Few people who weren’t having their first double-digit birthday in the early ’80s will remember the short-lived show Manimal, which aired only eight episodes. But if you were ten, or thereabouts, at the time, Manimal might have seemed like the best thing ever.

And so Sony is going to make a hybrid live-action/CG animated film based on Manimal. Think The Smurfs, with a guy who changes into animals to fight crime.

THR‘s recap of the show tells you all you need to know:

Manimal followed Dr. Jonathan Chase, a wealthy doctor with a mysterious past, who morphed into animals in order to help the police fight crime.

The show was as terrible as you might think, with effects that tried and often failed to emulate the transformation scene in An American Werewolf in London. Manimal wasn’t funny enough to capitalize on the inherent kitsch factor of the title premise, and not good enough in any other respect to get beyond it. My first reaction to the big-screen news is that Sony is really scraping the bottom of the barrel. And they might be, but with a funny script this could turn into something that has legit comedy value. Not holding my breath for that to happen, but there is a good comic premise to be mined here, as a spin on the typical superhero story.

Here are a couple samples to give you the idea of what Manimal was like:

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