It’s definitely a new show.
Animaniacs has been off the air for twenty two years and I know this because the first episode is dedicated to telling us over and over that it has indeed been twenty two years. As the show explains, reboots are a cheap way of introducing IP to new generations. The first episode even goes into a song about how Hollywood reboots things because it’s creatively bankrupt and its executives are wimps afraid of taking risks. I’m not quite clear where this is going.
The positive side of this reboot is that most of the voice actors are back. Actually that’s not a good way of putting it. Most of the voice actors are their prior selves. You’ve got Yakko (Rob Paulsen), Wakko (Jess Harnell), and Dot (Tress MacNeille) along with Ralph the Guard (Frank Welker), Pinky (Also Rob Paulsen), and Brain (Maurice LaMarche). Incidentally Steven Spielberg doesn’t voice himself. That’s Andy Milder. He doesn’t do a fantastic job.
Most notable in this show are the characters not coming back, which is everyone else. Slappy Squirrel, Skippy, the Goodfeathers, Mindy, Minerva Mink, Elmyra, Hello Nurse, or anyone else. Pretty much every episode encompasses two Warner sketches and a Pinky sketch. Incidentally this is a plot point. Most episodes have a musical number of some sort.
Episode two gets into the Animaniacs craziness from the start. The Warners are Greek gods now for some reason and decide to take a vacation on a deserted island. They are soon interrupted by Odysseus who in this story is a jock who guzzles goat milk and then crushes the goat on his forehead like a can.
And then the Trump giant showed up. The Trump giant boasts that he lives on the best island and has two eyes (he has one) and the Warners contemplate smiting him before Dot says that they can’t because he’s a demi-god. “Or maybe it was a demagogue” while winking right at the screen.
There are a lot of references of various dated nature as though the creators are angry that they weren’t around at the time and need to catch up on all twenty two years. Leroy Jenkins, Game of Thrones, and more.
Not all of the episodes work and when they don’t work they tend to really not work. For instance the fourth episode has an entire sketch dedicated to a man who introduces bunnies to the WB lot which results in a lot of “high capacity bun violence.” Get it? Buns. Buns. BUN VIOLENCE. The Warners fix the situation by calling in the Australian dingos who the show notes had dealt with their bun violence problem with a bun buyback program.
The problem inherit in the system is that since the cast of characters is woefully underpopulated the sketches themselves have been lengthened to fill the gaps. Sketches on the original Animaniacs were short, as short as a minute and maybe running upwards of four minutes for a long one. These sketches are roughly ten minutes of a 22 minute show.
I think the most dangerous thing the show presents is a character feeding her dog chocolate ice cream. You know that episode gets a lot more disgusting when she starts french kissing the dog and then chews up a dog biscuit and vomits it into the dog’s mouth like a bird. I’m not joking.
Family Guy’s Wellesley Wild has taken over as showrunner, a notion that is immediately obvious as the show does utilize Family Guy’s unfunny barely relevant cutaway gags. There’s a very strange knockoff of Elmyra.
The worst crime of Animaniacs is that it lacks a lot of the energetic nature of the old show. What made the show really wacky was the writers constantly getting what they could past the censors. The Hulu reboot feels like what the show would have been had the censors been successful.
An Arnold parody competing in the Greek Games (non-trademark Olympics) is funny. A Tucker Carlson parody named Tuck Buckerson working for Faux News isn’t funny or insightful. The Brain creating the perfect first lady out of keepsakes from previous FLOTUS folk who eventually usurps his intelligence can be an interesting story.
There’s also a Tom Cruise is short joke. I guess this show isn’t that bad after all.