Liquid Television

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Liquid Television
Liquid tv.jpg
The 1991–1995 logo
Created byJaphet Asher[1]
ComposerMark Mothersbaugh
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes27 (list of episodes)
Executive producersJaphet Asher
Prudence Fenton
Running time30 minutes
Production companiesMTV Animation
Original series:
(Colossal) Pictures
BIG Pictures
Noyes & Laybourne Enterprises
BBC Enterprises
Revival series:
Titmouse, Inc.
DistributorViacom Media Networks
Original networkMTV
BBC Two[2]
Original releaseOriginal series:
June 2, 1991 (1991-06-02)
January 1, 1995 (1995-01-01)
Revival series:
May 15, 2014 (2014-05-15) – June 12, 2014 (2014-06-12)
Followed byCartoon Sushi
Beavis and Butt-Head
Æon Flux
External links

Liquid Television is an animation showcase that appeared on MTV[3] from 1991 to 1995. It has served as the launching point for several high-profile original cartoons, including Beavis and Butt-Head and Æon Flux.[4] The bulk of Liquid Television's material was created by independent animators and artists specially for the show, and some previously produced segments were compiled from festivals such as Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation.

The first season of Liquid Television also aired on BBC Two in co-production with MTV. Ultimately, MTV commissioned three seasons of the show, which was produced by Colossal Pictures. The show was eventually succeeded by Cartoon Sushi. Mark Mothersbaugh composed the show's theme music.

The show was broadcast in Canada on MuchMusic, in Asia on Channel V, in Australia on SBS and in New Zealand on TV3.


There were also a large number of animation pieces adapted from the work of Art Spiegelman's comic compilation, RAW. RAW featured underground cartoonists such as Mark Beyer, Richard Sala, and Peter Bagge. In particular, Dog-Boy by Charles Burns was based on the artist's series from RAW.[5]

Due to the extensive use of licensed music throughout the series (episodes often began with a contemporary music video being "liquified"), full episodes of Liquid Television have not been seen in any form since its original run. Selected segments from the series, including the first appearances of Æon Flux, were released on two VHS tapes in the late 1990s as The Best of Liquid Television parts one and two. These tapes are long out-of-print. A collection volume, titled Wet Shorts (The Best of Liquid Television), comprising the two VHS tapes, was released on DVD in 1997, but this, too, is out-of-print.

Series credits[edit]

  1. Japhet Asher – Executive Producer/Creative Director
  2. Prudence Fenton – Executive Producer/Story Editor
  3. Mark Mothersbaugh – Composer, Theme Music
  4. XAOS Inc. – Title Sequences, Liquid Lips, Liquid Eyes, End Credits Bed
  5. A BIG Pictures & Noyes & Laybourne Collaboration
  6. Produced by (Colossal) Pictures for MTV & BBC-TV

Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
16June 2, 1991June 30, 1992
210September 24, 1992December 3, 1992
36December 31, 1993January 1, 1995
42May 15, 2014May 22, 2014


Season 1 (1991)[edit]

