Before the mid 1980s, the original Jetsons series, created in 1962, had aired as reruns on Saturdays for nearly two decades. A new series using the original voice actors was produced for syndication from 1985 to 1987.
The new Jetsons episodes carried on with the same premise as the original. The Jetsons were a working class family of the future, lead by middle-aged father George and his wife Jane, with their two children, teenage daughter Judy and preteen son Elroy. Semi-intelligent, pet dog Astro and robot maid Rosie (spelled Rosey in the original series) rounded out the family.
The family lived in SkyPad Apartments, in an era where flying vehicles were the norm and most things were automated. Despite these advantages, the family members had the same problems and motivations as mankind in the modern age. Jane loved to shop and dreaded housework, Judy fell in love with one boy after another, and Elroy liked gadgets and comics. Father and husband George Jetson tried to get ahead at his workplace, Spacely Space Sprockets, but lived in constant fear of being fired by his diminutive, hard-nosed boss Cosmo Spacely.
Although the settings and characters remained the same for both the 60s and 80s version of the show, there were some significant differences:
Despite Rosie being introduced in the very first episode in 1962, her appearances in the original series were rare. She played a more prominent role in the 1985 version.
In the 1985 series, the family gained an additional member named Orbitty. Orbitty was an endangered species of alien with Slinky™-like springs for legs, who changed color when he changed emotion. Cute threw up on Orbitty — he resembled a teddy bear with big eyes who spoke in high-pitched, garbled baby-talk. He could instinctively fix any contraption or device, which proved useful on those occasions when Elroy and Astro got themselves in a jam.
The most profound change to the 1985 version of the show was in the artwork and tone, evolving to fit the 80’s Hanna-Barbera style of animation.