For those who don’t remember the 1990s, know this: they were EXTREME (or X-Treme if you prefer). We had everything from the X Games to Adam X, the Extreme himself. Put simply, the nineties were not a decade to be taken lightly. They were far too extreme for that. However, one extreme element of the nineties seems to be forgotten far too often: the Extreme Ghostbusters.
The Extreme Ghostbusters was a syndicated cartoon produced by Sony as a sequel to The Real Ghostbusters. Featuring a new cast of younger Ghostbusters under the tutelage of Egon Spengler, the show is a worthy successor to The Real Ghostbusters. The younger Ghostbusters were notable for being a more diverse group, including the first permanent female member of the team (my apologies to Janine).
I’m not exactly sure why the Extreme Ghostbusters never achieved the same level of popularity that The Real Ghostbusters did. Maybe it was the time slot. I remember being the only kid in my class who seemed to know that the show even existed. I also remember my loving grandmother buying me a ton of Extreme Ghostbusters toys for Christmas that year.
More than anything, I remember the feeling when I realized the show was not going to be the phenomenon that I wanted it to be. The show was excellent, the toys were solid, and the Ghostbusters were just cool, but it wasn’t enough to save the show. I wanted the show to be popular, but it didn’t matter. For whatever reason, the show failed to find the success of its predecessor.
If I were to to try and pinpoint exactly why I enjoy collecting old toys and sharing nostalgic memories today, I would immediately point to this era of my life. In rapid succession, I saw three of my favorite franchises suddenly disappear after comeback attempts: The Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Robocop. Looking back, those last two make sense. Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation and Robocop: Alpha Commando were not among the finest moments for their respective franchises. As much as I enjoy them, I understand why they didn’t succeed. But Extreme Ghostbusters deserved better.
Maybe I’m too invested in the series to see its flaws. Maybe I wanted the Ghostbusters back so badly that I would have taken anything with the branding on it (this is probably true). But even today, I still enjoy the Extreme Ghostbusters. If you haven’t seen the show yet, please check it out. You won’t regret watching.
The first time that I can remember feeling like an outsider in regards to fandom occurred when Extreme Ghostbusters was on the air. I had never liked something so much that so many others hadn’t even heard of. It felt a little lonely and frustrating to be a Ghostbusters fan during those years, the way I imagine hardcore Star Wars fans felt in the late eighties and early nineties. But, it also helped me form a strong bond with the show. It didn’t feel like just another cartoon, this one was MINE.
All these years later, it still feels that way. I’m thrilled to see the show getting a bit more recognition these days, and the entire Ghostbusters revival in 2016 was a great surprise. Between the new movie, new toys, and the return of Hi-C Ecto Cooler, 2016 was a pretty cool year to be a Ghostbusters fan.
Hopefully we haven’t seen the last of the franchise (or Ecto Cooler). Anytime the Ghostbusters are involved, you can sign me up. However, I’ll never trade it in for 1997-1998: the time when the Ghostbusters went Extreme, and I was able to tag along for one great ride.