Beetlejuice is an American-Canadian animated television series which ran from September 9, 1989, to October 26, 1991, on ABC and, on Fox from September 9, 1991, to December 6, 1991. Loosely based on the 1988 film of the same name, it was developed and executive-produced by the film's director, Tim Burton. The series focus on the life of Goth girl Lydia Deetz and her undead friend Beetlejuice as they explore The Neitherworld, a wacky afterlife realm inhabited by monsters, ghosts, ghouls and zombies. Danny Elfman's theme for the film was arranged for the cartoon by Elfman himself.
Episode formula Edit
Episodes generally centered on the ghostly con-man Beetlejuice, his best (and only true) friend Lydia, and their adventures together in both the Neitherworld and the "real world", a fictional New England town called Peaceful Pines ("Winter River" in the film). As in the film, Lydia could summon Beetlejuice out of the Neitherworld (or go there herself) by calling his name three times, sometimes as part of a set chant:
- "Though I know I should be wary,
- Still I venture someplace scary;
- Ghostly hauntings I turn loose ...
- Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!"
Occasionally, there are other effects from that chant, such as Lydia's room changing to a gothic castle. On a few occasions, other people and ghosts went to the Neitherworld or the living world, either when Lydia takes them with her by chanting Beetlejuice's name, or presumably through a door that connects Lydia's and Beetlejuice's homes.
In only a very few episodes is Lydia not present, those being wholly escapades of Beetlejuice in the Neitherworld.
The series' humor relied heavily on sight gags, wordplay, and allusiveness. Many episodes, especially towards the end of the run, were parodies of famous films (such as Brigadoon, Shane, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Wizard of Oz, It's a Wonderful Life, and Moby Dick), books, and TV shows (such as Masterpiece Theatre, Pee-wee's Playhouse and The Twilight Zone). The episode "Brides of Funkenstein" was based on an idea submitted by a then-teenage girl, who was a fan of the show.
Throughout the series, Beetlejuice would often try to scam residents of the Neitherworld — and, sometimes, the "real world" as well (Lydia's parents were occasional unwitting victims of his pranks) — by various means, from "baby-sitting" (in which he literally sits on the grotesque Neitherworld babies) to trying to beat them in an auto race.
Series run Edit
The series was a breakout hit for ABC in its initial season, and later became one of the first animated series to air on Fox's weekday afternoon children's lineup. This led to a situation whereby Beetlejuice was being seen Monday through Friday on Fox while still remaining on ABC's Saturday morning schedule, making it one of the few shows in American television history to be aired concurrently on two different broadcast networks. Beetlejuice has aired in re-runs on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network (where the film was a frequent presence), and aired on Warner Bros. and AOL's new broadband internet channel Toontopia TV. The series aired on Teletoon Retro in Canada from fall 2009 until June 2011, but came back in April 2013 and continued to air until that channel's demise in 2015.