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Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM), is an American animated series produced by DIC Entertainment with the partnership of Sega of America and was based on the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series. The show aired two seasons on ABC from September 18, 1993 until December 3, 1994, and reran until May 1995.

ContentsEdit

BackgroundEdit

Initial runEdit

In the first season, it focuses its subplots on subject matter that is unusual for, and darker than, most American children's cartoons; placing its setting in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world, and using story concepts such as losing family members to war. Additionally, the shows first season possesses some very mild swearing, minced oaths, and various innuendos. [1] Nevertheless, the cartoon remains family friendly, as this subject matter is depicted in a softened manner.

The series sharply contrasts with Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, another cartoon series starring Sonic,that had premiered in the same month. While Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog was very light-hearted and comical, Sonic the Hedgehog featured a more complex plot and dramatic atmosphere.[2] This series is the primary inspiration for the Archie comic book series of the same name, which continues to use elements and characters from this series, albeit with a separate continuity to the storyline.

After the first season, it was decided that the second season would have several episodes devoted entirely to humor, while "darker" plot developments and possibilities, as well as all violence, was reduced in magnitude.[3] Additionally, in the first season, Princess Sally wore only a pair of boots, where as in the second season, she wore a vest as well, due to concerns with her more human-like, naked appearance in comparison to other characters.

SyndicationEdit

After Sonic the Hedgehog ended its run, the series was aired on the USA Network's Action Extreme Team in reruns from January to October 1997. The series aired reruns in syndication from 2004 to 2005.[4]

The series was also aired in Canada on the CTV Network, with a bonus summer run between June 10 and September 2, 1995 that ABC did not replicate. However, the series has not been re-run on television in Canada since its cancellation on CTV.

It initially had a complete run on the UK television channel Channel 4 from 1994 to 1996. Season 1 was broadcast in the Republic of Ireland on RTÉ Two in December 1994.[5]

Plot summaryEdit

The show takes place on a planet called Mobius sometime in its 33rd century. Mobius is largely populated with anthropomorphic animals, however, a human warlord and former scientist named Dr. Robotnik (voiced by Jim Cummings), and his assistant and nephew Snively (voiced by Charlie Adler), invaded and conquered Mobotropolis, the capital city of Mobius, with an army of robot soldiers called Swatbots.

The show's backstory explains that Robotnik had once been leader of the Mobotropolis War Ministry, and that his creation and use of Swatbots led the country's victory in "The Great War". In the war's aftermath, he was to be appointed Minister of Science by the King of Mobius, Maximillian Acorn, who had decided to close the War Ministry and dismantle the Swatbots following the War. However, Robotnik overthrew the kingdom and declared himself to be the new King. King Maximillian is never seen or heard from again.

Robotnik banishes the old King, and captures most of the citizens, including an intelligent old hedgehog named Sir Charles Hedgehog (voiced by William Windom) and his crowning invention, the Roboticizer. This invention, created with the intention to prolong life, changes living creatures into robots, but had the unintended effect of robbing the individual of their free will. Robotnik uses this technology to enslave the population.

Some citizens, such as Sonic and Tails, managed to escape the coup, and fled to Knothole Village in the Great Forest to hide from Robotnik's army. Under Princess Sally, they formed a group called the Freedom Fighters to restore Mobius and end Robotnik's rule.

