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Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

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Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
Creator: DiC Entertainment, Bohbot Kids Network, Sonic Team/Sega (characters)
Studio(s): TMS Entertainment (overseas animation for some episodes)
Country of origin: United States
Number of episodes: 65 + special
First aired: 1993-09-06
Last aired: 1993-12-03

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (commonly shortened to AoStH) is an American-produced animated television series created by DiC Entertainment. First airing on September 6th, 1993, the series (along with its darker, network-broadcast sister show Sonic the Hedgehog) was the face of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise through the mid-90s. Focusing more on slapstick humor and cheap gags as opposed to the more story-driven Sonic the Hedgehog, the series has nevertheless gained its own distinct fanbase.

Being originally packaged and sold as a syndicated series, the program continues to air on numerous stations across the globe, a continued testament to the character's popularity.

Premise

Sonic and "Tails" along with reoccurring characters Breezie and Wes Weasley.

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog follows the exploits of the titular hero Sonic the Hedgehog and his best friend Miles "Tails" Prower through various adventures across the planet Mobius. More often than not, this pits the duo against the nefarious Dr. Ivo Robotnik, who alongside his mechanical henchmen, Scratch, Grounder, and occasionally Coconuts, attempt to capture Sonic and secure Robotnik's place as ruler of Mobius.

The show is loosely inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog 2, though takes a far more comedic tone similar to classic Looney Tunes shorts by Warner Bros, particularly Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons from the 1940s-to-1960s. The show uses a standalone episode format, where more often than not actions happen for the sake of happening, with little ever being explained or followed up on. Some loose continuity does exist, but not at the same level as later cartoons, and aside from character designs, very little is tied directly to the video games.

The backstories of the Sonic and Robotnik are never explained, however the first episode details the creation of Scratch and Grounder, the two leaders of the Super Special Sonic Search & Smash Squad. Designed to be just as smart and cunning as Robotnik believes himself to be, neither are able to catch Sonic, and are consistently foiled (alongside Robotnik) by the hedgehog.

Occasional third member of the robot underlings, Coconuts, was for some reason demoted to a janitorial position, and since has done nothing but plotted how to not only capture Sonic but beat Scratch and Grounder to the punch, wanting to one day become the head of the S.S.S.S.S. Squad. Though the episodes like to play around with the fact that Coconuts is actually more intelligent than Scratch and Grounder, and can even look beyond Sonic's frequent disguises, Coconuts is still unable to get his way. If he makes any headway whatsoever and receives the promotion he seeks, he loses it before the episode is over, restoring the status quo.

There are moments when history is expanded upon, such as the episode "Tails' New Home" which explains how Sonic first met "Tails," the young fox being an orphan and thinking he was a bird due to his ability to fly. There is also quite a bit of focus on Robotnik's history and parentage, such as the pinning over a schoolyard crush, the desire to build himself a son to continue his legacy, and the continued appearances of his crazed mother.

A handful of recurring characters also appear, such as the good-intentioned yet absentminded Professor Von Schlemmer, the Phil Silvers-inspired salesman Wes Weasley, the robotic female hedgehog Breezie and Professor Caninestein, who is an essential part of the four part Chaos Emerald saga that begins in "Blackbot the Pirate."

Episodes

Sonic Retro emblem.svg Main article: List of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episodes

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog ran for one 65-episode season during the last three months of 1993, returning for a Christmas special, Sonic Christmas Blast three years later in 1996. With the exception of Sonic Christmas Blast which has a 28-minute runtime, episodes in their original forms average around 22 minutes in length, containing both a main story and an educational "Sonic Says" segment at the end.

History

Development

Model sheet of Dr. Robotnik from the show.

With the success of the first two Sonic games, Sega wanted to capitalize on the marketability of their mascot, and strike while the iron was hot. Recalling how such rivals as the Mario series had gone about promoting themselves, Sega of America contacted the American animation studio DiC Entertainment to develop a television program using the main cast of their gaming franchise. Having previously done The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, The Legend of Zelda and Captain N: The Game Master, it only made sense for the studio to begin work on yet another video game-based cartoon.

One key player recruited by DiC was cartoonist Milton Knight, a relative newcomer to the industry tasked with designing the characters and being in charge of storyboarding for many of the episodes. Though the look of Sonic and "Tails" were relatively close to how they had been portrayed in the west, the character of Dr. Robotnik was completely redesigned. Exaggerating features such as his weight, his mustache and being given a greater eyespace than his Japanese counterpart to promote expressiveness, Milton Knight also gave a great deal of focus to the physical and emotional state of Robotnik.

Robotnik is...the perfect image of self love...He's not perfect, he's imperfect...his full blown belief in himself. He is actually extremely excited by the fact that he exists, and the fact the others do not feel the same way simply spurns him on to greater heights of villainy. He is jealous of the hedgehog - why should he get the applause? Give it to Robotnik! He really believes in his own romantic self and...his sexiness.

