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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
Directed by John Grusd (Pilot only)
Dick Sebast (Season 1)
Ron Myrick (Season 2)
Voices of Jaleel White
Charlie Adler
Christine Cavanaugh
Jim Cummings
Bradley Pierce
Rob Paulsen
Mark Ballou
Kath Soucie
Frank Welker
Theme music composer Noisy Neighbors
Opening theme "The Fastest Thing Alive"
Composer(s) Michael Tavera (Season 1)
Matt Muhoberac (Season 2)
John Zuker (Season 2)
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 (Pilot only)
Dick Sebast (Season 1)
Ron Myrick (Season 2)
Len Janson (supervising producer)
Editor(s) Mark A. McNally
Sue Odjakjian
CK Horness
Running time 20–22 minutes
Production company(s) DiC Animation City
Sega of America, Inc.
Release
Original channel ABC
Audio format Stereo
Original release September 18, 1993 (1993-09-18) – December 3, 1994 (1994-12-03)
Chronology
Related shows Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic Underground

Sonic the Hedgehog (also known as Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic SatAM) is an American animated television series. It was story edited by Len Janson and produced by DiC Entertainment. Made with the partnership of Sega of America, the show is based on the video game. The series depicted Sonic as a member of a band of freedom fighters, battling to overthrow Doctor Robotnik. It is the second Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, following Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and preceding Sonic Underground. The program aired for two seasons on ABC from September 18, 1993, until December 3, 1994. It continued in repeats until 1995.[1]

Plot summary

The show takes place on Planet Mobius, a dystopian fantasy world. Prior to the events of the series, a warlord and former scientist named Doctor Robotnik conquered the planet. Robotnik was once head of the Mobotropolis War Ministry. During a previous conflict, his creation of robotic soldiers called SWATbots led to the country's victory. In the war's aftermath, Robotnik was to be appointed Minister of Science. However, he seized power and exiled the king. Robotnik captures most of the citizens, including Sonic's Uncle Chuck. Using Chuck's Roboticizer invention, Robotnik transforms the population into his robot slaves. A handful of citizens escape to Knothole Village, and form the Freedom Fighters. Led by Sonic and Princess Sally, they battle to liberate Mobius.

Characters

Knothole Freedom Fighters

  • Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Jaleel White, Tahj Mowry as younger Sonic) – Sonic is the protagonist of the series. He is able to run at superhuman speed, and is the only freedom fighter capable of using the Power Rings. Sonic possesses a defiant attitude, but is also courageous and cunning.
  • Princess Sally (voiced by Kath Soucie, Dana Hill as younger Sally) – Sally Acorn is the princess of Mobotropolis, and Sonic's love interest. As strategist for the Knothole Freedom Fighters, she is intelligent and cautious. However, Sally remains competitive toward Sonic.
  • Bunnie Rabbot (voiced by Christine Cavanaugh) – Bunnie is a rabbit with a southern accent. Half of her body was roboticized, leaving her left arm and both legs mechanical. She is skilled in martial arts, and desires to be returned to normal.
  • Antoine Depardieu (voiced by Rob Paulsen) – Antoine is a coyote freedom fighter. He has a French accent, and displays difficulty speaking English. Antoine's clumsiness often places the others in danger. He has romantic feelings for Princess Sally, and attempts to impress her. However, his cowardice hinders this goal. Sonic often teases Antoine over his shortcomings.
  • Tails (voiced by Bradley Pierce) – Tails is a young fox who idolizes Sonic. Although typically left behind in Knothole, he proves bright in dangerous situations.
  • Rotor (voiced by Mark Ballou in Season 1 and Cam Brainard in Season 2) – Rotor is a walrus, and the mechanic of Knothole Village. He provides the Freedom Fighters with useful inventions, and accompanies them on missions.
  • Nicole (voiced by Kath Soucie) – Nicole is a portable computer that Sally uses to hack into Robotnik's technology. Nicole speaks in a female monotone, and exhibits artificial intelligence. It is indicated that Sally received Nicole from her father.
  • Dulcy (voiced by Cree Summer) – Dulcy is a young dragon, who provides the Freedom Fighters with transportation. Sporting powerful lungs, she can blow enemies away and freeze them with ice breath. She has trouble landing, and often crashes mid-flight.

Villains

Secondary Characters

  • Uncle Chuck (voiced by William Windom) – Chuck is an inventor and Sonic's uncle. He created the Roboticizer to extend the lifespans of the elderly. However, it had the side-effect of removing free will. Upon seizing power, Robotnik uses Chuck's own machine to enslave him. Eventually, he regains control of his body and acts as a spy for the Knothole Freedom Fighters.
  • King Acorn (voiced by Tim Curry) – King Acorn is Sally's father, and the rightful ruler of Mobotropolis. He was dethroned during Robotnik's coup, and exiled to a place known as the Void.

