Saturday mornings once meant watching “Scooby Doo” (before he knew he had a nephew named Scrappy Doo) or “The Pink Panther” while picking out only the marshmallow treats from a giant box of Lucky Charms. Back then, there weren’t many alternatives.
Today, kids can eat their bowl of Rainforest Crunch while watching a host of edifying (and some not so uplifting) television. And Saturday mornings don’t necessarily mean cartoons only, either. NBC enters its second season without animation, offering only live-action shows, including the revamped “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” and the new “Running the Halls.”
Kid audiences will get a revamped “Sesame Street” and a double dose of some of their favorite television characters, including Dennis the Menace, Carmen Sandiego and Sonic the Hedgehog, who will be appearing on more than one network.
And to top it off, the Pink Panther comes back to TV--with a voice.
Here’s a selective look at what’s new for kids on the major networks:
The All New Dennis the Menace: The comic-strip character comes to animated life ‘90s style. 9 a.m. CBS. Premieres Sept. 18.
Beakman’s World: The innovative program, originally seen on KTLA and The Learning Channel, comes to CBS. The show features an energetic scientist dedicated to answering viewer questions about the kind of science that fascinates kids. 11 a.m. CBS. Premieres Sept. 18.
Cadillacs and Dinosaurs: This animated half-hour based on Mark Schultz’s award-winning comic books looks at the future with ecologist-adventurer Jack Tenerec and scientist Hannah Dundee cruising the savage Xenozoic landscape in their classic Caddy. They encounter dinosaurs as well as dangers from the future. 10:30 a.m. CBS. Premieres Sept. 18.
CityKids: This live-action series focuses on the concerns and challenges of urban teen life in the story of seven ethnically diverse main characters. The show combines comedy, dance and animation. 10:30 a.m. KGTV, KEYT; 11:30 a.m. KABC. Premieres Sept. 18.
Cro: This animated series looks at science and technology through the eyes of an orphaned Cro-Magnon boy, adopted by a Neanderthal family. Featuring voices of Ruth Buzzi and Max Cassella (“Doogie Howser, M.D.”). 7 a.m. KGTV, KEYT; 8 a.m. KABC. Premieres Sept. 18.
EEK! And the Terrible Thunderlizards: The show of the unlucky cat Eek is divided into two segments. The Terrible Thunderlizards present dinosaur life 135 million years ago as the sophisticated, highly technical human life of today. 8:30 a.m. KTTV, XETV. Premieres in early 1994.
Marsupilami: The European comic storybook character, along with his best friend, Maurice, see mayhem and mischief in their native jungle habitat in three cartoons each week. Featured in one of them will be Sebastian the Crab from “The Little Mermaid.” 7 a.m. CBS. Premieres Sept. 18.
Running the Halls: The new live-action comedy series focuses on a group of teens attending an East Coast boarding school and the fun and games that occur away from home. Times vary due to sports events. NBC. Premieres Sept. 11 .
Saved by the Bell: The New Class: While the show is returning for a fifth season, an all-new cast populates the fictional Bayside High School. (Several original cast members star in “Saved by the Bell: The College Years,” which airs at 7 p.m. Tuesday.) Times vary due to sports events. NBC. Premieres Sept. 11 .
Sonic the Hedgehog: Meet the rip-roaring hedgehog hero of video game fame as an animated character. 8 a.m. KGTV, KEYT; 9 a.m. KABC. Premieres Sept. 18.
Tales From the Cryptkeeper: This animated anthology series teaches a morality lesson through “chilling humor.” 9 a.m. KGTV, KEYT; 10 a.m. KABC. Premieres Sept. 18.
Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?: Based on the same computer game as the PBS series, this new Fox show combines animated adventures with a viewer-interactive game. 10:30 a.m. Fox. Premieres Febrary, 1994. (PBS’ Emmy Award-winning game show “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?"--not in any way associated with this Fox show--continues to air weekdays at 5 p.m. on KCET.)
The Jetsons: KTTV adds it to its lineup at 6 a.m.
A selective look at other networks:
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: Yet another animated series based on the popular video character. Airs 8 a.m. KCOP. Premieres Sept. 6.
The Bots Master: The animated futuristic show is about a robot maker determined to place robots in every home, office and factory. Airs 6 a.m. KCOP. Premieres Sept. 27.
Bonkers!: Detective Lucky Piquel and his sidekick and rookie partner, Bonkers D. Bobcat, are a new addition to the cartoons of Disney Afternoon. Airs 4:30 p.m. KCAL. Premieres Sept. 6.
Dennis the Menace: The troublesome cartoon character, coming to life on CBS, also airs in syndication. Airs 6:30 a.m. KCOP. Premieres Sept. 6.
Garfield: The wry cat and his cronies move into syndication. Airs 7:30 a.m. KCOP. (The show also airs at 8 a.m. on CBS.) Premieres Sept. 20.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Live-action sci-fi show follows the five teens who turn into superheroes when facing evil. Airs 7:30 a.m. Fox. Premieres Sept. 6 .
Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs: A new collection of animated characters, including the Warner Brothers, Yakko and Wakko, and their sister Dot. Airs 4:30 p.m. Fox. Premieres Sept. 13 .
XUXA: This is an English version of the South American performer’s (pronounced “Shoo-Sha”) show. With songs, dance, games and special guests. Airs 9 a.m. KCOP. Premieres Sept. 13.
