Sonic the Hedgehog
The show is loosely based on the video game series of the same name. The series aired from 18 September 1993 to 3 December 1994 on ABC. The series sharply contrasts with Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, a syndicated series that premiered in the same month.
While Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog is known for its bright colors and whimsical humor, Sonic the Hedgehog featured darker stories which constituted a departure from the tone of the Sonic games of the time. To distinguish between the two series which was broadcast concurrently, fans typically refer to this series as Sonic SatAM, because it was a Saturday morning cartoon, while Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog aired on weekdays in syndication in the United States. The show was also the partial basis for a comic book series called Sonic the Hedgehog by Archie Comics, which continued even twenty years after the cartoon's cancellation and still featured many of the cartoon's own characters.
The show ran for two seasons. The second season brought a few changes to the show, including the introduction of Dulcy, changes to Sally and Rotor's designs, Robotnik losing his reverberating voice and a somewhat lighter overall tone. A third season was in the early planning stages until ABC canceled the show because of low ratings (thought to result from competition with FOX Kids' Power Rangers). After SatAM was canceled, reruns of the show appeared on USA Network's USA Action Extreme Team.
The series was also televised in Canada on the CTV Television Network between the same dates ABC did. However, CTV went beyond ABC's cancellation date of 3 December 1994, and ran one last summer rerun cycle between 10 June and 2 September 1995, where CTV ran the Season 2 episodes in order, with "Game Guy" airing first and "The Doomsday Project" bidding SatAM farewell to Canada. A potential reason for CTV airing the show during those dates during the summer of 1995, which ABC never did, was to simply run the rest of the 1994-1995 broadcast year out. The show has not been re-broadcast in Canada since its cancellation. The program initially had a complete run on Channel 4 on Sunday mornings. It was partly recently broadcast on the UK television channels Pop and ITV2. The first season aired in the Republic of Ireland on RTÉ Two in December 1994.
Despite its cancellation and limited recent airings, the show enjoys a large and loyal internet fanbase. In response to popular demand, the entire series was released onto DVD by Shout! Factory on 27 March 2007. On 2 February 2015, the show began streaming on Netflix and was removed on 28 February 2016. In March 15, 2021, the first season aired on TA-DAA!! channel in Malaysia at the same day launches its channel.
The show takes place on a planet called Mobius sometime in the 33rd century (in one episode, "Blast to the Past Pt. 1", it was mentioned the year was 3224, when the characters were just five years old, making the storyline take place in the year 3235, also confirmed in the spin-off Archie comic). An evil scientist named Doctor Robotnik and his pet robot chicken Cluck invaded and conquered a huge city named Mobotropolis, with the help of his assistant and nephew Snively and his army of robot soldiers called Swat-Bots. He then used a giant airship called the Destroyer to turn Mobotropolis into a new city, renaming it Robotropolis, a polluted city of factories and warehouses. This invasion occurred on Friday the 13th, 3224, in an unknown month (potentially either September 13, 3224 or December 13, 3224) ("Blast to the Past" Parts 1 and 2).
Robotnik soon invaded the castle home of the city's King, exiling him to a dimensional warp known as the Void and making the palace his own personal headquarters. From there, he captured the rest of the citizens, including a brainy old hedgehog named Sir Charles Hedgehog and his dog Muttski, and used a machine called the Roboticizer (invented by Sir Charles to allow the elderly to live longer) to turn them into robot slaves.
Those who managed to escape retreated into the Great Forest and built a village named Knothole to hide from Robotnik. They formed a group called the Freedom Fighters. Among the Freedom Fighters were Sonic the Hedgehog: Charles' speedy nephew and the Knothole freedom fighters' de facto leader, as well as Sonic's best friend Tails: a young two-tailed fox who can twirl his tails to fly.
Other Freedom Fighters include Rotor, a walrus with a knack for machines, Antoine, a French coyote and former palace guard with many personality flaws, and Bunnie Rabbot, a pretty Southern cyborg rabbit who was partially roboticized before being saved by Sonic. Last is the group's leader, Princess Sally, the King's only daughter. Sally carries a sentient mini-computer named Nicole.
For ten years, the Freedom Fighters constantly foiled Robotnik's schemes. In the show's second season, a winged female dragon named Dulcy was a new star. Dulcy's mother, Sabina, was captured and roboticized along with most her species.
The show ran for two seasons before it was canceled. The final episode, "The Doomsday Project", ended with a cliffhanger suggesting a new villain for season three; it was later revealed that the villain would have been a sorcerer from a previous episode named Naugus. There were rumors of a third season, but it was never produced.
Many fans and newcomers have debated over whose eyes were in the background at the end of "The Doomsday Project". Some thought it was Knuckles the Echidna, while others thought Metal Sonic. On the popular semi-official SatAM website, Ben Hurst revealed that the eyes belonged to "Ixis Naugus. Not Knuckles. Not Metal Sonic. Ixis Naugus." He also did not specify if Knuckles and Metal Sonic would appear later on in the series, had it been able to continue.
