While many characters have revamped their image to try and stay hip, historically the most popular characters have remained timeless and never had to change a thing, they were always entertaining, funny and hip usually because they refused to go with some silly trend. In TV, two major influences on me as a kid were Looney Tunes (mainly Daffy Duck, but I was a big Bugs Bunny fan as well) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (my fav in that foursome easily being Raphael), and like many gamers my age, two major gaming influences were Mario, and more so Sonic the Hedgehog when he came along (made me a diehard Sega fan to this day, in fact). These were timeless characters that have been around for years (in some cases, decades) and never really had to change their shtick to remain popular. But all of a sudden, three out four of the icons I've mentioned have been massively revamped, and it's making me sick.
First off was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now, I'm not ashamed to say that if the show was still on in it's original incarnation, I would still watch it. It was a well-written and funny show with good fight scenes. A few years ago they re-launched the show, with a whole new "extreme" attitude, essentially killing everything that was great about the show (they made the turtles more interchangeable, made April and Casey Jones more "hip", pretty much completely disregarded the fact that the show never took itself that seriously) and turning it into some weird deal where they got into the middle of an interstellar war with a bunch of alien Triceratops. And granted, if they could make four humanoid turtles who know Ninjitsu being taught by a giant rat that take on an alien talking brain from another dimension with a ninja master as his evil partner work, the whole Triceratops thing isn't such a stretch. But whatever the reason (most likely hack writers that take no pride in the fact that they have a chance to write a good animated show that can be enjoyed by more than just kids and maybe even get kids off to a good start in knowing quality TV), it doesn't.
But the Turtles have been like that for a few years now and I've more or less learned to live with it. The latest attacks on my cherished icons of childhood are more recent and much more blasphemous. The geniuses over at WB decided that Bugs & pals needed a makeover after over 50 successful years of staying true to their hilarious shtick. Mel Blanc is rolling over in his grave at the mere thought of his beloved characters being creatively raped of their souls like this. But all that matters is that the action figures tested well with kids, as one of the many TV execs with his head up his own ass is quoted as saying in the article. Rather than come up with my own clever retort, I'll just direct you to a genius far funnier than me with his own take on this "extreme" makeover here (advisory, strong language, but damn funny).
Legendary Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto was once quoted as saying that you will never see Mario shooting hookers and while Mario hasn't gone over the edge, Sega has pretty much gone and done something that can only been seen as something almost as bad. Just go over to gametrailers.com and check out the trailer for "Shadow the Hedgehog". So, essentially what Sega has done is can their beloved mascot in favor of a more "extreme"character. Shadow the Hedgehog. And the one thing you can clearly see is that Shadow uses guns to deal with his enemies (and not fake guns, he is clearly using a machine gun in one scene). Not only does this seem extremely wrong for this franchise in general, it also seems like a desperate attempt to cash in on the fact that the highly successful Jak & Daxter & Ratchet & Clank series both used guns (and heck it might even be racist!). Granted, after the last couple of horrid games, the series needed a change, but I think everyone was hoping Sega would take it back to its roots rather than this horrid idea.
In all of these cases, it's a bunch of idiotic marketing execs revamping things that didn't need to be fixed to begin with, and I want end this with one really simple question: Would you rather your kid learn from Bugs Bunny, who was able to talk his way out of situations and use his brain? Or "Buzz Bunny" who is extreme and shoots lasers from his eyes to solve all of his problems?