November 17, 2018

LOONATICS UNLEASHED


LOONATICS UNLEASHED
(WB/CW, September 17, 2005-May 5, 2007)

Warner Bros. Animation




MAIN CAST:
Charlie SchlatterAce Bunny, Toby the Pizza Boy
Jason MarsdenDanger Duck, Rupes Oberon, Robo-Amigo, Pilot
Rob PaulsenRev Runner, Mr. Leghorn (2nd time), Gorlop, Man at Zoo, Pizza Chef, Construction Worker
Candi MiloZadavia, Harriet Runner, Misty Breeze, Queen Grannicus, Stomper’s mother


For the history of Looney Tunes, check out the post here.


            With the failure of 2003’s Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Warner Bros. felt it was time to look into revitalizing the franchise, try something new. Enter Adam Trevor Grant and Joseph Louis Grant who introduced Loonatics Unleashed.

Zadavia with the Royal Tweetums.


            The show was set in the 28th Century, where the descendants of the original Looney Tunes lived on the city-planet of Acmetropolis. In the year 2772, a meteor struck Acmetropolis and gave a number of the population superpowers. To protect Acmetropolis, a mysterious and powerful alien woman named Zadavia (originally named Maxima, voiced by Candi Milo) assembled six of the affected residents to form a superteam: The Loonatics.

The Loonatics: Lexi, Rev, Tech E., Ace, Danger and Slam.

            The team was comprised of team leader Ace Bunny (originally named Buzz until it was discovered that name had been copyrighted by Dutch designer Metin Seven, voiced by Charlie Schlatter), a former stunt rabbit who gained laser vision and was trained in martial arts and swordsmanship; Lexi Bunny (Jessica DiCicco), a student and aspiring cheerleader who gained super hearing, a psychic energy bolt and the ability to manipulate plants, and brought her incredible agility to the team; Danger Duck (originally named Duck, voiced by Jason Marsden), a former pool boy that could generate spheres of energy called “eggs” that produce random effects or allow him to control water, as well as a Quantum Quack that let him teleport; Slam Tasmanian (originally named Spaz, voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson), a former professional wrestler who gained super strength and a tornado form that allowed him to fire tornado blasts with or without an electric jolt; Tech E. Coyote (originally named Slick, also voiced by Richardson), a student at Acme Tech University with super genius that gained magnetic manipulation and could regenerate his body from a molecular level; and Rev Runner (originally named Roadster, voiced by Rob Paulsen), a former delivery boy with a brilliant mind that gained super speed. Each member of the team wore a full body black uniform distinguishable by the different colored accents, and utilized various new gadgets whipped up by Tech E. in their battles.

Syth Vester.

            Other Looney Tunes descendants featured were Mr. Leghorn (Bill Farmer & Paulsen), a big name in the world of professional sports; The Royal Tweetums (Joe Alaskey), ruler of the planet Blanc (named for Mel Blanc); Ophiuchus Sam (Maurice LaMarche), a short-tempered thief who often forgot his name and what he was saying as he was saying it; Pierre Le Pew (also LaMarche), runner of illegal fights and wearer of stinky cologne; Gorlop (Paulsen), a professional wrestler; Queen Grannicus (Milo & Richardson), the evil caretaker of Tweetums who wanted his throne for herself; Sylth Vester (a parody of Darth Vader and the Sith, voiced by Alaskey), a mercenary who wore cyborg body armor to cover injuries from his various encounter with Tweetums; Sagittarius Stomper (Billy West), a thief who utilized robotic arms and legs made by his mother (Milo); Electro J. Fudd (also West), a hunter with a wide variety of weapons; Melvin the Martian (Alaskey), general of the Martian army; Sergeant Sirius (named for the dog star), Melvin’s dog; Pinkster Pig (Bob Bergen), an orphan and former friend of Danger who seemed to be on the side of law and order but used it as a cover for his criminal enterprises; and Stoney (Alaskey) and Bugsy (James Arnold Taylor), employees of Pinkster who went on a crime wave of stealing weapons and the mineral Curium that could steal super powers.

General Deuce teaming-up with Optimatus.
            Original characters included Gunnar the Conqueror (Tom Kenny), leader of robotic Vikings that sought to freeze the planet; Professor Zane (Jeff Bennett), a mad scientist who wanted to conquer the world with his monstrous Fuz-Zs (Steven Blum); Black Velvet (Vivica A. Fox), a woman whose eyes were damaged by the meteor and was forced to remain in darkness; Weathervane (Kaley Cuoco), a wannabe weathergirl who gained weather manipulation powers; Dr. Dare (Simon Templeman), a mad scientist who learned to control earthquakes; Ringmaster (Tim Curry), the evil leader of a circus who combined different creatures together to make his attractions; Otto the Odd (Dee Bradley Baker), the Ringmaster’s boss who hid behind the guise of being a mere clown; Massive (Michael Clarke Duncan), a large criminal with gravity manipulation powers; Drake Sypher (Phil LaMarr), who could absorb the powers from others with a touch; Time Skip (David Faustino), who was able to manipulate time; Mallory “Mastermind” Casey (Florence Henderson), Tech E.’s former classmate who attempted to steal the brainpower of the university staff; Optimatus (Charlie Adler), Zadavia’s evil brother who possessed similar abilities; General Deuce (Khary Payton), former general of Zadavia’s home planet of Freleng (named for Friz Freleng) who sought to conquer the galaxy; Adolpho (Mark Hamill), a mutated dolphin who sought revenge on the surface for polluting the oceans; Queen Athena (Serena Williams), leader of the Apocazons (based on the mythological Amazons) who wanted to eliminate the men of Acmetropolis; and Rupes Oberon (Marsden), a musician who tricked Tech E. into building a cosmic guitar to steal Zadavia’s powers and allow him to control the universe.



