The launch of Disney+ contains a glaring omission from those of us who grew up in the twlight of Saturday morning cartoons.
Image via IMDb
I?ve always been someone that?s been early to rise, no matter how late I stay up. My body?s always been wired that way. I owe a large part of that to Cookie Crisp cereal and Saturday morning cartoons. When most kids my age were sleeping in on the weekends, I was up at the crack of dawn, pouring a massive bowl of cereal and tuning our rabbit-eared television to ABC for some early morning entertainment. I lived out in a small, blink-and-you-miss-it town without even a gas station. Needless to say, cable and satellite wasn?t an option. Saturday morning cartoons were my only source of entertainment. And the best of that entertainment was Fillmore!.
For the uninitiated, Fillmore! was the last Saturday morning cartoon made, and was produced by Walt Disney Animation for ABC, later going to Disney Channel. It follows the adventures of Cornelius Fillmore, a former juvenile delinquent who joins the safety patrol and fights crime at X Middle School with his partner, Ingrid Third. A razor sharp parody of 70s police procedurals, Fillmore! had something to offer both children and adults. Criminal kids smuggle tartar sauce, counterfeit trading cards, or vandalize bathroom stalls, making the crimes child-friendly.
With witty scripts and great characters, Fillmore! is one of the best animated shows from my childhood. The premise is played entirely straight, making the episodes engaging as well as subtly funny for fans of police dramas. The drama is real, but its told through a lens of adolescence that makes it digestible for children. With a cult status, Fillmore! is beloved by my Saturday morning bretheren.
Image via Freakin? Awesome Network
Unfortunately, Fillmore! is also a hard show to come by. Like most of Disney?s television output, it never received a home media release, and is unavailable digitally in the US. It?s been aired infrequently on Toon Disney and Disney XD over the last couple decades. But I never had cable growing up, and I still don?t now. The most I can find is an episode or two on YouTube, and that?s a damn shame.
So, when Disney+ launched, I hoped that Fillmore! would be on the list of classic Disney shows available to stream. Alas, it was not (crackers!), and I can?t find any news that Disney plans to release the show on the streaming service. The show is effortlessly inclusive, consisting of a main cast of mostly minorities. It?s smart themes and pop culture references are not dumbed down for children like many shows aimed at children today. It?s a show that could find a second life streaming.
I know Disney+ doesn?t need anything more to incentivize potential customers. They?ve got a winning hand already, but Fillmore! would be a nice little cherry to have on top of an admittedly delicious sundae. The show has enormous potential to become a hit again, and if Disney were smart, they would attempt to launch it back into the spotlight and give it a second life. As a Saturday morning cartoon kid, I would love to see that happen. I would love to see Fillmore taking on the baddies of X Middle School again.
I?m not holding my breath, fellow Saturday morning cartoon connoisseurs, but someday soon I hope to be bingeing Fillmore! with you all. Disco.