CharactersEdit

Freedom Fighters
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Jaleel White, Tahj Mowry as younger Sonic in flashback) - A title character and the protagonist of the series. He is a courageous and cunning hedgehog with an attitude, and is able to run at super sonic speeds. He is also a very capable fighter, and despite his bragging nature, he becomes highly selfless and direct in dangerous circumstances. He greatly misses his uncle, Sir Charles, who was roboticized. He is the only one able to use the Power Rings, usually to greatly increase his potential speed. He is the secondary leader of the Freedom Fighters.
  • Sally Acorn (Kath Soucie, Dana Hill as younger Sally in flashbacks) - The princess of Planet Mobius and Sonic's love interest in this series. She is the strategist and primary leader of the Knothole Freedom Fighters, though she often refers to Sonic as the leader. Extremely intelligent, Sally usually hacks into Robotnik's computers to find important targets in Robotropolis. Though she is very cautious, she can also be as bullheaded as Sonic, and is surprisingly spontaneous when there is no danger. She utterly refuses to believe that her father is dead, and is constantly searching for him.
  • Bunnie Rabbot (Christine Cavanaugh) - A gentle cyborg with a southern drawl, Bunnie was briefly captured, and had half of her body roboticized before she was saved, mid-transformation. Now her left arm and both her legs are mechanical. These robotic features, in addition to skill in martial arts, make her the brawn of the Freedom Fighters. Despite these advantages, she greatly desires to be normal again.
  • Antoine Depardieu (Rob Paulsen) - A clumsy, cowardly, pompous, French-oriented coyote and a member of the Freedom Fighters. He often has trouble speaking English. He also has a crush on Sally. His rival was Sonic, who would make fun of Antoine for his shortcomings. His clumsiness often gets himself or other Freedom Fighters into trouble. In the first season, he was often portrayed as being intelligent, but too fearful to offer much help to anyone. In the second season, his clumsiness and cowardice became more exaggerated.
  • Miles "Tails" Prower (Bradley Pierce) - A younger-brother figure to Sonic, whom he idolizes, Tails is the youngest freedom fighter. Often left behind in Knothole Village during missions, he is incredibly bright.
  • Rotor Walrus (Mark Ballou (Season 1)/Cam Brainard (Season 2)) - A walrus who is the mechanic of Freedom Fighters. He invents reliable gadgets for the Freedom Fighters in Knothole and on their missions. He fears Robotropolis and, unlike his best friend Sonic, usually stays behind to work. In the second season, he was completely redesigned and had a replacement voice actor.
  • NICOLE (Kath Soucie) - A highly-advanced, artificially intelligent portable personal computer that Sally uses to analyze and hack into Robotnik's machines. Whilst generally a formal computer, in the episode "Super Sonic," it copies Sonic's lingo so he can understand what it says, much to the bemusement of Sally.
  • Sir Charles Hedgehog (William Windom) - Known as "Uncle Chuck," he is an elderly inventor, as well as Sonic's warm-hearted uncle. Chuck invented the roboticizer to allow people to live longer, but it had the unintended effect of robbing an individual of their free will. Robotnik later stole it and used it on him, turning him into one of many mindless drones. With great difficulty, he regains control of his body and acts as a spy for the Freedom Fighters.
  • King Maximilian Acorn (Tim Curry) - The rightful King of Mobius, and father to Princess Sally. He was dethroned during a coup immediately following the Great War, and banished to the Void, a crystalline universe from which none can escape.
  • Queen Alicia Acorn: The rightful Queen of Mobius. It is implied that she was killed before the end of the Great War.
  • Dulcy the Dragon (Cree Summer) - A clumsy, loud-mouthed, young dragon who joined the Freedom Fighters in the second season. She often flies the Freedom Fighters to their destinations or rescues them. She also has powerful lungs, which can be used to blow enemies away, or freeze them solid with ice breath. She is terrible at landing, and often crashes into things mid-flight.
  • Cat: Cat is an elderly, brown-furred cat. He is taller than the other Freedom Fighters, who are all teenagers. He is very loyal, sacrificing himself to protect his friends. He also comes across as being calm when faced with a difficult situation.
Villains
  • Dr. Julian Ivo Robotnik (Jim Cummings) - The madman who conquered Planet Mobius ten years prior. He is a brilliant yet heartless warlord seeking nothing less than to encompass the whole world in his machinery and robotic minions. His goals are constantly thwarted by Sonic the Hedgehog, his sworn nemesis. His hatred for the hedgehog has turned into a desperate obsession to capture and roboticize Sonic himself, which is often his own undoing. He was later defeated in the episode Doomsday Project. This version of Dr. Robotnik was initially portrayed as a fearsome dictator, also he was darker and more serious than his much sillier counterpart in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. As Season 2 was more light-hearted than Season 1, Robotnik was later depicted as an evil but incompetent villain rather than the fierce and intimidating foe he was originally shown to be.
  • Snively (Charlie Adler) - Snively is Dr. Robotnik's miserable underling and assistant, as well as his nephew. Snively is constantly abused, teased and intimidated by his uncle, whom he despises and talks about behind his back. Snively's intelligence easily rivals his uncle's, but this trait is ignored.
  • Ixis Naugus (Michael Bell) - A powerful sorcerer, formerly Dr. Robotnik's mentor. He hates Robotnik for betraying and imprisoning him within the Void during The Great War. He wants nothing more than to see Robotnik suffer, but he cannot exist outside the Void for any extended amount of time. In Ben Hurst's plans for the never-produced season 3, Naugus would have returned as the primary villain, in place of Snively.
  • Swatbots (Jim Cummings, Maurice LaMarche, Kath Soucie, Frank Welker in pilot episode) - Robotnik's primary police and military unit. Designed as super-soldiers, these machines won the Great War prior to Robotnik's takeover. Now they are his special defense force, making up a substantial part of Robotropolis' "population".

