The Zeta Project
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|The Zeta Project|
|Created by||Robert Goodman|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||26 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes|
Warner Bros. Animation|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original network||The WB|
|Original release||January 27, 2001– August 10, 2002|
|Related shows||Batman Beyond|
The Zeta Project is an American science fiction animated television series produced by Warner Bros. Animation. It first aired on Kids' WB in January 2001. It is a spin-off series based on the character Zeta from the Batman Beyond episode of the same name. Consequently, it is set in the DC animated universe. The show was created by Robert Goodman and Warner Bros. Animation.
The story's main character, Infiltration Unit Zeta, is a humanoid robot (synthoid) designed to carry out covert assassinations on the behalf of the National Security Agency. When Zeta discovers that one of his targets is innocent, he experiences an existential crisis about goodness and the value of life; following this epiphany, Zeta finds he can no longer kill. The newly enlightened Zeta refuses to continue on as an infiltration unit and abandons his mission, going rogue. Zeta is pursued by a team of NSA agents, led by the obsessed Agent Bennett, and is aided by a 15-year-old runaway, Rosalie "Ro" Rowan.
The Zeta Project follows the exploits of Zeta and Ro as they attempt to prove that he is genuinely non-violent, whereas the NSA agents pursuing him believe that the terrorists he was investigating before going rogue have reprogrammed him for some unknown purpose. To prove his innocence, Zeta and Ro search for his creator, the elusive Dr. Selig.
- Infiltration Unit Zeta (Diedrich Bader), nicknamed "Zee", the titular character. As an infiltration unit designed to seek and destroy specific people, Zeta has the ability to holographically disguise himself as any individual he has seen, as well as create custom appearances through mixing and matching various physical traits. Though Zeta no longer possesses the vast array of weapons he originally came equipped with, his arms are equipped with saw blades and cutting lasers. He also possesses a wide array of other non-lethal tools such as handheld welding lasers and a computer interface. In addition, Zeta possesses great mechanical strength, has extensible limbs, and is capable of self-repair.
- Rosalie "Ro" Rowan (Julie Nathanson), a 15-year-old orphan who joined Zeta in his quest to prove his innocence. She usually acts as a wiser older sister to Zeta, who is often clueless about how to properly blend in with humans. She sees Zeta as family, and refuses to abandon him since she owes him her life. In one episode, it is revealed to Ro that she has a brother.
- Agent James Bennet (Kurtwood Smith), the leader of the NSA team sent to capture Zeta. He vehemently believes that, regardless of Zeta's behavior, there is some sinister motive behind Zeta's sudden change in attitude and believes he is working with the terrorist organization Brother's Day. Despite his supposed professionalism, he is seen to disobey orders himself, when it suits him, as well as abuse his authority. Although he overhears Dr. Selig's confession, about giving Zeta a conscience, there is no sure sign he will cease to be Zeta's enemy.
- Agent West (Michael Rosenbaum), a young, arrogant and egotistical agent whose desire to prove himself only results in annoying his superiors, coworkers, and virtually anyone else he meets to the point that Ro no longer even considers him a threat. He shares a last name and is similar in appearance to Wally West, the only Flash in the DCAU. Both characters are also voiced by Michael Rosenbaum.
- Agent Lee (Lauren Tom), a compassionate female agent who comes to see Zeta in a more redeeming light as he continues to go out of his way to help people. She later quits the team; later episodes imply that she was subsequently promoted, and is now able to occasionally help Zeta escape from the people she worked for.
- Agent Rush (Erika Alexander -Season 1, Dominique Jennings -Season 2), a by-the-book agent who replaces Lee after she quits the team.
- Bucky Buenaventura (Ulises Cuadra -Season 1, Blaine Barbosa -Season 2), a child genius who occasionally aids Zeta and Ro.
- Dr. Selig, (George Segal -Season 1, Hal Linden -Season 2), Zeta's hard-to-find creator.
