For a while, Disney animated TV series were as plentiful as the big screen animated movies. Some of them, like Bonkers or Gummi Bears, were wholly original properties. But at the same time, Disney wasn’t above adapting movies into TV shows, hoping to match the success of the animated movie. Here are four examples of Disney animated TV shows based on Disney Animated movies.
The Aladdin TV series was based on the wildly successful Aladdin movie, with Robin Williams as the Genie. The show is set after Aladdin is engaged to Jasmine at the end of the movie, but before he is married to her. Joining them is the Genie (of course), Abu Aladdin’s monkey, the mute Flying Carpet, Iago, the sarcastic parrot who was Jafar’s assistant in Aladdin but at end of the direct-to-video Return of Jafar, at a critical moment had a change of heart and helped the heroes defeat Jafar. The heroes battle creatures and sorcerers who threaten the kingdom of Agrabah. The show lasted for three seasons and eighty-six episodes.
The Little Mermaid TV series was based on The Little Mermaid animated movie, which was considered the first movie in “the Disney Renaissance” period of hit after hit. The TV series was set before the events of the movie, where it ends with Ariel becoming a human and marrying Prince Eric. Ariel is still a mermaid, along with her sea friends Flounder, a tropical reef fish, Sebastian, the Jamaican crab, the king’s assistant, King Triton, Ariel’s father who sometimes doesn’t understand her daughter, Ursula, the sea witch who also antagonized the heroes in the first movie, and her six sisters. Ariel is a teenage mermaid trying to find her place in the kingdom while also protecting it from those who might harm it. The show lasted for three short seasons and thirty-one episodes.
The Lion King’s Timon and Pumbaa was based on one of the highest grossing animated movies of all time, The Lion King. In the Lion King, Simba meets the meerkat Timon and the warthog Pumbaa after running away from home after his father dies. The two goofy animals become Simba’s friends and later help him at the end of the movie. The TV series is set after the movie and follows Timon and Pumbaa across various crazy adventures in Africa and other places around the world, with much of the cast from the Lion King, including Simba, making appearances. Unlike the other animated series on this list, all of the episodes were composed of two segments, making for shorter befitting the series more comedic nature. The show lasted three seasons and eighty-five episodes, or one hundred and seventy-one segments.
Hercules was based on the popular animated movie Hercules. Hercules is set in between the movie, taking inspiration from Hercules as a clumsy teenager who doesn’t know his own strength. Joining him are Philoctetes, the grumbling satyr trainer, Pegasus, Hercules’ winged horse, as well as his two best friends, Icarus and Cassandra. Like the film, the animated series goes for comedy over historical accuracy, freely including characters from different time periods. The series lasted two seasons and sixty-five episodes.
While these TV series usually dipped in quality versus the original animated movie, for young fans of the show, it must have been great to have more stories of Aladdin, Ariel, Timon and Pumbaa, and Hercules. (Bonus: You can also catch a fifth series on this list, Lilo and Stitch, with renamed title It'll be Great on TV, Too, Part 1!)