|Theme music composer|
|Opening theme||"Here We Go" (season 1–5)|
|Country of origin||
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||156 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Original release||November 3, 2001– October 3, 2014|
|Followed by||The Amazing Spiez!|
Totally Spies! is a French-Canadian animated television series created by Vincent Chalvon-Demersay and David Michel and produced by Marathon Media Group and Image Entertainment Corporation. The show was made to resemble anime styles and was originally based on the concept of a girl band. It focuses on three teenage girls in Beverly Hills, California, United States, who work as undercover super agents.
Totally Spies! was first seen on November 3, 2001 on ABC Family in the United States. It premiered on TF1 in France on April 3, 2002, and on Teletoon in Canada on September 2, 2002. Since the series' debut, 156 episodes have been broadcast, completing its sixth season to date. This includes several specials and a theatrical movie production, made and released between the fourth and fifth season. It has been broadcast in over 150 territories internationally. Several products tied to the series have been released, which include a series of comic books and video games.
The series centers around the adventures of three teenage girls from Beverly Hills – Sam, Alex and Clover – who live a double life as spies working for the World Organization of Human Protection (WOOHP). The girls are recruited by the organization's leader, Jerry, to solve crises that arise around the world. Many of their missions involve dealing with disgruntled villains who have been wronged in some form during their past. Several have exacted revenge on the spies by invading their personal lives. Framing each episode is a subplot that focuses on the girls' daytime lives as high school (and later university) students, dealing with relationships and their school rival Mandy.
- Sam is the intellectual of the group; she acts as a rational logical thinker in getting through the problems they encounter on their missions. She has long red hair, green eyes and wears a green catsuit.
- Clover enjoys shopping, fashion, and good-looking guys. She is not only athletic and strong, but also impulsive and spontaneous. She has chin-length blonde hair, blue eyes and wears a red catsuit.
- Alex is the best friend character and the tomboy of the group, serving as the glue that holds their friendship together. She is affectionate and likes to express her feelings. She likes animals, and sometimes acts childish compared to the other two. She has short black hair, brown eyes, dark skin, and wears a yellow catsuit.
Supporting (or hindering) the girls are the following regular characters:
- Jerry is the girls' manager at WOOHP, appearing as a middle-aged balding man in a suit. He is very protective of the girls, often invading their privacy to ensure that they are safe. Despite having a sedentary role in WOOHP's affairs, Jerry has displayed some martial arts skills when occasionally assisting on the girls' missions. He provides the various gadgets that the spies use on each mission.
- Mandy is the girls' main rival in the non-spy world of their high school (and later college). She is very rich and a spoiled brat. As a queen bee character, she is very popular and self-centered, focusing on her appearance, accessories and boys. She and Clover often compete for the same things.
- G.L.A.D.I.S. (Gadget Lending And Distribution Interactive System), a computer system with robotic arms that assists in gadget handling for seasons 3 and 4.
Development and production
The show's conception came from the rise of girl band and female singers in the music industry. Wanting to capitalize on the niche, David Michel and Vincent Chalvon-Demersay put their idea into development, which later shifted into production within a year. According to Michel, the series' animation style was intended to incorporate anime influences. The production company, Marathon Media, intended on building on the series brand by forming a three-piece girl band, utilizing German talk show Arabella to create it. Using a panel of judges, 20 demo videos were selected and the winners were selected based on the strength of their performance and the show's viewers. The band was selected and released a single in the spring of 2002, through EMI. According to managing director Dirk Fabarius, "The plan is to eventually create an entire album and establish and promote Totally Spies as a real band." While the idea did not materialize, the series was promoted through other merchandising. It was announced in the spring of 2001 that the series would air in the autumn on ABC Family, and would be distributed to the European countries in the following year.
In an interview with WorldScreen.com, Michel said that prior to his show, there were a lot of boy action-adventure shows and practically nothing for girls, yet in pop culture, there was Britney Spears and Spice Girls. He said that the characters are heavily inspired by the movie Clueless and wanted to mix that with a James Bond format. When they first pitched the show, it had a moderate response, but when the first season was broadcast, the Charlie's Angels film came out, and suddenly the market was full of girl show properties.
