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Freakazoid! is an Americanmarker animated television series, produced by Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation that aired for two seasons from September 9, 1995 to June 1 1997. Then, after cancellation, reruns aired on Cartoon Network until March 8, 2003. Bruce Timm, best known as a major principal of the DC animated universe, originally intended it to be a straightforward superhero action-adventure cartoon with comic overtones, but executive producer Steven Spielberg asked series producer and writer Tom Ruegger and the Animaniacs team to turn Freakazoid! into a flat-out comedy.

The show chronicles the adventures of the title character, Freakazoid, a manic, insane superhero who battles with an array of super villains. The show also features mini-episodes of adventures of other bizarre superheroes.

Background

The show's title character is the superhero alter ego of geeky sixteen-year-old Dexter Douglas (voiced by David Kaufman) who attends Harry Connick High School. His name is a parody of various superheroes with the first and last names using the same first letter or sound (e.g. Clark Kent, Peter Parker, etc). Gaining his abilities from a computer bug (becoming absorbed into his computer and instantly gaining all the information on the Internet), Freakazoid (voiced by Paul Rugg) has enhanced strength and endurance, extraordinary speed, agility, and negligible amounts of sanity. These changes make him a powerful and fearsome force for upholding freedom and righteousness, unless he gets distracted by something like a bear riding a motorcycle. He has a base called the Freakalair, a parody of the Batcave, built by his mute butler, Ingmar. The Freakalair contains a "Hall of Nifty Things to Know" and even a mad scientist lab. His greatest weakness, as he once explained to a villain, is that he can be imprisoned in a cage with graphite bars charged with negative ions. He also expresses a great aversion to "poo gas."

Peripheral powers come and go: Freakazoid once developed telekinesis triggered by anger that was never mentioned again after the episode, and once crossed the globe to yell at a Tibetan monk for raking too loud. He also has the ability to assume the form of electricity and cover long distances instantaneously, although he just as often simply sticks his arms forward and runs while making swooshing sounds with his mouth, pretending to fly.

Dexter can change into and out of Freakazoid at will with the words "Freak out!" and "Freak in!" When not in Freakazoid mode, Dexter looks and acts completely normal, and his family is unaware that anything has happened to him. Freakazoid spends this time in an area of Dexter's brain called the Freakazone, where he reflects, has profound thoughts, and watches reruns of The Rat Patrol.

The "secret key sequence" that must be typed for the computer bug to become active begins with: "@[=g3,8d]\&fbb=-q]/hk%fg" (the quotes are included) as seen when Roddy MacStew types the combination in "The Chip (Act IV)". The bug manifests when the user presses Delete after entering the string. The bug was first manifested when Dexter's cat crawled onto the keyboard.

While the show's setting is set around Washington D.C.marker, the locale often varies with the show's humor, taking Freakazoid to locations around the world as needed.

Characters

The Douglas Family

  • Duncan Douglas (voiced by Googy Gress) - Dexter's older brother. He is a bully towards Dexter, and is portrayed as a caricature of a high school jock.
  • Debbie Douglas (voiced by Tress MacNeille) - Dexter's mother. She has no clue that her son is Freakazoid, and is in general blithe and clueless. Her lines often involve morose subjects delivered in a cheery tone, a parody of a stereotypical domestic mother.
  • Douglas Douglas (voiced by John P. McCann) - Dexter's father. An automobile dealer who thinks a goblin lives in the gas tank of his car. Occasionally used for laughs as a stereotypically technologically-inept father figure.
  • Mr. Chubbikins (voiced by Frank Welker) - The Douglas' morbidly obese cat. He jumped on Dexter's keyboard while chasing a butterfly, accidentally typing in the key sequence which activated the Pinnacle chip's flaw, turning Dexter into Freakazoid.


