Sunday, February 14, 2010

SMCS Companion Piece #5: Highlander: The Animated Series

Beta on Highlander: The Animated Series

Presumably the Highlander cartoon was created in a smoky backroom full of drug dealing producers trying to figure out how to rip money off children. At some point of them asked “What movie property would make a great kids cartoon?” And another reposed “How about that movie with the immortal guys chopping each other’s heads off?” And the rest, as they say, is history. This week DJ Muppet and I spend The Saturday Morning Cartoon Show watching this terrible terrible cartoon.

Created in 1994 Highlander: The Animated Series was something of an alternate universe scenario to the original movie having nothing to do at all with the live action TV series. At some point in history human civilization was destroyed so the immortals decided to stop playing THE GAME and use their knowledge to restore society. In doing so they all make oaths to never fight again and become known as “jettators”. However in a shocking move that absolutely everyone saw coming one of the immortals, Cortez Kartan doesn’t join in the oath and is thus free to conquer the world. Connor MacLeod, who happens to be a highlander, breaks the oath to challenge himin duel and is immediately beheaded therefore ensuring that all the other jettator would lack the cojones to do anything to stop Kartan. Seriously in the 700 years that follow none of the other immortals do anything other periodically wave a finger at the despot as he conquers the Earth. Thankfully for humanity despite the uselessness of the jettators a prophecy is made that a new immortal unbound by the oath would eventually rise and defeat Kartan. Lord knows its too much trouble for anyone else to do anything out it. Thus Quentin MacLeod, who also happens to a highlander, is recruited after dying and coming back to life as an immortal to travel the world with Ramirez, one of the less useless but still pretty useless jettators, to seek out the others and gain their knowledge and skills (Not by beheading them but by holding hands) and train to defeat Kartan once and for all.

Now I wrote that big description because I must point out that on paper this show sounds awesome. Crapsack post-apocalyptic world? Check. Intriguing back story? Check. Swordfights? Check and check. The show may not have had a lot to do with the movie but frankly it has a interesting an original premise, much like the film did. So really this must be one of the best cartoons of the 1990s, right?

Well no. The show had a cool premise but the delivery was like a train wreck that you don’t want to watch. Improbable, I know, but it’s true. The acting is a hammy with wooden delivery from a cast that sound like they were reading the script line for line for the first time in the sound booth. This is made worse by the terrible dialogue. Ramirez is by far the worst offender as he can’t even be bothered to do a Sean Connery impression. Actually he’s the worse because it sounds like instead of hiring an actor they pulled a random guy off the street and told him to read lines. The show itself was bad beyond the acting as the characters all seem to be cowards and morons who never actually do anything then wait around for Quentin to come along and save from something. I watched a few episodes in preparation for writing this blog and boy did I have to fight the urge to eat my own face. How I watched this garbage as a kid I’ll never know. Kartan himself is a one dimensional villain who pretty much does nothing except standing around talking in a gruff voice( As opposed to the jettstors who stand around doing nothing at all).


The can be only one, mother f@#$er!

Maybe they just shouldn’t have turned a film like Highlander, which isn’t the most family friendly property, into a kids show. Plenty of things like this have happened in the past though. Rambo: The Animated Series, Mortal Kombat: The Animated Series, and even Police Academy: The Animated Series come to mind (If you saw the original Police Academy you know why I say it’s inappropriate for children). I wonder what other cartoons they could make based on popular films…

300: The Animated Series

King Leonidas and his Heroic Spartans fight a never-ending battle for truth and justice against the Xerxes and the Evil Force of the Persians in modern day Oregon. Leonidas is aided by a rag-tag team of helpful kids dubbed the “Spartan Scouts.” No one ever dies.

District 9: The Animated Series

A team of amoral heroic alien-busters protect the Earth from an impoverished and homeless evil alien group of refugees occupying militia teaching kids that despite our differences we are all still people if it’s different than you than it must be stopped.

And of course…

Watchmen: The Animated Series






For a less biased description of Highlander: The Animated Series go here

For the Saturday Morning Cartoon Show blog/podcast go here

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