Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
From Sonic Retro
|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, France, Japan|
|Number of episodes: 65 + Special|
|First aired: September 6, 1993|
|Last aired: December 3, 1993|
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (occasionally shortened to AoStH) is an American 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-90's. 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.
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, especially in Europe and Australia.
Each episode of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog follows the exploits of the titular hero Sonic and his best friend Miles "Tails" Prower as they have various adventures across the planet Mobius. More often than not, these adventures pit the duo against the nefarious Dr. Ivo Robotnik and his mechanical henchmen, Scratch, Grounder, and occasionally Coconuts, along with a variety of other occasional and one-shot robots the mad doctor builds over the course of the series.
Though it is never explained how Robotnik and Sonic first met, or what plans the blue blur spoiled, the first episode produced for the series introduces the main robotic henchmen, the pair of Scratch and Grounder. Designed to be the leaders of the Super Special Sonic Search and Smash Squad, the duo were meant to be just as smart and cunning as Robotnik believes himself to be, although every time without fail Sonic is able to put a stop not only to his henchmen, but to Robotnik's every scheme. The 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.
Due to it's lose continuity and standalone episode format, more often than not actions happen for the sake of happening, with little ever being explained or followed up on. However, 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.
There are also a handful of characters that appear multiple times over the course of the series that are not part of the main cast, 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."
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 wiki: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
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. 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.
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. Currently, it can be watched on the This TV network, having started their airings of the show in 2010.
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.
|Sonic the Hedgehog||Jaleel White|
|Miles "Tails" Prower||Christopher Evan Welch/|
Chris Turner (Sonic Christmas Blast)
|Doctor Ivo Robotnik||Long John Baldry|
|Grounder, Additional Voices||Gary Chalk|
|Coconuts, Additional Voices||Ian James Corlett|
|Narrator (pilot episode)||Gary Owens|
|Doctor Ivo Robotnik and
Scratch (pilot episode)
Initial home video releases for the series were done on VHS, the industry standard at the time. Beginning in 1993 and continuing through 1994, numerous tapes were released in both the United States and the United Kingdom, the later having more episodes released. The final episode produced would also be the last released on VHS, the Christmas special not seeing home release until 2001. The series would later get a proper DVD release by Shout! Factory starting in 2007, when the first volume of 22 episodes was released in the United States. The next set would be released the following year, the final episodes not seeing the light of day until 2010, the third volume released exclusively through their website. The entire series was also released in the U.K. (minus "Christmas Blast") in 2007, but without the special features found in the U.S. release. The sixty-five syndicated episodes were once also released in France by Declic Images over four volumes, containing only the French audio.
Numerous single disc releases have also been released since the first volume in the U.S., each containing a handful of episodes based around a specific theme. Produced by NCircle, they are meant to be impulse purchases for casual fans as opposed to the collector sets containing the entire series.
- Complete Series Vol. 1 (U.S., 7/17/2007): Contains the first twenty-two episodes, Interview with Milton Knight, How to Draw Sonic the Hedgehog
- Complete Series Vol. 2 (U.S., 12/9/2008): Contains the next twenty-two episodes, How to Draw Dr. Ivo Robotnik
- Complete Series Vol. 3 (U.S., 3/16/2010): Contains the final twenty-one episodes, "Sonic Christmas Blast," How to Draw Miles "Tails" Prower
- Super Mario Bros. 3/AoStH Box Set (U.S., 2007): Contains the contents of Complete Series Vol. 1 along with the contents of the Super Mario Bros. 3 Show boxset
- The Complete Series (U.K., 2007): Contains all sixty-five episodes
- Les aventures de Sonic 1 (France, 1/15/2010): Contains the first seventeen episodes
- Les aventures de Sonic 2 (France, 1/15/2010): Contains the next sixteen episodes
- Les aventures de Sonic 3 (France, 4/30/2010): Contains the next sixteen episodes
- Les aventures de Sonic 4 (France, 4/30/2010): Contains the final sixteen episodes
- Robotnik Strikes Back (2008): Contains four episodes: "High Stakes Sonic," "Sonic's Song," "So Long Sucker" and "Pseudo Sonic"
- The Fastest Thing in Time (2008): Contains four episodes: "Blackbot the Pirate," "'Hog of the Hound Table," "Robotnik's Pyramid Scheme" and "Prehistoric Sonic"
- Robotnik Family Values (2009): Contains four episodes: "Momma Robotnik's Birthday," "Robotnik Jr.," "Sonic the Matchmaker" and "Momma Robotnik Returns"
- Robots Attack! (2009): Contains four episodes: "Grounder the Genius," "Sno Problem," "Full Tilt Tails" and "The Coachnik"
- Sonic the Hero (2009): Contains four episodes: "Over the Hill Hero," "Mass Transit Trouble," "Robolympics" and "The Mobius 5000"
- Tall Tails (2009): Contains four episodes: "Trail of the Missing Tails," "Too Tall Tails," "Tails' New Home" and "Tails in Charge"
- The Best of (2009): Contains seven episodes: "Black Bot the Pirate," "Pseudo Sonic," "Too Tall Tails," "Sonic the Matchmaker," "Slowwww Going," "Road Hog" and "Force Three From Mobius"
- Sonic Christmas Blast (2009): Contains four episodes: "Sonic Christmas Blast" and three episodes from the series Sonic Underground
- Sonic Who? (2010): Contains four episodes: "Birth of a Salesman," "Musta Been a Beautiful Baby," "Magnificent Sonic" and "Robo-Ninjas"
- Let's Race (2010): Contains four episodes: "Super Special Sonic Search & Smash Squad," "The Robotnik Express," "Mad Mike, Da Bear Warrior" and "Road Hog"
- Sonic Mega Mix (2011): Contains seven episodes: "Spaceman Sonic," "The Little Merhog," "Fast and Easy," two episodes from Sonic Underground and two episodes from Sonic the Hedgehog
- Sonic Search & Smash Squad (U.K., 2007): Contains four episodes: "The Super Special Sonic Search and Smash Squad!", "Subterranean Sonic," "Lovesick Sonic" and "Slowwww Going."
