Netflix ’90s Family Comedy Remake Climbs Into Top Ten

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

the little rascals

The 1994 version of The Little Rascals has reappeared to dominate Netflix, making it into the streaming platforms’ top 10 category. An update of the series which began life in the 1920s as Our Gang, the 90s version introduced the classic series to a new generation of kids. It was released within a larger 90s trend of resurrecting old TV properties as films. 

The Little Rascals

the little rascals

Before any version of The Little Rascals existed, the characters who would eventually be associated with that title appeared in several short films in the series Our Gang. Released between 1922 and 1944, the series was rebranded as it moved from theaters to TV, where the original films were shown with the title The Little Rascals. Before the 1994 movie, it had been revived as an animated series in 1982. 

Alfalfa & Darla – The Forbidden Romance

the little rascals

Keeping many of the original series’ characters, The Little Rascals begins with one of the gang, Alfalfa, breaking their “no girls allowed” rule by dating a girl named Darla. A fight over this results in the gang accidentally burning their clubhouse down and breaking the couple up in the process. The rest of the film centers around Alfalfa trying to win Darla back as The Rascals attempt to win a go-kart tournament to use the prize money to rebuild their clubhouse. 

The Cast

little rascals

Most of the main cast in The Little Rascals are child actors, many of whom had limited careers after the film. However, Raven Symoné and the Olsen Twins had significant careers outside of the movie.

To make for the cast of mostly unknown child actors the adult actors are notable celebrities including Mel Brooks, Lea Thompson, Daryl Hannah, Reba McEntire, Whoopi Goldberg, Donald Trump, and George Wendt. 

While The Little Rascals was building on the cross-generational nostalgia of the property, it faced controversy among some fans for not including any of the original actors.

Eugene Jackson, who had appeared in the original Our Gang shorts, reached out to the production but was rejected. For many older fans, this was a sign of disrespect that marred the revival of a beloved property. 

It Didn’t Fare Well

The Little Rascals was also part of a larger trend of rebooting family-friendly TV properties. The trend had many successful examples like The Addams Family, The Fugitive, and Mission: Impossible.

However, many others in the trend were infamous flops including Wild Wild West and Lost in Space which tarnished the reputation of the trend.

While it didn’t become a punchline like Wild Wild West, The Little Rascals wasn’t well received on release. It made a respectable $67.3 million, but that was far less than competitors like The Addams Family which made $191.5 million.

The movie was also panned by critics, earning 21 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with most considering it generic and unimaginative.

Stream It Now

little rascals

Despite its lack of cultural cache and poor critical reception, its place in the Netflix top ten proves that The Little Rascals has nostalgic value for many people. The franchise has been surprisingly durable, enduring in the public consciousness since the silent film era, so the continued popularity of the 1994 film shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. You can see the Alfalfa and the rest of the gang for yourself in The Little Rascals on Netflix.