            Lunatics Unleashed debuted on September 17, 2005 on the Kids’ WB! programming block on The WB; which became The CW during the show’s second season. It was designed to be an action-comedy that blended the classic Looney Tunes’ comedy stylings with modern action animated series. The characters were designed by Christian Tremblay and Yvon Tremblay and initially had a more menacing look to them. A teaser promo for the series, originally called simply The Loonatics, aired on The WB before the show’s debut. It used limited animation, comic book-like panels, and the character’s original names to try and build up hype for the show. It had an intentionally anime-inspired approach to appeal to the children who grew up on the genre and to fit into the Kids’ WB! schedule.

The original character designs.

Unfortunately for Warner Bros. Animation, the promo had the opposite effect. Audiences complained about the new character models while critics accused the studio of pandering to a demographic while disrespecting the source material. An internet petition against them was even started by 11-year-old fan, Thomas Adams. Despite president Sander Schwartz’s assurances that the classic characters were just “sharing DNA” with these new ones and it was merely an extension of the franchise, the designs were redone and softened with Walter Gatus serving as the lead character designer.

Danger with Electro J. Fudd.



The first season premiered to mixed reviews, prompting the studio to make some changes for the second season. The stories were much lighter and more comedic with a new intro to match. Zadavia was also more physically present, rather than communicating through a hologram as he had during the first season. The series ended after the planned 26 episodes had aired. It would be the last Looney Tunes television show until 2011’s The Looney Tunes Show. During the show’s run, two Flash games were run on the Kids’ WB! website: Acmetropolis Obstacle Course, where players had to guide Lexi around various obstacles, and Slam’s Snowboarding Slolom [sic], where players guided Slam down a hill while performing tricks in the air for extra points. Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s released 4 toys in their Cool Kids Combo meals based on the show in early 2006. In 2007, Warner Home Video released the complete series to DVD across two sets.



EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“Loonatics on Ice” (9/17/05) – The Loonatics have to save the planet from a sudden and permanent cold snap.

“Attack of the Fuzz Balls” (9/24/05) – The latest pet craze turns sour when Fur-Zs become giant monsters upon eating chocolate.

“The Cloak of Black Velvet” (10/1/05) – After having her eyesight damaged by the meteor strike, Black Velvet seeks to plunge the entire world in darkness.

“Weathering Heights” (10/8/05) – A weather girl gets struck by lightning and gains the ability to control the weather.

“Going Underground” (10/29/05) – The Loonatics have to stop Dr. Dare from using earthquakes to submerge the entire planet’s surface.

“The Comet Cometh” (11/5/05) – As the Loonatics celebrate the anniversary of their powers, a larger meteor is found to be headed towards Acmetropolis.

“The World is My Circus” (11/12/05) – A traveling circus abducts humans and splices them together with animal DNA to perform in the show.

“Stop the World, I Want to Get Off” (11/19/05) – Gravity-manipulating Massive plots to steal the basherball championship trophy.

“Sypher” (11/26/05) – Sypher decides he wants the glory of being a superhero and uses his own abilities to steal those of the Loonatics.

“Time After Time” (2/11/06) – Trying to stop a time-manipulating thief causes the Loonatics to enter a time loop.

“The Menace of Mastermind” (2/18/06) – A former classmate of Tech’s breaks out of prison and plans to get revenge on him for putting her there.

“Acmegeddon Part I” (5/6/06) – Optimatus breaks the Loonatics’ foes out of prison to unite them against the heroes.

“Acmegeddon Part II” (5/13/06) – Zadavia explains her connection to Optimatus as he betrays his allies and seeks to suck the planet into a wormhole.

Season 2:
“Secrets of the Guardian Strike Sword” (9/23/06) – The mysterious Deuce saves Ace’s life as he attempted to stop Ophichus Sam from robbing an inter-dimensional train.

“A Creep in the Deep” (9/30/06) – A telepathic dolphin brainwashes sea creatures into attacking manmade objects in the sea.

“I Am Slamacus” (10/7/06) – Pierre convinces Slam to enter a fighting tournament, however he fails to mention the final match is a death match.

“The Heir Up There” (11/4/06) – The Loonatics have to get the Royal Tweetums to his home planet while evading the evil Sylth Vester.

“The Family Business” (11/11/06) – Rev’s family come to visit, and Rip’s jealousy towards his brother allows him to be possessed by a Bio-Tech Brain Parasite.

“Cape Duck” (11/18/06) – Tech’s device malfunctions and allows Duck to defeat the Sagittarius Stomper and cause him to become a sensation with the public.

“The Hunter” (2/3/07) – The Loonatics try to deal with Massive while Electro J. Fudd hunts Ace.

“It Came From Outer Space” (2/10/07) – Rev and Lexi mistake Tech’s weapon system for a video game, accidentally shooting Melvin the Martian and bringing his wrath on the city.

“Apocalypso” (2/17/07) – The Loonatics land on a planet of powerful warrior women and their queen invites Lexi to join them.

“In the Pinkster” (2/24/07) – After Duck’s old friend helps them against some gangster, things begin going bad for the team.

“The Music Villain” (3/3/07) – A band uses rock music to terrorize the city and capture Zadavia.

“Planet Blanc: The Fall of Blanc (Part I)” (4/28/07) – Optimatus, Deuce and Rupes Oberon conquer planet Blanc and plan to use the wormhole generator to take over the universe.

“Planet Blanc: The Fall of Blanc (Part II” (5/5/07) – The Loonatics search for Tweetums with Sylth Vester’s help while Decue betrays Optimatus to join the heroes.

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