Enemies

Freakazoid! features a number of campy villains and enemies, including:

  • The Lobe (voiced by David Warner) - Freakazoid's archenemy. He is a super genius whose entire head appears to be a giant brain. Despite his high intellect, he has very low self-esteem, once even having a scheme foiled by Freakazoid simply insulting the plan, despite actually being impressed by it. No background information of any kind is given for The Lobe; not even his real name is revealed.
Cave Guy
  • Cave Guy (voiced by Jeff Bennett) - A thuggish blue caveman with upper-class diction, education, and taste. His real name is Royce Mumphry and he subscribes to The New Yorker. He also seems to have an odd fear of Klingons. His voice is similar to that of Thurston Howell, III's.
  • Cobra Queen (voiced by Tress MacNeille) - A former shoplifter named Audrey Manatee whose encounter with an experimental cosmetic left in the sun too long transformed her into a cobra woman, with command over snakes and other reptiles. In later episodes, Cave Guy and Cobra Queen are a couple. She has a lair in the sewers, and often complained about the lack of light until Freakazoid suggested getting Japanese lanterns.
  • Longhorn (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) - Formerly Jubal "Bull" Nixon, he was once an employee of the "Johnny Cat" cat litter company, until he turned to a life of crime. Because he was searched for by law enforcement so frequently, he had plastic surgery to turn himself into a steer. He loves country music and, despite being a lousy songwriter, is determined to get a recording contract at Nashvillemarker. He also owns a massive truck, nicknamed "Bessie Mae", which is outfitted with all kinds of devices. He also has a sidekick named Turk (voiced by Hal Rayle).
  • Armando Guitierrez (voiced by Ricardo Montalban) - The eye-patched man whose company, Apex Microchips (not to be confused with Apex Digital), designed the faulty Pinnacle chip responsible for Freakazoid's creation. Physically, Guitierrez resembles Ricardo Montalban, who provides the character's voice as well; at times he shows similarities to Khan Noonien Singh from Star Trek 2; also played by Montalban. One of his recurring jokes is asking others to laugh with him, including his henchman Jocko. Originally a normal human being, he briefly gains powers similar to Freakazoid's by exploiting the Pinnacle chip's flaw; later, he appears as a cyborg in a hood and cloak to cover scars caused by Freakazoid knocking him into a pit. He hates being called a weenie.
  • The Nerdator (voiced by Aron Kincaid) - A man who planned to kidnap all the nerds in the world and absorb their knowledge to become a "Super-Nerd". His plan succeeded until Freakazoid convinced him of the downsides of being a nerd, where he instead kidnapped "good-looking, but vapid airheads". Is a parody of the Predator.
  • Candlejack (voiced by Jeff Bennett) - A supernatural villain with a burlap sack over his head, called "the Boogeyman, the for-real one" in the series. He abducts anyone who says his name and ties them up with rope. Although he prides himself on being scary, he has a weakness for pie and also seems to enjoy watching F Troop. He has inspired an Internet meme to mention Candlejack's name and then stop typing in the middle of the sentence to imply having been abducted.


