The Spectacular Spider-Man (TV series)
|The Spectacular Spider-Man|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Developed by||Greg Weisman
|Written by||Greg Weisman
|Directed by||Victor Cook
James Arnold Taylor
Kevin Michael Richardson
|Theme music composer||The Tender Box|
|Opening theme||"Spectacular Spider-Man"|
|Ending theme||"Spectacular Spider-Man" (instrumental)|
The Tender Box
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||26 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Stan Lee
Eric S. Rollman
Diane A. Crea
|Editor(s)||Ralph A. Eusebio
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Culver Entertainment
Sony Pictures Television
|Original channel||The CW
|Original run||March 8, 2008 – November 18, 2009|
|Preceded by||Spider-Man: The New Animated Series|
|Followed by||Ultimate Spider-Man|
The Spectacular Spider-Man is an American animated television series based on the superhero character published by Marvel Comics and developed for television by Greg Weisman and Victor Cook. In terms of tone and style, the series is based primarily on the original stories by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, with a similar balance of action, drama, and comedy as well as a high school setting. However, it also tends to utilize material from all eras of the comic's run and other sources such as the film series and the Ultimate Spider-Man comics.
The Spectacular Spider-Man premiered on March 8, 2008 during the Kids' WB programming block of The CW, and received critical acclaim. The series aired its second season on Marvel's sister network Disney XD in the United States and ended its run on November 18, 2009, also receiving positive critical attention. However, the entire series was broadcast in Canada on Teletoon. Although a third season was planned, the series was cancelled before production could begin.
The two seasons of the series are each set during a semester of Peter's high school years, with season one running from September to November and season two from December to March.
The first season features Peter Parker beginning his junior year at Midtown Manhattan Magnet High School, having only acquired his powers and alias as Spider-Man in recent months. While harassed at school, primarily by Flash Thompson, he is close friends with classmates Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn. In order to help support his Aunt May after the death of his Uncle Ben, Peter is able to get freelance work at the Daily Bugle, run by J. Jonah Jameson, by obtaining pictures of his alter-ego in action. He and Gwen are also given junior lab assistant positions under Dr. Curt Connors at Empire State University, where they join their friend and mentor Eddie Brock. As Spider-Man uses his powers to fight against petty crime, he gains the attention of the Big Man, who orchestrates crime in New York City. With the help of Norman Osborn and Dr. Otto Octavius, the Big Man oversees development of a project to create "supervillains" designed to distract Spider-Man from other crimes and stop damaging his profits. However, these motives become greatly challenged as the mysterious Green Goblin enters the picture. Throughout the first season, other opponents are introduced, including Vulture, Hammerhead, the Enforcers, Electro, Lizard, Sandman, Rhino, Tombstone, Doctor Octopus, Black Cat who has a crush on him, Shocker and Chameleon. Quentin Beck and Phineas Mason appear as Chameleon's associates. Spider-Man's symbiote black suit also makes an appearance, eventually leading to Eddie Brock's transformation into Venom.
Peter's life becomes significantly more complicated as he finds himself torn between Gwen Stacy and Liz Allan, both of whom have confessed their feelings for him; he eventually chooses Liz. Norman Osborn takes on the role of Peter's mentor, pulling strings to re-establish his job as Dr. Connors' lab assistant, as well as overseeing the installment of the conniving Dr. Miles Warren into the ESU Labs. Meanwhile, as Spider-Man, Peter investigates the activities of a mysterious new crime lord known as the "Master Planner", whose actions gradually escalate, leading to a three-way gang war between his own super-villain forces, the Big Man's established order, and the old guard of Silvio "Silvermane" Manfredi's family. Peter's search for Eddie Brock also leads to the return of Venom and the Green Goblin returns to attempt to put an end to Spider-Man.
Other new characters introduced in the second season include Kraven the Hunter, Calypso, Sha Shan Nguyen, Silver Sable, Roderick Kingsley, and Molten Man. Chameleon's associates Quentin Beck and Phineas Mason return as Mysterio and the Tinkerer respectively.
