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.
It wasn’t until the late 60s that Saturday mornings were beginning to get into full swing. Content with airing primetime reruns and a few new shows here and there, that all changed in 1966 when CBS revitalized its schedule with an action-heavy slant. When CBS showed massive success, the other networks followed and Saturday morning suddenly became good business. So, how would the networks advertise to their targeted audiences to tune in every week? Simple: advertise in comic books! For almost every Saturday schedule for decades, there was an artfully designed cartoon representing the networks’ schedules in every major publication. They even made sure to cover their bases with ads in TV Guideand newspapers so that parents would be aware shows for their kids would be on. However, as Saturday mornings began to lose importance to viewers and networks alike, and as they moved away from traditional Saturday morning programming, the ads became fewer and far between.
With Saturday mornings losing importance in the eyes of both viewers and networks, the Saturday morning preview offerings for the 1990s was sparse. Only ABC really continued to indulge in them, with Fox Kids and Kids' WB only using something similar to announce their respective launches. So, here we present to you the last offerings of Saturday Morning Preview Specials (or close to) that can be found on the internet at this time.
Bob Doucette and developed by Tim
Cahill, Michael Maler
and Julie McNally, Detention
focused on 7 troublemakers from Benedict
Arnold Middle School. Try as they might, they just couldn’t avoid being
sent to detention by gym teacher Eugenia P. Kisskillya (Kathleen Freeman), a
former sergeant in the Marine Corps who
often timed displayed a humorless form of tyranny over them (however, she has
been shown to be a nice person). She was
based on a nun teacher from Doucette’s grade school, and was infused with
elements of Freeman’s Sister Mary Stigmata from The Blues Brothersfilms.
The Detention Crew: the Labelle twins, Shelley, Shareena, Emmitt, Jim, Gug and Duncan.
frequent targets included Shareena Wickett (Tara Strong), a horror-loving goth
girl who liked being a free spirit and had a pet pig named, well, Pig; Emmitt
Roswell (Billy West), a conspiracy theorist with a firm belief in aliens (hence
the name); Jim Kim (Roger Eschbacher), whose love of superhero comics tended to
leave him a bit detached with reality as he often believed he possessed their
various abilities; Ramone “Gug” Gugleamo (Carlos Alarzaqui), a short kid with a
bad temper often left out of competitive sports and looking to take on people
bigger than him; Duncan Bubble, a quiet boy who was able to spell out various
words with the yo-yo he always carried (accompanied by an electronic voice
reading them aloud, provided by Doucette); and twins Lemonjella and Orangejella
LaBelle (played by real-life twins Tia and Tamera Mowry), whose possessed a
high intelligence that often left others confused when they spoke and had a
tendency to become competitive with each other. Shelley Kelley (Pamelyn Ferdin)
was also present; however, she was considered Miss Kisskillya’s assistant more
than a troublemaker (despite her best efforts to be one once). She was a peppy girl
always in a Ladybug Scout uniform whose desire to be friends with the kids
(particularly Shareena and Emmit, who she had a crush on) often goes at odds
with their despising her for sucking up to Miss Kisskillya. The characters were
designed by Stephen Silver and Matt Taylor.
episodes, it was one of the shortest shows to come out of Warner Bros.
Animation by the time it was cancelled after its only season. It did, however,
find an extended life in reruns when The WB moved it to Friday afternoon reruns
from September 8, 2000 until August 31, 2001. It wouldn’t be until 2020 when
Warner Archive released the complete
series to DVD.
“Shareena Takes the Cake” (9/11/99) – Shareena and Shelley
bake an explosive cake for Misss Kisskillya over missing a concert for
detention, while the boys try to retrieve Duncan’s yo-yo from her.
“The Man with the Golden Brain” (9/18/99) – The gang has to
keep Lemonjella and Orangejella from ruining the spelling bee with their
competitiveness while Emmitt suspects the principal is a brain-stealing cyborg.
“What Did You Séance?” (9/25/99) – Shareena plans to contact
her great-aunt via a séance while Shelley joins Emmitt in his plans to welcome
UFOS set to arrive on the school roof.
“The Contest” (10/9/99) – The kids all hold a competition to
see who can stay out of detention while Shelley tries to get it on purpose.
