Spider-Man: The New Animated Series
|Developed by||Brian Michael Bendis|
|Narrated by||Neil Patrick Harris|
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original release||July 11 –|
September 12, 2003
|Preceded by||Spider-Man Unlimited|
|Followed by||The Spectacular Spider-Man|
Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (also known as MTV Spider-Man) is an American-Canadian animated television series based on the Marvel comic book superhero character Spider-Man. The show was made using computer generated imagery (CGI) rendered in cel shading. It ran for only one season of 13 episodes, premiering on July 11, 2003, and was broadcast on MTV and YTV.
As of October 13, 2018, Viceland picked up the series for syndication, making it the first time the series has been aired on television in fifteen years.
The story follows the events of the first Spider-Man film. Norman Osborn is dead. Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson, and Harry Osborn attend Empire State University. Peter and Mary Jane try to establish a relationship without success. Peter's superhero duties, and later his involvement with Indira Daimonji, interfere with his romance with Mary Jane. Harry craves revenge on Spider-Man, whom he blames for the death of his father. Peter faces an assortment of other villains including the Lizard, Kraven the Hunter and Electro while trying to maintain a job and his studies. He faces two psychic twins that ruin everything in the wallcrawler's life, causing Peter to give up being Spider-Man and try to live a normal life.
Cast and characters
- Neil Patrick Harris as Peter Parker / Spider-Man, a superhero, an Empire State University student and photographer for the Daily Bugle. Peter confronts with the desire to use his incredible, spider bite-derived powers to do good, he finds it hard balancing his responsibilities of being a superhero with schoolwork and his romance with Mary Jane Watson.
- Lisa Loeb as Mary Jane Watson, a student at Empire State University and model/actress. She is the on-and-off girlfriend of Peter Parker, but also seems to still hold some affection for Peter's alter-ego, Spider-Man.
- Ian Ziering as Harry Osborn, the son of the late industrialist Norman Osborn. He attends Empire State University along with his friends Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Ironically, he blames Spider-Man for his father's death and seeks revenge, oblivious to the fact that his best friend Peter is Spider-Man; however, as the series progresses, Harry has shown to warm up to him, as well as helping him defeat Electro and being rescued from the Lizard.
- Angelle Brooks as Indira "Indy" Daimonji. An amalgamation of Gwen Stacy and Betty Brant, she is designed as a single character only for the series. Introduced in "Tight Squeeze", she is often described as a foil for Mary Jane and Peter's romantic interest at the Empire One Television Studio. The character showed an intense, flamboyant, and unabashed affection for Peter Parker, pursuing him publicly to MJ's consternation.
- Keith Carradine as J. Jonah Jameson, the Daily Bugle newspaper publisher. Consistent with his appearances in the comics and films, Jameson spent most of his appearances berating Spider-Man and adding political spin to his activities, usually in front of Peter Parker. Jameson is so passionate about this that he even appears on a competitor's news broadcast to denounce Spider-Man.
- Stan Lee as Frank Elson in the penultimate episode "Mind Games". His character appeared for one scene in the next episode but did not have any dialogue, except grunts.
- Rob Zombie as Dr. Curt Connors / Lizard in the episode "Law of the Jungle".
- Eve as Cheyenne / Talon, a villain possibly based on Black Cat in the episode "Keeping Secrets".
- Kathy Griffin as Roxanne Gaines in the episodes "Mind Games" (Parts 1 and 2).
- Jeremy Piven as Roland Gaines in the episodes "Mind Games" (Parts 1 and 2).
- Michael Dorn as Kraven the Hunter in the episode "Mind Games" (Parts 1 and 2).
- Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin in the episode "Royal Scam". Duncan previously played the character in the Daredevil film.
- Keith David as FBI Agent Mosely in the episode "Royal Scam".
- Jeffrey Combs as Dr. Zellner in the episode "Flash Memory".
- Clancy Brown as Raymond (Richard Daimian's bodyguard) in the episode "Sword of Shikata".
- Virginia Madsen as Silver Sable in the episodes "Spider-Man Dis-Sabled" and "Mind Games" (Part 1).
- James Marsters as Sergei, the leader of a high-tech gang of mercenaries called Pterodax in the episodes "Tight Squeeze" and "Mind Games" (Part 1).
- Harold Perrineau Jr. as Turbo Jet, a villain possibly based on Rocket Racer or Blue Streak in the episode "Heroes and Villains".
