For today’s Throwback Thursday, ScienceFiction.com’s weekly column where we look back at sci-fi classics of the past and explain why they are still great today, we’re throwing ourselves all the way back to a time when dinosaurs ruled the world . . . and TGIF. Let’s take a look at the TV show, ‘Dinosaurs’!
‘Dinosaurs’ aired on ABC from 1991 until 1994. Produced by Michael Jacobs Productions, the TV show featured characters from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. Utilizing many different types of puppetry, the show was about the Sinclairs – a family of anthropomorphic dinosaurs.
Though he died a year before the show aired, Jim Henson had the idea about a TV sitcom that followed a family of dinosaurs 3 years prior. His son, Brian Henson, told ‘The New York Times’ in 1991 “He wanted it to be a sitcom with a pretty standard structure, with the biggest differences being that it’s a family of dinosaurs and their society has this strange toxic life style.” However, around this time, ‘The Simpsons’ became quite popular and the idea of a dysfunctional family was put to rest for the next couple of years.
Created by Michael Jacobs and Bob Young, the show takes place in 60,000,003 BC in Pangaea. Up until recently, dinosaurs lived in the woods and ate their young. However, they eventually came out of the forest to get married and have families. In the show, we follow our protagonist, Earl, the “mighty” megalosaurus, as he struggles and strives in the worlds of fatherhood, career, domestic bliss, civilization and more.
The show included other topical issues such as environmentalism, religion, civil rights, drug abuse, corporate crime, and even communism. In the episode, “I Never Ate for My Father”, the oldest son, Robbie, decides to become a herbivore and other characters seem to treat Robbie as if he’s a member of some type of socialist political party.
What sets ‘Dinosaurs’ apart, is that it was always very self-aware. Most of the adult dinosaurs knew extinction was right around the corner. In the pilot episode, Robbie asks his parents why the years seem to be counting down instead of up. Additionally, in the finale of the show, Earl becomes an important figure in the impending Ice Age.
The truth is you just don’t see a lot of shows like ‘Dinosaurs’. Each episode verges on the edge but still includes a whole lot of heart. Did you watch the show and if so, what did you think if it?