- High Stakes Sonic (U.K., 2007): Contains four episodes: "High Stakes Sonic," "Sonic Breakout," "Trail of the Missing Tails" and "Close Encounter of the Sonic Kind."
- Momma Robotnik's Birthday (U.K., 2007): Contains four episodes" "Momma Robotnik's Birthday," "Big Daddy," "Sonic's Song" and "Birth of a Salesman."
- Best Hedgehog (U.K., 2007): Contains four episodes: "Best Hedgehog," "The Robotnik Express," "Too Tall Tails" and "Tail's New Home."
- La course de Noël (France, 2000): Contains "Le père Noël est une doublure", the French version of "Sonic Christmas Blast"
- Super Special Sonic Search and Smash Squad (U.S., 1993): Contains two episodes: "Super Special Sonic Search & Smash Squad" and "Sonic Breakout"
- Slowwww Going (U.S., 1993): Contains two episodes: "Slowwww Going" and "Over the Hill Hero"
- Sonic's Song (U.S., 1994): Contains two episodes: "Sonic's Song" and "Best Hedgehog"
- Robotnik Express (U.S., 1994): Contains two episodes: "Robotnik Express" and "Tails' New Home"
- Grounder the Genius (U.S., 1994): Contains two episodes: "Grounder the Genius" and "Blank-Headed Eagle"
- Road Hog (U.S., 1994): Contains two episodes: "Road Hog" and "Tails in Charge"
- Sonic Christmas Blast (U.S., 2001): Contains one episode: "Sonic Christmas Blast"
- Volume 1 (U.K., 1993): Contains three episodes: "Sonic Search and Smash Squad," "Subterranean Sonic" and "Lovesick Sonic"
- Volume 2 (U.K., 1994): Contains three episodes: "Best Hedgehog," "The Robotnik Express" and "The Birth of the Salesman"
- Volume 3 (U.K., 1994): Contains three episodes: "Too Tall Tails," "Big Daddy" and "Tails New Home"
- Volume 4 (U.K., 1994): Contains four episodes: "Close Encounters of a Sonic Kind," "Sno Problem," "Tails In Charge" and "Grounder The Genius"
- Volume 5 (U.K., 1994): Contains five episodes: "Blackbot the Pirate," "Hedgehog of the Hound Table," "Robotnik's Pyramid Scheme," "Prehistoric Sonic" and "Trail of the Missing Tails"
- Volume 6 (U.K., 1994): Contains three episodes: "Honey I Shrunk the Hedgehog," "The Mobius 5,000" and "Spaceman Sonic"
- High Stakes Sonic (UK): Contains two episodes: "High Stakes Sonic" and "Sonic Breakout"
- Momma Robotnik's Birthday (UK): Contains one episode: "Momma Robotnik's Birthday"
- The Biggest Ever Video (U.K.): Contains nine episodes: "Road Hog," "Robolympics," "The Little Merhog," "Birth Of A Salesman," "Robotnik's Rival," "Tails' New Home," "Love Sick Sonic," "Sonically Ever After" and "Hero Of The Year"
- Les aventures de Sonic the Hedgehog (France): Contains two episodes: "The Super Special Sonic Search and Smash Squad!" and "Trail of the Missing Tails"
| DVD, France|
La course de Noël
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- During the production of the original 65 episodes of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, the voice of Miles "Tails" Prower was provided by Christopher Evan Welch, who was eleven years old at the time. When production on the Christmas special "Sonic Christmas Blast" began in 1996, DiC was forced to recast the part, the now 14 year old Chris' voice having changed.
- The television series served not only as inspiration for Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine but was also used as a source in the American-produced Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, the character of Scratch making a cameo in the bonus round stages of the game.
- Though the comic series Sonic the Hedgehog by Archie Comics used the Saturday morning series as their primary source through most of its lifespan, early issues were also based on the syndicated series, the characters of Scratch, Grounder and Coconuts appearing and the plotlines containing the same tounge-in-cheek, slapstick-ish humor. The influence was so great in these early days that the episode Pseudo Sonic was adapted into the ninth issue of the comic book.
- Adventures is the only Sonic show produced by DiC to use any music from the games, the classic title screen music from the first two Mega Drive titles being incorporated throughout the show, including its own opening theme music.
- While most international versions of the show used the theme found in the English-language version, the Italian and French versions of the program had an original theme complete with lyrics. Italian, French. The French version is a rough translation of the Italian version, which was composed by Alessandra Valeri Manera, for the Fininvest (now Mediaset) group, known for replacing openings and ending of most TV shows.
- Due to the off-the-wall nature of the program, the series has taken on a new life on the Internet, clips from the show being adapted into numerous Internet fads on such sites as YouTube.
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog at TV.com
- Animation - A section of Milton Knight's official website, covering his animation work including that done on Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.
- AoStH Model Sheets - A video showcasing a collection of model sheets related to the show. Put together by Alex Slingsby.