- Infiltration Unit 7, (Diedrich Bader -uncredited) - a later model of infiltration unit who Zeta comes into conflict with after foiling one of his missions. Infiltration Unit 7 possesses all of Zeta's abilities, greater strength and durability, and a much larger arsenal. It is much less subtle in the execution of its duties than Zeta, and hence, from Zeta's viewpoint, it is evil.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||January 27, 2001||August 11, 2001|
|2||13||March 30, 2002||August 10, 2002|
Season 1 (2001)
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"The Accomplice"||Curt Geda||Robert Goodman||January 27, 2001|
|Zeta is on the run from the NSA. He saves the life of a 15-year-old runaway, Ro Rowen. Ro proceeds to help Zeta escape from the NSA. After finding out that Zeta possesses unlimited money, Ro agrees to help him in exchange for 5,000 creds. Ro persuades Zeta, whom she dubs "Zee", to search for his creators, since they would be able to tell the NSA that Zeta was innocent. Zeta convinces Ro to distract the clumsy Agent West while he breaks into the NSA van in order to download information on his creators. Ro does not succeed in distracting West for very long, so, against her inclinations, she rescues Zeta and decides to stay with him and help him find his creators.|
|2||"His Maker's Name"||Tim Maltby||Hilary J. Bader||February 3, 2001|
|Zeta and Ro look for one of Zeta's creators, Dr. Aroyu, who now works at a Space Lab. They do not find Dr. Aroyu, but they escape from the NSA in a van of Spacies, futuristic hippies who protest the commercialization of space. Ro goes with the Spacies to a protest at the Space Lab, when she sees Dr. Aroyu. She convinces Dr. Aroyu, who believes Zeta wants to kill him, to meet Zeta. When Zeta goes to meet Dr. Aroyu, he finds that he has walked into a trap set by Agent Bennett. Zeta saves Dr. Aroyu's life when the trap malfunctions, and the scientist helps Zeta to escape. Dr. Aroyu tells Zeta that the man he wants to find is Dr. Selig.|
|3||"Remote Control"||Curt Geda||Ralph Soll||February 10, 2001|
|Zeta and Ro go looking for Dr. Selig at a science convention. They find that Dr. Selig is not there, and meet Bucky Buenventura, a 12-year-old genius who has invented a universal remote control. Bucky, upon finding out that Zeta is a synthoid, uses the remote control to take control of Zeta and play pranks at the science convention. When Bucky finds out that Dr. Tannor copied his control and tried to pass it off as his own, Bucky sets Zeta on Dr. Tannor for revenge. Ro arrives and uses the copied inductance controller to stop Zeta from hurting Dr. Tannor. Zeta destroys Bucky's remote, and warns him not to use it again.|
|4||"Change of Heart"||Bob Doucette||Kevin Hopps||February 17, 2001|
|Zeta and Ro track Dr. Selig to a museum; to hide, Zeta takes his Little Zee form for the first time. Zeta and Ro meet a woman and her daughter, Kora Kaye. Zeta rescues Kora Kaye from a fusion reactor after the NSA agents arrive. Ro and Zeta escape from the NSA just in time, and Zeta catches a glimpse of Dr. Selig. Ro admits that she sometimes wonders about her parents, whom she has never met.|
|5||"The Next Gen"||Tim Maltby||Hilary J. Bader||February 24, 2001|
|Zeta is searching the internet at the Cybercafe Groundwire, when he accidentally intercepts a mission for another Infiltration Unit. Zeta decides that he must stop Infiltration Unit 7 from killing its target, the arms dealer Roland DeFlores. At the airport, Zeta and Ro meet Bucky Buenventura, who wants to take control of IU7, an improved model of Zeta. Zeta fights IU7, and, with the help of Ro and Bucky, defeats it. Ro, Bucky, and Zeta return to the United States. Bucky admits that he likes Ro and Zeta, and wants to help them. IU7 begins to repair itself. Its memory is damaged, but it remembers fighting Zeta, so chooses Zeta as its next target.|
|6||"West Bound"||Bob Doucette||Stacey Liss Goodman & Robert Goodman||March 10, 2001|
|Zeta and Ro flee the NSA on a train, but Agent West manages to board with them. Zeta's hologram projector malfunctions, so that he begins to take on the appearance of anyone he has just seen. This makes it easy for Agent West to find him. The NSA closes in. Zeta and Ro escape, but are separated. However, they quickly find each other again, and Ro says that they are beginning to think alike.|
