Sunday, February 20, 2011

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Legend of Calamity Jane (1997)

Kids' WB! had made The Legend of Calamity Jane the centerpiece of its 1997-98 Saturday lineup, hoping that the toon noir art style that was popularized by Batman: The Animated Series worked on a show set in the Old West. Regrettably, the network got a sudden case of cold feet and cancelled Calamity Jane after just 3 episodes, and never brought it back to burn off the remaining 10, though the complete series would be played in other countries. Some blame the quick hook on poor ratings, excessive violence, or just plain stupidity on the part of network suits (likely, a combination of all three). Just a few years earlier, ABC had another Western toon, but with more of a comic bent to appease the media watchdogs. WB opted to push the envelope, recalling the Lone Ranger's initial foray into Saturdays more than 30 years earlier.

All I ask now is that you judge for yourself while you view this sample of the episode, "Slip of the Whip", one of three Calamity Jane episodes that did make it to air here in the US.

Rating: A-.


magicdog said...

This show was a classic case of "blink and you'll miss it".

It definitely had potential and it's a shame the network suits didn't give it a better shot. I always liked westerns and "Calamity Jane" may have succeeded if it weren't so ahead of its time.

Had this show been centered around comic characters like "Jonah Hex", in the same style (not unlike the DC short that was released recently) it would have had a good long run.

hobbyfan said...

I don't think it was so much that it was ahead of its time, but rather the fact that the network under-promoted the show, period.