Minor Characters

  • Lupe – Lupe leads a freedom fighter group called the Wolf Pack. They eventually join forces with the Knothole division to stop Robotnik's Doomsday device.
  • Ari – Ari is a former freedom fighter. He is bribed by Robotnik, and eventually trapped within the Void.
  • Griff – Griff is a freedom fighter, unaffiliated with the Knothole division. He operates from Lower Mobius, a city located under Robotropolis
  • Cat – Cat is a former member of the Knothole Freedom Fighters. He is captured in the first syndicated episode, and disappears shortly thereafter.
  • Naugus (voiced by Michael Bell) – Naugus is a powerful sorcerer. He hates Robotnik for imprisoning him within the Void. He desires vengeance, but he cannot escape without crystallizing.
  • Lazaar (voiced by Dan Castellaneta) – Lazaar is a reformed black magician, residing in the Forbidden Zone. While the wizard is in a self-imposed coma, Robotnik steals his digital book of spells.
  • The Guardian – The Guardian is a mysterious cloaked figure. He watches over Lazaar in the Forbidden Zone.
  • Cluck – Cluck is a robotic chicken, and the only creature Robotnik shows affection towards.
  • The Teropods – The teropods are a dinosaur-like animal, and the final species that remains unrobotocized. Tails befriends a teropod cub he names Baby-T, and the Knothole Freedom Fighters help his family escape Robotnik.
  • Muttski – Muttski is Sonic's pet dog. He was roboticized along with Uncle Chuck.

Episodes

Broadcast and Distribution

Initial run

The Saturday morning series differs from the weekly Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, which premiered the same month. While Adventures is lighthearted and comical, Sonic the Hedgehog featured a comparatively complex plot and dramatic atmosphere. It explored unusual story concepts for animation, including losing loved ones to war.[2][3] At ABC's request, the second season included episodes devoted to humor, while darker elements were reduced.[4] Other changes include Princess Sally donning a jacket for season two, and Rotor receiving a new design.

Syndication

After the program's initial run, it appeared on the USA Network's Action Extreme Team from June 1997 to January 1998. The series aired in Canada on the CTV Network, with a bonus summer run between June 10 and September 2, 1995. ABC did not replicate this, replacing Sonic with reruns of Power Rangers. Sonic the Hedgehog has not been rerun in Canada since its cancellation on CTV. From 1994 to 1996, it had a complete run on the UK television channel Channel MCD. In December 1994, the first season was broadcast in the Republic of Ireland on RTÉ Two.[5]

Release history

DVD releases
DVD Name Ep # Release dates Additional Features
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete Series[6][7] 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 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. The set features cover art by Ken Penders, and was released by Shout! Factory and Sony. The Region 2 version was distributred by Delta Music Group PLC in the UK.

After Shout!'s deal with Cookie Jar expired in 2012, this set was discontinued along with Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.

In other media

Comics

Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic book was initially based on the Saturday morning cartoon.[8] From its earliest issues, the book shared the characters and story premise established within it. However, the comic differed in that it featured humorous plots modeled after the weekday show.[9] After writer Ken Penders had the opportunity to view the Saturday morning program, the comic gradually became adventure driven.[10] The comic series shifted focus again after ABC cancelled Sonic the Hedgehog, developing into a relationship based superhero story. Following a reboot, Archie's Sonic is now primarily inspired by the video game series. In all these incarnations, the characters and locales from the Saturday morning cartoon remain prominent.[8]

Video games

Several video games were intended to use elements from the TV series, although only one was completed. This was Sonic Spinball, released in 1993 for the Sega Genesis. It contained characters from the show, including Princess Sally, Bunnie Rabbot, Rotor and Muttski. The characters were also planned for use in another game, tentatively titled Sonic-16.[11] A prototype was created by the Sega Technical Institute. Yuji Naka disliked the project, and it was cancelled without further development.[11] Directly afterwards, the same team worked on Sonic Mars. Prior to cancellation, this would have featured Princess Sally and Bunnie Rabbot as playable characters.[12]

