Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys is an American animated television series. The show premiered on September 7, 1996 and ended after 26 episodes on June 21, 1997. It was produced by Hallmark Entertainment, Monkeyshine Productions.inc, and distributed by Bohbot Entertainment and aired as part of a syndicated animation block known as BKN. Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys ran for four years on American and international TV.
The series includes many references and parodies of science fiction films and TV shows, such as Plan 9 from Outer Space. One episode has a creature hatching from an egg and stalking the crew in a manner similar to Alien. Captain Simian and his enemy Nebula were voiced by Jerry Doyle and Michael Dorn who had played the security officers in the sci-fi programs Babylon 5 and Star Trek: The Next Generation respectively. Despite the title only two of the members are monkeys, the others being apes.
During the monkey-manned spaceflights of the 1960s, one rocket veered off course, sending a chimp named Charlie off into the outer reaches of space. After many years, Charlie’s craft was discovered by the most intelligent race in the universe, The " " (pronounced by not saying anything. Then followed with the explanation that their race is so advanced that their name cannot be pronounced or written; only thought. The running joke then had the other space monkeys asking, “The who?”)
Charlie was given enhanced intelligence, weapons, and futuristic technology, along with a charge to protect the universe from the evil Lord Nebula. One of the more unusual villains in cartoon history, Nebula was a half-human, half-black hole who hoped to become a complete black hole, swallow the universe in a “Big Crunch,” then remake it in his own image. His one problem was that, being half human, he was still susceptible to human ailments, such as the common cold and stomach aches.
To aid Charlie (who was given the title "Captain Charlie Simian"), The " " allowed him to recruit a team of fellow earth monkeys: Shao Lin, a Chinese golden monkey with swift fighting skills and serene wisdom; Spydor, a wisecracking little spider monkey with a long prehensile tail; Dr. Splitz/Splitzy, an orangutan with a scientist/madman split-personality; and Gor, a big, strong gorilla who wrecked the intelligence-enhancing machine before he got a full helping.
The group cruised the stars in their ship, the Primate Avenger, battling Nebula and his cyborg monkey henchman, Rhesus 2, and searching for the ever-elusive bananas. The monkeys mixed fast-talking humor with fast-paced action.
- Captain Charles "Chuck" Simian: Originally a chimpanzee named Charlie, sent into space in the 1960s by NASA. After drifting off course and being frozen for many years, he was discovered by The " ". They believed he was sent by Earth as the most advanced species of the planet. When they realized he was not, they used a machine to evolve Charlie into a sentient being. After being told about Nebula, Captain Simian (as he now called himself) recruited a team of fellow Earth monkeys and apes to help him save the universe. His biggest fear is to loose his tripulation.
- Gor-illa/Gor: A mountain gorilla originally from Uganda as a dominate male, and the crew's big strong member. During the evolution process he accidentally wrecked the intelligence-enhancing machine before its completion. This left Gor rather naive and childlike, while at the same time possessing extraordinary strength. Gor is naturally quite peaceful and does not wish to do anyone harm; unless his friends are in danger whereupon he goes into a rage and will do anything to help. In an early episode Apax (below) kidnapped Gor to make him a prize fighter, but since Gor's peaceful nature did not permit him to fight needlessly, Apax experimented on him, turning him into a mindless, raging gigantic King Kong-like gorilla named Gormongous. Dr. Splitz was unable to reverse the effect of Apax's isotope, meaning that Gor turns into Gormongous whenever he gets angry, in a manner similar to that of the Incredible Hulk. His biggest fear is fire, because when he was a child gorilla, he and his family were caught in a fire in the jungle where they live. His favorite song is "Kumbaya".
- Orbitron: A small ball-shaped robot, given to Charlie by The " " to help him on his mission. Its role was to provide the monkeys with the additional knowledge they required for their journey. Already quite cynical and unpleasant, it was accidentally damaged by Gor and subsequently went quite insane, floating around sputtering nonsense that only occasionally makes sense. This leads Captain Simian to often say, "Gotta get that thing fixed." Because it is so technologically advanced Dr. Splitz was unable to repair it despite trying.
- Spydor: A wisecracking little spider monkey, originally the property of an organ grinder from New York City. Spydor would also pick the pockets of audience members, but did not share with his master. After enhancement, Spydor is often shown being greedy, manipulative and lazy. He often tries to take advantage of Gor, by trying to get him to do his work, and trying numerous get-rich-quick schemes which get him into trouble with the Captain. Despite these flaws, Spydor is loyal to the mission, and will never betray his friends or the universe for money. He is especially close to Gor, and will not let anyone else take advantage of him. Spydor is in charge of communications. His biggest fear are pit bulls because he got caught in a dead end while being chased by a pit bull.
