May 27, 2017

CYBERSIX

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CYBERSIX
(Teletoon, September 6-November 29, 1999 CAN
FOX, August 19-October 21, 2000 US)


Network of Animation Productions, TMS Entertainment

MAIN CAST:
Cathy Weseluck – Cybersix/Adrian Seidelman
Michael Dobson – Lucas Amato
Terry Klassen – Von Reichter
Andrew Francis – Julian
Alex Doduk – Jose
Janyse Jaud – Lori Anderson
L. Harvey Gold – Terra


            Cybersix was a series of Argentine comics created by Carlos Meglia and Carlos Trillo. The comic first appeared in 1992 as part of the Italian version of the magazine Skorpio after the publisher came to them to produce a new strip for the book. It was published as a weekly series of 12-page stories beginning with Anno XVI #22, later collected into special editions. In 1994, it was spun off into its own 96-page comic that ran for 45 issues until it was cancelled in 1999. The whole series was published by Eura Editoriale. The series was subsequently translated into Spanish and released in Argentina by El Globo Editor and Spain by Planeta DeAgostini, and collections were translated into French by Editions Vents d’Ouest.

Cybersix vs. Von Reichter's creations.

            The series centered on the title character, Cybersix (or Cyber-6, Cathy Weseluck), who was a genetically engineered human created by former Nazi scientist, Dr. Von Reichter (Terry Klassen, also one of the show’s writers). The Cyber series looked like ordinary humans, but possessed superhuman strength and agility. However, when the Cyber series proved too resistant to his commands, he ordered the entire line of 5000 to be destroyed. Only Six was spared, saved by one of the African slaves Von Reichter kept. They lived as father and daughter until Von Reichter had them hunted down and the slave was killed. Six made her way to Meridana where she took the place of a young boy, Adrian Seidleman, that recently died in a car wreck with the rest of his family. An earlier version of the concept had Six disguising herself as a man to become a police officer after her father had been killed.

Von Reichter and his Fixed Ideas.

Von Reichter, however, had not been idle. From his lab in the Amazon he worked on his other creations: the Fixed Ideas, which resembled large Frankenstein’s monster-like beings and performed his grunt work; the Data series, which resembled animals; the Techno series, the more human-like and more loyal upgrade to the Cyber series; and the Type series, which were a further advancement over the Technos. At night, Cybersix would hunt down these creations in the city not only to disrupt Von Reicther’s dreams of world conquest, but to vampirically drain them of the life-giving fluid called “Sustenance” she needed to survive. By day, she would continue to live as Adrian, now a high school literature teacher and friend to science teacher Lucas Amato (Michael Dobson), with whom a mutual infatuation developed.

Cybersix confronts Von Reicther amongst his creations.

            Two things influenced the creation of Cybersix. One was the case of Mario and Elsa Rios; a wealthy couple who had some of Elsa’s embryo’s frozen (which was a new innovation at the time) before both died in a plane crash in 1983. The heirs to their estate wanted those embryos destroyed so as to eliminate any chance that they could claim part of it, which inspired Trillo to wonder what would have happened if the embryos instead fell into the hands of a scientist who sought to create life.

Cybersix facing her Adrian persona.

The other inspiration came from Portugese writer Fernando Pessoa, who had created seventy-five distinct names that he wrote under. That led to the theme of duality that ran throughout the Cybersix series as many of the characters had a completely different side to them. In Six’s case, it was her time as male literature teacher Adrian. For Lucas, not only was he a science teacher, but also a journalist.



            The comic became popular enough to attract the attention of television producers. In Argentina, the comic was adapted into a live-action television series in 1995. Produced by Patagonik TV Group and Television Federal, the show starred model Carolina Pelleritti in the title role. Unfortunately, the series was poorly received and was quickly cancelled after only eight episodes. Shortly after the cancellation, a friend of Meglia’s, Alejandro Dolina, told him of a Canadian producer looking for a cartoon project. The pair sent off several scripts and a sample pilot Dolina crafted on his computer. A deal was struck and the show was taken on by Network of Animation (NOA) Productions.

Jose, a Hitler in the making.

            A new pilot was created by TMS Entertainment in order to shop the series to networks. The show was picked up by Teletoon in Canada and the full series was put into production. TMS stayed on as the primary animation facility for the show and reincorporated parts of their pilot into the show’s intro and scenes within the episodes. Teiichi Takiguchi served as the character designer and kept the look of the show close to Meglia’s art style; from Six’s white-less eyes to the rectangular patches representing hair. However, he did simplify their appearances a bit to make them easier to animate.

A vial of Sustenance.

            While the show largely followed the main plotline of the comics, some changes had to be made to the source material for consumption by western audiences. The level of violence had to be considerably toned down. Meglia worked with the producers for several days to come up with an alternative for Six’s feeding on Sustenance by biting on necks, and came up with the idea that Von Reichter’s creations carried around vials of the stuff on their person and dissipated after Cybersix defeated them. Von Reichter’s Nazi affiliation was kept ambiguous, although it manifested itself in the clothing and movements of his son and right-hand man, Jose (Alex Dodusk). Jose’s origin was changed from being an age-retarded clone of Von Reichter, and the sexual libido Von Reicther gave him to keep him too distracted from revolting against him was removed. Lori (Janyse Jaud), the student in Adrian’s class that was infatuated with him, was changed from a highly promiscuous thug to be a smarter, computer-literate thug. Lucaswas no longer a journalist, and his obsession with learning about Cybersix was curbed to make him appear as less of a crackpot conspiracy theorist. The show also left more open for the audience to interpret, whereas the comic explained everything; right down to Cybersix’s outfit coming from one of Von Reichter’s creations posing as a prostitute.

