We gave it a B+
It’s rare enough for a TV show to do justice to the theatrical film on which it was based; it’s even rarer for the show actually to do something original with the movie concept it stole. But Beetlejuice is a pleasant surprise, since it carries Michael Keaton’s film character to its logical extreme by turning this shape-shifting, voice-altering creature into a cartoon. Beetlejuice combines up-to-the-minute kid cynicism with charmingly corny jokes: When a hoody-looking girl compliments Beetlejuice on his chalk-white face and rotted teeth, he smilingly sneers, ”Glad you like the old melon, babe, but we can’t elope.” Get it? ”Can’t elope”? Big laughs in my house.
Like the movie, Beetlejuice offers viewers the vicarious thrill of a wiseguy who’s actually more powerful than the people he’s sniping at, a prime kid fantasy.
The animation on the TV version nods to classic Warner Bros. cartoons: When Beetlejuice sees a good-looking woman, his jaw drops and his tongue hits the ground with the clang of an anvil.
Filled with sight gags, puns, and imaginative naughtiness, Beetlejuice is richer entertainment than you’d expect on Saturday morning. B+