Monday, April 20, 2009

Dart Adams presents 6 Slept On Cartoons (The Oldhead Edition)

I'm doing another goddamn list today. Why? Because I fuckin' feel like it. See, that's the inherent beauty of a blog/blogging. I can wake up in the morning and write about whatever I feel like. Then I go to other people's blogs and read what they in turn felt like writing about. Let's keep it this way and not regurgitate what news or post the new hot YouTube/Vimeo/Vimby/Dailymotion/OnSmash/World Star Hip Hop video of the day. That being said, here are six (of many) slept on cartoons I just felt about writing about. Enjoy:

Spartakus And The Sun Beneath The Sea (1985-1987 on Nickelodeon)

"Spartakus And The Sun Beneath The Sea" was a French cartoon that starred a former gladiator who protected the siblings Matt and Rebecca who travel with an artificial girl named Arkana. They're on a mission to save Arkana, a city that's deep underground and powered by an artificial sun that's dying. This show ran for 52 episodes and was one of Nickelodeon's first animated shows. Nowadays, no one remembers it except for oldheads like myself. I can't remember exactly how they ended up saving Arkana anymore. The entire series is on DVD and I could catch up easily as this show is huge in Europe and overseas.

Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors (1985-86 in syndication)

"Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors" was a show about a group called The Lightning League that fought a gang of evil mutated vegetable-like plants called The Monster Minds. The show ran for 65 episodes and was weird because unlike other programs, they didn't resolve the series at the end. The producers were banking on the show and the toys taking off but neither could make a dent in the market as Transformers, G.I. Joe, MASK, He-Man & The Masters Of The Universe, ThunderCats, Voltron & Robotech dominated the ratings and toy sales in North America. Few people ever remembered that Jayce never found his father Audric or defeated his enemy Saw Boss.

The entire 65 episode run has recently been released on DVD so adults that remember the series (or don't) can see it and/or play it for their kids. The show featured some Mad Max type vehicles, a decent amount of violence, low corniness ratio and it had excellent animation. Too bad it got lost in the mix at the height of the 80's cartoon and toys boom. Some episodes can be seen here

Galtar And The Golden Lance (1985-86 in syndication)

This Hanna/Barbera cartoon was pretty much a re-imagining of the popular series "Thundarr The Barbarian". It starred Galtar, the possesor of the Golden Lance and his traveling partners Princess Goletta and her younger brother Zorn. She had magical powers and her little brother was a telekenetic with a boomerang that could break into smaller sections and reform. They fought to overthrow the tyrant Tormack who recently usurped the throne and took over the kingdom of Bandisar. It had a short run on "The Funtastic World Of Hanna-Barbera" of only 21 episodes that aren't yet on DVD but you can see some episodes here to jog your memories.

Ulysses 31 (1986-87 in syndication)

The French and the Japanese got together back in 1981 and produced a 26 episode animated series based on Homer's Odyssey. Ulysses and his crew killed a Cyclops go the space Gods forced his crew into a deep sleep and erased his families memories so he doesn't remember the way back to Earth. He's forced to rely on his son Telemachus and his friends Numinor and Yumi, telepaths saved from the Cyclops by Ulysses.

He also uses Nono, his son's robot to aid him in missions as they travel space in their ship called The Odyssey. They eventually find home after going through trials that were based on many of Oddyseus' same adventures. This show was on a little seen syndicated weekend cartoon show called "Kideo TV" and it never aired again on American TV afterwards so I haven't seen this show in more than 20 years. That is until now

The Mysterious Cities Of Gold (1986-90 on Nickelodeon)

This 39 episode show was off the hook storywise, it starred a Spanish kid named Esteban who had the power to make the Sun come out any time he wanted, an Incan girl named Zia and an orphan named Tao from the sunken kingdom of Hiva (Mu). They had a golden bird that was solar powered that they traveled the world in seeking the lost cities of gold and hoping to find Esteban and Zia's parents. If you watched this show as a kid thinking you'd learn about world history you'd be sorely mistaken. This show went through it's full run quite a few times during it's long residence on Nickelodeon. There's a live action film in the works so the entire series was just released on DVD recently. A couple can be seen here

The Pirates Of Dark Water (1991-93 in syndication)

This series started out on network television then got cancelled. Then it was picked up for syndication and went through serious production delays on several occasions. At the end of it's run it was on television for 3 season that only spanned 21 episodes (5 episodes the 1st season, 8 the 2nd season and 8 the 3rd). Hanna Barbera and Turner Entertainment could never get their shit together to finish what became a cult favorite cartoon series but they sure did a hell of a job in marketing it! It had a Marvel Comic, merchandise, a role playing game based on it and a video game...but it was never finished!

Ren was the Prince Of Octopon, one of the grandest Kingdoms on the planet Mer. It's now being covered by Dark Water but he's given tools that can rid the world of Dark Water provided he finds the 13 lost treasures of Rule. He's joined on his mission by Ioz (think Han Solo) and Tula (think Princess Leia) but they're pirates instead. They fight off Bloth as he tries to acquire the 13 Treasures Of Rule for himself to keep the Dark Water around as it aids him in his quest to take over Mer. The show still hasn't been released on DVD but some episodes can be seen here

Cadillacs And Dinosaurs (1993-94 on CBS)

This cartoon had a short but memorable run of only 13 episodes on network television but it was based on the cult favorite comic book series "Xenozioc Tales" by Mark Schultz. His main characters Jack Tenrec and Hannah Dundee lived in a post apocalyptic world where natural disasters and wars plunged the Earth back into a resurgent dinosaur age. He restored old Cadillac's in a garage he runs and fuels them on dinosaur guano. He and Hannah find ways to survive in the new world along with a few pals.

"Cadillacs and Dinosaurs" became a videogame as well as a roleplaying game and the comic book series ran for almost 12 years. The cartoon has been all but forgotten about and hasn't been re-aired in the 15 years since it stopped being showed. Thank God for YouTube!

Jim Lee's Wild C.A.T.S (Covert Action Teams) (1994-95 on CBS)

Jim Lee and Brandon Choi created one of the iconic comic book titles of the 90's at Image Comics when they premiered "Wild C.A.T.S". In a short time, the issues were flying off the shelves and companies wanted to capitalize on the whole comic book boom of the 90's. They decided to license a gang of merchandise (toys, video games, T shirts, etc.) to get paid including a cartoon series to air on network television. Problem is that the storylines were watered down significantly and the dialogue was laughable. The cartoon clearly was aimed at young children and tweens..."Wild C.A.T.S" fans didn't watch past the first few episodes and viewership was low so it's time slot moved around a few times in different markets.

Another issue was that people unfamiliar with the original source material thought it was a rip-off of "X-Men" (which was thriving in syndication) and didn't take it seriously. Another issue was that some episodes just looked like xrap and the animations quality seemed to slack off sometimes. That's not common in animated series' that are so short. The 13 episode run ended and it did land a few places in syndication but it never caught on. After 15 years, Image Comics decided to release the entire run on DVD for fans that remember the cartoon and others that never saw it before. You might start laughing during the theme, though...check it out here



Evan B. said...

Pirates of Dark Water was a fave growing up...never knew it was an unfinished series.

Small Pro said...

Dark Water!