Sonic SatAM: Heads or Tails

'Cause I felt like it.
December 27, 2010
While looking around the 'net, I downloaded some RealPlayer videos of a couple SatAM episodes, so I decided to write about the pilot episode. Why? Well, I don't have anything better to do, and I like this show, so why the Hell not?

For those not familiar with this show, Sonic the Hedgehog (AKA SatAM to fans) was a Saturday morning cartoon that came on ABC back in '93-'94. Since Nintendo had created a whole bunch of cartoons based on their biggest games, Sega, trying to win over kids in the Great Console War of 1991, decided to hire DiC Entertainment (who also made the Nintendo cartoons, ironically enough) to create two cartoons based on their mascot, the blue blur Sonic the Hedgehog. One was a weekday show called "Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog", and well, just had Sonic and Tails running around the planet (called "Mobius" in the show, IDK if they called it that in the manual or something), trying to stop the evil Dr. Robotnik and his army of robots from taking over. It was pretty lighthearted and funny, although a certain Critic panned it in a (hilarious) review. It was pitched to ABC at first, but they rejected it and it was shown on the WGN instead. ABC asked Sega to create a Sonic cartoon for their lineup, and therefore, SatAM was born.

SatAM was alot more detailed and plot-centric than it's weekday cousin, and was meant for an older audience. It takes place in the 33rd century on the planet Mobius, where Sonic is a member of a group of "Freedom Fighters" who are trying to defeat the evil Dr. Robotnik, who has taken over the planet. That being said, let's get the episode, shall we?

Note: Since this is an old Realplayer file, the screen size is crap and so is the quality, so bear with me on these tiny screenshots, 'k? Also, any black bars or white lines are just the edges of the RealPlayer window. Alright? Good.

So, we see a large, industrial city with lots of factories spewing some purple gas into the air like no tomorrow. We get our first look at Dr. Robotnik, and his pet robot-chicken*. If you've watched this show before, you may recognize Robotnik as being voiced by Jim Cummings, AKA Fat Cat from "Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers", Lucky from "Bonkers", etc. Needless to say, he did a damn good job of making Robotnik actually SEEM scary, and not a goofy looking mad scientist. Yay, I guess.

So it seems he's been out on a trip. What it was about or for, we'll never know. Maybe he needed to get a tan, or scout a good location for a new factory. My guess is as good as yours on that one.

Hmm, funny appearance, weird voice, & small size. Obviously, by the Saturday Morning Stereotypes Act of 1972, this must be Snively, Robotnik's flunky. Hey, I'm right.

Snively greets the bad doctor, and naturally, Robotnik simply shoves him aside. Then he gets the door slammed on him by two guard robots. I always wondered why these flunkies never ran off and got another job, but then again, "evil villain's henchman" probably doesn't look too good on a resume. McDonald's would probably hire him, they're hired worse.

So, Robotnik asks Snively if a certain Hedgehog has caused any trouble lately. Then we get an emergency signal from monitor 10. Is it a bomb plot, sneak attack, a drone going down, or what?
Nah, it's just Tails picking flowers. Yawn
Robotnik decides to have Tails kidnapped, in order to lure Sonic into a trap. Oookaayyy, I guess that would work, although in the games, Sonic never seemed to give a crap when Tails would fall behind or get killed or something.

So, apparently, Tails is picking flowers for "Aunt Sally", then, since flowers are the #1 to sneeze randomly, he sneezes so hard that he blows him self back into a tree and then curls into a ball and lands flat on his head. Damn, that's gotta hurt.

Then, he spots a Buzz Bomber coming after him, so he flies off to get Sonic. Meanwhile, Robotnik watches all this through the monitor, and gloats to himself as Sonic comes speeding to Tails' rescue. Then, a walrus (Rotor) calls Sonic over since he's just found one of Robotnik's security cameras, which look like the StarShip Enterprise from Star Trek with an eyeball attached to the bottom. Sonic tells Robutnik that someday, he'll be "done, through, outta here, 'cause the Freedom Fighters are up and on the job!"

