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|
|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.
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."
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.
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
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. 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 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.
|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|
|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|
|Coconuts, Additional Voices||Ian James Corlett|
|Narrator (pilot episode)||Gary Owens|
|Doctor Ivo Robotnik and
Scratch (pilot episode)
- 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.
|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-)|