Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?
|Where on Earth Is|
|Developed by||Sean Roche|
|Directed by||Michael Maliani|
|Voices of||Rita Moreno|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||40 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Andy Heyward|
Michael E. Uslan
|Editor(s)||Miriam L. Preissel|
|Running time||30 minutes (with commercials)|
|Production company(s)||DIC Productions, L.P.|
Buena Vista International Television
|Original network||Fox (Fox Kids)|
|Original release||February 5, 1994 –|
January 2, 1999
|Related shows||Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?|
Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?
Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? is an American animated television series based on the series of computer games. The show was produced by DIC Productions L.P. and originally aired from 1994 to 1999, on Saturday mornings during FOX's Fox Kids Network block.
The series won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Animated Program in 1995, and in the same year was spun-off into a Where in the World-styled video game entitled Carmen Sandiego Junior Detective. Its theme tune bears a close resemblance to the chorus "Singt dem großen Bassa Lieder" ("Sing Songs of the Great Pasha") from Mozart's opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio).
Production and broadcast (1994–1999)
The script for every Earth episode had to meet the approval of Broderbund, which created and, at the time, owned the Carmen franchise. Their cause for concern was the level of the violence on other FOX children's shows such as X-Men and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Broderbund did not require this of the creators of the World and Time game shows that aired on PBS, presumably since PBS, as the distributor of such shows as Sesame Street, had a long-standing reputation for non-violent educational children's programming. The lead characters of Earth were featured in Carmen Sandiego Junior Detective, released in 1995. The opening theme song for the show is "Singt dem großen Bassa Lieder" from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail, with new lyrics, pop instrumentation, and a backbeat. The Rainbow Animation Group (later renamed Galaxy World, Inc., not to be confused with the Italian studio Rainbow S.p.A.), and Han Yang Productions contributed some animation for this series.
Home media releases
Fox Video originally released the series on VHS through their Fox Kids Video label, which contained two episodes each.
In November 2001, Lions Gate Home Entertainment and Trimark Home Video released two VHS tapes, Carmen's Revenge and Time Traveler, consisting of the show's three-part episodes ("Retribution" and "Labyrinth") in a feature-length format. Time Traveller was also released on DVD, and alongside the "Labyrinth" episode, also came with a demo of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Treasures of Knowledge. A video of the episode "Timing is Everything" was included with some versions of the mentioned game.
In September 2003, Sterling Entertainment released Into the Maelstrom and No Place like Home on VHS and DVD. Into the Maelstrom contained the three part "Retribution" episode, while No Place like Home contained the episode "The Remnants" and the two-part episode "Can You Ever Go Home Again?" The DVD versions contained "When it Rains..." and "Follow My Footprints" as bonus episodes, respectively. NCircle Entertainment reissued both DVDs in 2007.
On July 22, 2011, Mill Creek Entertainment announced that they had acquired the rights to the series and planned on releasing it in its entirety in 2012. They subsequently released Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? – The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 on February 21, 2012. This four-disc set contains all forty episodes of the series. They also released a ten-episode best-of collection the same day. These releases have been discontinued and are now out of print.
On June 6, 2017, Mill Creek re-released the complete series on DVD in Region 1.
Following the plot of the Carmen Sandiego franchise, Earth sees international thief Carmen Sandiego lead the organization V.I.L.E. in stealing treasures from around the world and leaving clues behind for ACME agents Zack (voiced by Scott Menville) and Ivy (voiced by Jennifer Hale), under the guidance of the Chief (voiced by Rodger Bumpass), to find, in order to capture her. In this version, Carmen Sandiego is a former agent of ACME who left to seek a greater challenge, and has a strong code of ethics when stealing items. The Player is an unseen live-action character who bookends acts by communicating with Carmen; it is implied that to them the television series is a video game that they are playing from a computer.
While Carmen is originally presented as the show's antagonist, she becomes more like an anti-hero as the series progresses; she even helps Zack and Ivy against mutual enemies.
- Carmen Sandiego (voiced by Rita Moreno) – An international thief and the head of V.I.L.E. Despite the name of her organization, she has a strong code of morals and only steals for the challenge of it. She was a former agent of the ACME Detective Agency.
- Chief (voiced by Rodger Bumpass) – The head of ACME. Short for Computerized Holographic Imaging Educational Facilitator, his role consisted of providing exposition, information, alerts of Carmen's recent crime, and comic relief. He had a very intimate professional and personal relationship with Carmen. He once also had a robotic body while working with Carmen back when she was still part of the ACME Detective Agency.
- Ivy (voiced by Jennifer Hale) – An ACME detective who has short red hair, green eyes and is eighteen years old. She is the elder of the show's star siblings. Her skills include having multiple black belts in martial arts and being an expert pilot. She can get frustrated easily, such as hating it when Zack calls her "sis" (as was the case in "The Stolen Smile") or when Carmen is getting away.
