April 29, 2023

DEFENDERS OF DYNATRON CITY

 

DEFENDERS OF DYNATRON CITY
(FOX, February 22, 1992)
 
DiC Animation City

 

 

MAIN CAST:
Whoopi Goldberg – Ms. Megawatt/Mary Middlefield
Pat Fraley – Jet Headstrong/Brett Headlong
Candi Milo – Buzzsaw Girl/Wendy Weedwacker
David Coburn – Toolbox
Brian Stokes Mitchell – Monkey Kid
Tim Curry – Atom Ed the Floating Head
Christopher Walken & Charlie Adler – Dr. Mayhem
Gary Owens – Announcer

 

 

Defenders of Dynatron City was Lucasfilm Games’ attempt at spawning an all-new multimedia franchise. It all began with a NES game developed by Gary Winnick and published by JVC Musical Industries, Inc. Dynatron City was a futuristic city where atomic energy was in every part of life; from transportation to toasters. The evil Dr. Mayhem (Christopher Walken until producers inexplicably decided to replace him with Charlie Adler) was a mutated genius who wanted to run the people out of the city so that he could easily take it over. To do so, he developed Proto Cola: a soft drink that was liquid radioactive energy that would cause various mutations in the people who drank it (extra appendages, giant eyes for heads, becoming the embodiment of an element, etc.). Unfortunately, the soda ended up being so good that everyone was willing to put up with some genetic anomalies to get more. With mutation a failure, Mayhem turned to the next best thing: an evil robot army.

The Defenders: Toolbox, Ms. Megawatt, Buzzsaw Girl, Monkey Kid, Jet Headstrong and Radium Dog.


The only thing standing against him were the self-proclaimed Defenders of Dynatron City: a group of working-class slobs mutated by Monkey Kid (Brian Stokes Mitchell), a monkey Mayhem regressed into a human, when he dumped Proto Cola syrup on them and zapped it with electricity. Handywoman Wendy Weedwacker (Candi Milo) became Buzzsaw Girl, a woman with a buzzsaw for feet; Wendy’s trusty toolbox turned into the humanoid tool man Toolbox (David Coburn); Proto Cola delivery man Brett (Pat Fraley) became Jet Headstrong, a muscle-man who could fire his head like a bullet; electric company technician Mary Middlefield (Whoopi Goldberg, modulated beyond recognition) became Ms. Megawatt, a being of pure electrical energy; Brett’s dog Rex could fly, had an enormous chomp, and had an explosive atom floating above his head, earning him the name Radium Dog; and Monkey Kid gained a supply of explosive bananas, as well as became the defacto leader of the team.



The game was released in July of 1992. The player got to select from any of the Defenders and could change between them at any point; and often needed to in order to acquire certain items. Each Defender acted as a life, with them being “captured” for the remainder of the game once their health was depleted. The objective was to go through (and under) the city, defeating Mayhem’s robot legions and collecting items, all within a 1200 second time limit.

Dr. Mayhem.


To compliment the game, a pilot for a potential cartoon series from DiC Animation City and a comic series from Marvel Comics were commissioned. The pilot was written by Bob Forward—with concept credit going to Winnick, Steve Purcell, Howard Roffman and Cynthia Wuthmann—introducing the characters and the overall plot, and ended with Mayhem gaining a new tool in Atom Ed (Tim Curry), a piece of machinery accidentally mutated by Monkey Kid who was able to mutate other machinery and beings into new soldiers for Mayhem. The characters were designed by Donn Greer, Sandy Kopitopoulos, Ed Lee, Don Spencer and Charles Zembillas, with music by Chase & Rucker Productions and animation from Spectrum Animation Studios. To punch things up, some shots of the city were rendered in some rather crude computer-generated imagery from DiC Graphics, Richard Sher and Seth Levenson. The pilot aired on FOX as part of the Fox Kids programming block on February 22, 1992, and was rerun a few times after that.

The first issue of the Marvel comic.


