Sonic the Hedgehog (TV series)

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Sonic the Hedgehog
SatAMtitle.jpg
Opening title card for Sonic the Hedgehog
Genre Action-Adventure
Comedy-drama
Science fantasy
Created by Len Janson
Directed by John Grusd
Mory Myrick
Voices of Jaleel White
Charlie Adler
Christine Cavanaugh
Jim Cummings
Bradley Pierce
Rob Paulsen
Mark Ballou
Kath Soucie
Frank Welker
Opening theme "Fastest Thing Alive" by Noisy Neighbors
Composer(s) Michael Tavera (Season one and theme)
Matt Muhoberac
John Zuker
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 26 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Andy Heyward
Robby London
Producer(s) John Grusd
Running time 20-22 minutes
Production company(s) DIC Entertainment
Sega Corporation
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Audio format Stereo
Original run September 18, 1993 (1993-09-18)  – December 3, 1994 (1994-12-03)
Chronology
Preceded by Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
Followed by Sonic Underground
External links
Production website

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.[1] It reran until May 1995. The series depicted Sonic as a member of a resistance movement known as the Freedom Fighters. They battled to free the planet from Doctor Robotnik. Since 1994 the show has been cancelled and on a cliffhanger which was never resolved. Luckily FUS or Fans United for SatAM created a comic which tells the story after the series ended and is currently still going.

Background[edit]

Initial run[edit]

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.[2] At ABC's request, the second season included episodes devoted to humor, while darker episodes were reduced.[3] 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.

Syndication[edit]

After the series' initial run, it was aired on the USA Network's Action Extreme Team in reruns from June 1997 to January 1998. Reruns aired in syndication from 2004 to 2005.[4]

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.

It initially had a complete run on the UK television channel Channel 4 from 1994 to 1996. Season one was broadcast in the Republic of Ireland on RTÉ Two in December 1994.[5]

Plot summary[edit]

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.

Characters[edit]

Freedom Fighters[edit]

  • Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Jaleel White, Tahj Mowry as younger Sonic) - Sonic is the 15 year old titular character and the protagonist of the series. He is a courageous and cunning hedgehog. Possessing a defiant attitude, he is able to run at supersonic speeds. A capable fighter, he is selfless and direct in dangerous circumstances. He greatly misses his uncle, Sir Charles, who was roboticized. He is the only one able to use the Power Rings, usually to increase his speed. In season one, he appeared to be intelligent with a natural flair for cunning plans. In season two, his egotism and foolishness were embellished. The Archie Comics introduced further characterization for Sonic, including the introduction of parents and a mystical destiny.
  • Sally Alicia Acorn (voiced by Kath Soucie, Dana Hill as younger Sally) - Sally is the princess of Planet Mobius and Sonic's love interest. She is the strategist and leader of the Knothole Freedom Fighters. Sally hacks into Robotnik's computers to find important targets in Robotropolis. Intelligent and cautious, Sally also shows egotism and spontaneity in many instances. She refuses to believe that her father is dead, and continues to search for him. The Archie Comics version of Sally was expanded upon to introduce additional relatives; at one point in the series she was going to be killed off, but was retained due to fan response. The comics featured her struggles both with her royal responsibilities-including her father's attempts to marry her to Antoine and the struggle over whether she or her long lost older brother would rule-and her love life-involving not only Sonic but also Knuckles the Echidna and other possible romantic interests.
  • 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. The Archie Comics expanded on her character, featuring her as an orphan raised by her aunt and uncle who left home when her uncle claimed that her parents had betrayed their country. Despite showing no interest in him in the show, Bunnie also develops a romantic relationship with Antoine, the two eventually getting married and-in some possible future realities-having children together.
  • Antoine Depardieu (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. In the Archie Comics some modifications were made to Antoine's character: his last name is changed to D'Coolette, and he eventually becomes a master swordsman.
  • 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). His Archie Comics counterpart would undergo a number of changes, including an increase in age, the introduction of parents and an uncle, and a mystical destiny.
  • Rotor (voiced by Mark Ballou in Season 1 and Cam Brainard in Season 2) - Rotor is a walrus who is the mechanic of the 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. Archie Comics' version of Rotor retained his season 1 design and expanded on his character, making him an even better inventor with a knack for developing highly advanced equipment and gadgetry, and introducing relatives for him as well.
  • 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. Comments by Sonic indicate that Sally received Nicole from her father, who programmed her with a great deal of information, some of which was barred from access until Sally came of age. In the Archie Comics Nicole is greatly expanded upon: she is introduced as a computer created by a future version of Rotor from another reality and sent back in time to help the Freedom Fighters. As in the series, she started developing more "organic" qualities and eventually created and adopted a holographic form for herself based on a Mobian Lynx.
  • 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. He and Sonic's dog Muttski (who only appeared in the pilot) were also both featured in the Archie Comics.
  • 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.