- Zack (voiced by Scott Menville) – An ACME detective who has blond hair, blue eyes and is fourteen years old. He is a genius who can speak over 20 languages and has a photographic memory. He takes cases less seriously than his sister Ivy. Zack's jacket has his name misspelled as Zak.
- Player (portrayed by Joanie Tucker in Season 1, Justin Shenkarow in Season 2, Asi Lang & Joanie Pleasant in Season 3–4) – The only live-action character on the program, always seen from behind as a computer user at the beginning and closing of the show.
The following are ACME detectives who help out Zack and Ivy:
- Aileen – A Hawaiian ACME detective.
- Amati – A brilliant archaeologist and African-American ACME detective.
- Armando – An Argentinian gaucho ACME detective.
- Barrow – A British ACME detective.
- Billy "Running Bird" – An Native American ACME detective.
- Chester – An ornithologist American ACME detective.
- Chotu – An Indian ACME detective.
- Crow (voiced by Chadwick Pelletier) – A Norwegian ACME detective and a friend of Zack.
- Jasmine – A Jamaican ACME detective.
- Josha – A brilliant inventor and ACME agent. He has a crush on Ivy. Zack is the one who helps get them together.
- Ketut – An Indonesian ACME detective who loves hang gliding and is very wise.
- Lee – A Chinese ACME detective.
- Maria (voiced by Kath Soucie) – A Brazilian ACME detective from ACME's Rio de Janeiro bough. At the end, we see she might be interested in Zack as she takes him to the opera.
- Marco – An Italian ACME detective who's good friends with Ivy.
- Michelle – A Space Camp ACME detective.
- Reggis – A British ACME detective.
- Tatiana (voiced by Candi Milo) – A Russian ACME detective who Zack has a crush on.
- Wahidullah – An Afghan ACME detective.
- Lloyd – An Australian ACME detective.
The following are agents who work for Carmen Sandiego's organization V.I.L.E.:
- Abe L. Body – A V.I.L.E. agent and an athlete who's a team player to V.I.L.E. who likes to steal items from the Olympics and any other sports. His name is a play on "able body."
- Al Loy – A V.I.L.E. agent who's also hot-headed as Dara Riska. He wanted to be a loner when it comes to crime, but he couldn't get along with Dara. Al Loy is a play on "Alloy."
- Auntie Bellum – A V.I.L.E. agent from the South who likes to steal items from the South in the Civil War. She appeared in "Timing is Everything".
- Archie Ology – A V.I.L.E. agent and a good archaeologist. He likes to steal artifacts and other classics. Archie Ology is a play on "Archaeology."
- Buck N. Bronco – A V.I.L.E. agent whose name is a play on "bucking bronco."
- Clair E. Net and Cora Net – The sisters of evil for stealing talent and music. Cora Net plays the guitar while Clair E. Net sings opera. Clair E. Net and Cora Net are the plays of "clarinet" and "coronet."
- Clay Tandoori – An Indian-American V.I.L.E. agent who steals anything that's in India like Taj Mahal and other things. Clay Tandoori is a play on "Tandoori Clay."
- Dara Riska – A V.I.L.E. agent who always takes any risks and sometimes get hot-headed when she gets to a fight with Al Loy.
- Dee Tritus – A female V.I.L.E. agent whose name is a play on "detritus."
- Four Chin Hunter – A big-time evil treasure hunter of V.I.L.E. who's an expert of stealing gold when it comes to treasure hunting and is a play on "Fortune Hunter."
- Frank M. Poster – A big-time master of disguise and Carmen's V.I.L.E. henchman who can disguise himself as any person he wants to impersonate and is a play on "The Great Impostor."
- Hannah Lulu – A V.I.L.E. agent and an expert when it comes to Hawaii a treasures and locations who is very superstitious and is afraid of almost everything including Hawaii's Nightmarchers. In one episode, Carmen Sandiego tried to make Hannah Lulu face her fears by stealing an object from the place where a Hawaiian queen died. Hannah Lulu is a play on "Honolulu."
- Judge R.B. Traitor – A court judge-turned-criminal who hunts crooks down and sentences them to a secret jail while stealing their loot. He appeared in "The Trail of Carmen Sandiego" where he had Carmen Sandiego abducted from her caper in the Mayan Ruins and subpoenaed Zack and Ivy to his hidden courtroom in Italy using Lee Galese as bait. Once Zack and Ivy arrived, Judge R.B. Traitor dismissed Galese and had them represent Sandiego when she was accused of stealing a copy of Magna Carta. When it came to where the copy of Magna Carta is, it turned out that Traitor was actually in cahoots with Sandiego and Ology. R.B. Traitor is a play on "arbitrator."
- Lars Vegas – A big shot and V.I.L.E.'s greediest member who always complains when he is trapped in a net because it messes up his hair and whose greediness can always foil his plans. Lars Vegas is a play on "Las Vegas."
- Lee Galese – A V.I.L.E. agent who is Carmen Sandiego's lawyer whose name is a play on "legalese."