|7||"Hicksburg"||Curt Geda||Paul Diamond||March 31, 2001|
|Ro decides to visit her old foster family, the Morgans, in hope of finding information on her biological family. Ro uses Zeta's unlimited cred card to purchase expensive gifts, telling Zeta she wants to impress them. When Ro's foster sister Tiffy opens the door, Zeta transforms into the vid star Adam Heat and kisses Tiffy, in an unwanted attempt to help Ro. Tiffy convinces Zeta to help her by playing the part of Romeo in Tiffy's Shakespeare audition. The stage's scenery projector malfunctions and causes Zeta to lose his hologram. Ro's foster father, the sheriff, goes after Zeta, but when Zeta saves the theater from destruction, decides to let him go. Tiffy gives a picture to Ro that she admits she stole, and tells Ro that it is a picture of her brother.|
|8||"Shadows"||Tim Maltby||Hilary J. Bader||April 7, 2001|
|Infiltration Unit 7 resumes its search for Zeta. It tracks Zeta to a shopping mall in Gotham City, where Ro is trying to teach him about fun through video games. IU7 adopts a hologram to look like Zeta, and approaches Ro to learn the whereabouts of the real Zeta. Ro realizes that IU7 is a fake, but can't stop him from attacking the real Zeta. In the ensuing fight, the mall is destroyed but Zeta manages to prevent anyone being hurt, except for Ro. Zeta brings Ro to the hospital, where he is told that she'll be all right, but he still feels guilty and begins to question if whether or not Ro should continue to remain by his side. Batman sees the destruction of the mall and believes Zeta to be responsible. He tracks Zeta to the hospital, where Zeta is seen saying goodbye to an unconscious Ro with his welding tool in hand. Batman believes that Zeta intends to kill her, and breaks in to stop him. He tries to destroy Zeta, but is stopped by a newly awakened Ro, revealing the truth. Batman doesn't believe Zeta is innocent, until IU7 breaks in. Batman helps Zeta to fight IU7, and IU7 is destroyed by a magnetic wave. Batman apologizes, and Zeta tells Ro that he doesn't want her with him because it is too dangerous. Ro refuses to leave, and tells Zeta that she is having fun.|
|9||"Crime Waves"||Bob Doucette||Kevin Hopps||April 14, 2001|
|Zeta and Ro are enjoying a day at the beach, when they come upon a boy being harassed by bikers. Zeta saves him, and they find out that he is Wade Pennington, the son of a wealthy robotics manufacturer. Wade invites Ro and Zeta for lunch at his compound, along with his bodyguard, Sven. Ro is angry to see that Wade is very spoiled, rude, and abuses his robots. She and Zeta leave. However, later it is found that Wade has been kidnapped, and Ro and Zeta have been framed. They investigate, and find out that Sven kidnapped Wade to collect the ransom money from Wade's father. Zeta and Ro go to Sven's boat to stop him, and Sven says that he will kill Wade, Ro, and Zeta and turn the two of them in for the reward money. Zeta reveals that he is a robot to the shocked Wade. The three of them stop Sven, and Wade learns to respect his robots.|
|10||"Taffy Time"||Tim Maltby||Hilary J. Bader||May 5, 2001|
|Zeta and Ro are fleeing Agent West and Agent Lee. They are led into the Koala Candy Factory by a mysterious stranger. The stranger turns out to be Rohan Krick, a bounty hunter who wants to turn Zeta in for the reward money. Zeta escapes from Krick and gets Ro out of the factory before Krick activates a forcefield that traps Zeta inside. Agent Lee had also entered the factory. Krick finds her, and takes her hostage, threatening to kill her if Zeta doesn't reveal himself. Zeta helps Lee escape, and Ro finds a way back into the factory. Zeta and Ro defeat Krick, injuring his face. Agent Lee is reluctantly going to arrest Zeta, but West manages to get himself handcuffed to the railing, and Lee gratefully uses the excuse to let Zeta go. Lee begins to realize that Zeta is innocent.|
|11||"Ro's Reunion"||Tim Maltby||Katy Cooper & Ned Teitelbaum||May 12, 2001|
