Sonic the Hedgehog (also known as Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic SatAM) is an American animated television series. It was story edited by Len Janson and produced by DiC Entertainment, Sega of America, Inc., and the Italian studio Reteitalia S.p.A. Based on the video game, it is the second DiC's Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, following Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog; unlike the first series, it featured a more dramatic and dark story, depicting Sonic as a member of a band of freedom fighters battling to overthrow Doctor Robotnik. The program aired for two seasons on ABC from September 18, 1993, until December 3, 1994. It continued in repeats until 1995.
The show takes place on Planet Mobius, a dystopian fantasy world. Prior to the events of the series, a warlord and former scientist named Doctor Robotnik conquered the planet. Robotnik was once head of the Mobotropolis War Ministry. During a previous conflict, his creation of robotic soldiers called SWATbots led to the country's victory. In the war's aftermath, Robotnik was to be appointed Minister of Science. However, he seized power and exiled the king. Robotnik captures most of the citizens, including Sonic's Uncle Chuck. Using Chuck's Roboticizer invention, Robotnik transforms the population into his robot slaves. A handful of citizens escape to Knothole Village, and form the Freedom Fighters. Led by Sonic and Princess Sally, they battle to liberate Mobius.
Knothole Freedom FightersEdit
- Sonic the Hedgehog – He is the protagonist of the series. He is able to run at superhuman speed, and is the only freedom fighter capable of using the Power Rings. Sonic possesses a defiant attitude, but is also courageous, clever and cunning.
- Sally Acorn – Sally Acorn is the princess of Mobotropolis, and Sonic's love interest. As strategist for the Knothole Freedom Fighters, she is intelligent and cautious. However, Sally remains competitive toward Sonic.
- Bunnie Rabbot – She is a rabbit with a southern accent. Half of her body was roboticized, leaving her left arm and both legs mechanical. She is skilled in martial arts, and desires to be returned to normal.
- Antoine Depardieu – He is a coyote freedom fighter. He has a French accent, and displays difficulty speaking English. Antoine's clumsiness often places the others in danger. He has romantic feelings for Princess Sally, and attempts to impress her. However, his cowardice hinders this goal. Sonic often teases Antoine over his shortcomings.
- Tails – He is a young fox who idolizes Sonic. While usually left behind in Knothole, he proves bright in dangerous situations.
- Rotor – He is a walrus, and the mechanic of Knothole Village. He provides the Knothole Freedom Fighters with useful inventions, and accompanies them on missions.
- Nicole – She is a portable computer that Sally uses to hack into Robotnik's technology. Nicole speaks in a female monotone, and exhibits artificial intelligence. It is indicated that Sally received Nicole from her father.
- Dulcy – She is a young dragon, who provides the Knothole Freedom Fighters with transportation. Sporting powerful lungs, she can blow enemies away and freeze them with ice breath. She has trouble landing, and often crashes mid-flight.
- Dr. Julian Robotnik – He is a warlord who seeks to cover Mobius in machinery, and transform its population into robotic slaves. He is chiefly opposed by the Knothole Freedom Fighters. Robotnik's obsession with destroying Sonic is often his undoing. In this version, his real first name is Julian, adopting the moniker "Robotnik" after his takeover.
- Snively – He is Robotnik's assistant and nephew. He is constantly mistreated by his uncle. As such, Snively despises Robotnik and plots behind his back.
- SWATbots – They are Robotnik's primary henchmen.
- Cluck – He is a robotic chicken, and the only creature Robotnik shows affection towards.
- Naugus – He is a powerful sorcerer. He hates Robotnik for imprisoning him within the Void. He desires vengeance, but he cannot escape without crystallizing.
- Sir Charles "Chuck" Hedgehog - Sonic's uncle, and the inventor of the Roboticizer before Robotnik stole it. He was roboticized and made into one of Robotnik's slaves, until Sonic restored his free will. He serves as a spy for the Freedom Fighters.