- Moe Skeeter – A V.I.L.E. agent with a long nose who is kinda like a bungling buffoon. His name is a play on "mosquito."
- Paige Turner – Paige Turner is a V.I.L.E. agent who is a world-renowned expert on literature and loves playing out crimes from famous novels. Her name is a play on "page-turner."
- Rip Shipoff – An aquatic pirate agent with his pet parrot.
- Touriest Classe – A V.I.L.E. agent and also an international con man and a master art thief who always wanted to scam people with other art. Touriest Classe is a play on "Tourist Class."
- Yin and Yang – Yin and Yang are a pair of Chinese V.I.L.E. agents, both wearing a tattoo that is a piece of the Yin Yang symbol. They both like to steal antique Chinese artifacts.
As Carmen Sandiego became less villainous and evolved into more of an antihero, other characters began to fill her original role as the show's antagonist. The following villains are:
- Dr. Sara Bellum – Carmen Sandiego's former mad scientist who makes all sorts of gadgets for Carmen Sandiego and her V.I.L.E. agents to use. In one episode, she tried to flood the Atacama Desert in Chile to retrieve the Giant of the Atacama, all while dressed as Carmen Sandiego in an effort to take over V.I.L.E. Eventually, Carmen, Zack, and Ivy stopped Sara Bellum's mad plan in time. However in the episode "Follow My Footsteps," she returned to V.I.L.E. It is possible she might be pretending to help Carmen or she has reformed. Her name is a pun on "cerebellum," a part of the brain.
- Dr. Gunnar Maelstrom (voiced by Tim Curry) – A Swedish hostile and extremely violent criminal whose archenemy is Carmen Sandiego. Maelstrom considers her a threat because she and Chief captured him back in her detective days at ACME in 1985 and got him sent to Folsom State Prison in northern California. In "Maelstrom's Revenge," he escapes from prison by using a bomb attached to his watch as a diversion so he could escape through the back door. Carmen Sandiego was forced to team up with Zack and Ivy to help capture him and send him back to prison.
- Mason Dixon – The henchman who betrayed V.I.L.E. in numerous ways in the episode "Timing is Everything." It began in 1989 when Carmen and Mason were in Amsterdam to steal a Rembrandt painting. Mason was captured and sentenced to 7 years in prison, while Carmen escaped from the police. When Mason was released, Carmen began searching for a Civil War-era sofa in the Appomattox Courthouse. The caper failed, resulting in Carmen being furious with Mason. As retaliation, he stole Carmen's time machine and went back to 1989 to change the outcome of the Rembrandt theft so Carmen would go to jail and he would go on to run V.I.L.E. as the world's greatest thief. In this alternate reality, Carmen becomes Mason's henchman and has low self-esteem because she "almost always [gets] caught." Mason, with Carmen's unwilling aid, began stealing a series of items that would change the outcome of the Civil War. Carmen helped Zack and Ivy recapture him and take back control over V.I.L.E., making her the world's greatest thief once more. His name is a play on the surveyors Mason and Dixon who drew the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania in the 1760s known as the Mason–Dixon line.
- Lee Jordan (voiced by David Coburn) – The only ACME agent to have "officially" captured Carmen Sandiego. He was perhaps the most accomplished of all of ACME's employees and as such, had quite a conceited attitude about himself. He was often flirtatious with Ivy (much to her disgust), who hated his arrogance. He went on hiatus from ACME for an indeterminate amount of time, during which his outlook on his career took a drastic turn. Embittered by his fame and the lack of challenge the concept of fighting crime, he quit working for ACME and helped Carmen Sandiego escape in order to train to be a V.I.L.E. agent. However, his impulsive and unscrupulous nature clashed greatly with Carmen Sandiego's more refined, pessimistic approach and because of that, he was fired. Infuriated by this, he joined the ranks of former V.I.L.E. agents who sought to usurp Carmen Sandiego from her title as "the world's greatest thief." He was foiled twice in this endeavor, both by the combined efforts of ACME and Carmen Sandiego, but still remains hostile, violent and dangerous. Unlike Carmen Sandiego, he sees nothing against putting another person's life in danger to further his own personal gain and has even abducted and used a hostage as blackmail to force Carmen Sandiego into working for him.
- Rita Moreno as Carmen Sandiego
- Rodger Bumpass as the Chief
- Jennifer Hale as Ivy
- Scott Menville as Zack
- Justin Shenkarow as Player #1 (Season 2)
- Jeffrey Tucker as Player #2 (Season 2)
- Ashi Lang as Player #1 (Seasons 3-4)
- Joanne Pleasant as Player #2 (Seasons 3-4)
The show was given a rating of 4 stars out of 5 by Common Sense Media, noting that the format of the show – which includes trivia sessions between acts, vocabulary definitions, and the use of foreign languages – is "designed to pique kids' interest in these subjects". DVD Talk noted that the show exceeded the obligatory action of comedy of a cartoon, by respecting its audience with an intelligent sensibility rarely seen in children's television.
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