|Ro wants to meet her brother, and is practicing talking to him with Zeta in a hologram to match his picture. Ro finds out about a TV show that helps kids find their family members, and Zeta insists that she go on it. However, Ro realizes that once she's on the show, Bennett will be able to find her and will watch her, so she'll never be able to see Zeta again. Zeta insists she try to find her brother anyway, and so they separate. Later, Zeta sees a girl who had been on the show earlier. She is complaining that the woman she met was an actress, not her real mother. Zeta finds out that the show doesn't really find lost family members, but instead makes money by turning runaways back to the state. Zeta goes to save Ro. When Ro meets her 'brother,' she realizes that although he looks like her, he looks nothing like the picture she has. Zeta exposes the show to be a fake, and the producer, who didn't know what was going on, vows to change it. Zeta and Ro escape, and Ro tells Zeta he's the only family she needs.|
|12||"Kid Genius"||Bob Doucette||Paul Diamond||August 11, 2001|
|Ro and Zeta are driving a motorcycle along the magway, when they are interrupted by a tornado warning. The motorcycle takes control of itself, and Ro and Zeta are brought to a shelter. However, Zeta can't detect a tornado and they are brought to a house in the suburbs. The house belongs to Bucky Buenventura, who had taken over the motorcycle. Bucky wants Zeta's help in finding his parents, who were kidnapped by Doctor Tannor. Zeta agrees, and they go with Bucky to the clinic where Dr. Tannor now works. Bucky's parents are working on a machine designed to rejuvenate patients, but it has malfunctioned, turning Bucky's parents and several patients into very small children. Dr. Tannor knocks Zeta out, and tells Bucky that if he fixes the machine, he'll give Zeta and the Buenventuras back. Bucky grudgingly begins to fix the machine, but he can't make it work. Dr. Tannor tries to destroy Zeta, but Zeta escapes and finds Ro and Bucky. The machine malfunctions and threatens to destroy the compound. Zeta, Ro, Bucky, and the children all escape, and Zeta tells Bucky that he downloaded the machine's schematics, and will be able to return Bucky's parents to normal.|
|13||"Absolute Zero"||Curt Geda||Robert Goodman & Kevin Hopps||March 23, 2002|
|Zeta finds out that Dr. Selig is meeting at Cryobin, a cryogenics lab, with a scientist called Dr. Wilhelm. Zeta pretends to be Dr. Wilhelm by imitating his retinal patterns, but the real Dr. Wilhelm shows up. Dr. Selig's guards shoot at Zeta, but they miss and destroy the computer in the cryogenics room. The room is evacuated, and no one notices that Dr. Selig has been trapped in a cryogenic freeze unit. Zeta realizes that since the computer has malfunctioned, Dr. Selig will die unless Zeta helps him. Zeta controls the freeze unit to keep Dr. Selig's temperature secure until help can arrive. But Agent Bennett, realizing Zeta is in Cryobin, decides to defy the orders that Cryobin is above his clearance, and go after Zeta. Zeta is monitoring the temperature, but an explosion makes him pull away out of concern for Ro. Ro is all right, but the explosion further damaged the cryogenic unit. Zeta has to take Dr. Selig out, and use his internal heating to keep the doctor's condition stable. He saves Dr. Selig, but doesn't get a chance to talk to him. Bennett is stopped by his superiors, and Agent Lee reveals that she tipped them off. Lee believes Zeta is innocent, so she resigns from Bennett's team. Zeta and Ro escape.|
Season 2 (2002)
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|14||"Wired: Part 1"||Curt Ged||Robert Goodman||March 30, 2002|
|The NSA are catching up to Zeta and Ro. Bucky is trying to communicate with them, when his transmission is interrupted. Ro and Zeta are rescued by three hackers, Meg, Plug, and Buss. They all seem to be fans of Zeta, and Buss has an obsessive crush on Ro. Meg and Plug convince Zeta to allow them to take him apart and see how he works, and in exchange they will help him find Dr. Selig. Ro is reluctantly taken to Buss's house. Bucky manages to message Ro, warning her that Meg and Plug want to use Zeta for parts. Ro escapes to save Zeta, and Zeta manages to repair himself while Ro drives one of the hackers' motorcycles. The motorcycle runs out of power, the NSA capture Zeta, but Ro is saved by Buss. She is informed that the NSA plan to erase Zeta's memory.|
|15||"Wired: Part 2"||Liz Holzman||Robert Goodman||April 6, 2002|