- Ed Asner as Officer Bar in the episodes "Heroes and Villains", "Sword of Shikata", "Law of the Jungle" and "Mind Games" (Part 2).
- Gina Gershon as the ronin Shikata in the episode "Sword of Shikata".
- John C. McGinley as Richard Daimian in the episode "Sword of Shikata".
- Ethan Embry as Max Dillon / Electro in the episodes "Head Over Heels", "The Party" and "When Sparks Fly".
- Devon Sawa as Flash Thompson in the episode "Flash Memory".
- Tara Strong as Christina in the episode "Head Over Heels".
- Cree Summer as Professor Williams in the episodes "The Party" and "When Sparks Fly".
- Jeff Fischer as Doug Reisman in "Heroes and Villains" and "The Party".
Spider-Man: The New Animated Series was initially supposed to be an adaptation of the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. However, after the success of Sam Raimi's 2002 Spider-Man film, the show was reworked to follow that continuity. The series was produced by Brian Michael Bendis, who wrote on Ultimate Spider-Man comics, for Sony Pictures Television, who had purchased the film and television rights to the character. The computer-generated imagery (CGI) was produced by Mainframe Entertainment.
Peter Parker was originally supposed to wear baggier clothes to hide his superhero musculature, but cost-effective difficulties with the CG format prevented folds from being put into his everyday attire. As a result, Peter's street clothes were redesigned to be close-fitting and contemporary, while still managing to hide his physique (and the costume he wore under his clothes) as Spider-Man. The character of Aunt May was not included in the series (except for a photograph in Peter's bedroom), because MTV executives feared that the appearance of any elderly people would deter their target youth audience from watching.
The producers found that the more relaxed standards of MTV allowed them more creative freedom than usually allowed for a Saturday morning cartoon show.
MTV decided that the ratings for the series were insufficient to warrant a second season, leaving the series to end on a cliffhanger. Director Brandon Vietti stated that had the series gone on he would have used the villains Mysterio, Vulture, and more of Kraven.
Due to various production delays, the episodes aired on MTV out of the correct scripted order. This caused some confusion with audiences regarding the chronology of the series. The DVD releases feature the episodes in the correct order. Each episode has a montage at the end of which states "Next Time On Spider-Man". The order given here is that of the DVD.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Heroes & Villains"||Tim Eldred||Morgan Gendel||July 11, 2003|
|Spider-Man battles Turbo Jet, a modern-day Robin Hood armed with a homemade propulsion system, who steals from the wealthy and gives to the poor. Spidey's life gets even harder as the public rallies around Turbo Jet – and against Spider-Man.|
|2||"Royal Scam"||Vincent Edwards||Rick Suvalle||July 11, 2003|
|Spider-Man is duped by the infamous Kingpin into stealing the TX-1 super-chip, designed to decrypt the confidential satellite transmissions that drive the world's financial markets. Now he must find a way to get it back.|
|3||"Law of the Jungle"||Audu Paden||Greg Johnson||July 18, 2003|
|Peter's professor, Doc Connors, injects himself with reptilian DNA, which slowly changes him into the angry, vengeful Lizard. As the serum affects Doc Connors' brain, Spider-Man must stop his beloved professor as he begins seeking revenge on those who have harmed him – including Harry!|
|4||"The Sword of Shikata"||Brandon Vietti||Todd Felderstein and Morgan Gendel||July 18, 2003|
|The master martial artist/swordswoman Shikata is sent to capture Spider-Man for a wealthy man's collection of rare animals. Shikata determines that Spider-Man is too noble a foe to simply capture and they must fight to the death!|
|5||"Keeping Secrets"||Alan Caldwell||Marsha Griffin||July 25, 2003|
|Spider-Man is out to catch Talon, a female thief who's behind a series of high-risk robberies in the city. Things get complicated when Spidey learns Talon's true identity – she's his best friend Harry's new girlfriend!|
|6||"Tight Squeeze"||Vincent Edwards||Morgan Gendel||July 25, 2003|
|Three ex-KGB agents – now a team of mercenaries called Pterodax – take a group of people hostage, including Peter and his new crush Indy. Their demand is simple: they want Spider-Man! Peter will need to use his cunning and cleverness to figure out a way to appease Pterodax without revealing his alter ego.|
|7||"Head Over Heels"||Brandon Vietti||Tracey Forbes||August 1, 2003|