“Too Good to be Truant” (10/23/99) – Emmitt and Gug run
against each other for class president while Shareena and Shelley decide to skip
“Breaking Out” (11/6/99) – The kids decide to get out of
Saturday detention to meet their favorite TV star, not knowing Miss Kisskillya
is doing the same.
“Comedy of Terrors” (11/13/99) – Miss Kisskillya gives Gug
the part Shareena wanted in the school play, and she doesn’t take it very well.
“Little Miss Popular” (11/20/99) – Shareena hangs out with a
clique of popular girls in order to meet the boy she likes.
“Capitol Punishment” (12/4/99) – Shelley wins a trip to
Washington, D.C. and invites the gang and Miss Kisskillya along, but she ends
up left behind when the plane leaves.
“The Blame Game” (1/8/00) – Lemonjella and Oangejella try to
find the thief behind the thefts they’re blamed for while Emmitt is assigned to
clean the haunted boiler room.
“Boyz ‘N the Parenthood” (2/5/00) – The kids are broken up
into pairs to care for a water balloon “baby” while Emmitt is distracted by the
notion his father is coming to see him.
“A Friend in Greed” (3/4/00) – Lemonjella and Orangejella
find a map for a buried treasure which causes greed to erupt among the kids.
“Rule the School” (3/25/00) – Gug is made hall monitor and
he goes mad with power, while Shareena plans a party when her parents go out of
However, Babylon was largely
set in a singular location as an additional method to keep costs down. Thornton
wanted to really show what visual effects could accomplish on television and
decided to come up with his own show with a much grander scope. He also wanted
to make something for the kids’ market more akin to the type of shows he grew
up loving, rather than the mindless stock-footage laden fare he found on
television at the time. Thornton partnered with Babylon 5 executive
producer Douglas Netter and
created a 3-minute demo reel which secured them a spot on the ABC network. Finally, he recruited Christy Marx to develop the show’s bible
and flesh out his concepts, having worked with her previously on Captain
Power and Babylon.
One of the VHS covers depicting the Hypernauts' base, Star Ranger 7.
The resulting show was Hypernauts.
Three cadets (cut down from five by network request) from the Academy of
Galactic Exploration who are sent on a disciplinary mission. They ended up lost
in a hyper bubble (aka hyperspace) and landed in an unfamiliar part of the
galaxy. They want to go home, but are unable to do so without allowing the
sinister warlike race known as the Triiad to follow
them. The Triiad’s sole desire was to wipe out intelligent races and raze
conquered planets for the material to create new war machines and automated self-replicating
factor ships called “Makers.” Their greatest asset was their anonymity; nobody
knew who or what the Triiad was, nor found any reason to believe they existed
until it was too late.
Our heroes: Ace, Kulai, Sharkey and Max.
The Hypernauts were comprised of
Russel “Ace” Antonov (Glenn Herman), an ace pilot in either a ship or their mech suits,
who was being punished for using the simulation trainer to play war games;
Noriko “Max” Matsuda (Heidi Lucas), the team medic who joined against the
wishes and beliefs of her people, the isolationist and xenophobic Caduceus
Enclave, and was punished for making unauthorized calls to her sister; and
Ricardo “Sharkey” Alvarez (Marc Brandon Daniel), the engineer and computer
technician that suffered from claustrophobia due to childhood trauma, who was
being punished for hacking the Academy’s mainframe. They took up residence in
an abandoned space station, Star Ranger 7, which was occupied by the
onboard computer AI, Horton (Lewis Arquette).
The Gloose, part puppet, part CGI.
The Hypernauts met
and befriended Kulai (Carrie Dobro, who appeared on Babylon), the last
spiritual leader (or “Chalim”) from the planet Pryus. The spiritual leaders of
her race are long-lived (centuries) and are necessary for the psychic bond that
united all Pryans to keep the members of the race strong, healthy and able to
procreate. She used her long life of experience to help mentor and guide The
Hypernauts in their conflict with the Triiad. They also adopted a three-legged
alien they found on a decimated planet, The Gloose (operated by Evan Brainard).
Their primary foe was Paiyin (Ron Campbell), a Pryan who joined forces with the
Triiad and led to the destruction of their home world.
The evil Paiyin.