No. Original air date Summary
1 June 2, 1991
  1. Open: Robert Palmer "Addicted to Love"
  2. Soap Opera "A Steamy Scene"
  3. Buzz Box
  4. Grinning Evil Death
  5. Æon Flux
  6. Invisible Hands (by Richard Sala)
  7. Lea Press on Limbs
  8. Stick Figure Theatre "John Wayne in Angel and the Bad Man"
  9. Miss Lidia's Makeover to the Stars "Sinead O'Connor"
  10. The Art School Girls of Doom "Drummer"
  11. Psycho-Gram "Serum" (serialized throughout episode)
2 June 2, 1991
  1. Open: John Denver PSA
  2. Winter Steele "Eat Crow"
  3. Invisible Hands
  4. Stick Figure Theatre "Mister Alfred Hitchcock"
  5. Rocky (by Malcolm Bennett)
  6. Footwork "Dog Flirting"
  7. Dog Brain (by J. Falconer)
  8. Dangerous Puppets
  9. Cut-Up Camera "Aerobics Instructor"
  10. Excerpt from Joy Street
  11. Weird (by Derek Philips)
  12. Æon Flux
  13. Psycho-Gram "Hostage" (serialized throughout episode)
3 June 9, 1991
  1. Open: Faith No More "Epic"
  2. Soap Opera "Diandra Wastes Away"
  3. Buzz Box (a short film by David Daniels)
  4. Snookles (by Juliet Stroud)
  5. Stick Figure Theatre "Edmund O'Brien in D.O.A."
  6. Cut-Up Camera "Roller Coaster"
  7. Miss Lidia's Makeover to the Stars "Sylvester Stallone"
  8. Invisible Hands
  9. Prophet & Loss (by Jonathan Bairstow)
  10. Black Hula by Marv Newland
  11. The Art School Girls of Doom "Beach"
  12. Beach Chair
  13. Æon Flux
  14. Psycho-Gram "Operative X" (serialized throughout episode)
4 June 16, 1991
  1. Open: Dental Health
  2. Winter Steele "Ball of Communion"
  3. Jac Mac and Rad Boy "Go!"
  4. Footworks "Scoring"
  5. Dangerous Puppets
  6. The Thing What Lurked in the Tub
  7. Invisible Hands
  8. Monk's Purpose
  9. Stick Figure Theater "Madonna in Express Yourself"
  10. Æon Flux
  11. Psycho-Gram "Music Industry" (serialized throughout episode)
5 June 23, 1991
  1. Open: The B-52's "Love Shack"
  2. Soap Opera "Caught in the Act"
  3. Push Comes to Shove (Enemies) (by Bill Plympton) (serialized throughout episode)
  4. Cut-Up Camera "Pizza Delivery"
  5. Face Like a Frog – Mystic Knights "Don't Go in the Basement"
  6. Invisible Hands
  7. Miss Lidia's Makeover to the Stars "George Michael"
  8. Stick Figure Theatre "José Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac"
  9. The Art School Girls of Doom "The Bra"
  10. They Might Be Giants "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)"
  11. Æon Flux episode 5 (bug in glass, cracker spread, news show) [6]
  12. Psycho-Gram "Suburban Housewife" (serialized throughout episode)
6 June 30, 1992
  1. Open: Chalk test bars and tone
  2. Winter Steele "Stupid Hippies"
  3. Cut-Up Camera "Elevator"
  4. Invisible Hands
  5. Stick Figure Theatre "Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life"
  6. Æon Flux (entire first season + episode 6)
  7. Psycho-Gram "Time Travel" (serialized throughout episode)

Season 2 (1992)[edit]