|Peter Parker's lab partner Christina reads his mind with her new invention: an ESP crown. The crown malfunctions, jolting her own brain with electricity and altering her reality. No longer able to distinguish fantasy from reality, Christina attempts to kill M.J. in order to limit the competition for Spider-Man's eternal affection.|
|8||"The Party"||Audu Paden||Story by : Brian Michael Bendis|
Teleplay by : Brian Michael Bendis, Morgan Gendel and Marsha Griffin
|August 8, 2003|
|Peter Parker's nerdy high-school friend Max is hazed in a deadly fraternity prank that turns him into Electro, a high-voltage villain that threatens the campus. Only Spider-Man can stop him from exacting his revenge on the students.|
|9||"Flash Memory"||Tim Eldred||Whip Lipsey and Scott Lipsey||August 15, 2003|
|Dr. Zellner tests his "smart drug" on Peter Parker foe Flash Thompson, and Flash immediately displays dramatic spikes in intellect. However, along with the IQ boost comes a potentially fatal side effect. With only minutes to find an antidote, Zellner takes Flash's suggestion that he experiment on an already intelligent candidate: Peter Parker.|
|10||"Spider-Man Dis-Sabled"||Alan Caldwell||Morgan Gendel and Rick Suvalle||August 22, 2003|
|Peter covers a press conference and inadvertently videotapes incriminating evidence against Silver Sable, an Eastern European assassin for hire. Now she will stop at nothing — including killing Mary Jane, Harry, and Indy — to get the tape back.|
|11||"When Sparks Fly"||Vincent Edwards||Morgan Gendel||August 29, 2003|
|Electro returns from his seeming death and tries to make Sally, a girl he has a crush on, become an electrical being just like him.|
|12||"Mind Games, Part One"||Alan Caldwell, Vincent Edwards and Audu Paden||Morgan Gendel||September 5, 2003|
|The Gaines Twins, a brother and sister with uncanny telepathy, escape from an armored transport convoy, but Spider-Man apprehends them by overcoming their brain blasts with his own superhuman will power. Later, just as Spider-Man reveals to MJ that he's really Peter Parker, Kraven the Hunter confronts Spider-Man. As payback for the years he spent in jail, Kraven attacks MJ with one of his poison darts. Spider-Man rushes to her side too late, as her life slowly slips away. Now, Peter is out for revenge.|
|13||"Mind Games, Part Two"||Tim Eldred and Brandon Vietti||Steven Kriozere||September 12, 2003|
|Spider-Man realizes that the diabolical Gaines Twins have brain-blasted him into believing that MJ has died at the hands of Kraven the Hunter. He corners the Twins – but things take a turn for the worse when they once again use their telepathy to trick Spider-Man. This time Indy is seriously wounded. The guilt causes Peter to pack his costume inside of a suitcase filled with rocks and throw it to the bottom of the harbor, quitting his career as a crime-fighter. Is this the end of Spider-Man, or a new beginning for Peter Parker?|
The series received mostly positive reviews from critics and audiences, with praise aimed at the voice acting, Neil Patrick Harris' portrayal of Spider-Man, the considerably mature, darker and adult-oriented tone, writing and direction compared to other animated Spider-Man adaptations, the series' potential, quality CGI animation, techno/synthwave-influenced soundtrack, the darker re-imagining and modifications to classic Spider-Man villains (E.G-The Lizard and Electro) and the unique and refreshing, yet faithful take on the Spider-Man mythos, though the abrupt cliffhanger ending and divergence from the later Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man films received criticism from fans.
In 2004, the series was nominated for an Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Television Production while "Keeping Secrets" got a nomination in Outstanding Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production.
The complete series was released on DVD as Spider-Man: The New Animated Series: Special Edition on January 13, 2004. Four separate DVD volumes containing three episodes each were also released from 2004 to 2005. The entire series was licensed by Marvel and Sony to DigiKids/Sentimental Journeys, who re-edited the footage from many episodes into one feature, which is sold as a personalized DVD in which the purchaser's face is revealed under Spider-Man's mask.
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- Mainframe Animates New Spider-Man TV Series
- "Aunt May". Comic Vine. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
- "Brandon Vietti – Marvel Animation Age". Retrieved 2010-09-09.
- "Animated Award Nominations". About.com.
- "Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (Special Edition) (2003)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-09-09.