Sonic the Hedgehog (TV series)
|Sonic the Hedgehog|
Opening title card for Sonic the Hedgehog
|Created by||Len Janson|
|Directed by||John Grusd
|Voices of||Jaleel White
|Opening theme||"Fastest Thing Alive" by Noisy Neighbors|
|Composer(s)||Michael Tavera (Season one and theme)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||26 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Andy Heyward
|Running time||20-22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||DIC Entertainment
|Original run||September 18, 1993– December 3, 1994|
|Preceded by||Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog|
|Followed by||Sonic Underground|
Sonic the Hedgehog (also known as Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic SatAM) is an American animated television series. It was created by Len Janson and produced by DIC Entertainment. Made with the partnership of Sega of America, the show is based on the video game series. It aired two seasons on ABC from September 18, 1993, until December 3, 1994. It reran until May 1995. The series depicted Sonic as a member of a rebellious resistance movement known as the Freedom Fighters. They battled to free the planet from Doctor Robotnik.
The show's first season is set in a dystopian fantasy world. While family friendly, it explored unusual story concepts for animation. These include losing loved ones to war. ABC decided that the second season would have several episodes devoted to humor. "Darker" plot developments were reduced. Princess Sally wore a vest beginning in the second season. In the first season she wore only a pair of boots. Also beginning in the second season, Bunnie's upper arm is no longer robotic. Further changes include a new color palette for Rotor, and a flashier look power ring creation.
The series sharply contrasts with Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, another cartoon series starring Sonic. It had premiered in the same month. While Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog is lighthearted and comical, Sonic the Hedgehog featured a more complex plot and dramatic atmosphere. This series is the primary inspiration for the Archie comic book series. It continues to use elements and characters from the cartoon.
The series aired in Canada on the CTV Network, with a bonus summer run between June 10 and September 2, 1995, that ABC did not replicate (they instead replaced it with reruns of Free Willy until September 2, 1995). Sonic the Hedgehog has not been re-run in Canada since its cancellation on CTV.
The show takes place on a planet called Mobius. A warlord and former scientist named Dr. Robotnik (voiced by Jim Cummings), and his assistant/nephew Snively (voiced by Charlie Adler), invaded and conquered Mobotropolis, the capital city of Mobius, with an army of robot soldiers called SWATbots.
The show's backstory explains that Robotnik had once been leader of the Mobotropolis War Ministry, and that his creation and use of SWATbots led the country's victory in "The Great War". In the war's aftermath, he was to be appointed Minister of Science by the King of Mobius, who had decided to close the War Ministry and dismantle the SWATbots following the War. However, Robotnik overthrew the kingdom and declared himself to be the new King. King Acorn was never seen or heard from again.
Robotnik captures most of the citizens, including an intelligent old hedgehog named Sir Charles Hedgehog (Sonic's uncle) and his crowning invention, the Roboticizer. This invention, created with the intention to prolong life, changes living creatures into robots, but had the unintended effect of robbing the individual of their free will. Robotnik uses this technology to enslave the population.
Some citizens managed to escape the coup, and fled to Knothole Village in the Great Forest to hide from Robotnik's army. Under Princess Sally, they formed a group called the Freedom Fighters to restore Mobius and end Robotnik's rule.
|This article's factual accuracy is disputed. (December 2013)|
- Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Jaleel White, Tahj Mowry as younger Sonic) - Sonic is the 16 year old titular character and the protagonist of the series. He is a courageous and cunning hedgehog with an attitude, and is able to run at supersonic speeds. He is also a very capable fighter, and despite his bragging nature, he becomes highly selfless and direct in dangerous circumstances. He greatly misses his uncle, Sir Charles, who was sadly roboticized. He is the only one able to use the Power Rings, usually to greatly increase his potential speed. He is the secondary leader of the Freedom Fighters. In season one, he appeared to be intelligent with a natural flair for cunning plans. In season two, his egotism and foolishness became more exaggerated. If the third season was produced, Sonic would have gone through some sort of temporary character transformation.