- Dr. Splitz/Splitzy: An orangutan, originally a crazed and teased zoo orangutan, with a split personality, alternating between a formal scientific tone ("Dr. Splitz") and a good-old-boy Southern drawl ("Splitzy"). He was originally picked up from a zoo, where he was kept alone; stories in the show imply that he developed the dual personality to give himself some company. However, the two personalities have taken lives of their own and frequently quarrel: Splitzy seeing Dr. Splitz as a windbag, while Dr. Splitz looks upon Splitzy as uncouth. They also demonstrate differing skill sets at times, with Dr. Splitz excelling in scientific theory while Splitzy specializes in repairing and building the machines Dr. Splitz comes up with. Splitzy's other main job is to manifest and translate Dr. Splitz's scientific jargon into terms more understandable by the other crew members. On one episode, it is shown that he was a science lab monkey, what could explain his split-personality. In this episode is also shown he is afraid of being in cages and that he could be Claustrophobic. This is also shown in the episode where they separated, when Dr. Splitz was shown to be highly uncomfortable trapped in a small room. It is mentioned there that Splitzy manifested while he was in the zoo, so it is possible a combination of the experiments and being alone in the zoo created him.
- Shao Lin: A Chinese golden monkey, who originally lived at a Buddhist temple where she was worshiped as a goddess. She continues to act as a goddess with the rest of the crew even, on occasion, addressing herself in the Royal "we". This leads to considerable tension at first, though over time she warms to the others and vice versa. Skilled in martial arts and knowledgeable in Buddhist wisdom, she is Captain Simian's first officer. There are occasional hints of a romantic attraction between her and the Captain, though this was never developed. She is named after the Shao-lin Monastery, famous for its association with Chinese martial arts. In one episode it is shown that she was separated from her mother as a young girl. This traumatized her.
- Lord Nebula (Voiced by Michael Dorn): Nebula is a half-humanoid, half-black hole who hoped to become a complete black hole, swallow the universe in a “Big Crunch,” then remake it in his own image. His one problem was that, being half human, he was still susceptible to human ailments, such as the common cold, tummyaches and hemorrhoids. In the Series Finale he is trapped in a n orb and Rhesus 2 takes over
- Rhesus 2: An enforcer of Lord Nebula. Originally a rhesus monkey sent into space, Nebula made him intelligent and turned him partially into a robot. His brain is detachable and frequently changes from one to another in order to get different ideas. For example Brain 1 might give him a more devious plan than Brain 2 or vice versa. He also has a habit of making brain-based puns such as "Let's have a bit of mindless fun!" There was a Rhesus 1, who had failed Lord Nebula, and was destroyed (though he was eventually reborn as a being called the Glyph). Lord Nebula made it clear that this was a possibility for Rhesus 2 if he also failed him. He has a trauma of being sending to space and his craft failing, which sends him into Nebula. This memory is present in his original brain, which he hates for scaring him. In the Series Finale After Lord Nebula is trapped in a n orb He takes over, leaving the show in a Cliffhanger
- Apax (Voiced by Frank Welker): An alien with green skin and snakes in place of hair. Apax forces other alien creatures to fight in an arena. At one point, he injects an isotope into Gor-illa, causing him to turn into a monster whenever he gets angry. He often says "Only in Andromeda!".
- Kaz-Par (Voiced by Maurice Lamarche): An owner of a club on Maltese 1, who simply planned to steal the Primate Avenger, but had to go under the identity of Gorr when someone else replaced him to steal the Orbitron and sell it to Nebula, as Orbitron keeps repeating "0-1-0-0-1-0-0-1-0-1... oh, and 0-1.", which was the formula for the GLOP (Gravi-Luminous Orbifolding Positrons), which had the component needed by Nebula, the Anti-Force.
- Matrix: A computer that captures the Monkeys and learns from them to eventually evolve into a living being. Initially appears in episode Repo Ape.
- Vog: Vog is a 2-dimensional alien. When Rhesus 2 steals gravitons from a cosmic storm, Vog's world rips open, so he follows Charlie to his universe and asks his help to put the gravitons back before the cosmic storm ends to seal the rip and save his universe. Appeared in episode Monkey in the Middle.
