I felt that my prior article got such a good reception, enough that I decided to unveil my second attempt, to be played once my previous block runs its course. I want your thoughts on this one, people--I want to see if this will be as good as the first one I devised. Unlike the first one, this block will contain only one show I have seen multiple episodes of before--the rest are mostly new to me. It's also a shorter block of prgramming, six compared to my previous one's nine. Join me now, as I give you a preview of things to come. Series info courtesy of Wikipedia:
1. Bionic Six (1987-89) "In the near future (some unspecified decades after 1999), Professor Dr. Amadeus Sharp Ph.D., head of the Special Projects Labs (SPL), creates a new form of technology to augment humans through bionics. His first subject was Jack Bennett, a test pilot who secretly acted as Sharp's field agent, Bionic-1. On a family ski vacation in the Himalayas, an alien spacecraft triggers an avalanche that buries the entire family, exposing them to the unusual radiation of a mysterious buried object. Jack frees himself but discovers his family in a comatose state. Theorizing that Jack's bionics protected him from the radiation, Professor Sharp implants bionic technology in the others, awakening them. Afterward, the family operates incognito as a publicly lauded team of adventuring superheroes, the Bionic Six. The primary antagonist of the series is a mad scientist known as Doctor Scarab, along with his gang of henchmen – Glove, Madam-O, Chopper, Mechanic, and Klunk – accompanied by Scarab's legion of drone robots called Cyphrons. Ironically, Scarab is Professor Sharp's brother. Obsessed with obtaining immortality and ruling the world, Scarab believes that the key to both goals lies in the secret bionic technology invented by his brother, ever plotting to possess it." The lone 80's representative on this block, Bionic Six is another case where, like Spiral Zone, I learned about the concept after seeing the old toyline in a 1995 Tomart's guide. After doing a little more 'research'--including a look at the cast via behindthevoiceactors.com--I decided to give the show a shot, and chronologically the first slot. Both it and Spiral Zone even share some voice talent, namely Hal Rayle, Neil Ross, and Frank Welker.
2. Double Dragon (1993-94) "The premise of the show had the Lee brothers separated at birth, with Billy being raised by an elderly martial arts master known as the Oldest Dragon. In contrast, his brother Jimmy is raised by the evil Shadow Master to become his second-in-command, the Shadow Boss. As a result, the Lee brothers meet each other as adversaries after being reunited as adults. By the end of the second episode, Jimmy is betrayed by the Shadowmaster, which leads to Jimmy seeing the error of his ways and joining his brother to battle against the Shadowmaster. The Lee brothers made use of magical swords which contained special powers and added dragon masks to the brothers' outfit. During the course of the series, the brothers recruited allies in their war against the Shadow Master and his henchmen, in the second season gaining stronger magical weapons when the Shadow Master harnessed the strength of the even more evil Shadow Kahn to increase his power. The search for their father, John Lee, was a running subplot throughout the series." In addition to seeing the toys in the Tomart's guide, my first experience with Double Dragon was when I caught the ill-fated live-action film on TV a few years ago. A couple years after that, I found the 1990 Gameboy version of the game in a retro gaming shop. I added the show because of its novelty--it was among the few TV programs based on a 90's fighting video game that deviated slightly (sometimes radically) from the source material, which doesn't endear them that much to fans. (It's not the only one on this block.) I also added it to this block since it not only shares Ocean Group voice talent with some of the other shows on this and my prior block, it even has a couple of companies in common with one of the previous block's shows (Extreme Dinosaurs, which was also produced by DIC and Bohbot Entertainment).
3. Space Strikers (1995-96)
"Space Strikers was an animated television series that was based on the Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The series aired on UPN from 1995 to 1996. Action sequences were shown in "Strikervision" 3-D. It was the first animated series to be made specifically for UPN. In addition to Ron Wasserman composing original music for this series, Shuki Levy also composed for this series, recycling some of the music from Starcom: The U.S. Space Force, which he would later reuse for the English dub version of Season 1 of Digimon Adventure." I actually first found out about this series during my junior year in college, while I was researching for a paper on European imperialism in the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. At the time, I wasn't as intrigued about the show, but once I started plotting out this second block, I decided to throw this show into the mix, as it's one that isn't often discussed. I also was intrigued by the show's cast, a mix of 80's veterans and Ocean Group favorites.