'Butnik then says that by the end of the day, Sonic and the Power Rings will be in his clutches. Silly Robotnik, you're not allowed to change the status quo of a kids show for more than 10 minutes!
Sonic calls bullshit on that and "juices" back to some tree. Did I mention that there's a lot of made up slang in this show? Dude, it's like, totally not gonna be dated in 20 years, man!

Rotor apparently has a major hangover, so he doesn't react to well to Sonic pulling him at supersonic speeds. How he didn't rip his arm off or dislocate it is a damn miracle.

So the tree that they're near apparently has a hollowed out slide, which Sonic and Tails go down. How they don't have millions of splinters on their asses by the end is beyond me.

Rotor then flies in, then makes an ungraceful (naturally) cannonball, right onto Sonic and Tails. Also, his hangover's gone, somehow. Hangover removing slide, maybe?

Now, we can meet the rest of the Freedom Fighters. There's Bunnie Rabbot, a southern cyborg rabbit; Antione, a stereotypical French coyote, who looks suspiciously like Don Carnage from "Tailspin"; Princess Sally, the leader of the Freedom Fighters and daughter of the missing King Acorn. Oddly enough, she's pink in this episode and brown in the rest. She was like that in the earlier Archie Comics, then they changed her to a more natural color; and N.I.C.O.L.E, Sally's portable computer, which is shown in this episode as a huge computer on a cart running Windows 95.

Apparently, they're building catapults to defend themselves from an invasion by Robotnik's forces. Just one problem, the wooden cotter pins (whatever they are) are breaking, 'cause, well, they're wood. Obviously, they need metal ones, which are only available in Robotnik's city.

Conviently, Sonic comes blasting in, and acts like a prick towards Ant. Funny, I don't remember downloading an episode of Sonic, the Ethnically Prejudiced Hedgehog. Oh well...

So, it seems that Sonic's been slacking off for at least the last 2 days, so Sally makes him go to the city to get the metal "cotter pins".

Sonic will need a Power Ring in order to go to the city, so him, Rotor, and Tails go to a small pond that craps out Power Rings on convenient basis. Tails is used like a stick to fish out the rings, since well, Sonic and Rotor don't really feel like it.
We learn that these rings were invented by Sonic's uncle, Chuck, so he could defeat Robotnik. Apparently, Sonic is the only one that can use these rings, yet we don't really see what they do for him, yet.

Sonic, on his way out to the city, catches Tails, who is also trying to go there for no apparent reason. He picks Tails up like a cat and tells him that the city is crawling with SWATbots (no relation to the SWATkats), and that he will be "roboticized" if he went there alone. This scares Tails shitless, but Sonic lets him come along anyway, then shoves Tails into his backpack.

So, we get our first look at "The Big City", which is raining (acid rain?), and indeed, it's crawling with SWATbots. Tails then asks why the city smells like crap. Is the "Big City" a futuristic version of New Jersey? Actually, it's because 'botnik's factories hurl lots of crud into the air.

I'm gonna get shot for that.

Writer's note: I'm gonna start referring to "The Big City" as "Robotropolis", since that was what it was called in the rest of the episodes.

Tails then lets out another tremendous sneeze, so Sonic grabs him and runs off in order to not get caught.

Sonic finds what he came for, then Tails asks who are the people entering the factory. According to Sonic, they were once living people who were "roboticized" when Robotnik took over, and act under Robotnik's orders, unable to think for themselves. Tails asks Sonic if he could see Uncle Chuck's picture again, which Sonic randomly has in his hand.

We learn that Uncle Chuck had raised Sonic, and that he had a dog named Muttski. Wait a minute, why would animals own other animals?

Then, coincidently, the robot version of Muttski shows up. It tries to attack him, but Sonic is able to make it act like a normal dog.
Sonic tells Tails about his plans to turn Muttski back into a real dog by using Robotnik's "Roboticizer" to reverse the process. He then plans to do this to all the "roboticized" citizens. Then Muttski goes back to acting under Robotnik's programming again, so Sonic and Tails run off.