Hypernauts (known as Voyager
in Japan) debuted on ABC mid-season on March 1, 1996. The series had a
tremendous sci-fi pedigree behind it as the members of the crew were plucked
from various franchises in the genre, including many from Babylon. Brainard
designed a simplified mechanism for Gloose’s head motions based on the ones he
utilized for the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park (this ate up a huge chunk of
the show’s budget, but they felt it was worth the investment). In keeping with
the intention of the show’s creation, a great number of the sets were CGI along
with the machinery. A typical episode could have upwards of 100 effects
shots--nearly as much as a feature-length movie. Along with Marx, writers for
the show included Katherine
Mueller, Len Wein, J. Larry Carroll, David Bennett Carren, and Star Trekveteran D.C. Fontana, with music
composed by Christopher Franke. The
special make-up effects were designed by Optic Nerve Studios (now Alchemy Studios).
The cast with developer Christy Marx.
Once the season was wrapped,
pre-production work began on a second season that would never be. Despite all
the cast and crew’s efforts to make a quality show that didn’t talk down to
their intended audience simply because it was on Saturday morning, the show’s
days were ultimately numbered from the outset. When it was set to air, Disney had just finalized
its purchase of ABC and would soon begin purging all of the content not
from the studio off of the network. Ultimately, ABC decided to speed things
along by ending the show before the final five episodes were aired.
Interestingly enough, The
Disney Channel would air several episodes edited together into a single
movie for a time. The largely-forgotten series has only seen several
VHS releases outside of the United States from Von VPS Video. It also
received a nomination for the Writers Guild
of America Award for Lawrence’s script.
The Triiad attacks.
Despite changing the look of sci-fi
forever and making Lightwave 3D an
industry standard throughout the 1990s, Foundation found itself in dire straits
when Netter started his own effects company, Netter Digital Entertainment,
and convinced the Babylon production that they could do their effects
cheaper using the same equipment and techniques. Foundation was ousted for Babylon’s
final two seasons, films and spin-off series, Crusade. Fortunately,
Foundation was able to secure a spot working on Star Trek: Voyagerand
Star Trek: Deep Space
Nine. With the end of Crusade, Netter attempted to stay afloat
working on the animated series Dan Dare, Max
3000, but ended up folding in 2000 and replaced by Foundation in a bit
of karmic irony. Unfortunately, Foundation found themselves out of business as
well the following year.
Contact” (3/1/96) – Sent to retrieve a satellite on a punishment mission, the
Hypernauts are forced to make an emergency jump to escape its explosion and wind
up in a strange galaxy.
Star Ranger” (3/9/96) – The Hypernauts take up residence in Star Ranger 7 which
has a map that can take them home, but Kulai warns that the Triiad could follow
(3/9/96) – The Hypernauts make a run to an ice planet to refill their water
supply, and Max and Sharkey end up stranded below the surface.
at Vekara” (3/16/96) – The Hypernauts head to a trade planet for repair
supplies and attempt to warn them of the Triiad, while Paiyin sets a trap for
(3/23/96) – The Hypernauts make a gamble that creatures’ ability to cloak
themselves could protect a planet’s inhabitants from a Triiad probe.
Walk in the Garden” (3/30/96) – Tried of the bland food on the station, the
Hypernauts head down to an Earth-like planet for clippings to allow Max to
start a garden.
the Dark So Deep” (4/6/96) – The Hypernauts go to rescue people left behind as
their planet is processed by a maker, and Sharkey has to confront his fear in
order to stop Paiyin.
to Meet the Maker” (4/13/96) – The Hypernauts have to stop a maker from
destroying the asteroid field where the Star Ranger hides.
– Max goes with Kulai to watch her people’s regeneration ceremony while Ace and
Sharkey try to keep the robot they took from the maker from contacting the
in the Sky” – The Hypernauts have to protect a ship of refugees from the Triiad
as they make an attempt to escape the Sphere of Interception.
Alliances” – Kulai introduces the Hypernauts to a powerful being, the Sacul,
that could help them in their battles should they pass its test.
Challenge: Part One” – The Hypernauts have to prove their presence into to
blame for the Triiad by plotting an attack against them while Paiyin tricks
Kulai into a trap.
Challenge: Part Two” – The Sacul gives the Hypernauts tools that combine to
create the power of a star and they launch an attack on the Triiad’s main
She played Aunt Jill in the “Runaway Ralph” episode of ABC Weekend
Specials, Williamina Bubask in an episode of The Mask, Simpah in an
episode of Aaahh!! Real Monsters, Ma Munchapper in Buzz Lightyear of Star
Command, and Dr. Greer in an episode of The Zeta Project.