No. Original air date Summary
7 September 24, 1992
  1. Open: Uncle Louie's Travels (by Drew Friedman) (serialized throughout episode)
  2. Æon Flux "Gravity"
  3. The Adventures of Thomas and Nardo
  4. Beavis and Butt-Head "Frog Baseball" (by Mike Judge)
  5. The Specialists
  6. Winter Steele "Soft Heart, Hard Alcohol"
  7. Stick Figure Theatre "Night of the Living Dead"
  8. Dog-Boy (by Charles Burns)
8 October 1, 1992
  1. Open: The Safety Twins
  2. Bobby & Billy "Let's Go to the Party!"
  3. Wishful Thinking (by Candy Guard)
  4. Dog-Boy
  5. The Specialists
  6. Office Space (by Mike Judge)
  7. The Listener (by Chris Landreth)
  8. Was (Not Was) "Hello Dad, I'm in Jail" Directed and Produced by Christoph Simon Copyright 1988
  9. Wishful Thinking (by Candy Guard) Part 2
  10. Glove Story (Animated & Directed by Miles Flanagan, Mole Hill, Mark Slater)
  11. Æon Flux "Night" (Renamed "Mirror" on the Æon Flux DVD collection) Written, Designed, Produced and Directed by Peter Chung
9 October 8, 1992
  1. Open: Concert (excerpt from a short film by Ondrej Rudavsky)
  2. Joe Normal (Written/Directed by Stephen Holman) Part 1
  3. Was (Not Was) "What Up, Dog?" Copyright 1987
  4. Speedbump the Roadkill Possum "Slipp'ry When Wet"
  5. Doktor Züm "Cafe Le Bad"
  6. The Adventures of Thomas and Nardo
  7. Meggamorphosis (by Sean Schur, featuring the voices of Tim Curry as "The Snake" and Annie Potts as The "Egg")
  8. Stick Figure Theatre "Wm. Shakespeare's Henry V"
  9. Joe Normal (Written/Directed by Stephen Holman) Part 2
  10. The Specialists "Anti Matter World" Part 2/"Necator" Part 1
  11. Bobby & Billy "Winter Fun"
  12. The Killing of an Egg (Animation by Paul Driessen)
  13. Dog-Boy "Date with Rondy" Part 1
  14. Joe Normal (Written/Directed by Stephen Holman) Part 3
10 October 15, 1992
  1. Open: Stick Figure Theatre "Mr. Jimi Hendrix performing "The Star-Spangled Banner" (Woodstock, 1969)"
  2. Doktor Züm "Typical Records"
  3. Elvis Meets the Spider People From Hell
  4. Winter Steele "All Men Suck (Except Crow)"
  5. Dog-Boy "Date with Rondy" Part 2
  6. Getting to Know Each Other (by Candy Guard)
  7. Was (Not Was) "Earth to Doris" Copyright 1986
  8. The Honky Problem (by Mike Judge)
  9. Bobby & Billy "Camping Out"
  10. Bob the Frog in "Burp"
  11. At the Beach (From Feggorama)
  12. The Specialists "Necator Part 2"/"Fifi Breakout" Part 1
11 October 22, 1992
  1. Open: The Running Man (excerpt)
  2. The Specialists
  3. Stick Figure Theatre "Sergei Eisenstein's silent classic The Battleship Potemkin (USSR, 1925)"
  4. Flugbild (by Thomas Meyer-Hermann)
  5. Ladies (by Candy Guard)
  6. Dog-Boy
  7. The Running Man (by Yoshiaki Kawajiri)
12 October 29, 1992
  1. Open: The Twelve Dangers of Skydiving (serialized throughout episode)
  2. Bobby & Billy "Soap Box Derby"
  3. Speedbump the Roadkill Possum "Batt'ry-fied"
  4. Dog-Boy
  5. Doktor Züm "Atom Bomb Factory"
  6. Stick Figure Theatre "The Crash of the Hindenburg May 6, 1937"
  7. Let's Chop Soo-E (by Eric Pigors)
  8. Winter Steele "Rhinestones 'n' Concussions"
  9. The Specialists
13 November 5, 1992
  1. Open: Door #8
  2. The Adventures of Thomas and Nardo
  3. This is Not Frank's Planet
  4. Æon Flux "Leisure"
  5. Dog-Boy
  6. In the Aquarium (Excerpt)
  7. Stick Figure Theatre "Jack Nicholson and Boris Karloff in The Terror"
  8. The Specialists
  9. Koko's Earth Control (by Max Fleischer, 1928) (new music and sound effects added, abridged)
14 November 12, 1992
  1. Open: Devil's Angels (trailer)
  2. Smoking Section (Feggo)
  3. The End
  4. Heads
  5. Winter Steele "F.T.W."
  6. The Specialists
  7. Pickpocket (Feggo)
  8. The Street Sweeper
  9. Speedbump the Roadkill Possum "Buck-a-Roost"
  10. The Hitchhiker
  11. Beware of Dog (Feggo)
  12. Dog-Boy
15 November 19, 1992
  1. Open: Theatrical trailer for Truck Turner
  2. The Adventures of Thomas and Nardo
  3. Conversations (serialized throughout episode)
  4. Dog-Boy
  5. The Specialists
  6. Beavis and Butt-Head "Peace, Love & Understanding" (by Mike Judge)
  7. Bobby & Billy "Earning Money"
  8. Æon Flux "Tide"
16 December 3, 1992
  1. Open: Amore Baciami
  2. The Adventures of Thomas and Nardo
  3. Æon Flux "War"
  4. The Specialists
  5. Dog-Boy
  6. Stick Figure Theatre "Miss Bette Davis in Of Human Bondage"
  7. Winter Steele "Desperate Beauty"
  8. Amore Baciami (sung by Nuccia Bongiovanni)

Season 3 (1993–95)[edit]

No. Original air date Summary
17 December 31, 1993
  1. Open: Stick Figure Theatre "The Naked Edge part one"
  2. The Blockheads "Mall"
  3. Crazy Daisy Ed "To Officer with Love"
  4. Gas Planet
  5. Smart Talk with Raisin (created by John R. Dilworth)
  6. The Dangwoods "Nightmare in Trailer City"
18 July 6, 1994
  1. Open: The Day of the Dead Guy
  2. Uncle Louie' Party
  3. Anyway (created by Run Wrake; serialized throughout episode)
  4. Technological Threat
  5. Brad Dharma: Psychedelic Detective
  6. Stick Figure Theatre "The Naked Edge part two"
  7. One Less Ant
  8. The Bill and Willis Show
19 July 13, 1994
  1. Open: Strangers in Paradise
  2. Brad Dharma: Psychedelic Detective
  3. Nightwatchman
  4. Nietzsche Pops
  5. Beat Dedication
  6. Doctor X vs Mister Y
  7. Stick Figure Theatre "The Naked Edge part three"
  8. Crazy Daisy Ed "Fast, Loud, Dumb and Proud"
  9. Sound Asleep
20 July 27, 1994
  1. Open: Uncle Louie "Blind Date"
  2. Genie Junkie
  3. Stick Figure Theatre "The Naked Edge part four"
  4. Cat and Mouse at (The) Home
  5. The Blockheads "TV"
  6. The Chore
  7. Human Bomb
21 October 3, 1994
  1. Open: Krazy Teens USA
  2. Rico & Klein
  3. Honey Bunny (serialized throughout episode)
  4. Stick Figure Theatre "The Naked Edge part five"
  5. Crazy Daisy Ed "Let's Go to the Stinkin' Movies"
  6. Balloon Guy
  7. Sweat
  8. Green Beret
22 January 1, 1995
  1. Open: Medallion Love
  2. Crazy Daisy Ed "Hill Bomb Skate Sniper"
  3. Swine Cowboy
  4. Stick Figure Theatre "The Naked Edge part six"
  5. Autoguard 2000
  6. The Big City
  7. Beat
  8. Brad Dharma: Psychedelic Detective
  9. The Invisible Man in "Blind Love"

