Five kids and an alien with the ability to turn into any beast they touch vs. an army of parasitic aliens who are slowly infiltrating Earth.
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Jake Berenson (26 episodes, 1998-1999)
...
 Rachel Berenson (26 episodes, 1998-1999)
Boris Cabrera ...
 Marco (26 episodes, 1998-1999)
...
 Cassie (25 episodes, 1998-1999)
Christopher Ralph ...
 Tobias (25 episodes, 1998-1999)
...
 Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill (21 episodes, 1998-1999)
...
 Visser Three / ... (18 episodes, 1998-1999)
...
 Tom Berenson (15 episodes, 1998-1999)
Richard Sali ...
 Principal Chapman (13 episodes, 1998-1999)
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Storyline

My name is Elfangor. I am a prince from the Andalite world. I am dying. My ship has crash-landed on a planet called Earth. This is not the first time my hooves have touched the surface of this vast and beautiful world, but it will be the last. The Yeerks have launched their silent attack on Earth. Yeerks are evil parasites who live in the brains of other species. Now their goal is to enslave every human being on this planet. As I looked into five pairs of innocent human eyes, I knew what I had to do. These young people had no knowledge of the invasion, no idea that some of their closest friends and family members were already under Yeerk control. But they would soon bear the responsibility of saving their entire world. I gave them the power to morph, Andalite technology no other species has ever possessed. Now these humans will be able to use the energy and instincts of any living creature to resist the Yeerks. They can become any animal they touch. Many Andalites have called me a ... Written by <kaapplegate@scholastic.com>

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4 September 1998 (USA)  »

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AniTV  »

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(1998-2000) | (26 episodes)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Unlike in the book series, where any normal clothing the Animorphs wore during morph was either destroyed or left behind, the TV series showed the Animorphs capable of morphing their clothing whenever they transformed; no explanation was given for this, beyond simple dramatic license. See more »

Quotes

Cassie: [approaching zoo] This is where mom works with all the exotic animals.
Marco: Exotic... Like weird chickens and stuff?
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Connections

Referenced in Being John Malkovich (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Ask No Questions
Performed by Think Tank
Written by P. MacCormack, T. McKay, S. Clement, T. Vrhovnik and Norman Orenstein (SOCAN)
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Making the best of a bad situation
16 July 2014 | by (Plainfield, IL) – See all my reviews

In the strange and foggy No Man's Land of children's literature betwixt R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series and J.K. Rowling's phenomenal Harry Potter novels, K.A. Applegate reigned supreme. Pound for pound, I daresay Animorphs was every bit as intriguing (and probably better written) than Harry Potter, and leaps and bounds more mature than Goosebumps; and while the series developed problems after a few years (an over complicated, meandering mythology, inferior ghostwriting), I contend that the first spate of books are masterpieces in their own right, leveling an often profound gaze at the effects of war and savagery on formerly untroubled minds.

When I, a fresh-faced young lad of 11, first learned that a television show was in the works to bring my favorite books to life on the small screen, I was elated. I admit my heart sank a bit when I heard it was to be produced by Nickelodeon, who by the late '90s had shifted their focus from the preteen and teen market to a demographic exclusively in the 8-12 range; but realistically, what other network would air such an adaptation? The books were too violent and dark to air on a children's network, but no adult was going to watch a show about high school students turning into animals and fighting aliens. Perhaps it could have worked on the WB, following the success of high-school themed shows like Buffy, but alas, that was not the way things worked out.

Apart from the censorship, the biggest problem a Nickelodeon adaptation would run into was budgetary. The books played out on a grand scale, every installation featuring aliens, spaceships, guerrilla warfare, shapeshifting, and occasionally, entirely different planets. Those elements were either scaled back or dropped entirely for the television series. The alien prosthetics were unconvincing, Applegate's concepts being much more ambitious than the average "wrinkly forehead" aliens featured on the average Star Trek episode. I remember my disappointment at the introduction of Elfangor and the Hork Bajir in the pilot episode. They were underwhelming, to say the least.

When I discovered the show was available on Netflix, I watched it on a whim, in the background, with all the preconceptions of my high expectations dissipated in the course of time. The first few episodes are still pretty abysmal, with lackluster writing and facile direction. There just wasn't enough money or creative freedom to accomplish what Applegate did in the books.

As the series progresses, however, it comes into its own, crafting an identity as its own entity separate from the prose. The characters become more three-dimensional on their own terms; the acting improves; the budgetary limitations are circumvented. True, sometimes (oftentimes) the villains are incredibly stupid and the action sequences don't hold up all that well; the psychological and physical effects of a full-fledged war are neutered by the network mandate to remain "kid-friendly", which means no death or serious trauma can ever really befall the characters. But the basic human interaction, the relationships, improve, and the storytelling finds firmer footing. If you allow yourself to forget the source material, Animorphs stands as a worthy piece of family entertainment.

It's also fun to see a "before-they-were-famous" Shawn Ashmore and Paulo Costanzo, who have since achieved mainstream success via the X-Men franchise and the popular USA comedy/drama "Royal Pains", respectively. Maybe this is through glasses tinted with hindsight, but they are easily the strongest members of the cast (and I'm including the adults in that), with Ashmore growing into his own as conflicted "I didn't ask for this" leader Jake, and Costanzo stealing the show as fish-out-of-water alien-posing-as-human Aximili, who turns a simple cab ride into a comedy of errors.


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