— Milton Knight, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog Storyboard Artist[1]

A detailed model sheet of Robotnik's head.

Transforming him into "Animation's Sexiest Fat Man!," Robotnik became just as important a focus in the show as the title character, Knight not wanting Robotnik to be a stale, generic villain but an intriguing and (most importantly) funny character in his own right. Though initially voiced by Jim Cummings in the unaired pilot, Long John Baldry, a British crooner from the 60's and 70's was given the role once production for the show went underway, his expressive delivery matching the character's intent in the show. Cummings would go on to voice Robotnik in the darker Saturday morning program.

With the development of the initial pilot, DiC secured Jaleel White to voice Sonic in an attempt to help sell the show to ABC, the actor at the time portraying the part of Steve Urkel in the highly successful sitcom Family Matters. Though the pilot was far closer to the game aesthetic than any subsequent offer by DiC, the ABC network turned down the pilot. Still wanting a program staring Sonic on their weekend lineup, the network asked DiC to retool the format and make it slightly more plot-driven to appeal to a Saturday-morning audience. Instead of throwing out the work they had already done on the show, however, DiC decided to continue work on the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog concept, turning it into a syndicated series while another group began developing what would become Sonic the Hedgehog.

Though the two shows were done by the same animation house at the same time, production for the two remained separate entities. There was very little contact between either side, and the team behind Adventures never felt like they were in direct competition with the other show, as they both were doing vastly different things.[2] One notable moment where the two attempted to interact was when the writing team of Ben Hurst and Pat Allee of the Saturday morning show pitched an idea to the story editors of Adventures for an episode. Though what the episode could have been about has never been said, the outline was ultimately never used.

One of the more memorable aspects of the show were the "Sonic Says" segments featured at the end of each episode. To help fulfill a quota of educational television on broadcast stations, these segments were planned from the beginning, an early form appearing in the original pilot animation. However, as other countries did not have the same laws over what needed to be broadcast, the segments were removed from their airings in the U.K., including any releases on VHS. However, when the series was later re-aired years later, the segments were restored, and have been included on the DVD releases in the United Kingdom.

After the completion of the 65 episodes necessary to keep the show in syndicated rotation, production ceased, DiC's resources instead focused on the second season of Sonic the Hedgehog. The characters and settings were revisited when a Christmas special was commissioned in 1996. Featuring a cameo by the original pink-hued Princess Sally Acorn, the episode was originally meant to be titled "An X-Tremely Sonic Christmas" to tie in with the upcoming Sega Saturn game Sonic X-treme. In the wake of that game's cancellation, the name of the episode was changed to "Sonic Christmas Blast" to reference the game Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island, which was called Sonic 3D Blast in the United States.

Airings

A promotional poster using a frame from the unaired pilot.

Premiering on September 6th, 1993, the 65-episode syndicated show began its run in the United States, appearing on numerous weekday cartoon blocks including those owned by ABC. After its initial run ended in 1995, the series would begin airing on the USA Network, appearing in the "USA Cartoon Express" and the "USA Action Extreme Team" programming blocks, often paired with its sister show Sonic the Hedgehog. In 1998, the series found a home on Toon Disney, sometimes being part of the "Chillin' with the Villains" block. The series remained on the network until 2002. It was later broadcasted on the This TV network from 2010 until late 2011, only airing 25 episodes.

In the United Kingdom, the program was originally aired on Channel 4, remaining in rotation until 1997. The show was also aired on The Children's Channel from 1995-1998, and was aired in its entirety on POP! starting in 2004. In was briefly found on ITV2 in 2005, and also aired on CBBC from 1994 to 2002. It can currently be found on CITV and KidsCo.

The show has also aired in Sweden on Filmnet and TV3, the Netherlands on RTL4, Argentina on PakaPaka, Australia on Network Ten and ABC, France on France 3 and France 5, and in Greece, Germany, the Czech Republic and Russia, still airing in many of those countries. In Germany, the title of show was called Sonic der irre Igel, literally translating into Sonic the Insane Hedgehog. The series also has a home on YTV in Canada. The show also found it way to the Middle East and North Africa, airing on Spacetoon Arabic.

In Portugal it originally aired on RTP (RTP 1) in 1993, subtitled in Portuguese and in 1994 on SIC, this time dubbed in Portuguese, by Vila Nova de Gaia[1] (Oporto, Portugal) based company, Somnorte - Estúdios de Som, S.A.[2][3] (founded in 1991). It was released in VHS, in 1993 and 1994 by Prisvideo (Ecofilmes's sister company) under RTC's license (Rádio Televisão Comercial, a division of RTP founded in 1983 and extinct in 1996, which acted as a distributor, publisher and publicity controller for the parent company). For some of the initial VHS releases it was used the RTP version, subtitled in Portuguese and for the rest of the releases, the SIC version was choosed which is dubbed in Portuguese. Prisvideo re-released the show in DVD in 2006, also dubbed in Portuguese but this time the dubbing was made by another Portuguese company, also from Vila Nova de Gaia[1], namely, Cinemágica - Sociedade de Serviços Audiovisuais, Lda (founded in 1997, and currently active).