The timeline of the original Spider-Man story-arcs has been condensed and reconfigured in order to include classic and important characters who originally appeared much later. Characters such as Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, and Harry Osborn are depicted not as direct equivalents to their older counterparts from the comics, but rather as characters who evolve into their more established roles. The series also sports a very wide supporting cast. Every named character who appears in the series, even very minor characters, is at least loosely based on a character who appeared in the original comics Ultimate Spider-Man series (such as Kenny Kong), or film series (such as Bernard Houseman). The series also incorporates a number of villains from different eras of the Spider-Man universe, almost all of whom are introduced as regular characters in first episodes before they transform into established villain identities (an example is Eddie Brock was introduced at the very beginning of the series, but only became Venom in the season 1 finale).
Peter Parker/Spider-Man: Bitten by a genetically altered spider, Peter donned a spider costume and sought to fight crime after allowing a burglar to escape, only to have that same criminal - later identified in this series as Walter Hardy - later kill his Uncle Ben. He learned that "with great power comes great responsibility", a phrase that now drives him to act as a super hero.
Gwen Stacy: Gwen is the daughter of police captain George Stacy, and is one of Peter Parker's best friends and intellectual equal. Initially, she is fairly shy and unconcerned with her appearance; she gradually comes to resemble her comic book counterpart toward the end of the series.
Harry Osborn: Harry is Peter's friend and is the son of industrialist Norman Osborn. He constantly lives in his father's shadow and considers Peter a good friend, though at times also resents him for earning Norman's respect, which Harry has never been able to do.
J. Jonah Jameson: Jameson is the loudmouth, egotistical publisher and editor of the Daily Bugle, a major tabloid newspaper. Showing excessive pride in his son John Jameson, he is obsessed with exposing fraudulent claims to heroism, and is therefore always demanding pictures of Spider-Man so that he can continue his smear campaign against the vigilante.
Mary Jane Watson: Mary Jane is the niece of Aunt May's friend Anna Watson. She attends the Fall Formal as Peter's date before ultimately switching schools to be at Midtown. Mary Jane befriends Peter and Gwen, and is initially determined to stay single, desiring to be a "free agent."
Flash Thompson: Flash is a star football player at Midtown High. While he idolizes Spider-Man, he frequently bullies and harasses Peter Parker, believing him to be a "stuck-up egghead," despite the fact that they had originally been friends when they were much younger.
Liz Allan: Liz is a cheerleader at Midtown High. She is initially the girlfriend of Flash Thompson and shows great resentment towards Peter. As the series progresses, her true feelings become apparent as she demonstrates a much more open and accepting side.
George Stacy: George is Gwen's protective father and a police captain. He is open-minded, believing in Spider-Man (whom he apparently knows is Peter) when others like J. Jonah Jameson dismiss his vigilante activities.
Norman Osborn: Norman is Harry's father and the head of OsCorp. A ruthless businessman who believes himself incapable of failure and never apologizes, Norman is involved in many shady dealings with the Big Man.
