Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
2020 was a futuristic series by Hanna-Barbera Productions
set in an underwater lab, known as Sealab, in a place called the Challenger
seamount. The lab was inhabited by a crew of 250 “oceanauts” dedicated to
exploring the wonders and dangers of the sea.
Alex Toth equipment concept art.
Heading up the lab was Dr. Paul
Williams (Ross Martin), and he was often assisted by Hal (Jerry Dexter), Gail
(Ann Jillian) and Ed (Ron Pinkard), as well as communications officer Lt.
Sparks (William Callaway). The crew was joined by the Murphy family—Michael (John
Stephenson), Robert (Josh Albee) and Sally (Pamelyn Ferdin)—whom they rescued
from a sinking ship and became permanent residents of the Sealab. Adding a bit
of comic relief was Gail’s pet dolphin, Tuffy. The characters, props and
settings were designed by Alex Toth.
Sonar Room concept art.
2020 debuted on NBC on September 9, 1972
with music by Hoyt Curtin. Each
episode was designed to make viewers more ecologically aware and encourage them
to protect the environment. Unfortunately, the undersea adventure series failed
to draw in viewers and it was quickly cancelled by December. Two episodes were
left unaired, with a third having not even finished production. Despite the
show’s short run, Milton
Bradley released a board game
based on the show the following year. In 1985, Worldvision Home
Video released a VHS
with the episodes “The Singing Whale” and “The Shark Lover.” In 2012, Warner Archive released the complete
series to DVD as part of their Hanna-Barbera
Classics collection; however it’s complete only in that it includes every
episode actually aired and not the final three.
In 1995, while working as production
assistants for Cartoon Network, Adam Reed and Matt Thompson came across a tape
of the show. They wrote new dialogue for it and pitched it to the network as a
potential parody series. Initially, the network passed. Five years later, Reed and
Thompson revisited the tape and decided to alter the footage to have the
character do what they wanted. Pitching it again to Cartoon Network around the
time they were planning to launch their Adult
Swim programming block, the network bought the show. Sealab 2021rearranged
footage from every episode as well as additional cartoon series to create
all-new nonsensical episodes that didn’t follow a particular continuity (Sealab’s
destruction and character deaths were often undone in following episodes). The
series, produced by Williams
Productions and Radical Axis,
proved more popular than the original and ran for four seasons of 52 11-minute
Threat” (9/9/72) – Robert and Sally get lost while diving while the water
becomes contaminated by leaking radioactive barrels.
(9/16/72) – A red tide hits the Sealab and cuts down its oxygen supply while
Gail trains a dolphin to rescue divers.
Fever” (9/23/72) – The Sealab floods after an anchor hits it.
Singing Whale” (9/30/72) – A whale expert visits the Sealab just as a whale
hunter chases a blue whale into their vicinity.
Shark Lover” (10/7/72) – The Sealab calls in a shark expert to figure out why
the shark population has increased around the lab.
Basking Shark” (10/14/72) – The Sealab is commissioned to retrieve a probe that
crashed near it, but when it disappears the Sealab is suspected of espionage.
Dangers Are Many” (10/21/72) – The captain of a bottom-dredging mining
operation becomes trapped under his own dredge.
(10/28/72) – When oil drillers refuse to relocate away from Sealab, a tsunami
ends up destroying their whole operation.
Deepest Dive” (11/4/72) – Using a new submersible to plant a seismograph on the
ocean floor leads the Sealab to come into conflict with a giant squid.
Challenge” (11/11/72) – An archaeologist’s brother grows impatient with the
speed Sealab’s safety guidelines have them moving to find a sunken treasure.
of the Aquarius” (11/18/72) – A submarine crashes into Seamount and its reactor
Capture” (11/25/72) – The kids don’t like a biologist’s capture of animal
species, but their attempts to set them free get them caught in a cage and
dragged over the edge of the Seamount.
Arctic Story” (12/2/72) – The crew use the Dolphin
to try and find the Arctic research station that is caught under a capsized
Sealab Ocean Signal” (N/A) – The Sealab is threatened by toxic chemicals that
could cause it to explode.
of Cassidy” (N/A) – The crew discovers a seeming island paradise.