They get cornered by the SWATbots, so Sonic spins right through the SWATbots, and destroys them. Wait, if the SWATbots are roboticized versions of Mobian citizens, and Sonic destroyed them, didn't Sonic just kill the Mobian citizens?

Sonic escapes into an air duct, and then falls down a vent. Right below them? None other than Dr. Robotnik telling his latest plan to his army. Tails takes this moment to tell Sonic he needs to crap now. Nice.

So what does this latest evil scheme consist of? Killer bees? Poisoned water? Kidnapping? Napalm attacks? The cast of Jersey Shore? Justin Bieber albums on loop? Tom Cruise? Maybe some awful combination of the above?

Nah, just giant bottles of orange soda. Boring

Actually, it's a special chemical he invented that, when sprayed by the Buzz Bombers, will instantly kill all trees.

He also created a missile that will seek out and destroy the hedgehog. Let me get this straight: He's using bottles of Orange Crush and a missile to destroy a hedgehog and a forest. Someone's had a little too much tequila.

Just as the countdown begins, Tails conveniently sneezes again, which knocks both him and Sonic into Robotnik's lair.
Sonic drops a few one liners, escapes via another air duct, then gets cornered once again on the rooftop. Sonic then puts the Power Ring he got earlier to get out of this jam.

Apparently, the Power Ring makes lots of bright flashes and a stock sound effect. Wait a minute:

Uh oh.
Recycling plot devices, are we?

So Sonic runs really fast, which destroys the SWATbots somehow, and Robotnik vows to return.
Meanwhile, Tails gets glasses for one shot. Or he got hit by Baloo's fruit slices.

So they escape back to Knothole with the metal cotter pins, just in time to warn the team about Robotnik's attack.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Sally and Bunnie are talking about Sonic, well, Sally's talking, Bunnie's sleeping. She's wondering if Sonic is acting like a prick just to make Sally mad. Bunnie thinks that's just who Sonic is, and that's what makes him special. Yeah, "special".

Sonic blasts in and tells the residents (who you won't really see after few episodes) about ol' doc. 'botnik's plans. Fortunately, Sally has a plan.

Cut to the next day, we see the catapults they were making earlier lined up at the edge of the forest. I guess Robotnik had paused his countdown for the night, so OK. Sally says that the new cotter pins worked, so I guess there was a test that was cut out (too lazy to check my DVD copy, and the copy I'm watching right now is a USA Network taping, so I think somethings were cut out for more commercials). Unfortunately, this unseen test showed that the range is still pretty limited. That's what you get when you use ancient Roman technology in the 33rd century.

In order to make up for the short range, Sonic decides to lure in the Buzz Bombers into the shooting range. So he loads himself into a nearby catapult, and launches himself towards an oncoming herd of Buzz Bombers. He screws with them for a bit, then Robotnik commands one of the bombers to launch the Hedgehog-Seeking Missile. Sonic grabs onto it, then reprograms it to fly toward the Bomber that launched it.

One of them loses the giant bottles of Orange Crush as they fly toward Sonic. Just as he planned, the Freedom Fighters are able to attack them with the catapults.

The Buzz Bombers go down one by one, and then, for some random ass reason, Tails is being chased by one. His voice during this scene is pretty damn annoying, like the actor had a cold or something. Maybe it's my headache...

So, in spite of Robotnik's orders, the squadron of Buzz Bombers retreats back to Robotropolis, so the Freedom Fighters save the day by default, and various one-shot characters cheer for Sonic and Sally by moving their hands and opening and closing their mouthes.
Robotnik, obviously very pissed about all this, beats Snively's ass offscreen. It does, however, cause Cluck to leap about a foot in the air, so I guess it means that Robotnik has a mean left hook.

Sally congratulates Sonic on defeating the Buzz Bombers, and Sonic asks about yesterday. He was OK yesterday, and so-so the day before.

So that's the pilot of Sonic SatAM. It really is alot different from the rest of the series, and really, I've never really paid much attention to it 'til now. It was just kinda there, you know? I felt it was OK, but the amount of slapstick really sets it apart from the main series. I'd recommend looking up a few episodes on Youtube, and make your judgements about the show there.
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