4. G.I. Joe Extreme (1995-97)
"According to the intro (which resembles a news flash), a "former super-power" has collapsed with several factions vying for control against a new global terrorist organization "known only as SKAR" whose goal is nothing less but total world domination. Iron Klaw claims: "We will be VICTORIOUS!" to which Lt. Stone replies "Not on MY watch!" followed by an introduction to the new Joe roster. The opening concludes with a news reporter giving odds of survival as "a million to 1" and Stone yelling: "...and that's the way we LIKE it!" The new Joe team operates in a post-Cold War world wracked by chaos and carnage, and battling against both SKAR and independent mercenaries, who seek to further destabilize an already unstable world. Unlike the previous series, the cartoon featured a pre-credits teaser featuring a mixture of both live actors and CGI. However, as with the previous series, the end of the episode featured new public service announcements in the same vein as the popular "Knowing is Half the Battle" PSAs." As a G.I. Joe fan, I was definitely intrigued by the idea that there was one iteration of the concept that was almost universally-reviled by the fandom at large. I've researched this cartoon and its toyline a few times. The basic skinny on it is, it was Hasbro's follow-up attempt after the lackluster Sgt. Savage and the Screaming Eagles series. The character of Savage is the only thread that connects this cartoon to the Sunbow original (and its DIC successor), via Savage's 'Old Soldiers Never Die' video episode being connected to the Sunbow era. In addition, a lot of Ocean Group voice talent can be found in this series, some of whom fittingly enough lent their voices to both the DIC GI Joe series and the Sgt. Savage special. (And of course, have lent their voices to three of my previous block's shows.) Anyway, when it came to plotting out Block #2, I felt this should be included, as it was Sunbow's second (and last) go with the GI Joe property, and one that should get a Shout Factory DVD release, just to give us fans a sense of completion in our DVD libraries.
5. Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (September-December 1996)
Serving as a "as a combination of an alternative sequel to the first Mortal Kombat film and the events of Mortal Kombat 3", the show "focused on a group of warriors assembled by Raiden to defend Earthrealm from invaders who entered through portals from various other dimensions. The assembled warriors included Liu Kang, Stryker, Sonya Blade, Jax, Kitana, and Sub-Zero, with Nightwolf functioning mostly as tech support but still entering the fray on various occasions. The warriors operated out of a hidden base from where Nightwolf and Raiden monitored portal openings; the warriors would fly dragon-shaped jets to deal with disturbances. Shao Kahn was something of an arch villain throughout the series despite appearing in only four of the series' thirteen episodes, being responsible for allowing other realms to invade Earthrealm. The characters and their backgrounds were mostly continuous with the movie and Threshold's representation of the series canon, though many original characters exclusive to the program were introduced and some elements of Mortal Kombat 3 were included. The episode plots themselves shared little relation with that of any of the games, though the character designs are based on their MK3 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 sprites (except for Kitana, whose design looks like a blend of her MKII and her UMK3 looks). Kung Lao, Johnny Cage, Mileena, Sindel, Jade, Goro and Kintaro were not shown or referenced in the show at all. The finale involved Kitana leading a rebellion from Outworld against Kahn. The most notable aspect of the show was that it provided the debut of Quan Chi, who would go on to become a major antagonist in the game series." I have heard of multiple attempts to adapt one of video game history's most violent franchises to various media, and this proved to be one of the most interesting, if only because it isn't as fondly remembered (much like fellow fighting game franchises Double Dragon and Street Fighter during this time). Ironically enough, it aired on the same network and in the same block as a show based on Street Fighter, MK's #1 rival in fighting games. I only saw one episode a few years ago, when I learned of a very subtle crossover that occured between this show, Street Fighter: The Animated Series, Savage Dragon, and Wing Commander Academy know by fans as the 'Saga of the Warrior King'. When the time came to construct my second block, I felt that if I saw one episode of this series, I should be reasonable and see the whole show.
6. Zoids: New Century (2001-02; 2003-04)
"New Century Zero takes place a long time after the events of Zoids: Chaotic Century. Zoids are no longer used for warfare; instead the combative natures of both Zoids and humans are focused and contained by a series of battle-competitions and tournaments, run by the Zoid Battle Commission. The Zoid Battle Commission seems to be a significant power on Planet Zi, fielding a considerable arsenal of armed Zoids, orbital platforms serviced by their own launch facilities as well as orbital based weapons systems. It is not made clear in the series if the Helic Republic and Guylos Empire still exist, although the final battle upon the rusted Ultrasaurus, hinted to be same one in Zoids: Chaotic Century, could suggest neither were left and people had free rein to battle in old battlefields. The series focuses on the Blitz Team, in particular the actions of the Liger Zero and Bit Cloud. The series charts the rise of the Blitz Team through various competitions of the Zoid Battle Commission, and the team's efforts to avoid conflict with the criminal organization known as the Backdraft Group." It's kind of funny how a series that's supposed to be a sequel ended up being the first Zoids cartoon dubbed and aired on U.S. television. Anyway, aside from being the lone 2000's representative on my 2nd block, this is also the only program in which I have seen multiple episodes. I remember watching it distinctly on Toonami and another Cartoon Network block of action cartoons, the 2003-04 Saturday Video Entertainment System (along with its predecessor Chaotic Century and the short-lived Fuzors). I had a few of the toys, including one motorized model kit or two, and even used some of my Power Rangers Zords as Zoids. Having not really seen the whole story, I figured it should fill in the last slot on the block. It also follows a precedent set by Block #1, as it too has a voice cast made up of Ocean Group players.
Well, there you have it! Your thoughts and opinions on this lineup would be much appreciated, as I'd like to know from any and all who have seen most of these shows as they actually aired before I head into the breach.