Legacy

The setting and characters of the show also served as the inspiration for the Sega Mega Drive game Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, a localized version of the puzzle-game Puyo Puyo utilizing the design of Dr. Robotnik that populated Western media. In addition, the American-produced Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball has Scratch make a cameo in the bonus round stages of the game.

Localised names

Also known as
Language Localised Name English Translation
English Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
French Les Aventures de Sonic The Adventures of Sonic
German Sonic der irre Igel Sonic the Funky Hedgehog
Spanish Las Aventuras de Sonic el Erizo The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
Portuguese (Brazil) As Aventuras de Sonic The Adventures of Sonic
Arabic قنفوذ السريع سونيك الجزء الأول Sonic The Fast Hedgehog Part One

Voice cast

Role Voice Actor
Sonic the Hedgehog Jaleel White
Miles "Tails" Prower Christopher Stephen Welch/
Chris Turner (Sonic Christmas Blast)
Doctor Ivo Robotnik Long John Baldry
Grounder, Additional Voices Gary Chalk
Scratch Phil Hayes
Coconuts, Additional Voices Ian James Corlett
Narrator (pilot episode) Gary Owens
Doctor Ivo Robotnik and
Scratch (pilot episode)
Jim Cummings

Syndication

Country Television channels
Flag US.svg United States
Flag UK.svg United Kingdom
Flag IE.svg Ireland
Flag FR.svg France
  • TF1 (1995-01-23 — 1996-6-21)
  • Mangas (2011-06-02 — 2012-01-01)
Flag DE.svg Germany
Flag SE.svg Sweden
Flag GR.svg Greece
Flag IT.svg Italy
Flag CZ.svg Czech Republic
Flag HU.svg Hungary
Flag RU.svg Russia
Flag PT.svg Portugal
Flag BR.svg Brazil
Flag AR.svg Argentina
Flag GT.svg Guatemala
Flag CR.svg Costa Rica
Flag CL.svg Chile
Flag CO.svg Colombia
Flag PE.svg Peru
Flag CA.svg Canada
Flag AU.svg Australia
Flag ID.svg Indonesia
Flag SY.svg Syria
Flag SA.svg Saudi Arabia
Flag AE.svg United Arab Emirates
Flag IL.svg Israel

Home releases

Sonic Retro emblem.svg Main article: Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog/Home releases

Magazine articles

Sonic Retro emblem.svg Main article: Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog/Magazine articles

External links

References

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog Episodes 1-22
AoSTH logo
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (pilot) | Super Special Sonic Search & Smash Squad | Subterranean Sonic | Lovesick Sonic | Slowwww Going | High Stakes Sonic | Sonic Breakout | Trail of the Missing Tails | Close Encounter of the Sonic Kind | Momma Robotnik's Birthday | Big Daddy | Sonic's Song | Birth of a Salesman | Best Hedgehog | The Robotnik Express | Too Tall Tails | Tail's New Home | Over the Hill Hero | Blank-Headed Eagle | The Mystery of the Missing Hi-tops | So Long Sucker | Sonic Gets Thrashed | Pseudo Sonic
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog Episodes 23-44
AoSTH logo
Grounder the Genius | Tails in Charge | Sno Problem | Submerged Sonic | Boogey-Mania | Musta Been a Beautiful Baby | Robotnik, Jr. | Full Tilt Tails | MacHopper | Momma Robotnik Returns | Spaceman Sonic | Mad Mike, Da Bear Warrior | The Last Resort | Robotnik's Rival | The Magic Hassle | Sonic the Matchmaker | Tails Prevails | Zoobotnik | Attack on Pinball Fortress | Mass Transit Trouble | Coachnik | Untouchable Sonic
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog Episodes 45-66
AoSTH logo
Super Robotnik | Robolympics | Magnificent Sonic | Black Bot the Pirate | Hedgehog of the "Hound" Table | Robotnik's Pyramid Scheme | Prehistoric Sonic | Baby-Sitter Jitters | Honey, I Shrunk the Hedgehog | Robotnikland | The Mobius 5000 | The Little Merhog | Road Hog | The Robots' Robot | Tails' Tale | Hero of the Year | Fast and Easy | Lifestyles of the Sick and Twisted | Sonic is Running | Robo-Ninjas | Sonically Ever After | Sonic Christmas Blast
Sonic the Hedgehog television shows
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (1993) | Sonic the Hedgehog (1993-1994) | Sonic Underground (1999) | Sonic X (2003-2004) | Sonic Boom (2014-)