|Following from the previous episode, Zeta has been captured by the NSA and taken for reprogramming. Ro tries to find him in order to save him. She tracks him to a government warehouse, where she calls Bucky. He refuses to help out of fear he is being tracked, so she breaks in herself. Inside, Bennett and the other agents discover a module in Zeta's head that was not on his schematics. They erase Zeta's memories as he struggles to hold on to what he can. Then, they attempt to alter the module. Zeta sees them as hostile targets and breaks free, beginning to destroy the warehouse. Bennett asks Ro to reveal Zeta's position, but she refuses, defending him over the intercom. Zeta hears her speak and is able to access his saved memories. Zeta and Ro escape. Zeta expresses concern over the module in his head and the fact that he has no idea what it does, but it caused him to behave violently. Ro consoles him, telling him that "Everyone has good and bad inside them," and that it makes him more human.|
|16||"Resume Mission"||Rob Davies||Ralph Soll||April 13, 2002|
|An eleven-year-old boy, Jason Foley, is given spare parts from his father to work on. He puts a computer chip from these parts in his computer. The computer is taken over by Infiltration Unit 7, which begins to order parts to repair itself. Zeta is scanning for a shoulder part he needs on the net when he discovers orders being placed to rebuild IU7. Deciding that Jace Foley must be in danger, he and Ro go to stop IU7. IU7 is still determined to damage Zeta, but must also acquire all of the parts necessary to rebuild. When Zeta comes, the two synthoids fight and IU7 seemingly manages to kill Zeta. He goes to recover a final part he needs, taking Jace hostage. Zeta repairs himself, and he and Ro go to the warehouse where Jace was taken. Zeta removes IU7's CPU chip, and the synthoid is shut down. NSA agents come to clean up, led by Agent Lee. Zeta gives Lee IU7's CPU chip, and she lets Zeta and Ro go.|
|17||"Hunt in the Hub"||T. J. House||Paul Diamond||April 20, 2002|
|Zeta and Ro track Dr. Boyle, an associate of Dr. Selig's, to the Hub, a business/commercial center and center of air traffic. However, Boyle has set a trap, and attaches a chip to Zeta which will not allow him to use his cred card. He tells Zeta to test it on a computer nearby. Zeta is deemed vagrant, and is tracked by security guards. Boyle says he'll remove the chip if Zeta and Ro steal parts for his new project. They both agree. Zeta steals several parts, but after several close calls, he and Ro come up with a plan to stop him. They allow several NSA agents to see Ro seemingly giving parts to Dr. Boyle, and Zeta in a hologram accepting them and confessing everything. Zeta and Ro get Boyle to remove the chip, and then the agents chase after Boyle. Zeta and Ro escape on a hyper plane, but Rush and West follow, only to be locked in second class while the fugitives are in first class.|
|18||"Ro's Gift"||Rob Davies||Hilary J. Bader & Joseph Kuhr||April 27, 2002|
|While holographically morphed into Ro, Zeta disables a malfunctioning robot. The Brain Trust, (From the Batman Beyond episode Mind Games) A group of superhuman bystanders witness this and decide they wish for her (Zeta) to join their group. When the real Ro returns, the superhumans snatch up Ro and take her off to their base, refusing to believe that she didn't do anything. The Brain Trust plans to set off a radio tower to release radioactive waves onto the town hoping the radiation would bring out other powers in children throughout the town.|
|19||"Quality Time"||Tim Maltby||Kevin Hopps & Ralph Soll||July 13, 2002|
|Agent Bennet and Zeta are forced into an uneasy alliance when Ro and Bennet's son are trapped in a damaged submarine, which is sitting underneath an unstable coral reef.|
|20||"Lost and Found"||Curt Geda & T. J. House||Randy Rogel||May 11, 2002|