  • Waylon Jeepers (voiced by Jeff Bennett) - A creepy little man originanlly from Venice Beach, CA who created the Medusa Watch, which has the power to turn people (and pigeons) into stone. He has also created a similar device that turned beavers into gold, and once summoned the demon, "Vorn the Unspeakable", with the help of a book entitled How to Summon Monsters the E-Z Way. His schemes seem to deeply infuriate Freakazoid. His name is a play on the name of famous country guitarist Waylon Jennings.
  • Vorn the Unspeakable (voiced by Richard Moll) - a demon summoned by Jeepers, who bears a resemblance to H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu.
  • Invisibo (voiced by Corey Burton) - Real name Ahmon Kor-Unch. An invisible, smart mouthed pharaoh who is only visible via the staff he carries. Freakazoid gave Invisibo his name because "you're invisible and it's my show and we already had a title card made up and it makes me very happy!" Invisibo accepts the name, saying it has a "somewhat sinister ring to it." His voice sounds exactly like Vincent Price's.
  • Arms Akimbo (voiced by John Schuck) - A spoiled model turned extortionist with an Edward G. Robinson-esqe voice who, after years of posing, was left with his arms frozen in a jaunty pose, hands on hips. When fighting, he strikes with his over sized elbows. His first appearance is in a local shop selling "oops insurance," a form of protection racketeering, which mainly consists of him breaking something of value (or causing a building to detonate spectacularly), before comically following it up with a small "oops."
  • Milk Man - Only shown/mentioned in the episode And Fanboy was his Name. Shown on a news report in a pitched battle with Freakazoid and his then-sidekick, Expendable Lad. As the name implies, he uses milk as his theme.
  • Mary Beth (voiced by Tress MacNeille) - Cosgrove's former girlfriend, cosmetics executive, and monster. She is short tempered and when angered, turns green and develops a deep raspy voice, and often lights candles by shooting flame from her nose. Her plan to steal Freakazoid's hero essence to remain immortal is foiled and, as a result, she shrivels, dies, and becomes a pile of dust. Her name is a play off of the cosmetics giant Mary Kay.
  • Janos Ivnovels (voiced by Jim Cummings) - The ruthless dictator of Vuka Nova and minister of state security. He is responsible for capturing Freakazoid's family (and a mime) and imprisoning them in the High-Security Wing of Chesky Beresch Prison, the toughest prison in Europe. His subordinate is Colonel Anton Mohans (voiced by Larry Cedar), a vicious thug who finds it relaxing when Janos tortures his prisoners. Janos and Anton were defeated after Freakazoid and his friends rescued the Douglas Family (and the mime). Janos and Anton were last seen being tortured by the mime and his pals. He is a one-time villain, having appeared in "Mission: Freakazoid!".
  • Dr. Mystico (voiced by Tim Curry) - A mad scientist who turns orangutans into human-like beings (and viceversa) in parody of H. G. Wells's The Island of Dr. Moreau. He seeks to take over the world, though he always seems to say Cleveland instead. He has a white cat, similar to Ernst Stavro Blofeld. His first name may actually be Wendell, since he once says, "They called me mad, insane, Wendell!".
  • Kid Carrion (voiced by Jeff Bennett) A zombie cowboy who was never named, and only appeared in "Relax-o-Vision" and "The Lobe". He can be seen in the opening credits standing next to Candlejack. He bears a passing resemblence to the revamped version of The Scarecrow from Bruce Timm's The New Batman Adventures.


Allies

Aiding Freakazoid in his surrealistic battles are:

