The recipe was simple: take one part Jetsons, add one part Partridge Family, blend for sixteen episodes, and get Partridge Family 2200 A.D. Hanna-Barbera originally presented CBS with an idea to produce an updated version of their earlier cartoon series The Jetsons, but CBS wanted to cash in on the popularity of the live-action series The Partridge Family. Hanna-Barbera compromised, and The Partridge Family 2200 A.D. was born. To the executives at CBS, the combination of two tremendously popular shows must have looked like a slam dunk. Alas, the series never caught on like either of its parent shows and was cancelled mid-season. But for those who just couldn’t get enough of Keith Partridge and his musical siblings, they now had the bonus of a cartoon alternative.
All of the Partridge Family mainstays were present in the animated show. The entire family, led by single mom Shirley Partridge, continued to perform as a musical group, albeit this time touring the galaxy in a spaceship with a psychedelic paint job in place of the family’s live-action school bus. As ever, eldest son and chronic teen heartthrob Keith provided the band’s lead guitar and vocals. Slightly younger sister and resident hottie Laurie remained the most responsible and mature of the children. True to form, middle child and smooth operator Danny was a schemer of the sort whose activities would probably lead to legal indictments as an adult. The two youngest children, Chris and Tracy, were the only characters whose personalities differed from their live-action personas—in that they actually had personalities and were given larger roles in their animated form. Being the baby of the family, Tracy continually tried to outdo Chris, to his unending vexation. Reuben Kincaid remained the group’s manager and family friend.
Not surprisingly, the influence of The Jetsons was unmistakable to the Partridge Family future. The architectural design of choice was buildings atop massive pillars that reached into the sky. This, of course, necessitated the future’s standard mode of transportation, the flying car. The inconvenience of walking was to a large degree negated by the prevalence of moving walkways that were commonplace even in people’s homes. Giant anti-gravity shafts made travel between the floors of a building much quicker than the primitive stairs and elevators our present day society depends on. Videophones, automated food processors, robot maids (or in this case a robotic family dog named Orbit)… it was all present.
Two alien teens, Marion and Veenie, appeared as Partridge family friends and regular members of the show. Marion was a blue and olive skinned Martian and close friends with Laurie, while Veenie, who was Venusian and best friends with Keith, had pointy ears, blue skin and a lavender Afro.
The series lasted for 16 original episodes. It was renamed The Partridge Family In Outer Space when episodes were shown as reruns on the syndicated Fred Flintstone and Friends show in 1977.