Other Monday through Friday shows include The Pink Panther (See story Page XX) , 8:30 a.m. KCOP. Premieres Sept. 13 , and The Hallo Spencer Show/The Mad Scientist Toon Club, 9:30 a.m. KCOP. Premieres Sept. 20.
Adventures in Wonderland: The live-action, ‘90s Disney Channel version of the classic story moves into syndication. Airs 11 a.m. KCAL. Premieres Sept. 11.
Bill Nye the Science Guy: Real-life scientist and stand-up comedian Bill Nye illustrates science concepts and offers home experiments. The show features a cast of kid regulars. Airs 11:30 a.m. KCAL. Premieres Sept. 11.
Biker Mice From Mars: A motorcycle-filled cartoon about three teen-age mice who land on the best rock ‘n’ roll planet in the cosmos, Earth. “Beverly Hills, 90210’s” Ian Ziering is the voice of one of the mice. Airs 9:30 a.m. KCOP. Premieres Sept. 19.
EXOSquad: Set in 2119 A.D., this futuristic action series marks the launch of MCA TV’s Universal Family Entertainment Network through Universal Cartoon Studios. Robby Benson is the voice of EXOsquad’s heroic leader. Airs 9 a.m. KCOP. Premieres Sept. 19.
The New Adventures of Speed Racer: Since MTV is airing the original “Speed Racer,” there may be added interest in this new version about the fifth-generation car racer who first appeared on Japanese television in 1956 and in the United States two years later. 8:30 a.m. KCOP. Premieres Sept. 19.
Pick Your Brain: Hosted by Marc Summers of “Family Double Dare” and “What Would You Do?,” this educational game show pits three contestants against each other for college scholarships, money and prizes. Airs at 12:30 p.m. KCOP. Premieres Sept. 18.
Other new Sunday shows on KCOP include Double Dragon, 10 a.m. (also 11:30 a.m. XETV); The Hurricanes, 11:30 a.m.; King Arthur and the Knights of Justice, 11 a.m. (also 11 a.m. XETV); Mighty Max, 10:30 a.m.; Transformers: Generation Two, 8 a.m. All premiere Sept. 12.
Space Ghost: Coast to Coast: The network calls this the “first late-night talk show hosted by a cartoon superhero.” Part adventure cartoon and part Hollywood talk show, it combines footage from celebrity interviews with shots of the black-hooded interplanetary crime fighter. He’ll interview a different celebrity each Friday night.
The channel also will air three new acquisitions, The Banana Splits (Monday 4 p.m., Premieres Sept. 20 ); A Pup Named Scooby-Doo (Monday 4:30 p.m.); and The Smurfs (Monday 7 a.m.) Premieres Oct. 4.
The Nature Connection: Award-winning scientist David Suzuki brings nature to children in this 13-part series, traveling the globe for adventures. Topics include backyard fishing in Newfoundland and other natural wonders. Airs Saturday 9 a.m. Premieres Oct. 2 .
Wonderstruck: Why do horses sleep standing up? Why don’t planets collide with one another? How can you pour water up? This kids’ series presents science and technology in a humorous, challenging way. Airs Saturday 9:30 a.m. Premieres Oct. 2.
The Charlie Brown & Snoopy Show: Disney purchased 58 titles of Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” cartoons. Airs Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 6-6:30 p.m. Premieres Oct. 4.
Babar: The former HBO animated series about the King of the Pachyderms moves to the family channel. Weekdays at 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and Saturday at 9 and 9:30 a.m. Premieres Sept. 6.
Rupert: A new ‘toon from the pages of Britain’s Daily Express. This show is based on England’s oldest comic strip and has never been seen in the U.S. Airs weekdays 8:30-9 a.m. Premieres Sept. 6.
The Sports Illustrated for Kids Slam Dunk, Home Run, Touchdown Sports Quiz: The show features top athletes posing questions to kids. Premieres in October.
Nickelodeon Cartoon Kablooey: Nick presents a half-hour of animation from the Paramount and UPA libraries. Weekdays 7:30 a.m. Premieres Sept. 13 ; Saturday 10 a.m. Premieres Sept. 18 ; Sunday 8:30 a.m. Premieres Sept. 19 .
New Game Show (title TBA): This fantasy-action game show takes kids on adventures that test their intelligence, physical prowess and determination as they search for legendary artifacts. Each story revolves around a myth or a story based in fact. Airs 6:30 p.m. Premieres Sept. 18 .
Rocko’s Modern Life: This cartoon revolves around an Australian wallaby named Rocko who learns about life in the U.S. and about life as “almost an adult.” Airs 9:30 p.m. Premiere s Sept. 18 . Starting Sept. 19, airs 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron: Set in MegaKat City, an all-cat urban jungle, the cartoon follows Jake and Chance--jet fighters by night, auto mechanics by day--as they transform into T-Bone and Razor. Airs Sunday at 6:05 a.m. and Friday at 12:35 p.m. Premieres Sept. 12 . Also airs Saturday at 6:30 a.m. KTTV. Premieres Sept. 11.
2 Stupid Dogs: Seen from the eyes of a big mutt and a small one who wander into various situations. This cartoon will feature two “2 Stupid Dog” cartoons and one episode of the new Super Secret Squirrel, based on the Hanna-Barbera ‘toon. Airs Sunday at 6:35 a.m and 2:05 p.m. Premieres Sept. 12.