Familiar faces in new settings offer some of the most promising ventures in new programming for youngsters this season. Among them: the animated Little Bear, Madeline, Rupert, Sylvester & Tweety, Pinky & the Brain, Felix the Cat and the live-action Flipper, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.
Plus you'll find not one or two but three animated versions of Jim Carrey vehicles: "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" (though not till January), "The Mask" and "Dumb and Dumber."
And like last year, there are a bevy of action-adventure shows in the "Power Rangers" vein, but most this year are animated and can be seen in syndication, on UPN and the USA Network.
Following is a selective overview of what to look for (all show times and days are subject to change):
The New Adventures of Madeline: New episodes of precocious Madeline and her schoolmates at her Paris school. Same show that's been on the Family Channel, but ABC has new episodes. Based on books by Ludwig Bemelmans. Saturdays at 7 a.m. KABC.
Dumb and Dumber: Animated adventures of Harry and Lloyd, based on the hit Jim Carrey movie. Premieres Oct. 28. Saturdays at 8 a.m. KABC.
What-a-Mess: Comic misadventures of a scruffy, yet loyal Afghan Hound puppy of royal heritage, whose disheveled appearance highlights this animated series based on children's books by British television personality Frank Muir. Saturdays at 11 a.m. KABC.
Carrot Top's A.M. Mayhem: Real-life cartoon and comedian Carrot Top hosts two hours of classic toons. Premieres Oct. 9. Weekdays 4-6 a.m.
Shows premiere Sept. 16
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective: Animated exploits of the hyper P.I. Premieres in January. Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. KCBS.
The Adventures of Hyperman: Based on IBM's CD-ROM and online educational tools of the same name, features comedic exploits of Hyperman, zany intergalactic super-hero who's helped by his dog, Studd Puppy, and a teen genius (Tamera Mowry), as he tries to save the Earth. Animated. Saturdays at 7 a.m. KCBS.
The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa: Comic animated adventures with wisecracking Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog from Disney's popular feature. Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. KCBS. Also Fridays at 5:30 p.m. KCAL.
The Mask: Based on the hit film, Rob Paulsen voices The Mask, joined by Milo the Wonder Dog and new animated characters. Saturdays at 9 a.m. KCBS.
National Geographic's Really Wild Animals: Global adventures with original music videos about the animal world, hosted by Spin, an animated globe-on-the-go and voiced by Dudley Moore. Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. KCBS.
Santo Bugito: Ants run a local eatery on the Tex-Mex border. George Kennedy voices a termite buddy, Cheech Marin a hyperactive flea, and Joan Van Ark provides voice for a damsel fy. Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. KCBS.
The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat: New spin on Don Oriolo's classic cat. Each episode features two or three shorts. Saturdays at 10 a.m. KCBS.
Shows premiere Oct. 2
Family Challenge: Two families battle in contests using Jell-O, whipped-cream pies and ice cream sundaes. Weekdays at 5 p.m., Saturdays at 10 a.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
Masters of the Maze: "Saved by the Bell's" Mario Lopez hosts this journey into the video game of the future. Interactive show features kids challenged by an electronic video screen. Weekdays at 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 a.m.
Wild Animal Games: Kids and their folks coax professionally trained animals to participate in three contests. Examples: elephants squash watermelons, pigs slalom race and donkeys play polo. Weekdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m.
Britt Allcroft's Magic Adventures of Mumfie: Allcroft, whose "Shining Time Station" is a hit for PBS, takes an optimistic elephant named Mumfie on animated adventures. Weekdays, TBA, on Fox Cubhouse, KTTV.
Budgie the Little Helicopter: Animated British series created by the Duchess of York (Sarah Ferguson), based on her Budgie books. Weekdays, TBA, on Fox Cubhouse, KTTV.
Casper: Animated series based on the comic book, cartoon and recent live-action feature. Saturdays TBA, KTTV.
Goosebumps: Based on the popular book series by R.L. Stine ("the Stephen King for kids"), this anthology series begins in October. TBA, KTTV.
The Heap: Junk from under the bed becomes the family pet when The Heap's zapped with static electricity. Animated show from the creator of Eek! TBA, KTTV.
Life With Louie: Based on earlier Fox specials and the comedy of stand-up Louie Anderson, this animated series focused on 8-year-old Louie and his family. Fox calls it a "Fat Albert" for the '90s. Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. KTTV.
Masked Rider: From "Power Rangers" producers, a live-action show about a normal teen who's also an alien prince on a mission to save Earth from a megalomaniac Emperor named Draygon. Premieres Sept. 16 at 7:30 a.m.; airs regularly Saturdays at 8 a.m. KTTV.
Siegfried & Roy: Masters of the Impossible: Las Vegas' most popular act gets animated. They find themselves in Sarmoti, a once magical world, where magic's been stolen. TBA, KTTV.
THE LEARNING CHANNEL
Shows premiere Sept. 25. Two new shows join the commercial-free Ready, Set, Learn! block:
Chicken Minute: Set in the Louisiana bayou, this show offers emphasis on conflict resolution through five puppets. Humor, Cajun blues and rock music featured. Weekdays at 3 a.m. and 7 a.m.
Little Star: Colorful puppets examine mysteries of space and the magic of imagination. Weekdays at 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.
Hang Time: Network maintains live-action lineup, with this new addition set around a group of high-school basketball teammates. Saturdays at 9:30 a.m., KNBC, KMIR.
Maurice Sendak's Little Bear: Sendak's first-ever television series, based on books featuring his illustrations with stories by Else Holmelund Minarik. These tales of a young bear cub learning forest safety join the Nick Jr. lineup. November TBA.
