|Created by||Adam Reed
|Voices of||Harry Goz (2000–2003)
Michael Goz (2003–2005)
George Lowe (2000–2002)
|Theme music composer||Julie Stepanek|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||52 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Keith Crofford
|Running time||12 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Williams Street
Hanna-Barbera (original footage)
|Original channel||Adult Swim|
|Picture format||4:3 SDTV|
|Original run||Pilot sneak peeks:
December 21, 2000
December 30, 2000
(episodes 2 & 3)
September 2, 2001 – April 25, 2005
|Related shows||Sealab 2020|
Sealab 2021 is an American animated television series. It was shown on Cartoon Network's adult-oriented programming block, Adult Swim. Cartoon Network aired the show's pilot season in December 2000 before the official inception of the Adult Swim channel on September 2, 2001, with the final episode airing on April 25, 2005. Sealab 2021 is one of the four original Williams Street series that premiered in 2000 before Adult Swim officially launched, the others being Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Brak Show, and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.
Much like Adult Swim's Space Ghost Coast to Coast, the animation used stock footage from a 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon, in this case the short-lived, environmentally themed Sealab 2020, along with original animation. While there was initial resistance from several of the original series' creators to the reuse of their characters, production moved forward on the series. Sealab 2021 was produced by 70/30 Productions, which eventually closed in January 2009.
Adam Reed and Matt Thompson, the creators and writers of Sealab 2021, came up with the idea for the show in 1995 while they were production assistants for Cartoon Network. They stumbled on a tape of the show Sealab 2020, and wrote new dialog. Cartoon Network passed on the show because they did not believe it was funny. Five years after quitting Cartoon Network, the two went back to the original tape, this time making the characters do what they wanted. Cartoon Network bought the show, coincidentally around the same time that Adult Swim was created. The original "pitch pilot" is available on the Season 1 DVD as a special feature.
The show is set one year after the time frame of Sealab 2020. During this year, the crew's professionalism and morals have slowly degraded, causing the crew to spend more time goofing off in various ways rather than doing any serious work. None of the episodes share any connection or ongoing plot. As a result, continuity is frequently ignored; for instance, the entire installation is destroyed at the end of many episodes, and cast members are often killed in horrible ways, only to return in the following episode. While the show contains many references to the pop culture of the 1980s–2000s and appears to be set in the year 2021, John F. Kennedy is President and Robert Kennedy is his Attorney General, suggesting that it is in fact still the early 1960s. (Episode 29, "Red Dawn"). The show also contains numerous subtle references to The South, e.g. the submarine "The Hunley" and the discussion of Dollywood.
Many fans and critics felt that the show fell into a sharp decline following the death of Harry Goz (the voice of Captain Murphy) during Season 3. After four seasons, the final episode aired on April 25, 2005.
- Captain Hazel "Hank" Murphy (Harry Goz) – is the ostensible leader of the crew, but instead of providing any real leadership, he is usually neglecting his duties or putting Sealab at grave risk. The only episode which features Murphy acting responsibly throughout is "7211", which is a faithful reenactment of the original Sealab 2020 show. After the death of Harry Goz, Murphy was written out of the show by having him leave Sea Lab to fight in the "Great Spice Wars". A recap montage of Murphy's moments were played in the final episode in memory of his voice actor.
- Captain Bellerophon "Tornado" Shanks (Michael Goz) – is a retired football coach and redneck who earned his position as Sealab's new captain by answering a help-wanted ad. Dropping his southern accent late in the series, Shank's personality bears a resemblance to Captain Murphy, being voiced by Harry Goz's son.