The comic was written by Purcell from a story by both him and Winnick, art by Frank Cirocco and Mark McKenna, colored by Tom Vincent, Renee Witterstaetter and Gina Going, and lettered by Ken Bruzenak. Running for 6 issues, the comic featured generally new way-out comedic adventures of the Defenders in their ongoing battle against Mayhem and his schemes; however, the second issue was essentially an adaptation of the pilot.

Mayhem's robots.


Unfortunately, the lofty ambitions Lucasfilm had for the property were ultimately dashed. The game was eviscerated in reviews for its difficulty, poor hit detection and unclear objectives (such as certain characters only being able to pick up certain items with no indication as to who); although it was praised for its characters and charm. The pilot was also never picked up, as the choices made in its production—from the casting to the CGI—rendered it more expensive than a network budget could handle. It was released to VHS by Buena Vista Home Video, and can be found on platforms like YouTube.

April 25, 2023

April 22, 2023

CAPTAIN PLANET AND THE PLANETEERS / THE NEW ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN PLANET

 

CAPTAIN PLANET AND THE PLANETEERS / THE NEW ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN PLANET
(TBS, Syndication, September 15, 1990-May 11, 1996)
 
DiC Enterprises (season 1-3), TBS Productions Inc. (season 1-3), Hanna-Barbera Cartoons (4-6)

 

 

MAIN CAST:
LeVar BurtonKwame, camera store owner, opening narration (season 1-3)
Joey DedioWheeler, Liko
Kath Soucie- Linka, Bambi Blight, Belinda Bubblebutt, Trish, Harp Seal
Janice KawayeGi, Li
Scott MenvilleMa-Ti, Kobar, Plunder’s campaign announcer, opening narration (season 4-5)
David CoburnCaptain PlanetCaptain Pollution, opening narration (season 4-5)
Whoopi Goldberg (season 1-3) & Margot Kidder (season 4-6) – Gaia
Frank Welker – Suchi, Tank Flusher III, Dokey, Leadsuit, various

  

Gaia (Whoopie Goldberg), the spirit of the Earth, had awakened from a restorative nap to find the Earth in rough shape due to the pollution caused by humanity. She decided to recruit five special young people to help fight back against Earth’s deterioration—and those that would intentionally harm the planet—by sending them magical rings that harnessed the elements. The calm and collected Kwame (LeVar Burton) from Africa gained the power of earth. The action-first, headstrong, frequently lazy and often thick Wheeler (Joey Dedio) from North America gained the power of fire. The brash and feisty Linka (Kath Soucie) from the Soviet Union (later Eastern Europe after its collapse) gained the power of wind. The bright and bubbly Gi (Janice Kawaye) from Asia gained the power of water. And the empathic Ma-Ti (Scott Menville) from South America gained the power of heart (which essentially allowed him telepathic abilities with living creatures untainted by darkness). However, when a challenge proved too much even for these Planeteers, they could combine their powers and summon Earth’s greatest champion: Captain Planet (David Coburn), who possessed all of their powers as well as the addition of super strength, nigh invulnerability and flight.



Promo art of Captain Planet with Gi, Kwame, Wheeler, Ma-Ti and Linka.


Captain Planet and the Planeteers was the brainchild of media mogul and environmental activist Ted Turner. He had coined the name “Captain Planet” as far back as 1980 when he hired Barbara Pyle to make critical global issues more entertaining so that people would pay attention and take notice—and to flesh out Captain Planet. She and Nicholas Boxer, who had made environmental documentaries together, worked on the notion of trying to appeal to children after feeling that adults had basically given up. Feeling the world didn’t need another beefy superhero, Captain Planet was designed to be fun-loving, lean and dependent on others as a metaphor for teamwork. Boxer also ensured that the Captain would only appear after the Planeteers had identified the problem and come up with a plan of their own so as not to diminish the message of ordinary people making a difference. Incidentally, Boxer also served as the inspiration for Captain Planet’s facial features after he kept shooting down previous renditions.

Gaia.