Cybersix and Data-7.

            Cybersix debuted on Teletoon on September 6, 1999. While casting the show, the producers were uncertain whether to cast a male actor for the Adrian role or not. After Cathy Weseluck auditioned for Six, Julian and Jose, they decided she could pull off both and cast her in the lead role. Producer Koji Takeuchi served as one of the series’ writers, along with Judy Valyi, Barry Whittaker, Andrew D. Hammell, Jono Howard, Catherine Girczyc and Michael Van Lane. The series’ beginning and ending themes were composed by series composer Robbi Finkel with lyrics by Robert Olivier and vocals provided by jazz singer Coral Egan, who sang it in the fist person. Finkel was hired by the producers after hearing his composition for a showing of Cirque du Soleil.



            A second season of 13 episodes was planned, but production ended after the first season when there were internal disagreements between the production companies. The show was translated into several languages and broadcast around the world, eventually finding its way to the United States on FOX Kids. Debuting on August 19, 2000, the show was even further toned down by the network; particularly the intro, which was cut in half in order to remove most of the instances of violence depicted. Even so, it drew controversy over its content and characters due to its being shown so early in the morning between two far more kid-friendly programs, Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue and Digimon: Digital Monsters. This mature tonality was the particular reason producer Herve Bedard wanted to make the show; because he believed that young adults would be the new niche audience to target with animation. Unfortunately, said target audience wasn’t as likely to be up as early and the show was pulled from FOX’s schedule after only 10 episodes aired.

Lucas reassures Cybersix he's never seen Dark Angel.

Although Cybersix the series ended on a cliffhanger, Cybersix the comic managed to bring its story to a conclusion before its cancellation. Cybersix had a second controversy during 2000, as Meglia and Trillo sued James Cameron and FOX over their show Dark Angel. They claimed that the show stole most of the plot and recognizable elements from the comic. Unfortunately, the lawsuit was never resolved as they couldn’t afford to pursue it. The lawsuit likely led to the heavy and unpopular changes made in Dark Angel’s second season, which ultimately led to its cancellation.

The DVD cover.

Despite its short run, Cybersix won a Pulcinella Award and two Leo Awards in 2001. Cybersix was released to VHS in Canada by ImaVision Distribution in both English and French. In 2014, Discotek Media released the complete series to DVD in North America, and by DVDY Films and Declic Images in Europe. All versions of the DVD set contain bonus features.



EPISODE GUIDE:
“Mysterious Shadow / La créature mystérieuse” (9/6/99 CAN, 8/19/00 US) – Cybersix befriends Lucas Amato and prevents Jose and Von Reichter’s counterfeiting scheme.

“Data-7 & Julian / Data 7 et Julien” (9/12/99 CAN, 8/26/00 US) – Reichter sends Data-7 after Cybersix while she tries to save Julian from Jose’s clutches.

“Terra / Terra” (9/18/99 CAN, 9/2/00 US) – Reichter creates Terra to go after Cybersix, but his development of free will forces Jose to trap both of them in a burning tower.

“Yashimoto, Private Eye / Yashimoto, détective privé” (9/19/99 CAN, 9/9/00 US) – Jose kidnaps the younger brother of detective Yashimoto in order to blackmail him into hunting down Cybersix.

“Lori is Missing / Lori a disparu” (9/25/99 CAN, 9/16/00 US) – One of Adrian’s students reveals seeing Cybersix in his apartment and ends up kidnapped by Jose’s gang.

“Blue Birds of Horror / Les pigeons bleus”(9/26/99 CAN, 9/23/00 US) – Jose controls a swarm of hostile birds and has them invade the city.

“Brainwashed / Police contrôle” (10/2/99 CAN, 9/30/00 US) – Jose brainwashes six cops to seek out Cybersix and captures Julian in order to lure her into a trap.

“Gone with the Wings / Gare aux gargouilles” (10/3/99 CAN, 10/7/00 US) – Nightly battles with goblins has Data-7 and Julian seek out their eggs in order to destroy them all at once.

“The Eye / Coup d'oeil sur la ville” (10/10/99 CAN, 10/14/00 US) – Jose attempts to capture an eyeball creature that grows in size when it drains a victim’s consciousness.

“Full Moon Fascination / Fascination lunaire” (10/9/99 CAN, 10/21/00 US) – A scratch Lucas receives from his new girlfriend results in his becoming a werewolf.

“The Greatest Show in Meridiana / Jose fait son cirque” (10/16/99 CAN) – Jose and his robotic animals capture Data-7 and Cybersix and force them to perform in the circus.

“Daylight Devil / Le démon de l'aube” (10/17/99 CAN) – Reptilian woman Griselda discovers Cybersix’s identity and battles her on a class field trip.

“The Final Confrontation” (10/23/99 CAN) – Reichter sends a giant living bomb to destroy the city, but Jose wants the city for himself and diverts the bomb back to Reichter.

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