- Sally Alicia Acorn (voiced by Kath Soucie, Dana Hill as younger Sally) - Sally is the princess of Planet Mobius and Sonic's love interest in this series. She is the strategist and primary leader of the Knothole Freedom Fighters, though she often refers to Sonic as the leader. Extremely intelligent, Sally usually hacks into Robotnik's computers to find important targets in Robotropolis. Though she is very cautious, she can also be as bullheaded as Sonic, and is surprisingly spontaneous when there is no danger. She utterly refuses to believe that her father is dead, and is constantly searching for him.
- Bunnie Rabbot (voiced by Christine Cavanaugh) - Bunnie is a friendly cyborg rabbit with a southern accent, Bunnie was briefly captured, and had half of her body roboticized before she was saved, mid-transformation. Now her left arm and both her legs are mechanical. These robotic features, in addition to skill in martial arts, make her the brawn of the Freedom Fighters. Despite these advantages, she greatly desires to be normal again.
- Antoine d'Coolette (voiced by Rob Paulsen) - Antoine is clumsy, cowardly, pompous, coyote who speaks with a French accent and uses French mannerisms. He is a member of the Freedom Fighters. He often has trouble speaking English. He also has a crush on Sally. His rival was Sonic, who would make fun of Antoine for his shortcomings. His clumsiness often gets himself or other Freedom Fighters into trouble. In the first season, he was often portrayed as being intelligent, but too fearful to offer much help to anyone. In the second season, his clumsiness and cowardice became more exaggerated.
- Tails (voiced by Bradley Pierce) - Tails is a 10 year old younger-brother figure to Sonic, whom he idolizes. Tails is the youngest Freedom Fighter (since the season two episode "Drood Hedge"). Often left behind in Knothole Village during missions, he is incredibly bright (also if season three was produced, he would have matured and played a much larger role as an official member of the Freedom Fighter team, even showing a bit of a rebellious side).
- Rotor (voiced by Mark Ballou in Season 1 and Cam Brainard in Season 2) - Rotor is a walrus who is the mechanic of thr Freedom Fighters. He invents reliable gadgets for the Freedom Fighters in Knothole and on their missions. In season one, he accompanies the other Freedom Fighters on many missions. In the second season, he was completely redesigned, had a replacement voice actor, and stays behind to work instead of going on missions.
- Nicole (voiced by Kath Soucie) - Nicole is a highly advanced, artificially intelligent portable personal computer that Sally uses to analyze and hack into Robotnik's machines. While generally a formal computer, in the episode "Super Sonic", it copies Sonic's lingo so he can understand what it says, much to the bemusement of Sally.
- Sir Dr Charles Hedgehog (voiced by William Windom) - Known as "Uncle Chuck," he is an elderly inventor, as well as Sonic's warmhearted uncle. Chuck invented the Roboticizer to allow people to live longer, but it had the unintended effect of robbing an individual of their free will. Robotnik later stole it and used it on him, turning him into one of many mindless drones and destroyed his "restaurant", Uncle Chuck's Chilli Dogs. With great difficulty, he regains control of his body and acts as a spy for the Freedom Fighters.
- King Acorn (voiced by Tim Curry) - King Acorn is the rightful King of Mobius, and father to Princess Sally. He was dethroned during a coup immediately following the Great War, and banished to the Void, a crystalline universe from which none can escape.
- Dulcy (voiced by Cree Summer) - Dulcy is a clumsy, loud-mouthed, young dragon who joined the Freedom Fighters in the second season. She often flies the Freedom Fighters to their destinations or rescues them. She also has powerful lungs, which can be used to blow enemies away, or freeze them solid with ice breath. She is terrible at landing, and often crashes into things mid-flight. She would have come into her full powers, if the show had a third season.
- Dr. Julian Robotnik (voiced by Jim Cummings, reprising his role from the unaired pilot of AoStH) - Dr. Robotnik is the madman who conquered Mobotropolis ten years earlier. He is a brilliant, yet heartless warlord seeking nothing less than to encompass the whole world in his machinery and robotic minions. His goals are constantly thwarted by Sonic the Hedgehog, his sworn nemesis. His hatred for the hedgehog has turned into a desperate obsession to capture and roboticize Sonic himself, which is often his own undoing. He was later defeated in the episode Doomsday Project. In season one, Robotnik was portrayed as a fearsome dictator and he had a deep echo to his voice. As season two was more lighthearted than season one, Robotnik was later depicted as an evil but incompetent villain rather than the fierce and intimidating foe he was originally shown to be, and he no longer had a deep echo to his voice.