Comedian Louie Anderson didn’t have
an easy childhood. He was one of 11 children (technically 15, four of his
siblings didn’t survive) living in the Minnesota projects with an abusive
alcoholic father. That abuse led to his own addiction: food. In 1978, Anderson
went into stand-up comedy where his self-depreciating routine would focus on
his weight and family; particularly his father, who died in 1979. In 1981,
Anderson won a competition that led him to become a joke writer for Henny Youngman, who served as
the host. That further led to his appearing on a variety of late-night TV
shows, sticoms, and in feature films.
The animated Anderson family.
While on tour with Roseanne Barr in 1987, Anderson kept a
diary of letters he wrote to his father that said everything he was never able
to say to him when he was alive. One of those letters was published in People magazine and had a tremendous
response. Anderson decided to publish the rest in Dear
Dad: Letters from an Adult Child, which became a best-seller. This
began a series of cathartic projects for Anderson.
Ora being the voice of reason to Andy and Louie.
Seeing there was an interest in his
early family life, Anderson attempted to shop around the idea of a sitcom based
on it with very little interest from studios. Margaret Loesch, head
of Fox Kids, approached
Anderson about doing a cartoon instead, but Anderson didn’t think it could work
in animation. A few years later, Loesch approached Anderson again; this time
armed with a promotional video she had made featuring what Anderson’s family
would look like. That was when Anderson became sold on the idea. The series was
developed by Anderson with Matthew
Louie with little brother, Tommy.
As advertised, Life with Louie focused
on the comedian’s childhood—albeit, a sanitized version of it. The show was set
in the fictional suburban town of Cedar Knoll, Wisconsin where the Anderson
family lived in a two-story house. Anderson himself appeared in live-action wraparounds
and provided narration, as well as voiced his younger self and father (renamed
“Andy” from “Louie” to avoid confusion). Andy Anderson was a stereotypical
early 20th century father figure: stern and seemingly aloof when it
came to his family, but showed he cared about them in his own way. He was a World War II veteran who
constantly talked about his experiences and had a superiority complex often
undercut but his own limitations. Aside from his wife, the love of his life was
his car; a barely-running 1959 Rambler Rebel. Louie’s
mother, Ora (Edie McClurg) was the kind, loving, sweet-natured matriarch who
often served as the voice of reason for the family. Louie had four older
brothers—Sid, John, Danny and Peter—and four older sisters—Laura, Carol,
Charlie and Julie—but his little brother, Tommy (Miko Hughes), was often
featured the most.
Louie with Jeannie.
Other characters included Louie’s
best friend Jeannie Harper (Debi Derryberry), who often defended him from
bullies and who he had a crush on; Mike Grunewald (Justin Shenkarow), Louie’s
sarcastic friend and neighbor whose wealthy family often proved a point of
jealousy for the Anderson men; Toddler Tobolinski (Justin Jon Ross), Louie’s
other friend who loved recess; Glen Glenn (Shenkarow), the local bully who
often picked on Louie; The Melvins, a group of chess nerds (although one of
them was actually named Franklin, voiced by Eddie Deezen); and
Pepper, Louie’s obese goldfish.
Friends Toddler Tobolinsky and Mike Grunewald.
Life with Louie made its
debut on FOX with a prime-time Christmas
special on December 12, 1994 before the full season began on June 18, 1995. It
was one of the more grounded offerings from Fox Kids, focusing on slice of life
stories and the moral lessons that accompany them. One popular topic was
bullying, particularly over Louie’s weight. When Mary Wickes, who played Louie’s
grandma in several episodes, died in real life, her character also died on the
show to teach a lesson about dealing with death.
show’s success came as a big surprise to Anderson. It ended up running for
three seasons before the network finally cancelled it as a result of ownership
changes behind the scenes. It racked up multiple Emmy and Humanitas Prize nominations, earning
three of each. The show became a cult favorite in Eastern Europe and Russia due
to its being aired on Fox
Kids/Jetix and quality dubbing work, as well as the grounded nature of the
program and characters which made it different from other programs on the air
at the time. Anderson claimed in a 2016 interview that over 300,000 of his Twitter followers alone came from those