- Thom Adcox - Phineas Mason/Tinkerer
- Edward Asner - Uncle Ben
- Dee Bradley Baker - Dr. Curt Connors/Lizard
- Irene Bedard - Jean DeWolff
- Jeff Bennett - Montana/Shocker, St. John Devereaux, Bernard Houseman
- Xander Berkeley - Quentin Beck/Mysterio
- Steven Blum - Green Goblin, Chameleon, Blackie Gaxton, Dillbert Trilby, Seymour O'Reilly
- Clancy Brown - George Stacy, Ox (1st Time), Alex O'Hirn/Rhino
- Angela Bryant - Calypso
- Max Burkholder - Billy Connors
- Lacey Chabert - Gwen Stacy
- Robert Costanzo - Sullivan Edwards
- Nikki Cox - Silver Sable
- Jim Cummings - Crusher Hogan
- Keith David - Tombstone (1st Time)
- Grey DeLisle - Betty Brant, Sally Avril
- John DiMaggio - Hammerhead, Flint Marko/Sandman
- Benjamin Diskin - Eddie Brock/Venom
- Charles Duckworth - Hobie Brown
- Robert Englund - Adrian Toomes/Vulture
- Bill Fagerbakke - Morris Bench
- Miguel Ferrer - Silvermane
- Crispin Freeman - Max Dillon/Electro
- Elisa Gabrielli - Ashley Kafka
- Brian George - Aaron Warren, Miles Warren
- Dorian Harewood - Dr. Bromwell
- Tricia Helfer - Felicia Hardy/Black Cat
- Kelly Hu - Sha Shan Nguyen
- Josh Keaton - Peter Parker/Spider-Man
- Andrew Kishino - Kenny Kong, Ned Lee
- Clyde Kusatsu - Ted Twaki
- Phil LaMarr - Robbie Robertson, Randy Robertson, Fancy Dan/Ricochet
- Joshua LeBar - Flash Thompson
- Stan Lee - Stan
- Eric Lopez - Molten Man
- Jane Lynch - Joan Jameson
- Peter MacNicol - Dr. Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus
- Vanessa Marshall - Mary Jane Watson
- Daran Norris - J. Jonah Jameson, John Jameson
- Alan Rachins - Norman Osborn
- James Remar - Walter Hardy
- Kevin Michael Richardson - Tombstone (2nd Time), Principal Davis
- Kath Soucie - Dr. Martha Connors, Anna Watson
- Deborah Strang - Aunt May
- Cree Summer - Glory Grant
- James Arnold Taylor - Harry Osborn, Frederick Foswell
- Danny Trejo - Ox (2nd Time)
- Alanna Ubach - Liz Allan
- Courtney B. Vance - Roderick Kingsley
- Eric Vesbit - Sergei Kravinoff/Kraven the Hunter
- B.J. Ward - Mayor Waters
- Greg Weisman - Donald Menken
- Thomas F. Wilson - Stan Carter
- Greg Weisman - Supervising Producer/Story Editor/Writer
- Victor Cook - Supervising Producer/Supervising Director
- Diane A. Crea - Producer
- Eric Vesbit - Associate Producer
- Wade Wisninski - Associate Producer
- Dave Bullock - Director (four episodes)
- Kevin Altieri - Director (four episodes)
- John Diaz - Production Manager
- Kevin Hopps - Writer
- Matt Wayne - Writer
- Andrew Robinson - Writer
- Randy Jandt - Script Coordinator/Writer's Apprentice/Writer
- Jennifer Coyle - Director (six episodes)
- Sean "Cheeks" Galloway - Lead Character Designer/ Character Supervisor
- Jaime Thomason - Voice Director
- Meagan Healy - Production Art Supervisor
- Brian G. Smith - Production Art Supervisor
- Ben Maloney - Production Assistant
- Sherrian Felix - Production Coordinator
- Jennifer L. Anderson - Post Production Assistant
- Sean Herbert - Animation Clerk
The Spectacular Spider-Man was announced by Kids' WB Senior Vice President and General Manager Betsy McGowen and Sony Pictures Television Co-President Zack Van Amburg in March 2007. The series was produced by Sony Pictures' direct-to-video label Culver Entertainment and its television animation studio, Adelaide Productions (due to Sony's holding of the Spider-Man film franchise rights).
The series was developed by supervising producers Victor Cook and Greg Weisman; Cook as supervising director and Weisman as story editor. The lead character designer for the series is Sean Galloway. The art style of the series is more simplified than in previous incarnations but retain their iconic elements. This choice was made to ensure Spider-Man would move as he should and replicate the fluidity from Sam Raimi's movie incarnation.
The series stopped production with a renewal dependent upon the ratings for season 2 on the U.S. Disney XD channel and the sales of the DVDs. If the third season were to have gone ahead, producer Greg Weisman stated that Carnage, Hydro-Man, Scorpion and Hobgoblin would have made their appearances. On September 1, 2009, the television rights for Spider-Man were returned to Marvel by Sony. At the time, President of Marvel Animation Eric Rollman further stated that "no decisions have been made either way" regarding the fate of the series. Newsarama reported that the series' cancellation occurred just after The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment in December 2009.
