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Sealab 2021 is an Americanmarker animated television series. It was shown on Cartoon Network's adult-oriented programming block, Adult Swim. It premiered on December 21, 2000 and the final episode aired on April 25, 2005. Sealab 2021 is one of the four original Williams Streetmarker series that premiered in 2000 before Adult Swim officially launched (the others are Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Brak Show, and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law).

Like Adult Swim's Space Ghost Coast to Coast and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, the animation used stock footage from a 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon, in this case the short-lived, environmentally themed Sealab 2020, along with original animation. Sealab 2021 was produced by 70/30 Productions.

Summary

Adam Reed and Matt Thompson, the creators and writers of Sealab 2021, came up with the idea for the show in 1995 while they were production assistants for Cartoon Network. They stumbled on a tape of the show Sealab 2020, and wrote dialog to match the lips. Cartoon Network passed on the show because they did not believe it was funny. Five years after quitting Cartoon Network, the two went back to the original tape, this time making the characters do what they wanted. Cartoon Network bought the show, coincidentally around the same time that Adult Swim was created. The original "pitch pilot" is available on the Season 1 DVD as a special feature.

The show is set one year after the time frame of Sealab 2020. During this year, the crew's professionalism and morals have slowly degraded, causing the crew to spend more time goofing off in various ways rather than doing any serious work. None of the episodes share any connection or ongoing plot. As a result, continuity is frequently ignored; for instance, the entire installation is destroyed at the end of many episodes, and cast members are often killed in horrible ways. While the show contains many references to the pop culture of the 1980s-2000s and appears to be set in the year 2021, John F. Kennedy is President and Robert Kennedy is his Attorney General, suggesting that it is in fact still the early 1960s. (Episode 29, "Red Dawn"). The show also contains numerous subtle references to The South, e.g. the submarine "The Hunley", and the discussion of Dollywood.

Many fans and critics felt that the show fell into a sharp decline following the death of Harry Goz, the voice of Captain Murphy. After four seasons, the final episode aired on April 25, 2005.

Characters

Captain Hazel "Hank" Murphy (voiced by Harry Goz) is the ostensible leader of the crew. He is deranged, and quite unfit for service; instead of providing any real leadership, he is usually neglecting his duties or putting Sealab at grave risk. The only episode which features Murphy acting responsibly throughout is "7211", which is a faithful reenactment of the original Sealab 2020 show. His voice actor, Harry Goz, died on on September 6, 2003 from Multiple Myeloma. The show wrote his character off, saying that he left Sealab to fight in the "Great Spice Wars". Goz was replaced by his son, Michael Goz, who voiced the character Bellerophon Shanks.
Captain Bellerophon "Tornado" Shanks (voiced by Michael Goz) earned his position as Sealab's new captain by answering a help-wanted ad. A retired football coach and redneck, his personality bears a resemblance to Captain Murphy. Late in the series, Shanks drops his southern accent. The character was introduced as a replacement for Captain Murphy, played by Michael Goz's father, Harry Goz, who had died.
Jodene Sparks (voiced by Bill Lobley) is the station's radio operator. He has never been seen standing and rarely leaves his office chair; it is widely understood by the crew that despite appearances he is not disabled, only lazy. He is often a co-conspirator with Captain Murphy in many of his escapades, though he sometimes attempts to act as a voice of reason for him. He's Claustrophobic, as well as always looking to get money from his fellow mates.
Debbie DuPree (voiced by Kate Miller) is a marine biologist, and one of only two adult females on the ship. She has blonde hair and is often of interest to the males on Sealab. She has an ongoing sexual relationship with Doctor Quinn.
Derek "Stormy" Waters (voiced by Ellis Henican) is a pretty boy who is lacking in intelligence.
Dr. Quentin Q. Quinn (voiced by Brett Butler) is an incredibly intelligent member of the Sealab crew. He has an IQ of 260 and Ph.D.'s in several scientific disciplines. He is often the one that ends up running the station and is usually the voice of reason to Captain Murphy. He also has a robotic body of his own design.
Marco Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar Gabriel Garcia Marquez (voiced by Erik Estrada) is the station's engineer. He is very powerful and a ladies' man, and often exclaims random things in Spanish, although not actually speaking the language. His name comes from both the Spaniard epic XI century poem "El Cantar del Mio Cid", which featured the character Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, and from the 1982 Literary Nobel Prize winner journalist and novelist Gabriel García Márquez.
Hesh Hepplewhite (voiced by MC Chris) is the station's reactor operator and is quite often the whipping boy as well. It was revealed that he is Jewish. Nasal-voiced, smart-mouthed, and whiny, Hesh is not well-liked by most of the crew and thus works in the part of the station farthest away from them. Hesh has a habit of continually referring to himself in the third person.
Debbie Love (a.k.a. "Black" Debbie) (voiced by Angela Gibbs) is both the only other adult female and the only other black person on the station. She teaches school to the Sealab's orphans, is very proud of her race. In one episode, her name is displayed on a monitor as Debbie Allison; but in another her nameplate is shown as Debbie Love.
Dr. Ilad Virjay (voiced by Adam Reed) is the station's official doctor and in-house surgeon, noted for his thick Indian accent and relatively normal personality. He graduated third in his class from The Medical College of Mescutabuti. He practices Manduism, the Sealab universe's version of Hinduism. It is later revealed that he is also janitor for sealab's restaurant section.
Dolphin Boy is a little, chubby boy that talks in dolphin noises. He is a member of Black Debbie's class, is the target of endless fat jokes, and is often killed for no reason whatsoever by the Sealab crewmembers. He is the persona non grata of Sealab.


Episodes

Fifty-two 11-minute episodes of Sealab 2021 were produced, as opposed to only 16 25-minute episodes of the original Sealab 2020. Sealab 2021 is rated TV-14.

DVD Releases

DVD Name Release Date Ep # Additional Information
Season One July 20, 2004 13 This two disc boxset contains the first 13 episodes ("Radio Free Sealab" through "Swimming in Oblivion"). Bonus features include alternate endings for episode "I, Robot", deleted scenes, the original pitch pilot, and uncensored scenes for "Radio Free Sealab". Music during the main menu is the original recording of the theme song.
Season Two February 1, 2005 13 This two disc boxset contains the second set of 13 episodes ("Der Dieb" through "Return to Oblivion"). Bonus features include commentaries for all thirteen episodes, an animatic for the unseen episode "Ronnie", and other assorted bonus features - many of which involve women in bikinis. The DVD cover, used for the "Bizarro" episode, is a homage to the cover of Uncanny X-Men #100, by artist Dave Cockrum. Music during the main menu is the theme song played backwards. This season two DVD is included on Adult Swim in a Box, which was released on October 27, 2009.
Season Three July 12, 2005 13 This two disc boxset contains the third set of 13 episodes ("Splitsville" through "Neptunati"). Bonus features include two unseen episodes and the animatic of a third unseen episode, commentary for four episodes, and other features. Music during the main menu is the music used in the "Red Dawn" episode.
Season Four August 8, 2006 13 This two disc boxset contains the final 13 episodes ("Isla de las Chupacabras" through "Legacy of Laughter"). Bonus features include alternate endings and deleted scenes. For this set, Cartoon Network abandoned their usual digipak packaging design in favor of a more traditional amaray-style keep case. During the main menu, underwater sound effects are used.


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