Earlier this year, the CW announced it was working on a live-action reboot of the Powerpuff Girls, causing people everywhere to be outraged. Fans of the original animated series didn’t want anything to tarnish the show they love so much, despite the Powerpuff Girls already being rebooted twice, once on Cartoon Network and once as an anime. Is another reboot truly worthy of outrage?
The short answer is “no.” The release of a TV series shouldn’t be the cause of anger or disgust, especially since one can choose not to watch it and enjoy the years’-worth of the show they do like. It’s definitely okay to not like something and voice your opinion, but being mad at a live-action version of a cartoon seems rather silly.
The Powerpuff Girls are superheroes, and superhero source material being adapted into live-action is nothing new. Some superheroes, like Batman and Spider-Man, have several live-action reincarnations of them and will only be getting more in the future. If anything, it’s surprising it took this long to get an attempt at a live-action Powerpuff Girls. Afterall, they’re a team of awesome, unique superheroes, so why shouldn’t they get the same treatment as other superhero franchises?
This version that the CW has announced, however, will follow the Powerpuff Girls as adults instead of kindergarten-aged girls. It’s easy to see why fans may not be happy with that. It doesn’t exactly fit the theme of the beloved source material. However, that doesn’t inherently mean the show will be bad because of it. Seeing what became of the characters later in life has the potential to be fun to watch.
Putting a different spin on an existing IP when making a new version of it doesn’t mean that the reboot is bad. It’s definitely possible to have very different versions of the same IP. Adam West’s Batman and The Dark Knight are two extremely different-yet-great takes on the same source material. Whatever this take on The Powerpuff Girls is aimed to be, regardless of its differences to the original, there’s a possibility it can be good.
Recently, however, the reboot’s pilot script leaked online for the world to get a glimpse at before it was taken down by the studio, and it was pretty terrible. It was mainly about sex, the dialogue felt like it was written by old people trying to sound young, there was almost nothing about crime fighting or superheroics, the Professor was an uncaring parent who only used the girls for commercial profit, the girls uncomfortably talk about their dad’s sex life, and instead of Mojo Jojo being a monkey, there’s a fragile politician named Jojo who’s afraid people dislike him for being a white man. Not only is it too far from what The Powerpuff Girls should be, but it’s also just cringey writing in general. At least with all the different versions of Batman out there, he’s still a rich, crime-fighting orphan in a bat suit, regardless of tone or themes that differ between each reincarnation.
There are plenty of directions they could have gone with this new version of The Powerpuff Girls and still have it be worth watching. A live-action show more similar to the original series would be fine. If they wanted to put their own spin on it, they could have taken a more dramatic approach by having the characters discuss how they feel about giving up their childhood to be superheroes. They could have made a serious or more emotional version like Man of Steel did for Superman. If they’re dead-set on focusing on Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles as adults, they could have done so, but maybe as a comedy where perhaps they still act like the way they did in kindergarten. It could work as a borderline parody. It could also still be entertaining to see the adult Powerpuff Girls looking back at their adventures from when they were kids, it would just need to be better-written than that leaked pilot script.
After the leak of that dreadful pilot script, the folks at the CW announced they are reworking the pilot. That’s exciting news as we may be able to see something better than the mess that was originally planned. However, it’s still worrisome given the direction they seem to want to go with the series. Whatever happens, there’s still hope there could be an enjoyable live-action version of The Powerpuff Girls some day.
A new or different version of a franchise does not mean that it’s bad. Typically, a new version of something is really no reason to be outraged. It’s either pretty good or not worth watching, not anger-worthy. However, it’s clear why that terrible leaked script would cause fans to feel hurt when they’d want something good to come from something they love.