 The series was developed by Pyle and Boxer, along with Thom Beers, Andy Heyward, Robby London, Bob Forward and Cassandra Schafausen of DiC Enterprises to be an educational program meant to convey to kids what they could do to help protect the environment and reverse some of the damage that’s already been done for future generations. Pyle based the Planeteers on various people she met: Gi was inspired by Malaysian environmental activist Chee Yoke Ling; Ma-Ti by Paulinho Paiakan, an Indigenous defender of the Amazon rainforest; Kwame by survivors of the Rhodesian Bush War; Linka by German Green Party co-founder Petra Kelly; and Wheeler by a combination of her own father and best friend from New York (where Wheeler was from). In an interesting twist on American/Soviet relations, Wheeler and Linka had a flirtatious relationship; with Wheeler being instantly attracted to her and Linka initially uninterested but later warming up to him when she was able to see beyond his immature bravado. Celebrity voices were cast in the villain roles to help draw attention to the series. Tom Cruise was also set to play Captain Planet and reportedly recorded the first six episodes, but things fell apart. Coburn re-recorded those episodes when he was cast.

Mission briefing in the Crystal Chamber.


The Planeteers, along with Ma-Ti’s pet spider monkey, Suchi (Frank Welker), operated off of Gaia’s Hope Island—said to be just outside of the Bahamas—where she could maintain corporeal form while retaining her spiritual status. Gaia monitored situations from a magical Crystal Chamber where she would brief the Planeteers through a visual presentation on the chamber’s Planet Vision (a large TV screen, basically). The Planeteers had several eco-friendly vehicles at their disposal. Their primary mode of transportation was the Geo-cruiser, a solar powered plane with hovering capabilities and storage for battery-powered Eco-cycles. Alternatively, they also used a solar-powered Geo-copter on shorter-range expeditions. For underwater missions, they also had the Eco-sub. They dealt with everything ranging from toxic waste dumping to drug addiction to dangerous diseases.

"Let our powers combine!"


The Planeteers used not only their brains and knowledge of environmental issues on missions, but made liberal use of their rings’ powers as needed by calling out their respective power by name. However, once Captain Planet was summoned, the rings were left powerless, leaving the Planeteers to work from the sidelines on their own merits while Captain Planet did the heavy lifting; constantly dropping puns as he did so. While Captain Planet was all-powerful, he could be downed by exposure to large amounts of pollution. The Planeteers would sometimes need to rescue Captain Planet by washing him off or getting him out to fresh air. Once his work was done or he needed to recover, Captain Planet would return their rings’ power with the phrase “The power is yours!”, which was also a reminder to the audience that it took all of them to make a real difference.

Eco-Villains assemble: Dr. Blight, Verminous Skumm, Duke Nukem, Hoggish Greedly, Zarm, Looten Plunder and Sly Sludge.


