I was waiting for this episode in particular and then the combination of other offerings and my huge YouTube backlog got it buried.
By now the history of the Ghostbusters franchise is known to the die-hard fans. Originally intended to be titled Ghost Smashers, Dan Aykroyd was inspired by his interest in the supernatural to create a horror comedy starring himself and fellow Saturday Night Live alum John Belushi. Belushi died and co-writer Harold Ramis was brought in as an actor as well as another SNL alum and former co-star of Ramis’, Bill Murry. They also wanted Eddie Murphy as Winston but when he couldn’t make it Ernie Hudson was a perfect replacement to the point I couldn’t see Murphy in the role.
The name was licensed from the Filmation live-action series The Ghost Busters, a vehicle for F-Troop show-stealers Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch. When the movie was a hit Filmation decided to return to the old series with a new cartoon featuring their sons, forgetting that the kids of that time wouldn’t know the original series. Still, this put Columbia Pictures in a pickle when they decided to do an animated spinoff of the movie. Thus The Real Ghostbusters was born, with a promo pilot that was a bit different from the full series. The show would air primarily in ABC’s Saturday morning line-up though a season was also produced directly to syndication, which featured slightly lower-quality animation but could amp up the creepy factor without ABC’s “standards and practices” concerns.
The first episode is frankly kind of weak, a standard show at best. The episode I was waiting for is “Citizen Ghost”, episode 11 of the first season. In it we learn what happened to the Ghostbusters after defeating Gozer and repairing the damage caused by Peck taking the containment unit offline and releasing the ghosts inside. As we know, one ghost decided to stick around, and it’s a good thing he did when the uniforms from the movie turn deadly.
I like that the official Ghostbusters YouTube channel does something not enough of the official classic show channels do, in that the full opening and closing credits are in the video. I hate when they’re removed, especially by the channels DreamWorks runs for their Filmation library. The channel also has old episode of the 90s continuation Extreme Ghostbusters, which played up the horror factor even more, reaching my limits of scary tales. Fun fact: The first movie exists as a movie in the show. The episode “Take Two” has the Ghostbusters busting a ghost on the set of their own biopic.
Of course the reason Slimer was really allowed to stay is that he was such a huge presence in the trailer for the movies that kids really liked his design. So Columbia asked DIC and showrunner J. Michael Straczynski, at the time a writer over at Filmation and future creator of the Babylon 5 series and spinoffs (as well as working on One More Day because we all make mistakes…even huge ones), to include him. When the series got what’s known as the “Q5 changes” because of the company that talked ABC into super toning down the show. Phelous has a great video on that for more information. Nobody was happy with the changes in the writers’ room or the audience…though, and this may get me in trouble if people actually cared…I actually didn’t hate the “Slimer” shorts. I thought they were kind of amusing. The rest however I’m in total agreement on. Slimer did become too much of a focus and the confrontations with him and Peter were sadly missed, as were the replaced voice actors. I didn’t hate them as much as Phelous does and with better writing it might have worked but while I don’t hate Dave Coulier he’s no Lorenzo Music. It’s kind of a shame, but it shows consultants don’t know squat.
What really bothers me though is that Ghostbusters II ignored the series altogether. In the film the group disbanded after fighting the Stay Puft marshmallow man and it turned into a stupid reunion movie. Louis gets a new job so he could remain part of the plot as the Ghostbusters’ lawyer, instead of the accountant from the first movie and they put him into a relationship with Jeanine, killing the potential romance they were building up in the show with Jeanine and Egon. Dana returns in the movie, only she has a baby with a dead husband just to put her and Peter together again. Louis would start appearing in the show but no sign of Dana and baby Oscar. Slimer was even forced into the movie as a sort of reformed ghost because of merchandising and the success with him doing that in the cartoon, which again was ignored by the movie. I’ve always been more into the show than the movies but while I enjoy the first movie this kind of keeps me from enjoying the sequel, which exists in part because the cartoon kept the franchise in the public consciousness even if the new target was a bit younger than the first movie.
As mentioned before both of the movie-based Ghostbusters cartoons are being released on the official Ghostbusters YouTube channel, which I’m sure is there to promote the Ghostbusters: Afterlife movie that’s in the works as of this writing. It’s also available on a few other streaming services in full as well as home video releases floating around while on the official YouTube channel the two shows are being released chronologically but side to side. So if you want to “live” their adventures again, now’s your chance.