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The first season of this cartoon contained painfully bad animation and rather weak story lines and a terrible opening with a cheesy theme song. The characters looked too stiff, especially the Thing, and my 2 favorite guest characters looked awful; Doctor Doom looked badly out of proportion, and the Silver Surfer looked like a walking piece of melted wax. Fourtunately after the series was (miraculously) renewed for a second season Marvel switched to new animation studio and the show was vastly improved, the animation was cool and looked similar to the X-Men cartoon, the characters looked better, the story lines were mostly adapted from the original Lee/Kirby run on the comic with great faithfulness and there were tons of cameos and guest roles from various marvel heroes and villains, including the Silver Surfer who looked awesome, plus it had a great opening that showed classic moments from the comic brought to animated life. If you get the DVDs than take my advice; skip the first season and go straight to the beginning of the second season unless you want to laugh at the bad animation.
The first season of this show kind of sucked. Weak animation, herky jerky
lines of dialogue, an obnoxious opening theme and lame plots. The second
season was a big improvement, sporting better animation, a better opening
theme and what not. Well, the pilot found the Fantastic Four on a talk
discussing how they became the elastic Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards), the
Invisible Woman (Susan Storm-Richards), the Human Torch (Johnny Storm;
actually an ode to an earlier character that appeared during the 2nd World
War era) and the rock hard Thing (Ben Grimm). During the first season they
were regularly pestered by an obnoxious land lady with a cute dog, met the
Sub-Mariner/Namor (who had a thing for the Invisible Woman), the Silver
Surfer who in turn helped them fight his master Galactus, the Skrulls,
creatures from alternate dimensions, Dr. Doom, and many others. The 2nd
Season introduced the Inhumans (I think that's what they were called), one
of whom, Crystal (voice of super model Kathy Ireland) Human Torch fell in
love with, but was separated from because of a funky force field dome that
would eventually suffocate their native city of Avalon, so a frequent
during this season was cracking the dome before everyone inside died (the
dome was later shattered by the city's leader Black Bolt, who had quite a
voice). The Silver Surfer made a return for this season's finale in
conjunction with Dr. Doom, along with Galactus, meanwhile some very big
guest stars included Daredevil in the season premiere, the Incredible Hulk
(who also guest starred on Iron Man in that series' 2nd season), and Thor
God of Thunder (voice of John Rhys Davies, who we all know for Sallah in
Indiana Jones films and the dwarf Ghimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy,
who played this part again for a guest spot on "The Incredible Hulk). Note
that the first two guest stars, Daredevil and Hulk, have gotten a crack at
feature films while the Fantastic Four and Thor still haven't.
The voice actors were pretty good (Chuck McCann, voice of the Thing/Ben Grimm, also voiced one of the Beagle Boys on Disney's Duck Tails and was the voice of the soldier Leatherneck on "GI Joe") and they did what they could with the occasionally bad dialogue they had during the first year. But like I said, the 2nd year was a big improvement. It's a shame it got canceled, but what do you expect when it aired AHEAD of X-Men and Spider-Man on Saturday mornings instead of along with them?
This show aired as part of the "Marvel Action Hour" which aired at 7:00 AM on Saturday mornings between 1994-1996 in conjunction with an Iron Man cartoon. Iron Man similarly had a bad first season and a superior second. Both sets of stars later made guest spots on "Spider-Man".
This Fantastic Four cartoon was part of the Marvel Action Hour along with Iron Man. At first, the animation and dialogue was pretty bad and they had annoying supporting characters, but the series remained true to the comics. The story lines they took from the comics were done very well, like episodes involving the Silver Surfer. When the second season began, animation vastly improved and the series became more serious. Too bad it was the last for the show.
This series (which was based on the Marvel comic of the same name) initially ran for two seasons in syndication as one half of a weekly show called The Marvel Action Hour (the other half was Iron Man). Perhaps The Fantastic Four was a rare case on a series that actually improved later on. The first season was lacking in various areas. The animation was stiff and appeared to be lacking with the textures (they looked very bright and rough to put it in other words). Somehow, there was at times a feeling that the stories were boarding towards camp. What stands out the most about the first season of The Fantastic Four is the theme song. Although the theme song was catchy, it was also really cheesy and sounded more like a jingle than anything else. Throughout the series, certain annoying factors tended to surface whether it was the theme from the first season or some fairly irritating supporting characters. When the second season came along, several improvements were made. The animation was better, a stronger theme song was put into place, and the episodes felt more action packed.
The first season was one of the worst cartoons I'd ever seen in my life;
second season was one of the best.
The first season had bad animation, bad character designs, unbelievably stupid dialogue, bad stories, and a general disregard for the source material. As an example they had both the Thing and the Human Torch rapping (!) And not even in the same episode!!!
All of this I attribute to one Ron Friedman, who treated this show as though he had lost a bet. Numerous examples of his incompetence abound in this series and both the show and fans of the Fantastic Four comic suffered for it.
The second season was a godsend. The animation, while still similar to 1st season, had improved, mostly in the character designs, and the stories and dialogue had improved a thousandfold. I attribute the success of this season to Tom Tataranowicz (taking over for the mercifully s#it-canned Friedman). The producers (I assume Tataranowicz was behind this) made the smart move of adapting scripts directly from the old comics and, in some cases, even improving upon them! It was a real pleasure seeing Jack Kirby's vision finally done justice.