Rupert: Brit favorite for 75 years, Rupert debuted as a comic strip, appeared in a series of books and now moves to TV. Rupert and his pals tackle the magical world they live in. Weekdays at noon.
Global GUTS: Popular GUTS goes international and continues its tradition of offering sports fantasies. Weekdays, beginning Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
Show premieres Oct. 9.
Wishbone: Live-action series stars an imaginative Jack Russell terrier (whose real name is Soccer) in the title role jumping into scenes of classic literature. Weekdays at 4:30 p.m., KCET.
Unless otherwise indicated, KCOP shows premiere Oct. 1.
A.J.'s Time Travelers: Time-traveling teen visits with historical figures, places and events. Live-action. Sundays at noon, KCOP.
Bananas in Pajamas: Australian live-action show features the mischievous Banana twins in their storybook world. Premieres Sept. 18. Weekdays at 6:30 a.m., KCAL.
Disney's Sing Me a Story With Belle: Educationally oriented series hosted by "Beauty and the Beast's" Belle (Lynsey McLeod), designed for preschoolers, first and second graders, encouraging them to read. Original songs featured, Sundays at noon, KCAL.
Dragonball: Animated adventures of Gogo, a boy who falls into a mystical kingdom, complete with dragons. Premieres Saturday at 11:30 a.m., KCOP.
Flipper: Popular '60s show returns with a contemporary twist. Premieres Oct. 8. Sundays at 6 p.m., repeats Saturdays at noon, KCAL.
G.I. Joe: Extreme: The quintessential soldier protects humanity from the forces of Skar and keeps the world free from disaster. Combines live-action and animation. Sundays at 11 a.m., KCOP.
Hardy Boys: In their latest incarnation, the crime-solving bros are in their early 20s--Frank (Colin Gray) is a journalist and Joe (Paul Popowich) is a computer "hacker" and aspiring criminologist. Premieres Sept. 23. Saturdays at 4 p.m., KCOP.
Gadget Boy & Heather: Bionic boy with an adult mind takes on a new neighborhood. Premieres Saturday at 6:30 a.m., KCAL.
Jelly Bean Jungle: Mixes puppetry, live action, special effects and original music to emphasize self-esteem, cooperation, responsibility and the value of friendship. Premieres Saturday. Saturdays at 6 a.m., KTTV.
Littlest Pet Shop: A quaint little pet shop is inhabited by tiny talking and adventuresome animated animals. Premieres Sept. 11. Weekdays at 7 a.m.. KCAL.
Nancy Drew: Nancy for the '90s (Tracy Ryan) is a 20-year-old criminology student, but her best pals are still Bess (Jhene Erwin) and George (Joy Tanner). Premieres Sept. 23. Saturdays at 4:30 p.m., KCOP.
Out of the Blue: Set at Sea World in Orlando, Fla., six "multicultural role models" cavort with whales, sea lions, dolphins and other ocean life. Premieres Saturday. Saturdays at 12:30 p.m., KTLA.
Princess Guinevere & The Jewel Riders: Animated action-adventures of three teen gals and their animal best friends who save Avalon from the evil Lady Kale. Premieres Saturday. Saturdays at 7 a.m., KCAL.
Reality Check: Interactive computer adventures with two elementary school kids and a teen computer programming genius in this live-action show. Sundays at 12:30 p.m., KCOP.
Sailor Moon: Popular Japanese animated series on the adventures of a teen who struggles daily to save the world from evildoers comes to the U.S. Premieres Sept. 11. Weekdays at 7:30 a.m., KCOP.
Street Sharks: Four brothers become half-human, half-sharks through DNA experiments of a warped genetic engineer. Sundays at 9:30 a.m., KCOP.
Tenko and the Guardians of Magic: Live-action and animated adventures of Princess Tenko, Japanese magician. Premieres Sept. 17. Sundays at 11:30 a.m., KCOP.
KCOP also airs the following, for which synopses weren't available at press time: Double Dragon: Sundays at 8 a.m.; Darkstalker: (animated): Sundays at 5:30 a.m. Skysurfer: Sundays at 9 a.m., and Ultraforce: Sunday at 8:30 a.m.
Shows premiere Sept. 10:
Space Strikers: 3-D imagery highlights this outer-space adventure in which Capt. Nemo commands the starship Nautilus. From "Power Rangers" Saban Children's Entertainment Group. Sundays at 10 a.m., KCOP.
Teknoman: Drawn in Anime (Japanese) style, dramatic serial set in 2087 focuses on Blade, a young man who's on a quest to save his kidnaped family from Darkon, the deranged Venomoid Warlord and his army of Spider Crabs. Also from Saban. Sundays at 10:30 a.m., KCOP.
Shows premiere Oct. 21:
Savage Dragon: Based on best-selling comic, people of all colors (green, black, white, etc.) work together to fight evil. Animated. Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.
Street Fighter: Based on popular video game. A covert team fights ruthless secret criminal organization. Animated. Saturdays at noon and Sundays at 11 a.m.
Shows begin Saturday:
Earthworm Jim: Once-spineless creature transforms into animated super-hero Earthworm Jim. Saturdays at 10:30 a.m., KTLA.
Steven Spielberg Presents Freakazoid: Animated adventures of a teen super-hero and crimefighter. Saturdays at 10 a.m., KTLA.
Steven Spielberg Presents Pinky & the Brain: The popular lab mice are spun off "Animaniacs" (which moves to Kids' WB! from Fox). Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m., KTLA.
The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries: WB! offers the first new episodes in 30 years featuring the charsimatic cat and yellow witty bird. Saturdays at 8:30 a.m., KTLA.