In a quixotic move by the CW, the enduringly popular Powerpuff Girls is getting the inevitable – and possibly cringey – gritty live-action remake.

Image courtesy of Cartoon Network

The update from Heather Regnier (Veronica Mars), Diablo Cody (United States of Tara) and Greg Berlanti would follow adult versions of the characters. The live-action version of the classic Cartoon Network series is in development at The CW. David Madden will executive produce at his home Berlanti Productions. Warner Bros. Television will produce.

In the updated version of the series, the titular superheroes are now disillusioned twentysomethings who resent having lost their childhood to crime fighting. Will they agree to reunite now that the world needs them more than ever?

The mysterious extra 
additive in the Powerpuff 
formula was originally 
supposed to be a can of
Whoopass. This was changed
to "Chemical X" for the 
cartoon audience.

The original Powerpuff Girls was created by Craig McCracken. In that series, Professor Utonium accidentally created the elementary school aged super team of Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup by combining sugar, spice, and everything nice with the mysterious Chemical X. The show ran for six seasons and 78 episodes between 1998 and 2005. “The Powerpuff Girls Movie” was released in 2002, while a rebooted animated series began airing on Cartoon Network from 2016-2019.

The project combines several elements of The CW’s program strategy: developing shows based on well-established IP from one of its parent companies’ (WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS) libraries, a superhero element (like roughly half of its scripted slate) and Berlanti, whose company is responsible for eight series on the network (among 18 overall from Berlanti Productions).

The CW also took this approach to Riverdale, reimagining the humor comic as a live action drama with dark and adult themes.

TV is a bit reboot crazy. As an editorial aside, I wonder if the reboots of Star Trek, Perry Mason, Nancy Drew, Powerpuff Girls, and others are the best use of the characters and legacy? When a light show turns dark, heroes turn ambiguous, innocence lost, the vibe of the original changed, is that really a great idea?

Some updates/reboots remain true to the source while bringing fresh ideas. The Twilight Zone, Lost In Space, Queer Eye, Veronica Mars all seem to be successful updates of great shows of their kind.

If you’re looking for proof that Hollywood has lost its will to live, here are the 2021 new reboots currently in production, whether anybody wanted them or not:

  • Daria
  • Saved by the Bell
  • Walker
  • Punky Brewster
  • The Ren and Stimpy Show
  • Grease
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Gossip Girl
  • Clueless
  • G4 TV
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
  • Queer as Folk
  • MacGruber
  • The Boondocks

Maybe if Hollywood wants a different kind of show they could come up with something that’s actually new and different? Or find a brand that’s in line with the show they want to create. I can imagine The X-Files as a teen comedy. But I would change the title!


David Raiklen
David Raiklen

David Raiklen wrote, directed and scored his first film at age 9. He began studying keyboard and composing at age 5. He attended, then taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. Among his teachers are John Williams and Mel Powel.
He has worked for Fox, Disney and Sprint. David has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 American Music Center Award. Dr. Raiklen has composed music and sound design for theater (Death and the Maiden), dance (Russian Ballet), television (Sing Me a Story), cell phone (Spacey Movie), museums (Museum of Tolerance), concert (Violin Sonata ), and film (Appalachian Trail).
His compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the first Disney Hall. David Raiken is also host of a successful radio program, Classical Fan Club.