Although the series tackled real ecological issues often perpetrated by a particular career or corporate entity, an attempt was made to exaggerate them greatly so as to create a disassociation between them and any parents who might be employed in polluting industries so their kids wouldn’t see them as the villains. To fully embody this, an over-the-top group of Eco-Villains were created, carrying out their destructive schemes out of greed or just general indifference and each representing a particular negative human behavior. Looten Plunder (James Coburn, no relation to David) considered himself a suave businessman that had a lot of money at his disposal to carry out his schemes. Plunder rarely got his own hands dirty, instead employing the services of his bodyguard, Argos Bleak (S. Scott Bullock), and the Pinehead Brothers, Oakey (Dick Gautier) and Dokey (Welker). Doctor Barbara Blight (Meg Ryan for season 1, then Mary Kay Bergman) was a mad-scientist that often employed out-of-control technology and engaged in unethical experimentation. Her white-streaked blond hair was combed in such a way to hide the horrific scarring over her left eye. Over the course of the series, we’re introduced to relatives of hers that all share her appearance—sans scar—and hairstyle, but not often her villainous ambitions. Always by Blight’s side was the intelligent supercomputer MAL (David Rappaport until his death, then Tim Curry). Duke Nukem (which almost caused the video game to get a different name until they learned it wasn’t copyrighted, voiced by Dean Stockwell who took the role for his kids) was a radioactive mutant that thrived on radioactive material and toxic waste, and could fire off beams of radioactivity. His frequent sidekick was Leadsuit (Welker), a timid man in a lead suit that always bent to Nukem’s will. Hoggish Greedly (Ed Asner) not only resembled a pig, but was a hog in every way; being perpetually greedy for both money and food (as he’s rarely seen not stuffing his face). Rigger (John Ratzenberger) was Greedly’s henchman who did all the work while Greedly sat around eating, and had a tendency to constantly insert “yeps” into his sentences. Verminous Skumm (Jeff Goldblum first 5 times, then Maurice LaMarche) was an ordinary rat that was mutated by toxic materials into a humanoid rat with control over other rats. He sought to supplant humans as the dominant species by targeting their health and safety so that rats may rule supreme, with him in command. Sly Sludge (Martin Sheen) was a frequent proponent of get-rich-quick schemes; he would generally say he had a cheap, revolutionary way for waste disposal and was paid to carry it out, only to really dump that trash somewhere out of the way. His sidekicks were Ooze (Cam Clarke), who generally did all the work for little pay because no one else would hire him (same as Rigger, actually), and Tank Flusher III (Welker), an obedient and muscular moron who answered Sludge’s want ad for “a heinous henchman to serve a Machiavellian master” (despite not knowing what that all meant).

Captain Pollution.

Other villains included Zarm (Sting, David Warner & Malcolm McDowell), the Spirit of War and Destruction who wanted to destroy Gaia and Captain Planet; Captain Pollution (Coburn), an evil doppelganger of Captain Planet created by Dr. Blight when she made evil duplicates of the Planeteer’s rings that granted each Eco-Villain a destructive power: Super Radiation for Nukem, Deforestation for Plunder, Smog for Sludge, Toxics for Skumm, and Hate for Blight herself; Mame Slaughter (Theresa Saldana & Mitzi McCall) and her son, Stalker (Charlie Adler), who typically engaged in poaching and often crossed paths with Plunder; Hoggish Greedly Junior (Charlie Schlatter), Greedly’s son who shared his father’s polluting ways until he almost died from the smog caused by his car; Robin Plunder, Plunder’s movie producer nephew who used dangerous publicity stunts to promote his films; and Trish (Soucie), Wheeler’s former girlfriend from Brooklyn who joined a gang and became a vandal.

A possible future where no one cared enough.


Additionally, there were a number of guest stars who didn’t typically work in animation. They included Dakota Sioux musician, political activist and actor Floyd Red Crow Westerman appeared as an old Native American man; Phyllis Diller as Jane Goodair, an engineer who designed low-emission cars; Louis Gossett Jr. as Commander Clash, a once-stranded military man who used his skills to aid the Planeteers; Danny Glover as Dr. Apollo, a scientist working on solar power; United Nations Ambassador of Youth for the Environment and Red Thunder frontman Robby Romero as Sky Runner, a Native American rock star; Lou Rawls as veterinarian Dr. Rice; Vanna White as Laurie Saunders, a make-up mogul; Neil Patrick Harris as Todd Andrews, a high schooler infected with HIV/AIDS; Elizabeth Taylor as Todd’s mother; Dionne Warwick as Dr. Russell, a scientist who trained dolphins; Sorrell Booke as a country sheriff; country-western singer Hoyt Axton as sustainable rancher Big Ed Bakar; actor and animal rights activist Earl Holliman as Milton, a man working to preserve the endangered Mississippi River; actor and songwriter Paul Williams as Kujo, the employee of a circus that was trying to take care of the animals they abused; and Ed Begley Jr., H├ęctor Elizondo and Dennis Weaver played a couple of roles in different episodes.

Kwame attempts to help Captain Planet, downed by pollution.