  • Sgt. Mike Cosgrove (voiced by — and physically resembles — Edward Asner) - A heavyset, gruff cop with a heart of gold, who is friends with Freakazoid and several other characters. By pointing at something and saying "cut it out", he has the almost supernatural ability to get people to stop whatever they are doing on command, no matter what they may be doing at the time, be it panicking at the sight of a villain, stealing a television, or attempting to capture Cosgrove and Freakazoid. (In the Animaniacs comic series, he even once managed to get Yakko, Wakko, and Dot to "cut it out", something many had tried, and failed, to do.) Often has nothing better to do than engage in hobbies or visit tourist traps with Freakazoid (such as building a Go-kart or getting a mint). He speaks in a gruff monotone and shows very little enthusiasm for anything. Strangely, he always manages to find Freakazoid with his police car, no matter where he is at the time (he will even catch up with him in different countries, car and all).
  • Roddy MacStew (voiced by Craig Ferguson) - Freakazoid's mentor, and expositionist; an ill-tempered Scotsman who once worked for Guitierrez. He first found that the Pinnacle chip was flawed. In the continuation of the seventh episode (detailing how Freakazoid gained his powers) he was trapped in the Internet. He was later kicked out of the Internet by Guitierrez and resumed his mentor role. Favorite word: "Crud!"
  • Steff (voiced by Tracy Rowe) - Freakazoid's perky blonde girlfriend; her real name is Stephanie. She discovers Freakazoid's secret identity when Cosgrove accidentally points it out aloud in "Mission: Freakazoid".
  • Hans - A mysterious agent with a Western European accent, who takes Freakazoid to Professor Heiney's lab.
  • Professor Heiney (voiced by Ed Gilbert) - A scientist, with a lab in the mountains, who Freakazoid often goes to for help. He does research on monsters, zaps them and is often attacked by them at his lab.
  • Ingmar - Freakazoid's mute butler, in charge of the maintenance of the Freakalair (according to Freakazoid, he constructed it himself from scratch). He quit in "Mission: Freakazoid" to become a rodeo clown and was replaced by Professor Jones. A take-off on Bernardo, the mute manservant of Zorro and Batman's butler Alfred.
  • Professor Jones (voiced by Jonathan Harris) - A snooty, cowardly manservant, essentially recreating his role as Doctor Zachary Smith from Lost In Space (every time Jones appears in a scene, someone asks him if he was "on a show with a robot"). He is the replacement to the Freakalair's previous butler, and old friends with him. Does not get along with Cosgrove well.
  • Joe Leahy - The show's very vocal announcer (voiced by himself), who sometimes gets a little more involved than the job usually requires.
  • Freakazette- Only mentioned in the first episode for a brief verse during the "Freakazoid and Friends" theme song (which plays to the same theme as Animaniacs). Since she never was elaborated on in the show, most fans assume her to be Steff, having turned into a Freakazoid with blonde hair and blue outfit.
  • Foamy the Freakadog (voiced by Frank Welker) - a vicious, rabid dog which Freakazoid had freed from the pound. Foamy is painted blue, has a Freakazoid costume (complete with hair), and is prone to maul and/or beat Freakazoid to a pulp.
  • Handman (voiced by Paul Rugg) - Freakazoid's brief "right hand man". He is quite literally just a painted face on Freakazoid's hand who has great difficulty pronouncing Freakazoid's name correctly. Fell in love with and married Freakazoid's left hand.
  • Expendable Lad, Freakazoid's brief sidekick from the start of And Fanboy was his Name. He was taken to the hospital due to injuries sustained from milk (a bruised clavicle) and was subsequently released from the service of Freakazoid.
  • Norm Abram - He was kidnapped by The Lobe to make a wooden instrument to destroy Freakazoid but got free and helped turn the tables. Abram supplied his own voice and trademark line for the episode.
  • Leonard Maltin - He was kidnapped by Dr. Mystico during the episode Island of Dr. Mystico, while Maltin was giving his opinion of the same episode. Freakazoid points out that Mystico's prisoners all have superpowers, and Mr. Maltin's is that he knows every movie ever made. Maltin provided his own voice for the episode.
  • Henry Kissinger- A Jewish politician who was kidnaped by Dr. Mystico's "orangu-men". In the show, he speaks in a low, groggy, incomprehensible mumble (provided by Maurice LaMarche). He is briefly mentioned in one episode after his only appearance.


Other characters

A few characters fall somewhere in the space between "enemies" and "allies" to land squarely in the category of "nuisances."

