Back to the Future: The Animated Series is an animated television series based on the Back to the Future trilogy of feature films.
The series lasted two seasons, each lasting 13 episodes, and ran on CBS from September 14, 1991 to December 26, 1992, the date of the last original episode. The show remained on the CBS morning schedule until the end of August 14, 1993, after which it was replaced by Cyber Cops. It repeated on ABC from September 18, 1993 to May 20, 1995 and later repeated on FOX's FoxBox block from March 22 to August 30, 2003. The series repeated on Nickelodeon from March 22, 2003 to May 19, 2006. The show focused on Marty McFly and Doc Brown, together with Doc's wife Clara, their sons Jules and Verne, dog Einstein, and Marty's girlfriend Jennifer Parker as they traveled through time using the Jules Verne Train and a newly built DeLorean, both with brand new features.
Doc and his family have settled down in 1991 at a farmhouse outside Hill Valley after living in the 1890s, but their time traveling adventures are by no means over. The films' villain Biff Tannen also pops up from time to time. In addition, relatives of both the McFly and Tannen families are plentiful in most of the past or future parallel time zones that the time travelers visit.
Mary Steenburgen (Clara) and Thomas F. Wilson (Biff) voiced their characters from the films, and Christopher Lloyd played Doc Brown in live action segments that opened and closed each episode. However, Dan Castellaneta voiced the animated Doc Brown, as Lloyd had work commitments and was unable to do so himself; while David Kaufman voiced Marty McFly, Michael J. Fox's animated character.
In addition, Bill Nye performed a scientific experiment that the viewers could try for themselves at home during the video encyclopedia which formed part of the closing live action segment of each episode. The series was executive produced by Bob Gale, co-writer of the Back to the Future trilogy; and used some familiar musical themes from the trilogy, although the music was written by Michael Tavera rather than Alan Silvestri.
Many fans do not consider the events of the series to be canon with the timeline presented in the original trilogy, with the only exceptions being the birthdates of the main characters and some characters' middle names.
Although this show is no longer being shown on television, nine VHS cassettes and three volumes of the show on laserdisc were released between 1993 and 1994, chronicling 18 of the 26 episodes. The show is available on DVD in France, and was released in the United States on October 20, 2015.
- David Kaufman - Marty McFly
- Dan Castellaneta - Dr. Emmett Brown
- Christopher Lloyd - Dr. Emmett Brown (live-action segments)
- Mary Steenburgen - Clara Brown
- Joshua Keaton - Jules Brown
- Troy Davidson - Verne Brown
- Cathy Cavadini - Jennifer Parker
- Thomas F. Wilson - Biff Tannen
- Danny Mann - Einstein
- ? - Franny Philips
- Benji Gregory - Biff Tannen, Jr.
- ? - Sheriff Taylor
- Bill Nye - Himself (The Science Guy)
- Joe Alaskey - Sheriff
Forward to the Past
Below are the episode titles and first transmission dates for all 26 episodes.
- 1 "Brothers" (September 14, 1991)
- 2 "A Family Vacation" (September 21, 1991)
- 3 "Forward to the Past" (September 28, 1991)
- 4 "Witchcraft" (October 5, 1991)
- 5 "Roman Holiday" (a.k.a. "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot Race") (October 19, 1991)
- 6 "Go Fly a Kite" (October 26, 1991)
- 7 "Time Waits for No Frog / Einstein's Adventure" (November 2, 1991)
- 8 "Batter Up" (November 9, 1991)
- 9 "Solar Sailors" (November 16, 1991)
- 10 "Dickens of a Christmas" (November 23, 1991)
- 11 "Gone Fishin'" (November 30, 1991)
- 12 "Retired" (December 7, 1991)
- 13 "Clara's Folks" (December 14, 1991)
- 14 "Mac the Black" (September 19, 1992)
- 15 "Put on Your Thinking Caps, Kids! It's Time for Mr. Wisdom!" (September 26, 1992)
- 16 "A Friend In Deed" (October 3, 1992)
- 17 "Marty McFly PFC" (October 17, 1992)
- 18 "Verne's New Friend" (October 24, 1992)
- 19 "Bravelord and the Demon Monstrux" (October 31, 1992)
- 20 "The Money Tree" (November 7, 1992)
- 21 "A Verne by Any Other Name" (November 14, 1992)
- 22 "Hill Valley Brown-Out" (November 21, 1992)
- 23 "My Pop's an Alien" (December 5, 1992)
- 24 "Super Doc" (December 12, 1992)
- 25 "St. Louis Blues" (December 19, 1992)
- 26 "Verne Hatches an Egg" (December 26, 1992)
- In the opening credits for the first season, Doc is seen as starting from August 2, 1991 before traveling to May 19, 2015, to pick up Marty (the main character in three BTTF movies and the series) and then back to June 10, 1885 to pick up Clara. From there, the three go to prehistoric times to pick up Jules and Verne, and all five arrive at the Brown home.
- The opening for the second season showed clips from the first season episodes Roman Holiday, Go Fly A Kite, Solar Sailors, Retired, A Family Vacation and Brothers. An exception is the 6th episode in season 2, which used the opening sequence from season 1. 
- Though Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen doesn't appear in the series, he appears in the opening credits for the first season.
- Harvey Comics published a series of Back to the Future comic books starting in November 1991. With the cover header reading "The Adventure Has Only Begun!," the first issue featured Doc & Marty in 1927 Chicago.