Captain Planet and the Planeteers debuted on September 15, 1990, airing both on Turner-owned TBS and in syndication. The series was written by Boxer, Billy Ruebin, Perry Martin, Ted Pedersen, Steve Hayes, Martha Moran, Doug Molitor, Reed Shelly, Bruce Shelly, Michael Maurer, Robert Schooley, Mark McCorkle, Dorothy Middleton, Rowby Goren, Phil Harnage, Pam Dovale, Susan Leslie, Cliff McGillivray, J. Larry Carroll, David B. Carren, Meg McLaughlin, Sandra Ryan, Paul Dell, Steven Weiss, Pat Allee, Ben Hurst, Mark W. Nelson, Sharon O’Mahony and Jim Aitken, with the Shellys and Molitor serving as story editors. Many of the series’ story ideas were directly inspired by the Global 2000 Report to the President, a 1980 paper commissioned by President Jimmy Carter that warned of environmental disasters if appropriate steps weren’t taken.

Captain Planet and the Planeteers addressing the audience.


Each episode opened with a narration by Burton introducing the characters and concepts to the audience over a theme composed by Tom Worrall, who also did the score. At the conclusion of an episode’s story, a “Planeteer Alert” is shown, serving as a PSA often connected to the plot where the characters inform the audience on what they can do themselves to help. The characters were designed by Paula Lafond, Kathi Castillo, Amado Sangalang, Gerald Forton, Timothy Barnes, Donn Greer, Joe Horne, Stephanie Pyren-Fortel and Continuity Studios, while Dong Woo Animation, Dong Yang Animation, Hong Ying Animation Company (also as Hung Long), Point Animation, Sei Young Animation Company, Studio Korumi, Saerom Animation and Rainbow Animation handled the animation. The main title digital scene simulation was done by OPTOMYSTIC, Los Angeles.


The most memorable part of the series was the catchy end credit theme written by Boxer and performed by an uncredited female singer, which was set to music reminiscent of New Kids on the Block’s “Step by Step” composed by Murray McFadden and Timothy Mullholland. It opened with the Planeteers summoning Captain Planet before breaking into a song about him, then, after a clip of Plunder exclaiming “You’ll pay for this, Captain Planet!”, went into a rap performed by the Planeteers before ending with Captain Planet’s “The power is yours!” This remained unchanged throughout the series’ run, with the episode clips shown in triplicate behind the credits and the font of the credits themselves being the only alterations.


While reviews for the series were lukewarm, it performed well enough to run for multiple seasons, accumulating 113 episodes overall; as well as nominations for Daytime Emmy and Humanitas Prize awards, and winning two Environmental Media Awards. After Turner bought out Hanna-Barbera, it was decided to move production in-house after the third season. The series was renamed The New Adventures of Captain Planet with Coburn now providing the opening narration, and it was moved to TBS’ Sunday Morning in Front of the TV programming block. Animation was moved over to Hanna-Barbera’s own Fil-Cartoons along with The Krislin Company, resulting in a slightly different look for the show (character shading was simplified and brighter colors featured) and more simplified character designs (Linka’s two shirts were condensed to a blue sweater, for instance, and Ma-Ti lost his necklaces and only had one feathered armband as opposed to two). Additionally, some sound effects were altered to make use of those in the Hanna-Barbera library.

Promo art of the Planeteers and Gaia from the Hanna-Barbera years.


As a cost-cutting measure, the celebrity voices were dismissed in favor of traditional voice actors: Margot Kidder took over as Gaia, LaMarche as Nukem, Ed Gilbert as Plunder (although Coburn’s voice sample remained during the end credits) and Jim Cummings as Sludge. Sean Catherine Derek and Laren Bright served as story editors and led off a mostly-new writing staff comprised of Richard Mueller, Reed Robbins, Lane Raichert, Dan Gottlieb, Rich Fogel, Mark Seidenberg, Von Williams, Jim Katz, David Ehrman, Laura Schrock, Ron Myrick, Michael Wagner and Bill Matheny. Dedio even contributed a story idea, as did Ms. Metzler’s Class of 1992-93 from the West Fulton Middle School in Atlanta, Georgia. Stories from this era tended to skew a bit darker in tone and delved more into the lives of the Planeteers themselves, introducing family members and giving more insight on their pasts. Thomas Chase and Steve Rucker took over scoring duties, featuring a more orchestral sound compared to DiC’s synth-rock soundtrack, while Crawford Design EFX handled the logo animation.