According to an article "Achieving a Global Reach on Children's Cultural Markets" by Valerie-Ines de la Ville and Laurent Durup, the series was originally designed to reach an American audience, but has garnered appeal from its humor "based on a stereotypical European vision of American references" while "appearing to be original and innovative to the U.S. audience". Producer and artistic director Stephane Berry said that the style "is a melting between the American style, which associates action and comedy, and Japanese design for the aesthetic environment and the emotions expressed through the large eyes of the characters." Some of the common references have included Charlie's Angels, Beverly Hills, The Avengers, James Bond and its gadgets, anime, and Cat's Eye.
The head writers for the show were Robert and Michelle Lamoreaux who were based in Los Angeles, and who had worked on Nickelodeon shows. Demersay and Stephane Berry had both previously worked with Saban entertainment in Europe. In a GeoCities interview, Kate Griffin, who voices Alex, mentioned that the typical session for the three girls is that they would record as an ensemble, but through a phone patch, with Hale and Baker calling from Los Angeles, and herself in Toronto.
Following the end of the fifth season, the series's movie, Totally Spies! The Movie, was produced and released to theaters in France on July 22, 2009. The movie received a television release in the United States, on April 25 the following year, coinciding with the airing of the series fifth season there.
In August 2011, Marathon Media confirmed that production for the sixth season was underway and set to premiere in 2013. It was later confirmed that 26 episodes would be produced and that the show would be licensed in Spain and Latin America, with European territories following suit. To coincide with the sixth season's premiere, Zodiak Kids CP Paris, in association with Château de Versailles Spectacles (CVS) and TF1, organized an event at the Palace of Versailles, taking place during the summer of 2013. The event would be preceded with activities including a screening of a special featuring the spies on a mission in the palace gardens.
The series comprises six seasons divided into 156 episodes. Framing each episode is a side story in which the girls deal with high school life and its situations. Most of the episodes are self-contained. In season 3, also titled Totally Spies! Undercover, the three girls share a villa, and at the end of that season, they are promoted to super spies in the organization and are referred to as such for season 4. Season 5 follows the girls' adventures as they continue onto university.
In 2013, the show was revived for a sixth season, premiering at an event at the Palace of Versailles. 26 episodes were broadcast on French television and networks across Europe starting in September 4, 2013. In Canada, the sixth season premiered on September 7, 2014 on Teletoon, and on September 6 on sister station Télétoon.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired (Canadian dates)|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||26||April 3, 2002 (France)
September 2, 2002 (Canada)
|June 15, 2002 (France)
|2||26||August 8, 2003||September 19, 2004|
|3||26||October 3, 2004||July 31, 2005|
|4||26||April 3, 2006||March 8, 2007|
|5||26||August 31, 2007||February 10, 2008|
|6||26||September 4, 2013 (France)
September 7, 2014 (Canada)
|October 2013 (France)[note 1]|
Totally Spies! premiered on November 3, 2001 on ABC Family. It later premiered in Europe on pay-TV and terrestrial channels such as Germany's ProSieben, France's TF1, United Kingdom's Channel 4 or the localised Fox Kids channels throughout the region during the spring of 2002. The show moved to Cartoon Network in late 2003 in the United States, where it attracted 1.6 million viewers (aged 4 – 10) daily and continued airing until 2010. The show has attracted over one million viewers in France since its debut. It was re-licensed and its sixth season, along with Totally Spies! The Movie and the show's spin off The Amazing Spiez!. The show aired its sixth season in France and is being broadcast around Europe. In Canada, season 6 began airing on September 7, 2014 on Teletoon, and on September 6 on Télétoon. The show has been broadcast worldwide on various networks, such as TF1 in France; Teletoon in Canada, Cartoon Network in the USA; Fox Kids, Jetix, Cartoon Network and currently Boomerang in Latin America and Brazil on pay-television; Rede Globo in Brazil on terrestrial TV; MBC 3 in the Arab World; Fox Kids, Jetix, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon in Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Joly Herman of Common Sense Media gave the series a mixed review, writing that "We think it's a decent show to catch once in a while, but anything more regular might give viewers the like, slightest headache." Joe Corey of Inside Pulse had a more positive review, calling the show "fun enough for small kids who want a Charlie's Angels undercover action show. The trio do their best to balance the fun of being in the espionage game without it being too risky." Matt Hinrichs of DVD Talk gave a positive review, calling the action in the first three seasons "decently written enough for adults to enjoy." The Parents Television Council, in their March 2006 report, noted that the show did not contain offensive language, but expressed concern about the "nature of the violence of the show" in an episode where rats were released to psychologically torture Jerry and Clover, and the sexual content exampled by a sunblock ad by a bikini-clad woman.