|While running from Krick, now out to destroy Zeta rather than turn him in, Zeta stops functioning. Ro gets him to an abandoned circus, then calls Bucky who comes over to help repair him. In the meanwhile, Zeta's last mission before going rogue is revealed. While replacing the suspected terrorist, Dolan, Zeta must go to his house posing as him. He observes Dolan's wife and child. He later finds out that Dolan is innocent and does not realize he is helping to maneuver funds for the terrorist organization Brother's Day. This is the terrorist organization Zeta is suspected to be working for. Later Dolan finds discovers that Zeta is impersonating him, but Zeta decides not to terminate him. After working on him Bucky says Zeta's mind is completely scrambled, and there may be nothing he can do. Then Ro explains what it was like for her at the girl's home and what happened the day she ran out. Krick eventually catches up with them and at the last moment Zeta recovers and disables him. Krick is then arrested. The disturbance to Zeta's mind is most likely caused by having his mind mostly deleted in "Wired".|
|21||"On the Wire"||Curt Geda||Joseph Kuhr||July 20, 2002|
|Bucky reunites Ro with her long-lost brother, Casey McCurdy, a reporter. His boss recognizes Ro as Zeta's accomplice and arranges for their network to get exclusive coverage of their capture. Unwilling to betray his sister, Casey helps them escape and promises to keep in touch through text news posts as well as improving Zeta's public status.|
|22||"Cabin Pressure"||Rob Davies & Olaf Miller||Lyle Weldon||July 27, 2002|
|Bucky is apprehended by the NSA, believing he has a connection to Brother's Day, forcing Zeta and Ro to rescue him before Bennet gets his hands on Bucky's universal remote.|
|23||"The Wrong Morph"||Curt Geda||David Benullo||April 20, 2002|
|While trying to find Dr. Selig by searching on the work computer of one of his peers, Dr. Morel, Ro and Zeta get involved in the theft of a synaptic enhancer, a device invented to help a disabled boy, Kevin, to walk. Zeta disguises himself as Kevin to gain access to the computer, and so Kevin is a suspect in the robbery. Zeta and Ro catch the real criminal to clear Kevin's name.|
|24||"Eye of the Storm"||Tim Maltby||Ralph Soll||May 18, 2002|
|In Kansas, Zeta and Ro meet two brothers, who have designed a hover pod to disperse tornadoes, but the genius younger brother is overshadowed by his older brother, who does the piloting. The younger brother then goes off to stop a massive tornado alone.|
|25||"The River Rising"||Curt Geda||Paul Diamond||August 3, 2002|
|Zeta and Ro land in a "No-Tech" village, a group of people whose way of living is similar to that of Amish people, though more vehement in their disdain for technology. Meanwhile, Bennet has to obtain a warrant to search the village.|
|26||"The Hologram Man"||Rob Davies||Robert Goodman & Joseph Kuhr||August 10, 2002|
|Zeta and Ro enter a top secret NSA debriefing building where infiltration units report after each mission to compare his memory with the records from his last mission. They stumble upon Dr. Selig, who steals classified data and delivers it to Tidus Sweete, a high ranking soldier from the Brother's Day terrorist group seen in "Lost and Found". He tells Sweete that he doesn't want to continue, so Tidus pulls a gun on him. Zeta saves him while Tidus escapes, but discovers that "Selig" is actually Dr. Marcus Edmund, the man who built Zeta's holographic emitters. Dr. Edmund was forced into helping Brother's Day destroy the government's highest level synthoid lab, the Gnosis, where Zeta was created and Selig works. With the aid of his personal holo-emitter, Ro and Zeta pose as one of Sweete's lackeys and Edmund, respectively. On the Gnosis, Zeta and Ro meet Selig, and he reveals that he created the mysterious module in Zeta, which functions as a conscience. Agent Bennett overhears everything. Sweete sets off the bombs he planted, forcing an emergency evacuation. Selig and his assistant try to escape in a pod, but Sweete shoots it down, apparently killing them. Zeta and Ro board a pod and barely escape as the Gnosis explodes. Though Zeta believes his creator to be dead, a mechanical hand emerges from the sea near the wreckage of Selig's craft, regenerating its flesh.|
On March 17, 2009, Warner Home Video released the first season on DVD in Region 1. This release has been discontinued and is now out of print.
On March 14, 2017, Warner Archive released season 2 on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time. They also re-released the first season on the same day. These are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases, available exclusively from Warner's online store and Amazon.com