For the sixth and final season, further changes were made. All of the Planeteers were redesigned to make them appear more modern; some trading in their vests for full jackets and vice versa, different shirts and pants. Gi’s hair was also lengthened; Ma-Ti’s skin made darker; Linka’s eyes went from blue to green; and the Geo-cruiser gained some red detailing on its otherwise yellow body. The biggest change was the opening theme, ditching the verbal introduction altogether in favor of a rap sung by Fred Schneider of the B-52s (who also guest-starred in an episode) with lyrics written by Boxer and music by Pat Irwin. This season, however, aired only in Europe and wouldn’t be seen in North America until Boomerang aired it on Earth Day in 2006.

The Captain Planet Foundation logo.


In 1991, The Captain Planet Foundation was founded by Turner and Pyle when Pyle negotiated a percentage of the show’s merchandising revenue to empower young people. The Foundation invited schools and organizations around the world to submit environmental project concepts to receive seed money to make them a reality. In 2001, Time Warner (now WarnerMedia) decided to shut the Foundation down due to their merger with AOLTurner’s daughter, Laura Turner Seydel, and her husband Rutherford, decided to continue the Foundation’s mission and worked with Time Warner to transition it from a corporate foundation to a public charity, keeping it alive. In 2007, they acquired the right to exhibit episodes of the series online and on-air. As of this writing, Turner Seydel serves as the Chair of the Foundation while Pyle serves on the Foundation’s President’s Council.


As part of merchandising agreements, Pyle and Boxer insisted that anything regarding the show be made sustainably; necessitating several companies to completely overhaul their manufacturing methods to include recycled and recyclable products. A line of action figures were released by Tiger Toys in the United States, and were repackaged and sold by Grand Toys in Canada and Kenner in Europe. The line included several versions of all of the Planeteers with a child-sized ring and other accessories, multiple versions of Captain Planet in a variety of colors, the core villains, vehicles and playsets (Commander Clash was the only minor character adapted). Additionally, they made an entry for the show in their handheld LCD game line. Burger King released four cars that flipped between the heroes and villains as part of their Kids Club meals. There were also three ecology test kits, and wearable rings with interchangeable symbols or all of the symbols. Aladdin made a standard plastic lunchbox while Tupperware made a nylon sack with three sealable containers.  Marvel Comics published a comic series that ran for 12 issues between 1991 and 1992.

MAL wants to know if you want to play a game.


A video game was developed by Chris Gray Enterprises and published by Mindscape between 1991 and 1992 across several platforms; each with a different style of gameplay. Most of the games involved playing through levels as each one of the Planeteers before taking command of Captain Planet for the final one. The Amiga and Atari ST versions had players completing objectives through platforming levels and defeating bizarre enemies, which would then follow them around as “ghosts” and act as point multipliers. The second half of the level saw them piloting one of their vehicles to the exit. The ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC versions had players in control of Captain Planet from the start in a side-scrolling shoot-‘em-up, heading around the world to help the Planeteers stop some trouble. The NES version had the Planeteers piloting one of their vehicles in a side scrolling shoot-‘em-up for the first half of each level before they would summon Captain Planet to fly through the second half to take on the Eco-Villain at the end. The Sega Genesis version had the same basic level themes as the NES version without the vehicle segments; the player instead selecting one of four Planeteers (except Ma-Ti) to traverse each one with Captain Planet being summoned to be used in the last. In 2011, Captain Planet returned to games in the brawler Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion XL by Papaya Studio and Crave Games as an unlockable character, with Yuri Lowenthal providing his voice.


One of the VHS covers.


