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Sonic the Hedgehog

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Sonic the Hedgehog is an American-Italian animated television series created by DiC Entertainment and the Italian studio Reteitalia, in association with Telecinco.

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, or simply 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, broadcasting one last summer rerun cycle between 10 June and 2 September 1995. The season 2 episodes in order to bid farewell to SatAM in Canada. A potential reason for CTV airing the show during those dates during the summer of 1995 was simply to 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 Ireland on RTÉ Two in December 1994.[3]

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, though it was removed on 28 February 2016.[4] On 15 March 2021, the first season aired on TA-DAA! channel in Malaysia.[2]

Development

Pre-production image of Sonic the Hedgehog featuring the "Freedom Team", from Sonic the Poster Mag issue 1.

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. Within the four pages of plot synopsis and concept art, a group of screen shots that greatly differ from the rest appear without explanation.[5] These shots are considered to be very early concept artwork for the show, likely drawn as part of a pitch to Sega by staff writer Phil Harnage.[6]

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.[7]

Plot

Sonic the Hedgehog takes place on a planet called Mobius sometime in the 33rd century (in one episode, "Blast to the Past, Part 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 Dr. 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 13 September or 13 December 3224) ("Blast to the Past, Part 1" and "Part 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.

Sonic and Rotor, from "Heads or Tails."

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.

Sonic and Sally, from "Blast to the Past, Part 2."

The show ran for two seasons before it was canceled. The final episode, "The Doomsday Project," ended with a cliff-hanger 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 final episode. 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.

Characters

The main cast of Sonic the Hedgehog.

For a full list of the characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog television series, see here.

Main characters

Recurring characters

Merchandise

Comic adaptation

Two episodes from Sonic the Hedgehog were adapted for the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series published by Archie Comics, these include:

Voice cast

Voice Actor Role
Jaleel White Sonic the Hedgehog
Kath Soucie Princess Sally
Nicole
Rob Paulsen Antoine Depardieu
Christine Cavanaugh Bunnie Rabbot
William Windom Sir Charles "Uncle Chuck" Hedgehog
Cat
Jim Cummings Dr. Robotnik
Nasty Hyenas
Swat-Bots
Additional voices
Charlie Adler Snively
Cree Summer-Francks Dulcy
Bradley Pierce Tails
Mark Ballou Rotor (season 1)
Cam Brainard Rotor (season 2)
Tahj Mowry Sonic the Hedgehog (young)
Dana Hill Princess Sally (young)
Shari Belafonte Lupe
April Winchell Rosie
Dorian Harewood Ari the Ram
Frank Welker Cluck
Swat-Bots
Muttski
Kraken
Terapods
Additional voices
Tim Curry The King
Keeper of the Time Stones
Alaina Reed Hall Nasty Hyenas
Shari Belafonte Lupe
Michael Bell Naugus
Charlie Schlatter Griff
April Winchell Rosie
Ro-Becca
Additional voices
Dorian Harewood Ari
Additional voices
Crystal Cooke Additional voices
David Doyle
Dave Fennoy
Gaille Heidemann
John Kassir
Katie Leigh
Nancy Linari
Victor Love
Danny Mann
Hal Rayle
Lindsey Ridgeway

Crew

  • Casting director: Marsha Gooodman
  • Voice director: Ginny McSwain

Music

The theme song, "Fastest Thing Alive," was composed by Michael Tavera and produced by Noisy Neighbors Productions.

Reception

Sonic the Hedgehog received mixed reviews from both fans and critics alike.

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. Bozon continued on to say that it "seemed cool when you watched [it] decades ago," but that in retrospect, that is what made shows like SatAM so special.[8]

The show received good ratings on TV.com, gaining mostly positive reviews, getting an 8.3 out of 10 from voters of the website. IMDB, based on members' ratings, gave the show a 6.8 out of 10.

However, despite these reviews, the show has gathered a cult following, with fans of the show claiming this is the best Sonic television show, with many showing support for a potential reboot or continuation with a third season.

Home releases

Image Title Format Description
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"
Super Sonic (26 February 2002) DVD "Sonic Boom", "Sonic and Sally", "Sonic and the Secret Scrolls", "Super Sonic", and "Sonic Racer"
Sonic SatAM Complete Series DVD set.jpg Sonic the Hedgehog: The Complete Series (27 March 2007) DVD Complete series

Season 3 (cancelled)

According to writer Ben Hurst, thirteen episodes were originally planned for the show's 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.[9]

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.[10]

Sonic Mars

Main article: Sonic Mars

In an interview with Peter Morawiec, a former programmer at Sega Technical Institute and the 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 the SatAM versions of both Dr. Robotnik and Snively. The game was to be called Sonic Mars.

Trivia

  • 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.
  • This television series has the fewest episodes out of all the Sonic-related television series.
  • 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.
    • 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 one, Rotor has grayish blue fur and more rounder than his "Heads or Tails" appearance. During season two, 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 nine episodes of season one. He was absent and never mentioned in season two.
  • 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.

Videos


Notes

  1. Originally screened on Sundays at 9am as part of the 'What Now?' block, before being shifted to 8am

References

  1. Daftar Acara ANTV ANTV Airings list. Wikiwand.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Astro strengthens kids entertainment with new channel ‘TA-DAA!’ (Ch 612). Astro (12 March 2021). Archived from the original on 15 March 2021. Retrieved on 15 March 2021.
  3. RTÉ Guide. 9-15 December 1994.
  4. SSF1991 (25 January 2016). SatAM To Leave Netflix On February 28th. TSSZ News. Archived from the original on 18 May 2018.
  5. Burton, Richard (1993). "It's Sonic the Hedgehog on TV!". Sonic the Poster Mag (1). Archived from the original.
  6. The Complete History of Sonic SatAM on Twitter. Twitter (24 March 2021). Retrieved on 27 March 2021. "The Complete History of Sonic SatAM: to ABC and/or Sega to show off what DiC had in mind for a Sonic cartoon. It was likely created by Phil Harnage. This is information taken directly from an interview with Robby London who was the executive producer of the show. This is him thinking back to a show which he worked-"
  7. Before SatAM. SonicHQ. Retrieved on 9 January 2007.
  8. From Captain N to Sonic Underground: Behind videogames' earliest cartoons. GamesTM. Archived from the original on 14 January 2015.
  9. http://www.sonicsatam.com/information/the-lost-3rd-season/
  10. Sea3on.

External links

Sonic the Hedgehog in other media
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