- Jaleel White - Sonic the Hedgehog
- Charlie Adler - Snively
- Mark Ballou - Rotor (Season 1)
- Cam Brainard - Rotor (Season 2)
- Christine Cavanaugh - Bunnie Rabbot
- Jim Cummings - Dr. Robotnik/Julian, Swat-Bots, Male Nasty Hyenas, additional voices
- Rob Paulsen - Antoine Depardieu
- Bradley Pierce - Tails
- Kath Soucie - Princess Sally, Nicole
- Cree Summer-Francks - Dulcy
- Frank Welker - Cluck, Swat-Bots, Muttski, Kraken, Terapods, additional voices
- William Windom - Charles Hedgehog "Uncle Chuck", Cat
- Shari Belafonte - Lupe
- Michael Bell - Naugus
- Crystal Cooke -
- Tim Curry - The King, Keeper of the Time Stones
- David Doyle -
- Dave Fennoy -
- Alaina Reed Hall - Female Nasty Hyena
- Dorian Harewood - Ari, additional voices
- Gaille Heidemann -
- Dana Hill - Young Princess Sally
- John Kassir -
- Katie Leigh -
- Nancy Linari -
- Victor Love -
- Danny Mann -
- Tahj Mowry - Young Sonic the Hedgehog
- Hal Rayle -
- Lindsey Ridgeway -
- Charlie Schlatter - Griff
- April Winchell - Rosie, Ro-Becca, additional voices
- Ginny McSwain - Voice Director
- For a full list of the characters in Sonic the Hedgehog, see here.
- Knothole Freedom Fighters
- Doctor Robotnik
- Sir Charles 'Uncle Chuck' Hedgehog
- Wolf Pack Freedom Fighters
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."
The show received good ratings on TV.com, mostly positive reviews, getting an 8.3 out of ten from voters of the website. IMDB, based on members' ratings, gave the show a 6.8 out of ten.
Todd Douglass Jr. of DVD Talk found the show to be 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"
- Super Sonic - 1994 (VHS, "Super Sonic" and "Sonic and Sally")
- Hooked on Sonics - 21 October 1994 (VHS, "Hooked on Sonics" and "Warp Sonic")
- Sonic Racer - 19 December 1994 (VHS, "Sonic Racer" and "Sonic Boom")
- 26 February 2002 (DVD, five episodes)
- Sonic the Hedgehog: The Complete Series - 27 March 2007 (DVD, complete series)
Season 3 (Aborted)
According to writer Ben Hurst, thirteen episodes were originally planned for the third season but no scripts were written.
The planned third season would have featured Snively briefly taking over Robotnik's position. His attempts quickly fail in the process and Snively is forced to release Naugus (whose eyes were seen behind Snively at the end of Season 2), The King, and Robotnik from the Void. Naugus would eventually overthrow Snively as the main villain with Robotnik serving as his lackey, while Naugus uses The King as bait to lure the Freedom Fighters into a trap. Snively, reduced to nothing, temporarily joins the Freedom Fighters (which briefly occurred in the Sonic Archie comic), only to betray them and be foiled by Antoine. Sally's father would be recovered, but is forced to sacrifice himself into the void in order to trap Naugus again.
Furthermore, Tails matures and plays a much larger role as an official member of the Freedom Fighters, even showing a bit of a rebellious side and would save Knothole Village from a major disaster. Meantime, Dulcy would come into her full powers. It has also been said that Sally is romanced by someone other than Sonic, though in the end Sonic would eventually come out on top. Sonic would go through a major character change as well. Nicole's backstory would be told, revealing that she was once a Mobian child that was brainwashed into a computer program by Robotnik. At some point NICOLE would be restored to her former self, becoming a part of the Freedom Fighters.
Robotnik and Snively's backstory would have also been revealed. Robotnik and Snively were originally from Earth (Mobius' past) and in the year 2200, attempted to take over the space colony they were living in. Inadvertently destroying it instead, Robotnik and Snively narrowly escape with their lives, and were somehow sent into the distant future where they return to Earth, only to find it had became Mobius. Thinking that he was superior to the sentient animals that inhabited the planet, Robotnik set about to conquer it in any way he could.
Numerous attempts have been made by fans to revive the series or recreate the lost season, but most have failed. The semi-official SatAM page hosts an unofficial web comic that aims to reproduce many of Ben Hurst's ideas and give the series the conclusion it never had. Appropriately, it is known as "Sea3on," and it is currently the most successful of the attempted continuations, having started in 2009 and still ongoing.
In 1993 an article in Sonic the Poster Mag #1, a spin-off of the British Sonic/Sega comic Sonic the Comic officially licensed by Sega Of Europe, announced two new television series staring Sonic the Hedgehog, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM). Within the four pages of plot synopsis and concept art, a group of screen shots that greatly differ from the rest appear without explanation. These screen shots have circulated through the internet contributing to the theory of a cartoon series aborted before production which has been dubbed "The Mystery cartoon" also "Pre-SatAM". While there has not been any confirmation from DiC on the matter, it is widely considered that these images were a prototype for SatAM, due to similarities (Sally Acorn, The Roboticizer, Freedom Fighters) with the series and their appearance within an article announcing SatAM.