  • Mo-Ron/Bo-Ron (voiced by Stan Freberg) - A dimwitted alien from the planet Barone's. His name was later changed to Bo-Ron, to appease network censors' concerns that use of the word moron might be offensive. In one episode Lord Bravery refers to him as "Mo-Ron or... Bo-Ron, whatever." Is a parody of Ro-Man, the ridiculous-looking monster from the notoriously bad science fiction film Robot Monster. His first appearance was when he tried to deliver Earth an ”important message” , only to forget what it was. He also appeared in an episode that was a parody of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
  • Fanboy (voiced by Stephen Furst) - An obese, acne-stricken, socially awkward fanboy (hence his name) and would-be sidekick to Freakazoid who obsesses about numerous comic books, TV shows and movies, from The Black Hole to Star Wars. Fanboy's age is never specified; he could be anywhere between his late teens to early thirties.
  • Deadpan (voiced by Bebe Neuwirth) - A plain-looking (almost blank-faced) woman with a monotonous voice. She is a shapeshifter who once tried to conquer Washington by transforming into Freakazoid, but this plan was quickly foiled when the real Freakazoid appeared immediately after and nonchalantly pointed her out. She had only one appearance in a short segment before the opening credits for episode 1x13, The Wrath of Guiterrez.
  • Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Princess Diana make frequent cameos in the show, partly because Dexter Douglas lives in Washington, D.C.marker
  • Barbra Streisand also makes a number of appearances, most notably in the episode "Dexter's Date," which features a parody of Hello, Dolly!.
  • Hero Boy (voiced by John P. McCann) - The title character from Freakazoid's favorite TV show that is first shown in the episode of the same name. Hero Boy has no powers (save for flying) and his black and white show is a parody of the animated series Astro Boy. Hero Boy has the catchphrase "I must succeed!", though he is invariably shrugged off by the monsters he fights when his pathetic fighting techniques (consisting of weakly pounding on the enemies) fail miserably.
  • Steven Spielberg (voiced by Frank Welker) - The show's executive producer.
  • Paul Harvey (voiced by Paul Rugg) - A loud, obnoxious man who often interrupts the story to give background information on a villain, or to spoil the ending. He is a parody of the radio personality, and his scenes in the series frequently feature "The Rest of the Backstory."
  • Lonnie Tallbutt (voiced by Mitch Schauer) - A werewolf that begs Dexter for help. His name is a combination of that of Lon Chaney, Jr. and Lawrence Talbot, the character Chaney played in the 1941 movie The Wolf Man. He is prone to grabbing people's shirt collars and yelling "You don't understand!"
  • Emmitt Nervend (pictured), usually shows up at least once an episode, always in the opening credits, but usually in the background. He stands looking at the camera (as pictured), never saying a word. Sometimes things happen to him directly, like birds pecking his head or laser beams shooting just above his head. The end credits will often contain a credit revealing how many times Emmitt can be found in a particular episode.
  • Weena Mercator as The Hopping Woman – a person acknowledged whenever credits are used in an episode. Note that no episode or sketch has ever featured a hopping woman. Her name also appears with multiple spellings. "Mercator" in "Dance of Doom" and "Mercatur" in "The Cloud."


Mini-Segments

Freakazoid! also features several mini-segments, primarily during the first season. Each of these have their own theme songs, title cards and cast, and only rarely "cross over" into the continuity of the main show. These segments include:

  • Lord Bravery (voiced by Jeff Bennett) - A John Cleese-esque superhero from the United Kingdommarker in an outfit slightly resembling that of a Romanmarker soldier. He doesn't do much in the way of superheroism; in fact, he's very snooty, cynical and unwilling to do unpleasant tasks in the course of his duties such as entering a sewer to perform a rescue. Likewise, he gets little respect and recognition as a superhero from the general public and even his wife and mother-in-law, with whom he lives. At one point he loses his name due to a trademark dispute with a bakery of the same name, after which he changes his name to Lord Smoked Meats and Fishes. His theme song is delivered in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan's song "A British Tar".
  • The Huntsman (voiced by Jeff Bennett) - A good guess at what Robin Hood would be like if portrayed by Charlton Heston; he can never find enough crime to fight and secretly suspects that the police are hiding crimes from him because they don't trust him. He was once a hunter called Marty Feeb, who saved a chunky elf from being eaten crow, the elf rewarded Marty Feeb with a magic sack of corn, he was granted strength, speed, and shiny teeth, thus as the Huntsman was reborn. He also has a brother called Hector Feeb, who he claims lives in a townhouse. He can be summoned by blowing into the Horn of Urgency, and his battle cry is "Into action!". Possibly a parody of comic character Green Arrow. His trademark phrase is "Darn, the luck, darn!". His sketches are often themed around beginning with a lengthy, overly heroic opener, with a title that would indicate an action-oriented episode, that ends up being a short, anticlimactic skit of the Huntsman not being needed.
  • The Lawn Gnomes - A group of lawn statuary that come to life at night in a parody of the Gargoyles animated series. Infamous for their mischief, they were cursed to become stone by day by a powerful wizard after they played a prank on him and after they attacked his brother Erik the Large. They would revert at night, during which time they were given the opportunity to mend their ways to fight evil alongside mankind, after which the curse would be lifted. They have yet to do so to this day.
  • Toby Danger - A (somewhat) loving parody of Jonny Quest, featuring the voices of Scott Menville, Don Messick (in his last role before he died) and Granville Van Dusen (all of whom provided voices for JQ). This was originally written by Tom Minton as a twelve minute stand-alone short for Animaniacs, but slotted into Freakazoid! after that series was green-lighted and had an eight minute opening. The completed twelve minute Toby Danger storyboard was trimmed by director Eric Radomski to fit into the available Freakazoid! time slot.
  • Fatman and Boy Blubber - The misadventures of two morbidly obese superheroes, in a parody of the Batman TV series. Their only segment involves them saving a boy being bullied about his weight, only to bully him themselves when he won't give up his lunchbox. Fatman also makes an appearance during an episode, where it is revealed the episode is also a storybook being read by Fatman to children.


