Thursday, January 27, 2011

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Sonic the Hedgehog (1993)

Perhaps the most successful conversion of a video game into a cartoon, Sonic the Hedgehog rocketed onto television screens in 1993. There were actually two separate series, a weekday show that was in syndication, and the more popular Saturday series that aired on ABC. Here's the open to the Saturday version:

Family Matters co-star Jaleel White was the voice of Sonic, which might have come as a bit of a shock to fans of Matters, accustomed as they were to White as the nerdy Steve Urkel. Sonic the Hedgehog lasted two seasons on ABC before being cancelled, with reruns later airing on cable. The daily series also met its end around the same time, but Sonic would return in a new, syndicated series just a few years later, Sonic Underground, which lasted about the same length of time.

Sonic's still around, of course, as Sega continues to produce video games, and there is the long running comic book from Archie Comics, now well over 200 issues and still going strong. The last Sonic TV series, Sonic X, was imported from Japan by 4Kids for Fox, and lasted three years before Fox discontinued its Saturday morning schedule. Archie made a comics version of this show, too, but it was cancelled after a couple of years.

I've never played the game, but judging from the TV show, one can gather that Sonic was created with a literary legend in mind, particularly Robin Hood, as Sonic and his Freedom Fighters are trying to overthrow the evil Dr. Robotnik. They would succeed in doing that at the end of the series.

Rating: A-.

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