- Ari - A Freedom Fighter who worked as a double agent for Robotnik, only to be betrayed later and trapped in the Void.
- King Acorn - The former king of Mobotropolis and Sally's father. He was banished to the Void during Robotnik's takeover, and like Naugus, cannot escape without crystallizing.
- Lupe - Leader of the Wolfpack Freedom Fighters, and one of the Knothole Freedom Fighters' allies in the fight against Robotnik.
Broadcast and distributionEdit
The Saturday morning series differs from the weekly Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, which premiered the same month. While Adventures is lighthearted and comical, Sonic the Hedgehog featured a comparatively complex plot and dramatic atmosphere. It explored unusual story concepts for animation, including losing loved ones to war. At ABC's request, the second season included episodes devoted to humor, while darker elements were reduced. Other changes include Princess Sally donning a jacket for season two, and Rotor receiving a new design.
After the program's initial run, it appeared on the USA Network's Action Extreme Team from June 1997 to September 1997, after that series moved to first-run syndication for three years. The series aired in Canada on the CTV Network, with a bonus summer run between June 10 and September 2, 1995. ABC did not replicate this, replacing Sonic with reruns of Power Rangers. Sonic the Hedgehog has not been rerun in Canada since its cancellation on CTV. From 1994 to 1996, it had a complete run on the UK television channel Channel MCD. In December 1994, the first season was broadcast in the Republic of Ireland on RTÉ Two. On September 2, 2016, reruns of the series' first season began airing on Starz.
In other mediaEdit
Template:Main article Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic book was initially based on the Saturday morning cartoon. From its earliest issues, the book shared the characters and story premise established within it. However, the comic differed in that it featured humorous plots modeled after the weekday show. After writer Ken Penders had the opportunity to view the Saturday morning program, the comic gradually became adventure driven.The comic series shifted focus again after ABC cancelled Sonic the Hedgehog, developing into a relationship based superhero story. Following a reboot, Archie's Sonic is now primarily inspired by the video game series. In all these incarnations, the characters and locales from the Saturday morning cartoon remain prominent.
Several video games were intended to use elements from the TV series, although only one was completed. This was Sonic Spinball, released in 1993 for the Sega Genesis. It contained characters from the show, including Princess Sally, Bunnie Rabbot, Rotor and Muttski. The characters were also planned for use in another game, tentatively titled Sonic-16. A prototype was created by the Sega Technical Institute. Yuji Naka disliked the project, and it was cancelled without further development. Directly afterwards, the same team worked on Sonic Mars. Prior to cancellation, this would have featured Princess Sally and Bunnie Rabbot as playable characters.
Sonic the Hedgehog initially ranked #9 in its time slot with a 5.2 rating, an estimated 4.8 million viewers. Early reception of the series was mixed, but after cancellation it acquired a cult following. IGN criticized the show as dated, considering it "so bad, it's good." Writing for DVD Talk, Todd Douglass Jr. remarked that Sonic didn't stand the test of time. He considered it to be of low quality, although he found several episodes enjoyable. "I got a kick out of 'Ultra Sonic,' where Sonic finds his now robotic Uncle Chuck," he wrote. "'Blast to the Past Parts 1 & 2' and 'Doomsday Project' stood out alongside 'Ultra Sonic' as the crème of the crop." FlickeringMyth felt Sonic aged better than is often supposed, praising its well-executed characterizations and treatment of war. GamesRadar listed the show as one of "the worst things to happen to Sonic." It criticized its plot and characters as "unwanted". Former Escapist journalist, Bob Chipman credited the series with providing a viably menacing take on Doctor Robotnik, and an engaging narrative. Bob Mackey of USgamer wrote that the cartoon's writing didn't live up to its intriguing premise. In particular, he argued that the Antoine character perpetrated negative French stereotypes.Meanwhile, Doug Walker of Channel Awesome considered the series "a great show," and better than he remembered. He praised it for "literally taking nothing and turning it into something," with a strong story and good character development, as well as a subtle environmental message.