Production

Voicing

The voice actors of the show Freakazoid! included various actors from other television series and films. Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Jeff Glen Bennett, and Frank Welker, who all provided voices in the series Animaniacs, were on Freakazoid!. Actors Edward Asner, Ricardo Montalbán, Larry Cedar, Jonathan Harris, and Stephen Furst also provided voices for the series. Also, writers John P. McCann and Paul Rugg (who played Freakazoid!) added voices themselves.

Casting for the show had been difficult for the Freakazoid! staff, as no lead character had been found even after extensive auditions. Eventually, when writer Paul Rugg was brought to demonstrate the voice in a recording session, he ended up filling the role, as he said: "I went in there and did it. Then they played it for Steven [Spielberg] and he said 'Yep! Fine, sure, great,' and then I panicked ... and I had to do it." Rugg had played the role of Freakazoid through the entire series run.

Controversy with Mike Allred's Madman

This show and its lead character have been criticized as being plagiarism of the comic book Madman by the creator of Madman, Mike Allred. Both titular characters share several personality traits, and, according to Allred, wear similar costumes, both featuring a chest emblem of an exclamation mark (though Freakazoid's logo adds his initial F before the exclamation mark). During the short run of the show, Allred remained relatively silent on the subject. However, in 2003, he responded to a question about the show on the messageboard of his official website:

Humor

The humor in Freakazoid! relied heavily on slapstick, parody, and pop cultural references. Due to the series being meta-fiction, much of the series was self-aware humor (i.e. breaking the fourth wall); for instance, after the first appearance of the Freakmobile, the show goes immediately into an impromptu commercial for a toy version, and later in the episode, Freakazoid addresses an audience, congratulating the staff on how hard they have worked to make the show toyetic. A typically strange running gag involves a repeated credit for "Weena Mercator as the Hopping Woman", though no such character appears in any episode. Her credit is usually preceded by a number of other fictional names and followed by a fictional director.The show also incorporated humor aimed at the then-newly founded WB Network, such as questioning the meaning of the initials "WB", e.g., "Weird Butt" or "Wet Bananas" instead of Warner Bros.

Freakazoid! made frequent use of stock footage, including the peaceful scene of a field of flowers ("Relax-O-Vision"), numerous people screaming ("Scream-O-Vision"), traditionally dressed Bavariansmarker dancing and slapping each other, a man being shot in the belly with a cannonball and a man wrestling a bear.

Cameo appearances were also a major element of the show's humor. At various times, Freakazoid! hosted appearances by characters from other Warner Bros. cartoons such as Pinky and the Brain, Animaniacs and even an insinuation appearance of the Batman from Bruce Timm's animated version, which has a similar drawing style (its concept of old movie-style title cards at the beginning of each episode was also replicated in Freakazoid!). Portrayals of many celebrities (including producer Steven Spielberg) and guest appearances by such figures as Jack Valenti, Leonard Maltin, and Mark Hamill as themselves were also commonplace. Norm Abram had an entire episode, "Normadeus", built around him. One original character, a bizarre-looking man named Emmitt Nervend, plays no role whatsoever other than enabling a Where's Waldo-esque hunt for his constant cameos (complete with the number of his appearances announced in the closing credits).

One of the show's longest cameo appearances was when Wakko (from Animaniacs) and Brain (from Pinky and the Brain) appeared in a scene in which they argue with Freakazoid over which of their shows is Steven Spielberg's favorite. (Tiny Toon Adventures was not represented in the discussion as it was on Nickelodeon at the time, while the others were on Kids' WB.) However, when the trio confronts Steven over the issue, he simply replies, "Who are you people?"