Liquid Television Online[edit]

No. Original air date Summary
1[7] May 15, 2014
  1. Most Days
  2. Tiny Chainsaw (by Joel Veitch)
  3. Gummie Chernobyl
  4. Bedtime Stories with Abraham Willosby I
  5. Sick
  6. Bruce
  7. Institutional Mechanisms
  8. Mac & Cheese
  9. Disco Destroyer 01
  10. Liquid Television Valentine
  11. We Are the Universe From We Can Do It!
  12. Cougar Bike
  13. Mini Sketchbook Animation 010-019
  14. Best Song Ever (by Wallpaper.)
2[8] May 22, 2014
  1. The Lost Coin
  2. Let's Make Out
  3. The Long Legs 6: "Nick the Cockroach"
  4. Rad
  5. Fluffy McCloud
  6. Haerskogen
  7. Disco Destroyer
  8. Slander
  9. Heal Everything Heal Everyone From We Can Do It!
  10. You Came Out (by We Have Band)
  11. Playing For Keeps
  12. Bedtime Stories With Abraham Willosby II
  13. Laser Beamer
  14. Boy (by Milgrom)

Recurring segments[edit]

  • Winter Steele – A puppet show about a biker chick searching for her long-lost love (see below).
  • Soap Opera – A parody of daytime soaps, with bars of soap as the actors.
  • Cut-Up Camera – A parody of Candid Camera involving outrageous situations.
  • Miss Lidia's Makeover to the Stars – A short about an unseen makeup artist (with live-action hands) who gives celebrities mock make-overs via her computer.
  • Invisible Hands – About a turban-clad sleuth who solves murders.
  • Buzz Box – A short with changing patterns set to rock music.
  • Stick Figure Theatre – A series of shorts recreating scenes from popular movies using stick-figures drawn on 3 × 5 cards.
  • Dangerous Puppets – About two puppets who violently destroy each other.
  • The Art School Girls of Doom – A live-action short in the early 1990s about two art school girls. Codie Field and Gina Varla Vetro, transgender actresses, played the girls in an animated environment.[9]
  • Footworks – Stories featuring footprints as the characters.
  • Æon Flux – About a scantily-clad female secret agent (later spun off into its own series; also adapted into a 2005 live-action film starring Charlize Theron).[10] The series later became part of Liquid Television's online version in 2012.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head – About two adolescent morons who cause their own trouble; later spun off into its own series.
  • Psychogram – A series of stories told with postcards and voiceover narration.
  • The Specialists – A 10-episode series about three private detectives.
  • Dog Boy – A live-action, comic book-style story about the adventures of a young man who received a dog's heart in a medical transplant.
  • The Adventures of Thomas and Nardo – A computer animated series about a man and his anthropomorphic house done in a 3D paper-style, created by Mark Beyer. It had an original soundtrack composed by The Residents.
  • Speedbump the Roadkill Possum – About a possum who often gets run over.
  • Was (Not Was) – A series of fast-paced chalk animations to the tune of songs by the titular band.
  • Uncle Louie – A series of cut-out animations about an older yet jovial uncle and his young nephew in various adventures.
  • Bobby & Billy – A series of cut-out animations, drawn similar to Norman Rockwell paintings, about two younger boys who display malevolence and immoral behavior in various situations. The cartoon often satirizes indecency set in the 1960.
  • Brickface & Stucco – A live-action series about two grease monkeys and their custom hot rod gear head adventures.
  • Brad Dharma: Psychedelic Detective – An animated series about a psychic private detective in the future megacity of Timbuktu. It mixed cyberpunk and fantasy tropes.[11]

Winter Steele[edit]

Winter Steele is a puppet television series created by Cintra Wilson that aired as a segment of Liquid Television during its first two seasons, 1991–1993. Wilson wrote the series, created the puppets, did the voice of the main character and even did some live action body double work.