- Snively (voiced by Charlie Adler) - Snively is Dr. Robotnik's miserable underling and assistant, as well as his nephew. Snively is constantly abused, teased and intimidated by his uncle. In season one, Snively appeared to be loyal to Robotnik. In season two, Snively was shown to despise Robotnik and talk about him behind his back. Snively's intelligence easily rivals his uncle's, but this trait is ignored. After Robotnik is defeated in "Doomsday Project", Snively himself plans to take over and run all of Robotropolis.
- Naugus (voiced by Michael Bell) - Naugus is a powerful sorcerer, formerly Dr. Robotnik's mentor. He hates Robotnik for betraying and imprisoning him within the Void during The Great War. He wants nothing more than to see Robotnik suffer, but he cannot exist outside the Void for any extended amount of time. He was scheduled to reappear as one of the main villains in Season 3 alongside Snively before it was cancelled.
- SWATbots (voiced by Frank Welker, Jack Angel, Thurl Ravenscroft, Will Ryan (Pilot), Jim Cummings, Peter Renaday (Pilot) and John Kassir (Pilot)) - The SWATbots are Robotnik's primary police and military unit. Designed as super-soldiers, these machines won the Great War prior to Robotnik's takeover. Now, they are his special defense force, making up a substantial part of Robotropolis' "population".
In other media
The Sonic the Hedgehog comic done by Archie Comics was based on the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon. Themes and storylines in early issues of the comic paralleled the cartoon, while characters and locales are still currently used. A fan made comic has been compiled by Fans United for SatAM that depicts the story that may have unfolded if the third season was ever produced.
Numerous different video games were intended to use the Sonic the Hedgehog TV series license, although only one was ever completed and released. This was Sonic Spinball, released in 1993 for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, which contained references to the show, such as the inclusion of Princess Sally, Bunnie Rabbot, Rotor and Muttski. The franchise was also planned to be used in a game that had tentatively been titled Sonic-16. A prototyped was being worked on by the U.S.-based Sega Technical Institute, however, Yuji Naka disliked the project and it was cancelled before it could be developed any further. The team worked on another prototype, Sonic Mars, directly afterwards, which also would have used characters from the show, including Princess Sally and Bunnie Rabbot as playable characters, but was also cancelled. The team would then go on to work on the infamous Sonic Xtreme project, which was also cancelled, but by that point, the game had dropped any connections to the television series.
The program initially ranked #9 in its time slot with a rating of 5.2, an estimated 4.8 million viewers. Mark Bozon of IGN criticized the show for not aging well, and being "so bad, it's good", comparing it to The Super Mario Bros. Super Show and The Legend of Zelda. Todd Douglass Jr. of DVD Talk also found the show to be dated, though he found it enjoyable. "I got a kick out of 'Ultra Sonic,' where Sonic finds his now robotic Uncle Chuck," he wrote. " 'Blast to the Past Parts 1 & 2' and 'Doomsday Project' stood out alongside 'Ultra Sonic' as the crème of the crop." GamesRadar called the show "the worst thing to happen to Sonic." It criticized its plot and original characters as "unwanted". Bob Mackey of USgamer also found the show was poor. Meanwhile, Doug Walker of That Guy With The Glasses called the series "a great show," and better than he remembered. He praised it for "literally taking nothing and turning it into something," with a strong story and good character development.
- DVD releases
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release dates||Additional Features|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|The Complete Series||26||March 27, 2007||September 10, 2007||N/A||This four disc boxset includes the entire 26 episodes from the series. Bonus features include: storyboards, concept art, storyboard-to-screen comparisons, deleted/extended scenes, a printable prototype script of the series pilot (Heads or Tails), and interviews with Jaleel White and head writer Ben Hurst. The individual cases and the DVDs themselves also feature fan art submitted to Shout! Factory during the box set's development phase. Cover art by Ken Penders and released by Shout! Factory and Sony BMG Music Entertainment. The Region 2 version was distributred by Delta Music Group PLC in the UK.|
- Sonic Retro - Sonic the Hedgehog (TV series)
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