Turner Home Entertainment and Buena Vista Home Video would release single-episode VHS tapes. A DVD containing four episodes—“A River Ran Through It”, “A Perfect World”, “Gorillas Will Be Missed” and “The Big Clam Up”—and special features was made available through a “Planeteer Pack” purchased from the Captain Planet Foundation. In 2011, Shout! Factory released the complete first season to DVD in packaging made of 100% recycled paper on Earth Day. Unfortunately, due to low sales, no further seasons were released. Madman Entertainment released the first season in 2016, with the complete series the following year in Australia. The series was made available to purchase through iTunes, Vudu, Prime Video (last three seasons) and Google Play (first three seasons). While the series has returned to air in various international markets, North American rebroadcasts have been extremely rare.

Don Cheadle as a spoof Captain Planet.


Multiple attempts have been made to develop a film about the series. Boxer and Pyle wrote the first, called simply Planet. Michael Reaves revised the script into a much darker interpretation set in in a post-apocalyptic time period called Dark Planet. The film reached the design period before it was abandoned and the script was lost during the Turner/Warner Bros. merger. In 2016, Paramount Pictures and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions were in negotiations to develop a film with Jono Matt and Glen Powell to write, but roadblocks with Warner Bros. had stalled its progression. Instead, the closest any kind of live-action project has gotten was the series of Funny or Die spoofs featuring Don Cheadle as Captain Planet in 2011 and 2012. In 2017, Captain Planet, Kwame (who apparently was the last Planeteer remaining on duty, although the others do make cameos), Dr. Blight and MAL were featured in an episode of OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes named, appropriately, “The Power is Yours”. Coburn and Burton both reprised their respective roles—with Tessa Auberjonois assuming Blight—and the original music and similar art style from Captain Planet were both used at points.

David Coburn at New York Comic Con 2016.


Along with the legion of fans who crew up with Captain Planet and came away with a call to action, there was one in particular who answered that call: Coburn himself. After seeing 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth, he realized he wanted to do something to save the planet. He had attempted to bring Turner and the film’s creator, former Vice President Al Gore, together to pool their resources to create new educational programming for children, but nothing ever became of it. The disappointment of that failure drove him to relocate to France where he continued to do his part for the environment in a new language.

  

EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“A Hero for Earth” (9/15/90) – Gaia recruits the Planeteers and sends them out to stop Hoggish Greedly’s oil rig operation.
 
“Rain of Terror” (9/22/90) – Ma-Ti deals with self-esteem issues while the Planeteers try to stop Verminous Skumm from destroying a city with acid rain.
 
“Beast of the Temple” (9/29/90) – The Planeteers head to Thailand to protect the populace from Greedly’s surface mining for rubies.
 
“Skumm Lord” (10/6/90) – Kwame and Ma-Ti must save the others after they’re mutated into rat people by Skumm’s disease “rat rot”.
 
“Deadly Ransom” (10/13/90) – Dr. Blight and Duke Nukem hold Captain Planet hostage in exchange for a lifetime supply of nuclear waste.
 
“The Conqueror” (10/20/90) – Only Ma-Ti isn’t swayed when another Earth spirit attempts to steal the Planeteers away from Gaia with the promise of utopia.
 
“Last of Her Kind” (10/27/90) – Looten Plunder threatens to wipe out Africa’s elephant population in order to make a quick profit in the ivory trade.
 
“The Dead Seas” (11/3/90) – Greedly not only runs an illegal drift net fishing operation, but he manages to take the Planeteers’ rings as well.
 
“Tree of Life” (11/10/90) – Blight chops down a sacred tree and uses its power to make herself a match for Captain Planet.
 
“Volcan’s Wrath” (11/17/90) – Sly Sludge cons people into thinking he invented a trash-shrinking ray but secretly dumps the trash into a volcano, causing it to erupt.
 
“Littlest Planeteer” (11/24/90) – A young boy named Jason takes a shine to Wheeler and attempts to use his ring against Blight when Wheeler gets hurt.
 