- Holo Boons: Holographic baboons created by Dr. Splitz to test out the atmosphere of unknown planets. They are voiced by Jeff Bennett, with a number of celebrity impressions (such as Beavis and Butt-head, Jerry Lewis, Woody Allen and The Three Stooges). They are a parody of the redshirts from the original Star Trek series, and almost always get destroyed.
- Grixilpix: Keeper of the Great Ear. This ear is the one of the Sleeping Giant, whom Grxilpix tells the monkeys is dreaming about the whole universe. Anything that someone asks for to the ear appears. Rhesus attacks Captain Simian and his crew next to the ear, and in their fight, they awake the giant, causing the universe to disappear. Dr. Splitz then plays a lullaby on a handheld device, causing the giant to return to his slumber and the universe to be restored.
- Largo Trix: A swashbuckling space adventurer who meets the crew in a bar in the episode "Monkey Puzzle Man". Initially appearing as a blue-skinned humanoid, Largo gradually turns into a monkey-like creature as he hangs out with the crew, since he can duplicate another's most distinctive characteristic (martial arts skills from Shao-lin, who he flirts with, for example) after making physical contact. Everyone likes him except Simian (who insists there's something weird about Largo) and Gor (who resents Spydor spending more time with Largo then him), but are dismissed as jealous. Largo invites the crew back to his 'home', but it turns out to actually belong to Rhesus 2, whom Largo is working for. After making contact with Captain Simian, however, Largo realizes the error of his ways and helps the monkeys escape, apparently sacrificing himself to give them time to get away. However, it turns out at the end he managed to escape and leaves aboard a separate ship.
|#||Title||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Yes, We Have No Bananas, Part 1"||Gordon Bressack and Rob Hudnut||September 7, 1996|
|2||"Yes, We Still Have No Bananas, Part 2"|
|3||"Ape-lien"||Pamela Hickey and Dennys McCoy||September 14, 1996|
|4||"The Monkey Has Landed"||Mark Seidenberg and Gordon Bressack|
|5||"Gorilla My Dreams"||Martin Olson and Gordon Bressack||September 21, 1996|
|6||"Splitzy's Choice"||Pamela Hickey and Dennys McCoy|
|7||"Repo Ape"||October 5, 1996|
|8||"Gormongus!"||Nick Sagan||November 2, 1996|
|9||"Invasion of the Banana Snatchers"||Gordon Bressack and Beth Slick||November 9, 1996|
|10||"Lawnmower Ape"||Alan Swayze and Gordon Bressack||November 16, 1996|
|11||"Monkey in the Middle"||Story by: Gordon Bressack |
Teleplay by: Marlowe Weisman and Laraine Arkow
|November 23, 1996|
|12||"Plan Ape From Outer Space"||Lynn Mills, Jimmy Huston & Gordon Bressack||November 30, 1996|
|13||"Monkey Puzzle Man"||Pamela Hickey and Dennys McCoy||January 25, 1997|
|14||"The Apes of Wrath"||Richard Mueller and Gordon Bressack||February 1, 1997|
|15||"Mind Over Monkey"||Martin Olson and Gordon Bressack||February 8, 1997|
|16||"Planet of the Humans"||D.C. Fontana||February 15, 1997|
|17||"Little House on the Primate"||Laraine Arkow and Marlowe Weisman||February 22, 1997|
|18||"Felonious Monks"||Christy Marx||March 1, 1997|
|19||"The Maltese Monkey"||Pamela Hickey, Dennys McCoy & Gordon Bressack||April 19, 1997|
|20||"Escape From the Plant of the Apes"||Laraine Arkow and Marlowe Weisman||April 26, 1997|
|21||"Rhesus Pieces"||Gordon Bressack and D.C. Fontana||May 3, 1997|
|22||"A Clockwork Orang"||Gordon Bressack and Rob Hudnut||May 10, 1997|
|23||"Surf Monkeys Must Dive!"||Laraine Arkow and Marlowe Weisman||May 17, 1997|
|24||"The Mandrill Who Knew Too Much, Part 1"||Gordon Bressack||June 7, 1997|
|25||"Ape-pocalypse Now!, Part 2"||June 14, 1997|
|26||"Ape-pocalypse... A Little Later!, Part 3"||June 21, 1997|
In 1996, Mattel released a collection of action figures based on Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys. Designed by Bluebird Toys of the UK, the line included 9 basic figures and 4 large vehicles or accessories. The figures, armed with several accessories, were unusually packaged so that the consumer could rotate them inside the card bubble as though they were floating in space