Villains[edit]

  • 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.[6] 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.[7] Robotnik also appeared in the Archie Comics, which drew heavily on the series, but was defeated in issue #50 and subsequently replaced by an alternate version of himself from another universe in order to accommodate the change into his Sonic Adventure design of Dr. Eggman.
  • 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. "Blast to the Past" revealed that he once had a full head of hair of which he was very proud, only to lose most of it to a time-traveling Sonic. 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. Snively also appeared in the Archie Comics in a similar role, with his backstory and family being expanded upon. After the demise of his original uncle he would establish an unstable alliance with Dr. Eggman, which involved multiple separations and antagonisms. More recently his character has been changed and is no longer related to Eggman.
  • Naugus (voiced by Michael Bell) - Naugus is a powerful sorcerer of unknown species, 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. The comics expanded on Naugus as a villain, adding the title Ixis and explaining his grotesque appearance as being the result of three dark sorcerers fusing together: a Rhino named Agunus, a Bat named Nusgau, and a Lobster named Suguna. As opposed to ordinary magic, he was also made a master of the elements, and a member of the ancient Order of Ixis founded by comics-exclusive villain Mammoth Mogul. A subsequent continuity change removed the title of Ixis, instead giving him the first name of Walter.
  • 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". Various incarnations of the SWATbots also appeared in the Archie Comics, with the original models eventually being replaced by more advanced units.

Episodes[edit]

In other media[edit]

Comics[edit]

The Sonic the Hedgehog comic done by Archie Comics was based on the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon.[8] Themes and storylines in early issues of the comic paralleled the cartoon, while characters and locales are still currently used.[8] 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.[9]

Video games[edit]

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.[10] 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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[11]

Reception[edit]

The program initially ranked #9 in its time slot with a rating of 5.2, an estimated 4.8 million viewers.[12] 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.[13] 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."[14] GamesRadar called the show "the worst thing to happen to Sonic." It criticized its plot and original characters as "unwanted".[15] Bob Mackey of USgamer also found the show was poor.[16] 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. As well as a surprisingly subtle environmental message.[17]

FUS[edit]

FUS or Fans United for SatAM was created based around the Sonic SatAM series. They have created many things on their site but the most notable is Sonic SatAM Sea3on. This is a comic series which explains the story of what happened after the second season. The comic started in 2009 and is still going on. They have also released shorts and a Christmas special. Other than that they post Sonic news and projects.

Release history[edit]

DVD releases
DVD Name Ep # Release dates Additional Features
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete Series[18][19] 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.

This set was discontinued in 2012 along with Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog after Shout!'s deal with Cookie Jar Entertainment expired.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sonic Retro - Sonic the Hedgehog (TV series)
  2. ^ Sonic the Hedgehog series episode "Super Sonic"
  3. ^ http://www.sonicsatam.com/information/the-satam-faq/
  4. ^ "FCC 398 Children's Television Programming Report". Licensing.FCC.gov. March 24, 2005. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  5. ^ RTÉ Guide: 10–16. December 1994. 
  6. ^ Sonic the Hedgehog series episode "Sonic Boom"
  7. ^ Sonic the Hedgehog series episode "Sonic Conversion"
  8. ^ a b "Expanded Universes: Sonic the Hedgehog comics and cartoon". Destructoid.com. ModernMethod. March 4, 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  9. ^ http://sonicsatam.com/sea3on/
  10. ^ a b Cifaldi, Frank (February 22, 2010). "Spun Out: The Sonic Games You Never Played". UGO.com. UGO Entertainment. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Fahs, Travis (May 29, 2008). "Sonic X-Treme Revisited". Retro.IGN.com. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Source. 
  13. ^ Bozon, Mark (February 28, 2007). "Sonic the Hedgehog - The Complete Series". Ie.DVD.IGN.com. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  14. ^ Douglass Jr., Todd (March 2, 2007). "Sonic The Hedgehog - The Complete Series". DVDTalk.com. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  15. ^ "The absolute worst Sonic moments". Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  16. ^ http://www.usgamer.net/articles/on-saturday-mornings-sonic-the-hedgehog-turned-platforming-into-patho
  17. ^ Walker, Doug (Feb 18, 2009). "Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog". http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "Sonic The Hedgehog - The Complete Series". Amazon.ca. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "Sonic the Hedgehog: The Complete Series [4 Discs]". Reviews.BestBuy.com. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 

External links[edit]