister cartoon series. Character details aside, the premise is fairly predictable: Paranormal hunters wage war on a squad of ghosts out to take over the world. Both sides use force and some weapons, including explosives, guns that entrap or disintegrate their targets (who are said to have gone to another dimension), and, in the case of the ghosts, some unique skills like shooting shock waves from their hands. None of the violence is bloody or graphic, and victims even quip about their fate to the very end, so most kids won't be bothered by it. Female characters' curvaceous bodies are shown off by their skimpy and clingy attire, but they hold their own among the men. On the upside, the series incorporates touches of mythology, history, and science through the characters' time travels, which find them in places like Transylvania, ancient Rome, and Camelot.
What's the story?
In GHOSTBUSTERS: THE ANIMATED SERIES, friends Jake (voiced by Pat Fraley) and Eddie (Peter Cullen) shoulder the responsibilities of hunting spooks when their dads decide to retire from the trade. The partners travel through time in their Ghost Buggy (Fraley again) with their pet gorilla, Tracy (Lou Scheimer), to thwart the evil plans of a villainous ghost wizard named Prime Evil (Alan Oppenheimer). They're joined by news reporter Jessica (Susan Blu), Belfry the kindly bat (Blu again), and the mysterious and powerful Futura (Blu again), as well as new friends they make in the places and times they visit.
Is it any good?
First, let's talk about what this series isn't. It's not associated with the well-known movies starring Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray, it's not related to the longer-running (and presumably more popular) cartoon featuring those movies' characters, and it's not a real thriller. The protagonists are a little goofy, the inclusion of a full-size gorilla sidekick is a little strange, and the villains' chronic ineptitude is suspect. That said, none of this should come as a surprise given that the series is a remake of a '70s show –- and a live-action one of that -- of the same grain.
But here's what the show is. It is devoid of any violence that's likely to upset your kids, thanks to weapons that usually shoot ropes or make their targets disappear. Even mildly tense moments are offset by droll one-liners that further lighten the mood. It's also a passable illustration of how looks can be deceiving, since the characters (both good and bad) come in all shapes and sizes but contribute to their cause in unique ways. And finally, it is a creative platform for introducing kids to the concepts of history and mythology, thanks to the characters travels back in time.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why we like shows about ghosts and monsters. Is it fun to be scared a little by the shows and movies we watch? Which of these characters were the scariest to you?
How do the Ghostbusters conquer their fears? What drives them to do this job in particular? How does their work help people? Who in your community has a similarly helpful job?
If your kids have seen the series or movies with the "other" Ghostbusters characters, talk about how the two sets compare. Was either team more successful than the other? If so, what accounts for this difference? How did their supernatural partners contribute to the effort? Which set of characters is your favorite?