History

Creation

Freakazoid! was created by animators Bruce Timm, who had previously produced Batman: The Animated Series, and Paul Dini, who was a story editor for Tiny Toon Adventures. Timm was called upon by Steven Spielberg, who Timm said "liked" Timm's Batman series, to help create a new superhero show. After a meeting with Spielberg, Timm said that Spielberg had "really liked" the idea for Freakazoid!, after which Timm and Dini created the character Freakazoid, an edgy superhero with a manic personality. Timm came up with the name 'Freakazoid' for the character naturally, as he recalled: "The name 'Freakazoid' just kind of jumped out of me, I don't even know where from. I said "Oh, yeah, 'Freakazoid', that might be an interesting name."

Timm originally created Freakazoid! to be a serious "adventure show" with some comedic undertones. However, Timm’s initial idea for the series did not come to be, as Timm stated:

Timm said that he later left the show because he felt he could not deliver the kind of series that Spielberg waslooking to make.

After Timm left the series, Tom Ruegger, who developed other Spielberg series Tiny Toon Adventuresand Animaniacs, was brought in to redevelop the series Timm had created "from the ground up".Ruegger's version of the series used some of Timm's designs and concepts, but Timm said that the serieswas "radically altered" to become the comedy series that was more to Spielberg's liking.

Ruegger then began writing stories for the series, and came up with a pile of very short segments. Spielbergliked what Ruegger had written, but wanted longer stories for the series as well. Ruegger then asked writersJohn McCann and Paul Rugg to come onto the series to write longer, more elaborate stories for the seriesand, according to Rugg, "(...) figure out what this [Freakazoid!] was going to be, and the answer was, 'Wedidn't know', and still don't".

Premiere, cancelation, and syndication

Freakazoid! premiered on Kids' WB Saturday lineup on September 9, 1995. During its run, Freakazoid! came across problems of appealing to its target demographic, young children. Tom Ruegger said that Freakazoid! had done poorly in ratings because the audience that the series gathered was older than the target audience. Also, Freakazoid! ran into timeslot problems. Writer John McCann said that the timeslot of the series changed frequently: "They put it at eight o' clock in the morning, three-thirty in the afternoon, they shifted it all around; we couldn't even find it, and we wrote the thing". The series ran on Kids' WB until November 16, 1996, when it was canceled due to poor ratings, airing only one complete season and part of a second season. The second season episode "Hero Boy" later won a Daytime Emmy Award. Rugg said the series' demise was the result of a combination of people not understanding the series, timeslot changes, appealing to the wrong demographics, and that "(...) there aren't a lot of Neilsen boxes in federal prisons. Had there been, I'm telling you, we'd still be on the air today". Bruce Timm said that the series still has a cult following of fans who ask him questions about the series whenever they meet him.

However, the show was later picked up by Cartoon Network and was rebroadcast from January 31, 1997 until March 8, 2003. The series had a total number of 24 episodes. Recently, Freakazoid!, among other shows, was scheduled to be broadcast on the AOL broadband channel, In2TV. However, Freakazoid! is no longer a featured series on the site.

Season Two of Freakazoid is currently available via XBox live.

Merchandise

Print

Freakazoid never had his own comic book, but he did make a special guest crossover in issue #35 of the Animaniacs comic published by DC Comics.

DVD releases

Warner Home Video released the first season of Freakazoid! on DVD in region 1 on July 29 2008. Season 2 was released on April 21, 2009. This completes the series on DVD for Region 1.

DVD name Ep # Release date Bonus features
Season 1 13(+1) July 29 2008 Audio commentary on three "key episodes", promos from the series launch, and a featurette tracking the evolution of the show from an action series to a comedy series.
Season 2 11 April 21 2009 Featurettes on the making of the last episode, "Favorite Moments" from the series, and an original demo tape for the song "Bonjour, Lobey" from series composer Richard Stone.


References

  1. Lenburg, p. 520


Further reading



External links




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