Eighties Relics That Should Be TV Shows

The 1980s: awesome decade, or awesomest decade ever? It's a trick question, of course: the '80s had so many great things, they didn't even bother turning many of their best ideas into live action TV shows! People were just like, yeah, we've already got Max Headroom and Small Wonder, so we're good. Well, not anymore. With pseudo-networks like Netflix and Amazon turning every intellectual property in pop culture history in binge-watching events, it's time to revisit the greatest of all decades and reclaim some of those rad ideas. So here's a look at some of the gnarliest things from the 1980s we wish were made into live action TV shows. You're welcome.


Michael Jackson's legendary 1983 music video for the hit song "Thriller" remains arguably the greatest music video of all time. Clocking in at 13 minutes long, it just about doubles as a backdoor pilot for a TV show. And what a show it would be! Romance, dancing, zombie attacks. Heck, it's got everything The Walking Dead has, plus Michael Jackson and Vincent Price! Why hasn't this happened already?

Care Bears

Having a bad day? There's one surefire cure: the Care Bear Stare! Sure, the Care Bears would seem like an odd choice for live action, but we seem to be living in something of a golden age for live action teddy bears in media. Just ask Seth MacFarlane and Ted. True, Ted is a little more off color than your typical Care Bear, which is usually a soothing pastel rainbow shade. But admit it: you'd tune in to see a bunch of furries fight evil with the magic power of love, right? Yeah. So would everyone.

The Squadron Supreme

Watchmen gets all the press. But when it comes to deconstructing the world of superheroes, Marvel's Squadron Supreme is just as effective and affecting. The series tells the story of an alternate universe Justice League that decides to try and cure mankind's ills by taking over the world. But as the old saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. When does working for the greater good become an even greater evil? Squadron Supreme would be a must-watch series if Marvel adapted it for Netflix. Let's get this done, like, yesterday.

Endless Quest

Forget those Choose Your Own Adventure books. They were fun enough, but they paled in comparison to the crazy Endless Quest young adult novels being put out by TSR. The geniuses behind Dungeons & Dragons filled their books with insanity you'd never find in a Choose Your Own Adventure book, like smack-talking swords, undead sirens, and killer robots destroying Washington D.C. Sure, it might be hard for the networks to recapture the feel of actually being in the story that the Endless Quest books fostered, but fans would give a dozen electrum pieces to see live action adaptations of Mountain of Mirrors, Revenge of the Rainbow Dragons, or Pillars of Pentegarn.

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Speaking of globetrotting mystery adventures, the classic video game Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego would make for a great TV series. Yes, it was already turned into a fun game show—with a fantastic theme by Rockapella—but a live action show with the emphasis on the action part could be sweet. After all, in the original Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego video game, Carmen Sandiego was essentially the Jason Bourne of her day. You can see it now, right?

UPDATE: Cheers to Netflix. The streaming service has taken our recommendation. No, no, we don't need any recognition. Sure, a gift basket wouldn't hurt, but it's not a big deal.

Blood Meridian

Author Cormac McCarthy is no stranger to having his books adapted for the big screen, with acclaimed films like The Road, No Country for Old Men, and All the Pretty Horses based on his novels. But there's one McCarthy book that so far has resisted all attempts at adaptation: his classic anti-western Blood Meridian, which tells the story of a real life gang that hunted and massacred Native Americans for sport and profit. While the scope of the story has proven too much for film, series like Lonesome Dove have proven in the past that television can accomplish for westerns what movies can't. Blood Meridian would be a perfect HBO or Showtime series.

Garbage Pail Kids

Honestly, can you even imagine how gross a live action Garbage Pail Kids show would be? Hollywood certainly couldn't when they made the terrible 1987 live action feature film adaptation. But since then, CGI has changed a lot of things, including Hollywood's ability to fully render characters like Adam Bomb, Fake Jake, and Have a Nice Dave. Throw in some kind of over-the-top, Team America type storyline and this could be a fantastically perverse and subversive series—just the like cards were.

Trivial Pursuit

Yeah, so most attempts to adapt board games for TV of film have been terrible. But then again, there's Clue, the exception that proves the rule (no coincidence the film was made in the '80s!). Trivial Pursuit could follow in Clue's footsteps despite having no apparent plot. How? By focusing on the "pursuit" part of the title. Imagine a National Treasure type mystery, with our team of heroes using their knowledge of obscure trivia to track down the artifact that will save the world.

The Legend of Zelda

The good news: Netflix was rumored as recently as 2015 to actually be working on a live action adaptation of the classic RPG. The bad news: it hasn't actually happened, and seems to be either dead or trapped in development hell. Which is too bad, because The Legend of Zelda game series has earned that "legend" bit over the past three decades, selling well over 60 million copies and thrilling generations of fans. In the age of Game of Thrones, Zelda would seem to be a no brainer. Here's hoping.