Winter Steele is depicted as a female biker who is in hot pursuit of her childhood friend, lover and sometime nemesis David "Crow" Dickerson, himself a biker. The two met as children in a repressive orphanage and bonded. Separated, the two vowed to find each other, with Winter criss-crossing the land on a motorcycle. In this course Winter breaks many laws - robbing a crossdresser at gunpoint, credit card fraud, etc. As it transpires, Crow is also desperately looking for Winter, he has gotten a career as a stunt performer a la Evel Knievel and a cape he uses in his act bears the inscription "Winter, where are you?" At one point Winter even meets up with Crow's mother, who abandoned her son to an orphanage. Asked if she regretted sending Crow there, she tersely replies "Hell no!"

Winter eventually learns of Crow's career as a daredevil, but despairs of reaching him when she can't get his attention at a show. Defeated, Winter attempts suicide by immolation, wrecking her motorcycle, tearing off her clothes and setting them on fire. She is stopped when a private detective hired by Crow recognizes her. But before he can bring her to Crow, he sees Winter's burnt belongings and assumes she has committed suicide. He attempts suicide himself by ramming his chopper into a brick wall, but though seriously injured he is not killed. Winter finally catches up with Crow at the intensive care unit at the hospital, but is taken away by the police on various charges before she can stay long. After the police have taken her away, we see Crow raise a thumb towards Winter.


On October 13, 2011, MTVX, MTV's cross media group, announced the return of Liquid Television.[12] It is now a network that is available on the internet and social media. The first content to debut on the network was "F**KING BEST SONG EVERRR" by Wallpaper, available on the website. Full-length episodes featuring the online content and all-new material were released in 2013.

Shows on[edit]

  • The Head - Animated series about the adventures of a young man who has an alien hatch out of his head.
  • The Maxx - Animated adaptation of comic book series The Maxx, the story follows the dual-reality adventures and struggles of the Maxx and his social worker Julie. Aired on MTV's Oddities, which was a sub-category of Liquid Television in the 1990s.
  • Daria - Focuses on Daria Morgendorffer, a smart, acerbic, and somewhat misanthropic teenage girl who observes the world around her. Spin-off of Beavis and Butt-Head.
  • Wonder Showzen - Live-action/animated sketch comedy series about a darkly perverse kids' show modeled after Sesame Street.
  • Celebrity Deathmatch - Clay animation series featuring overly violent wrestling matches between celebrities. Originally part of LT's follow-up, Cartoon Sushi.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rushkoff, Douglas (1994). Media virus!: hidden agendas in popular culture. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 150. ISBN 9780345382764.
  2. ^ "BBC Genome (TV Guide Archive) : FAQ". BBC. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  3. ^ Svetkey, Benjamin (June 14, 1991). "What is Liquid Television". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
  4. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 501–504. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  5. ^ Lipton, Lauren (June 9, 1991). "High-Tech MTV 'Liquid Television' shows what visual wizards can do with animation and pop culture". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
  6. ^ "Liquid Television : FAQ". Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  7. ^ "Liquid TV | Episode 1". Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  8. ^ "Liquid TV | Episode 2". Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  9. ^ "Wigging Out". Vanity Fair. November 1992. Archived from the original on March 25, 2014.
  10. ^ "Liquid Television". Entertainment Weekly. May 31, 1991. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "mtv revives liquid-television". Cartoon Brew.

Further reading[edit]

  • Aero Flux [videorecording]: The Complete Animated Collection. Peter Chung; Howard E. Baker; Denise Poirier: John Rafter Lee; MTV Networks; Paramount Home Entertainment. c2005. 3 videodiscs.
  • Lipton. Lauren. High-Tech MTV; "Liquid Television" shows what visual wizards can do with animation and pop culture." Los Angeles Times, June 9, 1991 TV Times Orange County Edition, p 8.
  • Liquid Television. By: LIGHTBODY, KIM, Fast Company, 10859241, Nov2017, Issue 220
  • Wet Shorts [videorecording]: The Best of Liquid Television. MTV Networks: SMV Enterprises. New York, NY:MTV Networks c1997 videodisc (90 min)

External links[edit]