It's such a shame that the big stories (the Galactus trilogy, for instance) had already been butchered by Friedman and friends. It's also a shame that the later success of the show couldn't help it into a third season. But, hey, at least we got cool FF toys out of the deal!
This is a good cartoon adap of the F4 and manages quite easily at times to capture the flavour of the classic F4 tales from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. By the time of the second season at least, it had matured into a fine Superhero animated series, that while not being able to evoke the magic of the original run of comics, or even the 1967 Hannah Barbera cartoon, is a good representation of the Fantastic Four. The only problem i have really is that the style of humour is too screwball to swallow. The producers clearly set out to make this series a comedy, and this shows in the representations of the characters, which are very cheesy to say the least. But aswell as that the humour misses the mark almost all of the time in the first series because it is trying to be too clever. The irony of this is that the original comics were cleverly funny. Still, by the time of the scond season the problems had been ironed out. The storylines had become stronger, and the representations of Mr Fantastic, Invisible Girl, Human Torch and the ever lovin' blue eyed Thing, had become simply fantastic. This is a good series, every episode is packed with action, good animation, a good theme tune and capable villains each week, from Dr.Doom, The Kree Skrulls, Galactus and the anti hero Sub-Mariner. It can hold it's head up as being a good representation of the F4, and at the very least is far superior to the the 1979 Animated series, and even the underrated 1994 movie.
This show was unwatchable in its first season, absolutely horrendous and another fine example of why Marvel should just stick to comics! If you look at any real success that Marvel has had outside of comics (Blade-Wesley Snipes) has almost nothing to do with Marvel's direct involvement with the projects. Marvel has continually treated their characters like bastard children, giving them to any idiot with a paycheck to use them as they will (Only Disney has treated their characters more shoddily!) The second season was what the first season should have been if anybody at Marvel had given a damn!!! It was much improved over the first season and was at least a more serious attempt at trying to catch the flavor of a comic book series which was hands down the most innovative, creative, and adventure-filled read of its time!
Ah! the corny chorus of the 1994 Fantastic Four Theme song. To the
untrained ear of a five year old, it is a catchy upbeat little piece
that brings a quaint smile. But listening to it years later, that smile
is one of bemused disgust; an uncomfortable smile to hold back the
disbelief that one ever considered this "cool" back in his younger
"Lame" could not even begin to describe the first season of the 90s Fantastic Four animated series. First you had the low quality animation courtesy of a Taiwanese Animation studio. Weird poses, a mediocre frame rate; a few fluid shots here and there could not make up for the generally dismal quality. It looked like something 15 years behind the times. Art-wise, the designs lacked detail, the colors used were bright and cheery and characters continually went "off model" ending up looking silly.
On the bright side, the voice cast to an impeccable job of becoming their characters. Particularly noteworthy is Chuck McCann whose pitch perfect Brooklyn accent captures the spirit of the ever lovin blue eyed Thing, Ben Grimm. For comic books fans, The stories within the series were faithful recreations of the classic 60s fantastic four comic tales by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. However the execution of those great stories was nothing short of terrible. Silly dialog and Random humor was added particularly in the form of the FF4's new landlady who was continually trying to evict them. That coupled with unforgettable (for all the wrong reasons) moments like a rapping Ben Grimm, The great Galactus hungrily licking his lips and Stan Lee himself pausing the show to break the fourth wall, all of it adds to the utter silliness of the first season.
Season 2 in 1995 to 1996 saw a vast improvement in the overall quality. The most obvious change was in the animation. A higher level of detail, darker colors and more consistent artwork complemented the smooth animation work courtesy of a new Production studio. The writing also takes a darker turn, adapting stories from the 1980s Fantastic 4 comic book run. Gone is the humor, replaced now by more mature narratives and actual human drama. Aside from the various foes the FF4 must face, their greatest conflict comes within themselves and among each other. Reed's inner guilt, Ben's ongoing quest for acceptance, Sue's feelings of inadequacy, even Johnny's broken heart, all of them very real themes that people can relate to. There were episodes that did get a little angsty but no more angsty than those Japanese anime saturating the internet nowadays.
Owing to the vast differences in quality in the respective seasons, the rating above reflects the averaged rating between the two.
Season 1 = 2/10
Season 2 = 8/10
Average = 5/10
Casual viewers should just sit through season two but long time fans of the comic books could check out both seasons and see their favorite stories faithfully translated into animation.
I have very fond memories of watching this show when it first aired in the early 90's and while it is defiantly not the best animated show I have ever seen it is far and wide better then the previous Fantastic Four cartoons. I did not catch this show often enough just when I was really starting to get into it it was gone. Still I remember Stan Lee opened every show and that was just awesome. I still wish cartoon network or someone would reair this show if not that then at least release it on DVD. I mean it was great you got a half hour with the fantastic four and a half hour with iron man. Not to mention the awesome guest stars that would pop up. I remember in one episode of the fantastic four the Hulk popped up and was fighting the ting almost the entire episode ,just classic. later on Thor showed up and so did the Silver Sufer if I remember right. Also there was a cool inhumans episode. If you see it on the air its defiantly worth watching
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have not seen every single episode of this show but I have seen a
couple and I have to say it follows on from the original comics at
least but there are drawbacks.
The animation was poor quality. The annoying landlord they had put me off. Mr. Fantastic constantly worries about his wife who consistently either gets captured or is just a character where all the men stare at her body for.
That's all I have to say overall it okay.
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