Thursday, December 22, 2011

Daytime Heroes: Aladdin (1994)

The Disney Afternoon weekday block was on its last legs in the mid-90's, and one of its last hits was spun from an equally successful feature film.

Aladdin enchanted moviegoers in 1992, but the succeeding sequels went direct-to-video for reasons known only to Disney, perhaps lacking the faith in creating a modern day animated franchise at the time, although that wouldn't be the case a few years later with the introduction of "Toy Story". The series bowed in 1994, airing 6 days a week. Monday-Friday as part of the fading Disney Afternoon block, and Saturdays on CBS, leading off the network lineup.

Most of the cast, save for superstar Robin Williams, returned for the series. Dan Castelanetta (The Simpsons) stepped in for Williams beginning with the first DTV sequel, "The Return of Jafar", and while he didn't have Williams' manic energy, he was adequate enough. Scott Weinger (Full House) voiced Aladdin, who, when the series started, was now engaged to Princess Jasmine. Unfortunately, the series ended without the couple getting married. Gilbert Gottfried (ex-Saturday Night Live) voiced the cynical Iago, who had left Jafar behind to join Aladdin's crew. Well, he was there mostly for comic relief, actually.

Here's the open:

Aladdin lasted two seasons, followed by the second DTV, "Aladdin & the King of Thieves", which was the last we'd hear from Aladdin & company, save for an appearance or two on Disney's House of Mouse. Today, it sits in Disney's vaults, as neither Disney Channel nor DisneyXD is willing to air the show at an appropriate time suitable for its fanbase. Their loss.

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

This was a likeable series, but it did bug me that Jasmine and Aladdin married in one of the sequels and for some reason, it was never aludded to in the show.

It also bugged that Al was still in his "street rat" attire since he was engaged to a princess.

Did they ever explain how the heck Iago escaped from Jafar's lamp?

it is a shame it hasn't been aired in such a while.

hobbyfan said...

I guess they married in "King of Thieves", which came out after the series ended.

I think the reason Aladdin remained in "street clothes" was for marketing purps. Same with Iago returning, with no explanation of how he escaped the lamp. They needed a second "cute" animal character to sell toys.

Blame Disney's short-sighted programming mentality for Aladdin remaining benched whilst live-action comedies like the "Suite Life" series are being played into the ground.

Scoobyfan1 said...

Aladdin was another good show(at least to me it was) in the Disney Afternoon staple.

While some episodes were meh, other episodes were great. Eye of the Beholder in I think Season 3 was awesome, as well as Shark Treatment, same season I think, and any episode with Selene the elemental.

Mozenrath was a decent villain, but none of the episodes with him really stuck out for me. The villain in the episode Eye of the Beholder(a cat like creature named Mirage, voiced by Bebe Neuwirth if I remember right) was probably my favorite villain in the series.

Between the episode with the El Katib creatures(I forget the name of it at the moment) and Eye of the Beholder(where she disguised herself as a saleswoman who sold Jasmine cursed lotion which transformed her into a Naga, or half snake), she might have been the most memorable villain in my mind in that show.

hobbyfan said...

Iago was a turn-off to me, as he didn't really add anything to the story. It was just an excuse for Gottfried to do his schtick. It also started him on his new career as a voice actor, which led to other gigs (Cyberchase, for one).

I've seen pieces of "Eye of the Beholder", but never the complete episode. Maybe another day......