Now there have been a number of attempts to make a good Fantastic Four animated series over the years. All of them have failed. Possibly because the Fantastic Four, just really aren't that "fantastic". There was the 1967 version, 1994 they tried again, and more recently in 2006. But the biggest "fail" of them all has to be the utterly awful 1978 version, entitled The New Fantastic Four, due to the fact that the makers decided to replace the Human Torch with a cute little robot called H.E.R.B.I.E (Humanoid Experimental Robot, B-type, Integrated Electronics). As with many animated series of the period, it (and I find I'm repeating myself with this) only ran for one season of 13 episodes. The show was first aired on NBC
There are rumours abound as to why the Human Torch wasn't included in the series. Which include the wild urban legend that the makers thought that the Human Torch was an inappropriate role-model for kids. That his ability to set himself on fire, may influence kids to try and become a human torch themselves. All complete rubbish. The truth is simply that the rights to use the character had been optioned to Universal Studios, for a possible pilot TV movie and series of the Human Torch. And so the executive decision was made to replace him, not with another wise-cracking superhero, but with a cute robot with no discernible super-powers at all. Now some cynics claim that Stan Lee introduced H.E.R.B.I.E the robot side-kick, as a blatant rip-off of the popular robot side-kicks R2D2 and C3PO from Star Wars, which had been released only a year earlier in 1977.
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The show was briefly revived in the July of 2012, with some major changes. When the Disney company, who originally distributed the show re-cut, edited, and re-dubbed some of the scenes from The New Fantastic Four. They turned them into self-referential and irreverent comical shorts as part of their Disney XD's Marvel Mash-Up shorts for their "Marvel Universe on Disney XD" block of programming.