One of these images, showing 'The Freedom Team' was previously used (in Sonic the Comic #12) to promote the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog series, along with another, using similar art, presumably from the same timeframe. The supporting characters in the Pre-SatAM cartoon are most likely based on the small animals freed from enemies in the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. Most notable is the lack of Tails; it could be that the concept was drawn up before Tails' arrival in the franchise.
Cancelled video game
In a recent interview with Peter Morawiec, a former programmer for Sega Technical Institute and the famed creator of Comix Zone, it was revealed that he had developed a prototype game based on the cartoon continuity, using a completely different engine than that of the traditional Sonic games. It would have been the second time that characters from the cartoon series would have shown up, and possibly the first video game appearances of both the SatAM version of Dr. Robotnik and Snively. The game was to be called Sonic Mars.
- The show's first produced episode, "Heads or Tails", was aired as the 13th episode and final episode of season one. This episode features a number of inconsistencies with the rest of the show, such as slightly different designs (most noticeably Rotor and Sally, the latter of which using an older design), characters behaving differently, more colorful animation and the reuse of several audio tracks from Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog.
- Before this show first premiered in England, Sonic the Comic (#12, 30 October 1993) showed pictures advertising a new Sonic cartoon and telling readers to watch out for it coming soon. Instead of the Freedom Fighters, the group was named the Freedom Team and comprised all the animals rescued by Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog (1991). The members were: Sonic, Johnny Lightfoot (rabbit), Tux (penguin), Princess Acorn, Joe Sushi (walrus), Chirps (chicken), Porker Lewis (pig), and Flicky (bird). These characters were later used in all the Sonic novels released in the UK, and Johnny and Porker became part of Sonic's supporting cast in the "Sonic the Comic" stories. After radical changes to the show (basically making enormous alterations to pretty much everything in order to make it entirely different), it became this show.
- This television series has aired less episodes than any other Sonic-related television series.
- Two episodes were adapted for the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series published by Archie Comics. Specifically, "Ghost Busted" was adapted in Sonic Super Special #8, and "Cry of the Wolf" was adapted in Sonic the Hedgehog #113.
- "Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog" was originally going to air on ABC, but ABC executives did not like that show and told DiC they had to make a different cartoon starring Sonic the Hedgehog. DiC quickly came up with this show, which premiered on ABC in fall of 1993.
- The thirteen episodes from the first season of this show ran on Saturday mornings at the same time as the sixty-five episodes (not including Christmas special) of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog were being shown during the weekdays.
- Rotor is the only character to be played by two voice actors: Mark Ballou in season one and Cam Brainard in season two.
- Mark Ballou left the series by choice. He was asked to reprise the role for season two, but opted out at the last minute due to personal reasons. Cam Brainard took his place for the second season. Years after the series was cancelled, Mark stated on an Internet interview that he regretted making that choice.
- Snively is the only character in the series to retain 'pupil-less' eyes throughout both season one and two. Meanwhile, Sally and Bunnie, who had 'pupil-less' eyes in season one, both acquired pupils in season two.
- Throughout the series, Snively went through very few changes in appearance. His gold belt buckle from Season 1 was gone in Season 2. His personality became much more pronounced in Season 2; while in Season 1, he was often merely in the background, obediently obeying Robotnik.
- Rotor was originally going to be named "Boomer" in the series, according to the SatAM Sonic Bible. In "Heads or Tails", his fur was purple, and he had a slightly more "goofier" attitude. In Season 1, Rotor has grayish blue fur and more rounder than his "Heads or Tails" appearance. During Season 2, Rotor became a secondary character, had slightly different clothing, his fur was dark blue, and he was involved in less action/screen time. As a result, Rotor is one of the few characters to undergo many changes in both appearance and role.
- Robotnik's roboticized pet bird, Cluck, only appeared in 9 episodes of Season 1. He was absent and never mentioned in Season 2.
- Sonic and Sally are the only characters that have appeared in every episode of the series.
- For some reason, season two never aired in Spain.
- Some believe that this series was based off of the long lasting Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comics. However, it's the other way around. The comic got ideas from this series when it was still in production. It takes longer to make an animated cartoon than it does to make a comic.
- This is the first Sonic the Hedgehog television series to have a theme song with lyrics.
- Daftar Acara ANTV, Wikiwand (ANTV Airings list)
- RTÉ Guide, 9-15 December 1994 edition and subsequent dates
- Astro strengthens kids entertainment with new channel ‘TA-DAA!’ (Ch 612). Astro.com (12 March 2021). Archived from the original on 15 March 2021. Retrieved on 15 March 2021.
- Sea3on Unofficial Continuation of Sonic SatAM
- It's Sonic the Hedgehog on TV! (1993).
- Before SatAM. SonicHQ. Retrieved on 2007-01-09.
- at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- , fan-made site dedicated to SatAM
- archive via TheWaybackMachine