Extreme Ghostbusters in action.


Original Medium: Television animation
Produced by: Columbia Pictures Television
First Appeared: 1997
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1980s Saturday morning television had seen both Real Ghostbusters and Original Ghostbusters (which had equal claims to being both "real" and "original", tho that didn't stop each from claiming one of those attributes). In extending the franchise into a new decade, Columbia Pictures Television (which owned the one designated "real") needed a new …

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… adjective. More Ghostbusters? Derivative Ghostbusters? Neither Real Nor Original Ghostbusters? They decided on that all-purpose '90s (and early 21st century) adjective denoting up-to-date coolness — Extreme Ghostbusters.

The '90s incarnation of Ghostbusters started out with the 1986 Real Ghostbusters having retired from the ghostbusting game years earlier, because all the ghosts seemed to have been busted (except, of course, Slimer, whom they'd kept as a pet). Most were off living relatively normal lives, but their leader, Dr. Egon Spengler, was still keeping his hand in. He continued to occupy the old firehouse that had been their headquarters, and spent his days teaching ghostbusting at Columbia University. He served as the nucleus of a new Ghostbusters team, when non-busted ghosts started turning up again.

Recruiting among his own students, he put together a team of four new ghostbusters, with himself reprising his role as leader; and got Janine Melnitz back from the previous series to serve as their secretary again. The four young team members were Eduardo Rivera (hip, Hispanic, but a slacker type), Kylie Griffin (the only one who had any real understanding of what Egon taught), Garrett Miller (wheelchair-bound, but with an athlete's love of adrenalin rushes (which he cited as his reason for joining the team) and Roland Jackson (who had a particular affinity for the gadgets they used in busting ghosts, but not related).

Eduardo was played by voice actor Rino Romano (21st century voice of Batman). Kylie was Tara Strong (Timmy in Fairly OddParents). Garrett was Jason Marsden (Max Goof) in post-series appearances). Roland was Alfonso Ribeiro (a face actor with few other voice credits). Of the returning characters, Maurice LaMarche (The Brain) returned as Egon. Pat Musick (who tends to play minor roles such as one of the Guardians of the Universe in 21st century Superman cartoons) and Billy West (Fry in Futurama) took over the roles of Janine and Slimer, respectively.

In one memorable two-part story, the original Real Ghostbusters (if juxtaposing those adjectives means anything in this context) came back for an adventure with the new ones. The original actors (at least the most recent ones to play them) all reprised their roles.

Extreme Ghostbusters debuted Monday, September 1, 1997, in syndication. It was aired Monday through Friday, which usually means a first season of 65 episodes, or 13 weeks. However, this one went into reruns after only 37. The property was turned into the usual toys (tho Garrett, stuck in a wheelchair like Professor X or Oracle, never became an action figure), and merchandised on VHS (but not DVD). A couple of video games were made the following year.

But by and large, the Ghostbusters franchise is once again dormant.


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Text ©2008-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Columbia Pictures Television.