On April 13, 2010, Marvel announced that a new series loosely based on the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book storyline would air on Disney XD in the fall of 2011, which actually aired on April 1, 2012. The same day the new series was announced, Weisman told IGN: "I've heard nothing directly from Marvel, but I think the Ultimate Spider-Man announcement makes it fairly clear that Spectacular is over." Marvel Animation and Sony also commented on this to Marvel Animation Age, confirming that the series had ceased production.
Weisman would later write that Sony had, in 2009, relinquished to Marvel its license to produce animated works that used Spider-Man and associated characters, but had retained ownership of The Spectacular Spider-Man series and all of the production elements created specifically for it, such as character designs and storylines. Therefore, neither Sony nor Marvel could continue production of the series, as each lacked some of the essential rights to do so. Additionally, at approximately the same time that Sony returned the Spider-Man animation rights to Marvel, Marvel was acquired by Sony rival Disney.
Before the series premiere, Matt Sernaker of ComicsOnline interviewed some of the Spectacular Spider-Man development team at WonderCon 2008 after a preview screening and stated: "This new Spider-Man series truly is SPECTACULAR... surpasses all of the previous incarnations with ease. If you are a Spidey fan you will not want to miss this."
Early in the series' run, Alan Kistler of ComicMix called the series "one of the best superhero adaptations I’ve ever seen (and trust me, I've watched more than anyone will probably consider reasonable). It’s fun, it’s smart, it's mature, it’s witty and every episode leaves me wanting more."
In an article entitled "8 Reasons to Watch Spectacular Spider-Man", Reggie White, Jr. from Spiderfan wrote: "If you aren't watching The Spectacular Spider-Man on CW Kids' WB, you are missing out on what is quickly becoming one of the greatest Spidey cartoons of all-time."
Stu from Marvel Animation Age writes in his review of the series: "At time of writing, The Spectacular Spider-Man stands as Marvel’s finest animated effort and surpasses most of DC’s finest efforts – the only shows in Spectacular’s league really, is Batman: The Animated Series itself. With more episodes, it may just surpass it."
IGN stated that Greg Weisman "has only cemented his reputation for quality television animation with his work on Spider-Man." IGN also named The Spectacular Spider-Man the 30th in the Top 100 Best Animated TV Shows in January 2009, outranking both the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. The Spectacular Spider-Man was awarded Best Animated Series in both 2008 and 2009 with the series' version of the main character being named TV's Best Hero in 2008. Subsequently, it was placed second in the Top 25 Comic Book TV Shows in 2011. Recently The Spectacular Spider-Man was listed as 22 on the greatest 25 cartoons for adults on IGN.
Outside of comic resources, Variety highlighted that "although seemingly conceived largely to push a new line of Hasbro toys... the soon-to-fadeout Kids' WB (on the CW!) delivers a credible new version of 'Spider-Man,' emphasizing his relatable headaches as a 16-year-old superhero."
The series was initially developed so that each three to four episode arc could be edited together into a feature-length home video release. The first DVD for the show, entitled "Attack of the Lizard", followed this plan with the first three episodes edited together to form a stand-alone story with additional footage. The region 1 version was released on September 9, 2008.
This release strategy changed with the region 1 release of the second and third DVDs of the series on March 17, 2009. Originally promoted with the titles "Rise of the Supervillains" and "The Goblin Strikes" respectively, these releases were revised to feature the televised versions of the episodes and were ultimately released as numbered volumes. Since then, retailer stores have stopped releasing "Attack of the Lizard", and have replaced it with volume 1. Volume 4 was released in region 1 on April 28, 2009 in the same format.
The first 4 volumes that comprise season 1 for region 2 have been released with volumes 3 and 4 having been released on August 23, 2010. The remaining 4 volumes comprising season 2 have not been released on DVD in the U.K.