In other mediaEdit

ComicsEdit

The Sonic the Hedgehog comic done by Archie Comics was based off of the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon.[6] Themes and storylines in early issues of the comic paralleled the cartoon, while characters and locales are still currently used.[7]

Video gamesEdit

Numerous different video games were intended to use the Sonic the Hedgehog TV series license, although only one was ever completed and released. This was Sonic Spinball, released in 1993 for the Sega Genesis, which contained references to the show, such as the inclusion of Princess Sally. The franchise was also planned to be used in a game that had tentatively been titled Sonic-16.[8] A prototyped was being worked on by the U.S.-based Sega Technical Institute, however, Yuji Naka disliked the project and it was cancelled before it could be developed any further.[9] The team worked on another prototype, Sonic Mars, directly afterwards, which also would have used characters from the show, including Princess Sally and Bunnie Rabbot as playable characters, but was also cancelled.[10] The team would then go on to work on the infamous Sonic Xtreme project, which was also cancelled, but by that point, the game had dropped any connections to the television series.[11]

ReceptionEdit

Mark Bozon of IGN criticized the show for not aging well, and being "so bad, it's good", comparing it to "...The Super Mario Bros. Super Show and The Legend of Zelda, franchises that seemed cool when you watched them decades ago, but in all reality ...Looking back, those shows are so bad they're awesome. That's the kind of awesome Sonic The Hedgehog is." [12] Todd Douglass Jr. of DVDTalk asserted that the show was dated, though he said "Out of the 26 episodes that make up the complete series there were quite a few that were actually enjoyable. For instance, I got a kick out of "Ultra Sonic" where Sonic finds his now robotic Uncle Chuck. "Blast to the Past Parts 1 & 2" and "Doomsday Project" stood out alongside "Ultra Sonic" as the crème of the crop though there were a few episodes here and there that entertained on some level (even if it was low)."[13]

Release historyEdit

DVD releases
DVD Name Ep # Release dates Additional Features
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete Series[14][15] 26 March 27, 2007 September 10, 2007 - 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 head writer Ben Hurst. The individual cases and the DVDs themselves also feature fan art submitted to Shout! Factory during the box set's development phaseCover art by Ken Penders and released by Shout! Factory and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ http://www.ncircleentertainment.com/Content/NCsonicHedgehog
  2. ^ http://www.sonicsatam.com/whatis.php
  3. ^ http://www.saturdaymorningsonic.com/faq/canceled/
  4. ^ KidVid Public Access Search the call sign "KMOH" for the filing periods of "2004 Q4" and "2005 Q1"
  5. ^ RTÉ Guide, 10–16 December 1994 edition
  6. ^ http://www.destructoid.com/expanded-universes-sonic-the-hedgehog-comics-and-cartoon-123567.phtml
  7. ^ http://www.destructoid.com/expanded-universes-sonic-the-hedgehog-comics-and-cartoon-123567.phtml
  8. ^ http://www.ugo.com/games/lost-levels-sonic
  9. ^ http://www.ugo.com/games/lost-levels-sonic
  10. ^ http://retro.ign.com/articles/877/877660p1.html
  11. ^ http://retro.ign.com/articles/877/877660p1.html
  12. ^ http://ie.dvd.ign.com/articles/769/769137p1.html
  13. ^ http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/26836/sonic-the-hedgehog-the-complete-series/
  14. ^ http://www.amazon.ca/Sonic-Hedgehog-Complete-Jaleel-White/dp/B000M8N41W
  15. ^ http://reviews.bestbuy.com/3545/8215772/sonic-the-hedgehog-the-complete-series-4-discs-reviews/reviews.htm

External linksEdit

[1] Sonic portal
[2] Animation portal
[3] United States portal
[4] Television portal
[5] 1990s portal

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