Reception

Sonic the Hedgehog received mainly positive reviews, earning a 7.1 score on the Internet Movie Database, and an 8.3 on TV.com.[13][14] The program initially ranked #9 in its time slot with a 5.2 rating, an estimated 4.8 million viewers.[15] After cancellation, it acquired a cult following.[16] IGN criticized the show as dated, considering it "so bad, it's good."[17] Writing for DVD Talk, Todd Douglass Jr. remarked that Sonic didn't stand the test of time. He considered it to be of low quality, although he found several episodes 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."[18] FlickeringMyth felt Sonic aged better than is often supposed, praising its well-executed characterizations and treatment of war.[19] GamesRadar listed the show as one of "the worst things to happen to Sonic." It criticized its plot and characters as "unwanted".[20] Former Escapist journalist, Bob Chipman credited the series with providing a viably menacing take on Doctor Robotnik, and an engaging narrative.[21] Bob Mackey of USgamer wrote that the cartoon's writing didn't live up to its intriguing premise. In particular, he argued that the Antoine character perpetrated negative French stereotypes.[22] Meanwhile, Doug Walker of That Guy with the Glasses considered 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 subtle environmental message.[23]

References

  1. ^ Sonic Retro – Sonic the Hedgehog (TV series)
  2. ^ Sonic the Hedgehog series episode "Ultra Sonic"
  3. ^ http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2014/09/looking-back-sonic-hedgehog-1993-1994.html
  4. ^ http://www.sonicsatam.com/information/the-satam-faq/
  5. ^ RTÉ Guide: 10–16. December 1994.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Sonic The Hedgehog – The Complete Series". Amazon.ca. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Sonic the Hedgehog: The Complete Series [4 Discs]". Reviews.BestBuy.com. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Expanded Universes: Sonic the Hedgehog comics and cartoon". Destructoid.com. ModernMethod. March 4, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  9. ^ http://www.saturdaymorningsonic.com/features/continuity/ "A few months after we launched the comic book, Sonic also made his debut as an animated TV character. In fact, it was perhaps the first time in animation history that two separate shows were simultaneously produced featuring the same character. “The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog” took a freewheeling slapstick approach to the characters and was seen across the nation in daily syndication. Meanwhile, the ABC-TV network checked in with a Saturday morning version simply called “Sonic the Hedgehog.” This series was filled with pure, slam-bang adventure and intrigue—and thoughtful characterization. In the beginning, Sega instructed our editorial team to reflect the art and story styles of the syndicated series, but it soon became apparent from fan reaction that the Saturday morning series was the one striking a nerve. The comic soon followed suit with a mix of the two styles, but a heavier emphasis on the dramatic." -Paul Castiglia, former editor of Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic
  10. ^ "I became enamored of the storylines in the series but was told we couldn’t tie-in directly to the stories in the series as DiC - just like SEGA - refused to cooperate with us in allowing us access to their material for the purpose of tying together the continuity of the book with the show, something I was very much interested in, as was Scott. It was only during the time when it was uncertain whether or not ABC would even renew the series for a third season that DiC provided us with scripts and other materials, probably out of hope that maybe the book would help attract more viewers if it were tied in more closely with the show. Mike and I were even invited to submit outlines with the idea we would be contributing to the third season as scriptwriters. … It was only when we we learned the show was cancelled that I changed my mind about embracing the show as it was and instead decided to proceed as if the book were the third season and continuing beyond that. There were many reasons for this but the most important one boiled down to simply this: the book’s very survival. We never, ever felt the book had much of a shelf life beyond the existence of the games and animated series if we didn’t develop it into its own unique series." -Ken Penders, former writer of Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic, The Times They Are A' Changing. Original Source: http://www.kenpenders.com - Archived on: http://theamazingsallyhogan.tumblr.com/post/68112487973/sonic-the-hedgehog-ken-penders-bioware
  11. ^ a b Cifaldi, Frank (February 22, 2010). "Spun Out: The Sonic Games You Never Played". UGO.com. UGO Entertainment. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  12. ^ Fahs, Travis (May 29, 2008). "Sonic X-Treme Revisited". Retro.IGN.com. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  13. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106140/
  14. ^ http://www.tv.com/shows/sonic-the-hedgehog/
  15. ^ Source. 
  16. ^ Way Past Cool!: A Conversation with Ben Hurst, Sonic The Hedgehog - The Complete Series. Brian Ward. Cookie Jar Entertainment. Burbank, California. 2007. B000M8N41W.
  17. ^ Bozon, Mark (February 28, 2007). "Sonic the Hedgehog – The Complete Series". Ie.DVD.IGN.com. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  18. ^ Douglass Jr., Todd (March 2, 2007). "Sonic The Hedgehog – The Complete Series". DVDTalk.com. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  19. ^ http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2014/09/looking-back-sonic-hedgehog-1993-1994.html
  20. ^ "The absolute worst Sonic moments". Retrieved December 7, 2012. 
  21. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YDrVRqmrLY
  22. ^ http://www.usgamer.net/articles/on-saturday-mornings-sonic-the-hedgehog-turned-platforming-into-patho
  23. ^ Walker, Doug (February 18, 2009). "Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog". http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 

External links