- Jodene Sparks (Bill Lobley) – is the station's radio operator who is always seen sitting and rarely leaves his office chair as he is lazy. A convict serving time at Sealab while still operating a blackmarket distillery under the sea, he is often a co-conspirator with Captain Murphy, although he sometimes attempts to act as a voice of reason for him. He's claustrophobic. Sparks seems to have the vice of cupidity, as his quest for money has been in several plots; such as the murdering of the crew to collect on life insurance policies, the creation of Stimutacs to "make an assload of money", and his numerous underhand deals with Paddy O'Reilly. Episode 46 reveals he enjoys hentai with themes of forced submission and humiliation. Rank: Commander
- Debbie "White Debbie" DuPree (Kate Miller) – is a marine biologist, and one of only two adult females on the base. She is a blonde and is often the object of the sexual interest of the males on Sealab. She has an ongoing sexual relationship with Doctor Quinn. Rank: Lieutenant Commander
- Derek "Stormy" Waters (Ellis Henican) – is a pretty boy lacking in intelligence. He is allergic to shellfish. Rank: Lieutenant Commander
- Dr. Quentin Q. Quinn (Brett Butler) – is an African-American character who is extremely intelligent, with an IQ of 260 and Ph.D.s in several scientific disciplines, which he is not shy about reminding the other characters. He is often the one that ends up running the station in an emergency, and usually attempts to persuade Captain Murphy to stop whatever bizarre or harebrained scheme he is undertaking. He has a robotic body of his own design. Rank: Lieutenant Commander
- Marco Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Erik Estrada) – is the station's engineer. He is very strong and a ladies' man, and often exclaims random things in Spanish, although not actually speaking the language. His name comes from both the Spaniard epic 11th century poem "El Cantar del Mio Cid", which featured the character Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, and from the 1982 Literary Nobel Prize winner journalist and novelist Gabriel García Márquez. Rank: Lieutenant Commander
- Hesh Hepplewhite (mc chris) – is the station's reactor operator and is quite often the whipping boy as well. It was revealed that he is Jewish. Nasal-voiced, smart-mouthed, and whiney, Hesh is not well liked by most of the crew and thus works in the part of the station farthest away from them. Hesh has a habit of continually referring to himself in the third person. Rank: Lieutenant
- Debbie "Black Debbie" Allison Love (Angela Gibbs) – is both the only other adult female and the only black female on the station. She teaches school to the Sealab's orphans and is very proud of her race. In one episode, her name is displayed on a monitor as Debbie Allison; but in another her nameplate is shown as Debbie Love. She is a former Heisman trophy winner. Rank: Lieutenant
- Dr. Ilad Virjay (Adam Reed) – is the station's official doctor and in-house surgeon, noted for his thick Indian accent and relatively normal personality. He graduated third in his class from The Medical College of Mescutabuti. He practices Manduism, the Sealab universe's version of Hinduism. It is later revealed that he is also janitor for Sealab's restaurant section. Rank: Unknown
- Dolphin Boy – is a little, chubby boy that speaks in dolphin noises. He is a member of Black Debbie's class, is the target of endless fat jokes, and is often killed for no reason whatsoever by the Sealab crewmembers. He is the persona non grata of Sealab. Rank: Lieutenant Jr. Grade
- Sharko (Matt Thompson) – is a half-human, half-shark freak of nature who is the result of Marco having sexual relations with a female shark. Rank: None
Fifty-two 11-minute episodes of Sealab 2021 were produced, as opposed to only 16 25-minute episodes of the original Sealab 2020. Sealab 2021 is rated TV-14.
DVD releases 
In addition to being available on DVD, all of the episodes are available on the "Build a Custom DVD" feature on the Adult Swim website.
|DVD Name||Release Date||Episodes||Additional Information|
|Season One||July 20, 2004||13||This two disc boxset contains the first 13 episodes ("Radio Free Sealab" through "Swimming in Oblivion"). Bonus features include alternate endings for episode "I, Robot", deleted scenes, the original pitch pilot, and uncensored scenes for "Radio Free Sealab". Music during the main menu is the original recording of the theme song.|
|Season Two||February 1, 2005||13||This two disc boxset contains the second set of 13 episodes ("Der Dieb" through "Return to Oblivion"). Bonus features include commentaries for all thirteen episodes, an animatic for the unseen episode "Ronnie", and other assorted bonus features – many of which involve women in bikinis. The DVD cover, used for the "Bizarro" episode, is a homage to the cover of Uncanny X-Men #100, by artist Dave Cockrum. Music during the main menu is the theme song played backwards. This season two DVD is included on Adult Swim in a Box, which was released on October 27, 2009.|
|Season Three||July 12, 2005||13||This two disc boxset contains the third set of 13 episodes ("Splitsville" through "Neptunati"). Bonus features include two unseen episodes and the animatic of a third unseen episode, commentary for four episodes, and other features. Music during the main menu is the music used in the "Red Dawn" episode.|
|Season Four||August 8, 2006||13||This two disc boxset contains the final 13 episodes ("Isla de las Chupacabras" through "Legacy of Laughter"). Bonus features include alternate endings and deleted scenes. For this set, Cartoon Network abandoned their usual digipak packaging design in favor of a more traditional amaray style keep case. During the main menu, underwater sound effects are used.|
See also 
- "Sealab 2021 Episode Guide". TV.com. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
- Holman, Curt and Kuldell, Heather. "Midnight Munchies with [Adult Swim]" (2005-03-09) Access: 2009-12-29. Quote = "Do the original creators of Birdman or Sealab ever come up to you and say, 'What the hell did you do to my character?' Crofford: Actually, yes. Ouweleen: Yes, they're mad about it."
- "Predictability is a Disease: Adam Reed and Matt Thompson, Sealab 2021". 2003-03-13. Retrieved 2007-03-24.
- "SCI FI Weekly: Review of Sealab 2021 Season-Three DVD". 2005-11-21. Archived from the original on 2007-01-26. Retrieved 2007-03-08.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Sealab 2021|
- Official website
- Sealab 2021 at the Internet Movie Database
- Sealab 2021 at TV.com
- Interview with Sealab 2021 Creator