Another block started, another round of prior shows moved to Sundays. This fifth custom block of mine is also a milestone--this is the final block I've put together utilizing Youtube playlists. It's also probably the shortest block I've concocted, as only three shows make it up. Each show represents a few of the key aspects in my Saturday-morning TV habits from way back when: two Saban-produced shows, one Nelvana-based, and two that aired on Fox Kids. Originally, 1997's Road Rovers and 2000-01's Kong: The Animated Series were part of the lineup, but the lack of high-quality videos made it necessary to whittle my list down. So without further ado, I present to you the three cartoons making up my fifth custom Saturday morning block, the final with Youtube playlists. (As usual, series info courtesy of Wikipedia.)
1. The Bots Master (1993-94, 40 episodes)
"In year 2025 A.D., robotics have become commonplace, performing menial tasks and working in industry. For that, the world can thank the young genius robotic engineer Ziv "ZZ" Zulander [voiced by Mark Hildreth] and the Robotic Megafact Corporation (aka RM Corp) he works for. Ziv's creation of the "3A robot series" revolutionized the world and its application of robotics. However, Sir Lewis Leon Paradim (aka "LLP", president of RM Corp) [Dale Wilson] isn't satisfied being one of the wealthiest men in the world; he desires world domination. With his assistants Lady Frenzy [Janyse Jaud] and Dr. Hiss [Ian James Corlett], LLP plans to take control of the planet through a coup, using the very same 3A bots that ZZ had invented to benefit humanity. Dr. Hiss creates a new chip, called the "Krang Chip" [no relation to the TMNT's archvillain], which can be used to override any 3A series robot to take orders exclusively from RM Corp. ZZ learns of LLP's evil plan and decides to defect from the company, intending to stop the continued manufacture and distribution of the Krang Chips. LLP and his cohorts originally seek to capture ZZ and convince him to switch sides, but ZZ refuses. Utilizing his A.I. robotic creations, the B.O.Y.Z.Z. (Brain Operated Young Zygoetopic Zoids), Zulander stages a robotic guerrilla war against RM Corps' military bots. Shortly after escaping RM Corp, ZZ rescues his sister, Blitzy Zulander [Crystaleen O'Bray], and takes his operation literally underground to avoid enemy detection. After securing his base of operations, ZZ and his BOYZZ begin their private campaign against RM Corp. ZZ had secretly installed a special system, called "mirrors", which allows him to monitor RM Corp from within Lady Frenzy's office PC, using this information to sabotage RM Corp plans. During attempts to foil Krang Chip delivery and production, ZZ and his BOYZZ are incriminated in a series of false media reports on his rogue activities to turn public sympathy against him, and discrediting his heroic efforts as terrorism activity." Like many shows in my past blocks, I first found out about this series via an old Tomarts Action Figure guide, but once I read further into the concept, I became intrigued by it. A positive review over on the Tumblr known as "The Cartoon Badlands" helped as well. A young genius and his equally-smart sister, and their surrogate 'family' of sentient robots, fighting against the equivalent of Tyrell Corp. if it were still human-run? Pretty awesome idea, and the designs for the robots aren't like those your typical action cartoon would provide. Not to mention it features early vocal performances by VA's associated with the Vancouver-based Ocean Group, who've had as much a hand in bringing some of our beloved cartoons to life over the years. Oh yeah--Cubix who?
2. Sam and Max: Freelance Police (1997-98, 24 episodes)
Based on the comic book by Steve Purcell, as well as the video games, the show stars "Sam & Max, a duo of private investigators composed of Sam [Harvey Atkin], an anthropomorphic dog, and Max [Robert Tinkler], a lagomorph or "hyperkinetic rabbity-thing." The series revolves around the freelance police accepting missions from the mysterious Commissioner, whom they have never seen. The assignments usually lead them into far-off and exotic locales such as the Moon, Mount Olympus, the center of the Earth or the mutant inhabited waters of Bohunk Lagoon. In between these assignments, the pair also manage to squeeze in fridge-spelunking, time traveling, Bigfoot-hunting and numerous other escapades. There were also holiday themed episodes, such as visiting a prison on Christmas and delivering an artificial heart on Valentine's Day." Now THIS show I barely remember even catching a glimpse of, even when it aired on Fox Kids. But thanks to another positive review from The Cartoon Badlands, I was glad I added it to the lineup--it is HILARIOUS!! Its sense of humor is just right there alongside Freakazoid's, if not an inch taller (so to speak). The characters are funny, the gags are unexpected, and it's based on an independent comic book--what more could you want? The voice cast should also be familiar to those of you who, like yours truly, had a good portion of Nelvana-produced programming as part of your TV diet. (Think Tintin, X-Men, Starcom, Super Mario, Rupert Bear, or Beyblade.)
3. DinoZaurs (2000, 26 episodes)
"It has been 65,000,000 years since the Dino Knights defeated the Dragozaurs. When the Dragozaurs return, a boy named Kaito [Jason Spisak] reawakens the Dino Knights. The battle between the Dino Knights and the Dragozaurs begins once again as the Dino Knights prevent the Dragozaurs from stealing Earth's life force." This show I DEFINITELY remembered, if only in the slightest, as it was also a Fox Kids alum that I caught at least semi-regularly. I actually have three of the figures from the toyline, all of them Dino Knights (Brachio, Mammoth, and Saber). While it had a lukewarm review over on Cartoon Badlands (where I was reminded of the show's existence), I decided to once again make up for lost time, if only to see how this red-headed third cousin of Transformers made out. So far it, like Extreme Dinosaurs (fittingly enough), is one of those cases where if you treated it like a satire and enjoy a taste for cheese, then it can be bearable. (It's also made me add yet another three figures to my 'restore and repair' list.)
There ya have it--my last Youtube-based block lineup. From here on out, it might be mostly DVD's for me, and I already have two candidates primed and ready for my first block using that format, both of which are tangentially-related to G.I. Joe: C.O.P.S.(1988) and the original, non-CGI Action Man (1995). I hope you've enjoyed my minor commentary on these shows, and I myself look forward to any suggestions for what'll become a part of my DVD-based block.