The production was also described as risky because it had targeted girls with a genre typically associated with boys' shows, and that it was animated when the girls were more interested in live shows. After four seasons, the show had reached over 130 countries and was met with enthusiasm among ages 6–11 that included both girls and boys, and had a Pokémon-like appeal to a broad range of age and gender. In an interview before season three, David Michel said, "The one thing that surprised us the most is the consistency in the male / female viewership split: from Brazil to Italy, we have a 50% boys 50% girls audience ratio, whereas everybody was predicting the show would score very low on boys." Scott Stoute of ScreenRant listed the show among his "10 Girl Cartoons (That Guys Secretly Love)" list.
Home video and DVD
Goodtimes Entertainment released the first twelve episodes of the show's first season on VHS and DVD in 2004 in three volumes: Totally Spies Volume 1: First Secret Missions, Totally Spies Volume 2: The Getaway, and Totally Spies Volume 3: Spies Attack. Coinciding with the production and release of the show's sixth season, New Video Group/Flatiron Film Company acquired American DVD rights for the series as well as some digital rights for the first three seasons of the series. They've released the first and second seasons (in two volumes each), as well as a box set containing seasons one through three. The third season was finally released in two volumes on January 14, 2014.
|Season #||Release date (Region 1)||Volumes|
|1||August 13, 2013 ||2 (2 discs each)|
|2||October 8, 2013 ||2 (2 discs each)|
|3||January 14, 2014 ||2 (2 discs each)|
|1–3||October 8, 2013 ||Box set (12 discs)|
The Totally Spies series was initially followed up with two video games titled Totally Spies! and Totally Spies! 2: Undercover. Both were developed by Mistic Software and published by Atari for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance and/or Nintendo DS. IGN rated Totally Spies! 2: Undercover with a score of 4.0/10 citing poor overall game presentation. Totally Spies! 3: Secret Agents was released in Europe and Australia for the Nintendo DS. Totally Spies! Totally Party was released in North America, Europe and Australia for the PlayStation 2, Wii and PC.
A spin-off series called The Amazing Spiez! features new characters as spies, retaining Jerry as a regular character in the show. While the series focuses on four young teenage siblings, Lee, Megan, Marc and Tony Clark, the three spy girls make occasional appearances. The show had its world premiere on March 15, 2009, on Disney Channel Asia; and its US premiere on April 26, 2010, on Cartoon Network. In Canada, the show premiered on September 2, 2010 on Teletoon. Only the first season and ten Season 2 episodes aired in the US.
Totally Spies! also had a cross-over episode in season 5 with Martin Mystery, a Marathon-produced series that aired from 2003 to 2006.
Comics and books
A Totally Spies! comics were released monthly in Sweden. Five books with about 90 pages came out in Brazil as well. Each book represents an episode from the series. There is another comic called Totally Spies Unleashed; this opens with "I Hate the 80s!", in which a bad guy, Boogie Gus, has invented a retro ray that de-ages people. The second story, "Attack of the 50 Ft. Tall Mandy", turns their nemesis into a giant in a plot that involves a beauty contest and an escaped evil scientist. Chapter books have also been released.
- The season 6 end date of October 3, 2013 does not include the final two episodes which previously aired as part of a special event in June 2013.
- Wiatrowski, Myc; Barker, Cory, eds. (2014). Popular Culture in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 146. ISBN 9781443864442.
- Britton, Wesley Alan (2005). Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 230. ISBN 9780275985561.
- "Totally Spies : Programme le plus visionne sur ABC Family aux USA". Zodiak France (in French). April 3, 2002. Retrieved 2015-02-18.
- "Totally Spies takes off on-line and on TF1!". Zodiak France (Press release). April 3, 2002. Retrieved 2015-02-18.
- "Fall 2002 Highlights: Teletoon". Channel Canada. 2002-08-28. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- "Totally Spies". Télétoon (in French). Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "Interview With David Michel". Geocities. someguy959. October 22, 2003. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- Burgess, Amanda (April 1, 2002). "Marathon totally spies global music and merch potential in its tween girl toon". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- Brzoznowski, Kristin (December 18, 2012). Video Interview: Marathon Media's David Michel. WorldScreen.com.