- In 1991, McDonald's also released four Happy Meal toys, featuring Marty on his hoverboard, Doc in the DeLorean, Verne in his Junkmobile and Einstein in the time train. The junkmobile was glimpsed, briefly, in the episode "A Verne by Any Other Name".
- At Toy Fair 2020, New Back to the Future Merchandise was revealed for the 35th anniversary. Including Figures of Biff Tannen, Marty McFly, Einstein and Dr. Emmett Brown based off their appearance from the series along with the DeLorean in the animated Style.
Differences from the trilogy
- Although Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis have stated, in commentary, their view that a time machine would remain in the same physical location when going forward or backward in time (apparently correcting for the rotation and orbit of Earth), the animated series provided for the DeLorean to travel to a particular location and year, by voice command. Thus, in the first episode, "Brothers", the time circuits are set for February 11, 1864 and to move the time machine from Hill Valley, California, to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
- Jennifer Parker's hair, brown in the films, becomes blonde in the series — presumably because it was felt she would otherwise look too similar to Clara.
References in Back to the Future: The Game
- Marty's middle name, Seamus (revealed in "Witchcraft"), was spoken in Episode 3 "Citizen Brown" when the police came to take him to Citizen Brown.
- In A Family Vacation, the New DeLorean Time Machine was programmed to return at sunset, It drives itself up to 88 miles which is similar to the Automatic retrieval when the DeLorean is programmed to jump to four-dimensional coordinates if he did not return within an allotted time. This happened and the DeLorean went into this mode, traveled to 88 and entered temporal displacement, and appeared outside of his garage on May 14, 1986, for Marty McFly to find.
- In Episode 3 "Citizen Brown", the DeLorean crashes into a billboard and falls out of it which may be a reference to when the DeLorean crashes into two trees and later falls out of the trees in A Verne by Any Other Name.
- When looking at the Hill Valley of the Past exhibit, Marty jokes about the dinosaur being the Tannenosaurus, which may be a reference to Tannensaurus from "Forward to the Past".
- In Episode 5 "OUTATIME", it's revealed that the Palace Saloon was built by Beauregard Tannen (from "Brothers"). The episode also involves Marty and Doc having to stop Beauregard from shooting Edna Strickland, who plans to burn down the saloon and unknowingly the rest of Hill Valley.
- In Episode 5, when pursuing Edna, Doc and Marty keep in touch with headsets from Verne's video game cache.
References in IDW Publishing's Back to the Future comic series
- Issue #5: "Clara's Story" shows Clara's life before she met Doc. It includes three characters created for the animated series: Daniel Clayton, Martha Clayton, and Ulysses S. Clayton, and mentions that Clara's parents met on the Oregon Trail, as they did in "Clara's Folks".
- Issue #6: "Continuum Conundrum Part 1" refers to Bifficus Antanneny, from "Roman Holiday", when Marty's history teacher mentions "a very popular athlete whom many credit as integral to the rise of Caligula".
- Issue #12: "How Needles Got Here" and Biff to the Future issue #5 take place at Hill Valley Elementary School, a location created for the animated series.
- Issue #18: "Stowaway to the Future" features Verne Brown's first trip to the future, as a stowaway in the second DeLorean time machine. He wears a coonskin cap, as he does in the animated series.
- The Back to the Future: Tales from the Time Train mini-series follows the same formula as the animated series. The Brown family goes on a trip in the past to a destination outside California wherein Doc, Clara, Jules and Einstein get into trouble by mistake and have to get out of it. Jules and Verne have the same personalities they did in the show, including that in which Jules uses long, complicated words, and Jules often misunderstands him.
- The original DeLorean time machine was destroyed in Back to the Future III. Episode 1 ("Brothers") begins with Doc referring to the DeLorean appearing in this series as "the new DeLorean," indicating it as a completely new car rather than the original one repaired.
- Also in the episode "Brothers", the audience learns the modern origin of the Tannen family's catchphrase insult is a predestination paradox, "Butt head." Biff Tannen's relative Beauregard Tannen, a Confederate officer in the Civil War, called his enemies "buttocks brains" but changed it to "butt head" after being corrected by Verne. That era's Tannen said, "Butt heads... I like the sound of it."
- In a testament to the show's historical accuracy, the episode "Batter Up", aired November 9, 1991, which had Marty, Jules, and Verne travel to Boston to help baseball player "Pee Wee" McFly to improve his game in 1897, did accurately name the Boston team as the "Beaneaters", and even featured scenes involving then-real-life manager Frank Selee. However, in the first episode "Brothers", Doc claims that Babe Ruth was born on February 7, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland whereas the famous ballplayer was actually born on the previous day (February 6, 1895).
- In the episode "Solar Sailors", the Brown family visit 2091, in which they learn that the McFly family legacy has been immortalized in the McFly Space Cruises, in which Marty's great-granddaughter Marta McFly is a Captain. Additionally, aboard Marta McFly's ship there is a Marty McFly impersonator who performs Marty's music in a nostalgia act, hinting that Marty succeeded in becoming a famous rock star.
- Both Marty and Doc's middle names were revealed in the series as Seamus and Lathrop respectively (Though Lathrop was revealed in the Back to the Future Part III novelization). Marty's middle name comes from his great-great-grandfather Seamus McFly.
- Marty is the only member of his immediate family to appear in the series.
- Clara is the only Brown member to undergo two character designs in seasons 1 and 2.
- Jennifer Parker doesn't have on-screen credit until Season 2, so it is unknown if it's Cathy Cavadini or someone else portraying her.
- Official Universal Pictures site advertising the trilogy.
- Back to the Future the Animated Series at the Internet Movie Database