Seasons 1 and 2 of the series are available to buy in the iTunes Store (360p) in the U.K. and U.S. Both seasons are also available to buy from the PlayStation Store (480p) in Europe and to stream via LoveFilm in the U.K. While only Season 1 is available on Google Play.
On June 14, 2013, Saban Brands announced that they had acquired the broadcast rights to air the series on Vortexx on The CW for the Fall 2013-14 season, marking its return to The CW since the conclusion of the first season aired on June 14, 2008.
The series officially started airing on Vortexx on August 17, 2013.
Toys and merchandise
-  April 26, 2012
- Interview with Greg Weisman (Part 1) by Sean Elliott: March 7, 2008
- Interview with Greg Weisman (Page 3) by Eric Goldman: June 27, 2008
- Interview with Victor Cook (Part 1) by Sean Elliott April 4, 2008
- Ask Greg (Weisman): March 09, 2008
- Ask Greg (Weisman): May 03, 2008
- Press Release For Upcoming "The Spectacular Spider-Man" DVDs, Season Two Updates by James Harvey: January 30, 2009
- "Update as of January 2009". S8.org. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- Ask Greg (Weisman): March 24, 2009
- IGN: November 1, 2009
- Pepose, David. "ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN: The Animated Series, Disney XD 2011". Newsarama. April 13, 2010.
- "Marvel Animation Age". Marvel.toonzone.net. 2010-04-13. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- by SuperHeroHype (2010-04-13). "Animated Ultimate Spider-Man Coming to Disney XD". Superhero Hype. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- Goldman, Eric. "Ultimate Spider-Man Comes to TV". IGN. April 14, 2010.
- "Marvel Animation Age". Marvel.toonzone.net. 2010-04-15. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- Ask Greg (Weisman): February 09, 2012
- Ask Greg (Weisman): August 31, 2009
- [dead link]
- White, Reggie (2008-04-15). "Rave : 2008 : 8 Reasons to Watch Spectacular Spider-Man". SpiderFan.org. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- "Marvel Animation Age - Spectacular Spider-Man (2008)". Marvel.toonzone.net. 2009-11-18. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- var authorId = "56857231" by Eric Goldman. "The Spectacular Spider-Man's Past and Future". Tv.ign.com. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- "IGN - 30. The Spectacular Spider-Man". Tv.ign.com. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- "IGN TV: Best Animated Series 2008". Bestof.ign.com. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- "TV Best Animated Series 2009 - Spectacular Spider-Man". Bestof.ign.com. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- "IGN TV: Best Hero 2008". Bestof.ign.com. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- "IGN's Top 25 Comic Book TV Shows - TV Feature at IGN". Tv.ign.com. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- Lowry, Brian (March 5, 2008). "The Spectacular Spider-Man TV Show Review". Variety.
- "TV Guide Magazine's 60 Greatest Cartoons of All Time". TV Guide. September 24, 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- TVshowsonDVD.com by David Lambert: June 28, 2008
- TVshowsonDVD.com by David Lambert: June 18, 2009
- TVshowsonDVD.com by David Lambert: September 8, 2009
-  February 25, 2010
- "Play.com". Play.com. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- Comics Continuum by Rob Allstetter: December 2, 2007
- "McDonald's Happy Meal website". Happymeal.com. 2010-02-22. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- India Infoline News Service: February 09, 2009
- McDonald's Advertisement @ Dailymotion[dead link]
- "BK Kids' Meals Toys". Club BK. Burger King Corporation. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
- The Spectacular Spider-Man at the Internet Movie Database
- The Spectacular Spider-Man at TV.com
- The Spectacular Spider-Man @ Sony Pictures Kids
- The Spectacular Spider-Man @ Marvel Animation Age
- The Spectacular Spider-Man @ Animated Superheroes
- Sean Galloway's blog
- Comic Historian Alan Kistler interviews Greg Weisman about Spectacular Spider-Man