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Ned's Newt title screen
|Created by||Andy Knight, Mike Burgess|
|Starring||See voice cast below|
|Country of origin||
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||39 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 min (per episode)|
Fox Kids (1998)
|Original release||17 October 1997– 31 December 1999|
Ned's Newt is a Canadian/German animated series produced by Nelvana and TMO Film GmbH. The program aired on Teletoon from 1997 to 1999. In the United States, the program aired on Fox Kids from 1998. Teletoon Retro aired reruns of all 39 half-hour episodes on September 5, 2011.
The series begins with Ned finally scraping up enough money to buy a pet. However, upon reaching the pet store, the only thing he can actually afford is a newt. Dubbing his new pet "Newton", Ned quickly tires of it, since Newton just lies on the rock in his bowl. Complaining to the pet store owner that his new pet is not very active, the owner gives Ned a can of "Zippo for Newt" pet food but warns Ned not to give his pet too much. Ned feeds Newton a little, but Newton does nothing. Ned leaves the can beside Newton's bowl and goes to bed.
That night, Newton crawls from his bowl and gulps down several mouthfuls of Zippo. Thus, the "too much" warning comes true: Newton grows 6 feet tall, can talk (voiced by Harland Williams), and has the power to shapeshift. After Ned realizes this, he and Newton become the best of friends, but unfortunately, the effects of Zippo do not last forever. In fact, Newton often gets Ned into trouble, at which point the Zippo wears off and Newton shifts back to his smaller form, leaving Ned alone to bear the wrath of his elders.
The series recounts the misadventures of Ned attempting to live a normal life while trying to keep Newton from being discovered. Recurring plots involve Ned and Newton working to fix situations which Newton has helped go awry, Ned's hopeless crush on his neighbor, Linda Bliss (who reduces Ned to speaking in gibberish) and his rivalry with snobbish Rusty McCabe for Linda's affections.
Plot and themes
Each show made a habit of creating outrageous plots out of mundane tasks and settings. For example, after a joyful weekend of playing, Ned exclaims he cannot wait for the next one. Newton then comes up with the idea that, rather than wait for next weekend, they can build a time machine and travel back to Friday, and relive the weekend. After they build the time machine out of a bunch of household objects, they accidentally travel back to the age of the dinosaurs and end up changing the future. In another episode, in an effort to raise money for charity, Ned's friend Doogle digs a hole and stumbles across a race of subterranean trolls secretly planning domination of the world's "metropolises-es".
Ned takes Newton with him everywhere and makes sure to keep some Zippo food with him at all times, just in case Newton turns back into a normal newt. Newton's powers almost always make things worse, mostly due to the fact he has a poor understanding of society. Thus, when Ned explains to him that Newton has made a terrible mistake (such as giving 3.5 million dollars to some passersby), Newton and Ned must work together to put things right. And although they usually succeed in doing so, Newton invariably changes back to newt form just in time to avoid being seen, and just in time for Ned to get into trouble.
The series made extensive references to famous faces and popular culture at the time, relying heavily on Harland Williams's experience as a comedian and impressionist. Newton morphs into "newt-versions" of many famous personalities in each episode, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable for comic effect. Several running gags also span the episodes of all three seasons, such as Mrs. Flemkin finding a crow hiding in the kitchen, Newton's solution to various problems involving a rubber ducky and bicycle pump (which he never gets to use), or the appearance of quahogs (usually in a barrel) which begin to sing M-O-T-H-E-R by Howard Johnson. Newton also frequently broke the fourth wall, especially in season three, even going so far as to comment upon how poorly his bellybutton was drawn, or whether newts should have bellybuttons at all.
For the final four episodes of season three, Harland Williams was replaced by Ron Pardo as the voice of Newton.
In Season 3, episode 8 ("Rear Bus Window") Newton proclaims that he is a member of the genus Triturus, which are crested or marbled newts native to Europe. Newton also mentions the species name vittercensis, which is not a catalogued member of the genus.
- Harland Williams as Newton (episodes 1–35)
- Ron Pardo as Newton (episodes 36–39)
- Tracey Moore as Ned Flemkin
- Carolyn Scott as Sharon "Mom" Flemkin
- Peter Keleghan as Eric "Dad" Flemkin
- Tracy Ryan as Linda Bliss
- Colin O'Meara as Doogle / Mr. Bliss
- Jim Milington as The Usual Guy / Pet Shop Owner
- Created by: Michael Burgess, Andy Knight
- Executive Producers:
- Clive A. Smith
- Patrick Loubert
- Michael Hirsch
- Andy Knight
- Andrew Nicholls
- Darrell Vickers
- Peter Völkle
- Produced by: Vince Commisso
- Directed by: Rick Marshall
- Voice Director: Debra "Debby" Toffan
- Casting: Karen Goora
- Art Director: Mike Ksunyoska
- Music by: John Tucker
- Produced with the Canada Film = Tax Credit
Each VHS tape had two pairs of episodes. The first three VHS tapes with two pairs of episodes each were released on March 23, 1999. The first three were duplicated in either EP/SLP, LP, or SP while the last three were duplicated in the SP mode.
Mainstream reviews of Ned's Newt were mixed to mostly positive. Author and cartoonist Edward Gorey was a strong fan of the show, identifying Ned's Newt as the "greatest" animated show in a 1998 Newsday interview.
- "TELETOON Retro Fall 2011 – New & Returning Series". Retrieved 2011-07-25.
Premieres Monday, September 5 at 2:30 pm ET ... 39 x 30 mins[permanent dead link]
- Vol. 1, Home Alone with Newt
- Vol. 2, Jurassic Joyride
- Vol. 3, Saturday Night Fervor