- de la Ville, Valerie-Ines; Durup, Laurent (2012). "Achieving a Global Reach on Children's Cultural Markets". In Willett, Rebekah; Robinson, Muriel; Marsh, Jackie. Play, Creativity and Digital Cultures. Routledge. pp. 41–43. ISBN 9781135894474.
- Leo Barraclough. "What makes a show run and run?". Variety. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
- Interview with Katie Griffin. Totally Spies Archive (Geocities). (Interview). May 26, 2004.
- Sudrot, Olivier (August 26, 2011). "La rentrée TV jeunesse : entre héros préférés et nouveautés". Toutelatele (in French). Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- Dickson, Jeremy (January 23, 2012). "Zodiak lands sales in Spain, Latin America". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- Zahed, Ramin (March 21, 2013). "Marathon to Host 'Totally Spies' Event in Versailles". Animation. Animation Magazine. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- Milligan, Mercedes (January 31, 2013). "Zodiak Seals 'Spies' Deals, New COO". Animation Magazine.
- "Interview with David Michel #2". Totally Spies Picture Archive / Geocities. May 18, 2004. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
- Milligan, Mercedes (September 27, 2013). "New 'Totally Spies!' Hit North America Shelves". Animation Magazine. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
- McLean, Tom (August 27, 2014). "Teletoon Sets World, Canadian Premieres for Fall". Animation Magazine.
- "Press Release - Gotta Gotta See It: TELETOON Launches 2014 Fall Slate". corusent.com.
- "Total succès pour Totally Spies". Marathon Media (in French). Zodiak Media. April 9, 2005. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- Milligan, Mercedes (September 27, 2013). "New 'Totally Spies!' Hit North America Shelves". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- "Teletoon Sets World, Canadian Premieres for Fall". Animation Magazine.
- Herman, Joly. "Totally Spies – Television Review". Common Sense Media. Common Sense Media Inc. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- Corey, Joe (October 1, 2013). "DVD Review: Totally Spies! (Season One – Wild Style & Top-Secret Missions)". Inside Pulse. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- Hinrichs, Matt (October 8, 2013). "Totally Spies! Collection Seasons 1–3". DVD Talk. DVDTalk.com. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: A Content Analysis of Children's Television" (PDF). Parents Television Council. March 2006. Retrieved 2015-01-21.
- Scott Stoute (August 17, 2012). "10 Girl Cartoons (That Guys Secretly Love)". Screen Rant.
- Lambert, David (June 14, 2013). "We've Totally Got an Update About the 1st Season's Titles, Box Covers". TV Shows on DVD. TV Guide Online. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- Lambert, David (October 21, 2013). "Date, Cost, Box for 'Season 3: Rank: Super Spies!' and 'Season 3: Mission Mania'". TV Shows on DVD. TV Guide Online. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- "Totally Spies Season One: Top-Secret Missions (2001)". Amazon.com. ASIN B00CBVWX1K.
- "Totally Spies: Wild Style (2001)". Amazon.com. ASIN B00CBVWWOI.
- "Totally Spies Season Two, Volume One (2002)". Amazon.com. ASIN B00DYEBLWU.
- "Totally Spies Season Two, Volume Two (2002)". Amazon.com. ASIN B00DYEBLS4.
- "Totally Spies Season 3: Rank: Super Spies!". Amazon.com. ASIN B00FGVS06Y.
- "Totally Spies Season 3: Mission Mania". Amazon.com. ASIN B00FGVS028.
- "Totally Spies Collection Seasons 1–3 DVD SET (2001)". Amazon.com. ASIN B00DYEBM0Q.
- Totally Spies at GameSpot; retrieved October 20, 2007.
- "Totally Spies! 2: Undercover Review (DS)". IGN. January 18, 2007. Retrieved September 21, 2007.
- Totally Spies! 3: Secret Agents at IGN; retrieved January 12, 2008
- Totally Spies! Totally Party at IGN; retrieved January 12, 2008.
- Minds, Brighter. "Totally Spies! Totally Party!: Video Games". Amazon.com. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
- TV (September 22, 2008). "Marathon to Unveil Amazing Spiez at MIPCOM". Animationmagazine.net. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
- "Totally Spies! Comic" (in Swedish). Retrieved August 23, 2009.
- "Totally Spies! Book" (in Portuguese). Retrieved August 23, 2009.
- "Amazon.com: The School of Mandy (Totally Spies!) (Totally Spies! Chapter Books) (9780689877254): Marc Cerasini, Robert Roper: Books". amazon.com. Retrieved 2015-02-20.