“A World Below Us” (1/26/91) – Gi is taken to an underwater paradise that’s being threatened by Sludge’s illegal toxic dumping.
 
“Plunder Dam” (2/2/91) – Plunder dams an African river to set up a hydroelectric power plant, causing damage to the ecosystem the river sustained previously.
 
“Meltdown Syndrome” (2/9/91) – Nukem invades a nuclear power plant and ends up triggering a meltdown.
 
“Smog Hog” (2/16/91) – Greedly ends up going to the Planeteers for help when his son falls victim to the pollution the car he designed spews out.
 
“Polluting by Computer” (2/23/91) – Blight, MAL and Sludge hack into the government’s computers to turn national parks into toxic waste dumps and the Planeteers into criminals.
 
“Don’t Drink the Water” (3/2/91) – Plunder, Blight, Skumm and Greedly pollute a city’s water supply so they can sell them clean water at outrageous prices.
 
“Kwame’s Crisis” (3/9/91) – When a town doesn’t seem to care about Sludge’s polluting it, Kwame feels discouraged enough to quit the Planeteers.
 
“Ozone Hole” (4/13/91) – The Planeteers must protect the planet from radiation when Nukem punches a hole in the ozone layer in Antarctica.
 
“The Ultimate Pollution” (4/20/91) – Plunder instigates a ware between two villages in order to sell both sides weapons.
 
“Population Bomb” (4/27/91) – Windsurfing in a storm lands Wheeler on an island where a miniature city of humanoid mice plagued with overpopulation plans to invade Hope Island.
 
“Mission to Save Earth, Part One” (5/4/91) – The Eco-Villains band together and make duplicates of the Planeteers’ rings, summoning their own champion: Captain Pollution.
 
“Mission to Save Earth, Part Two” (5/11/91) – The Planeteers recruit Commander Clash to help them retrieve their rings and defeat Captain Pollution.
 
“Two Futures, Part One” (5/18/91) – Feeling unworthy to be a Planeteer, Wheeler accepts Blight’s offer to go back in time and stop himself from accepting his ring.
 
“Two Futures, Part Two” (5/25/91) – Without Wheeler there were no Planeteers to save the planet from Greedly’s going back in time to take advantage of lax environmental standards.
 
“Heat Wave” (6/1/91) – Blight encases Hope Island and subjects it to a rapid greenhouse effect.
 
Season 2:
“Mind Pollution” (9/14/91) – Linka’s cousin Boris has become addicted to Skumm’s new designer drug, Bliss.
 
“The Garbage Strikes” (9/21/91) – Sludge steals an untested microbe to take advantage of a trash strike, but instead of eliminating the trash it turns it into a garbage monster.
 
“Domes of Doom” (9/28/91) – Plunder convinces the world into signing over all of the forests to him, which he then promptly domes off to sell their clean air at massive prices.
 
“Send in the Clones” (10/5/91) – Looking for cheap labor, Plunder and Blight use a cloning ray on a boy which ends up going out of control as he duplicates every time he eats.
 
“The Predator” (10/12/91) – Shark panic grips the Florida Keys and Argos Bleak is hired to deal with the “problem”.
 
“The Ark” (10/19/91) – The Planeteers are taken by an alien zookeeper who believes that humans are an endangered species about to lose their home.
 
“Isle of Solar Energy” (10/26/91) – A scientist who has perfected devices for using solar power is having his work coopted by Nukem to produce a radioactive weapon.
 
“The Coral Killer” (11/2/91) – Greedly tricks a Filipino fisherman into dynamite fishing so that he can harvest the coral it ends up destroying.
 
“The Big Clam Up” (11/9/91) – Ma-Ti’s new love of detective novels comes in handy when the Planeteers investigate the mystery of San Franciscans getting symptoms of pollution poisoning.
 
“An Inside Job” (11/16/91) – Blight shrinks the Eco-sub with Sludge on board and drops them into polluted water, which a still full-sized Kwame unknowingly drinks.
 
“The Fine Print” (11/23/91) – Plunder exploits a man’s illiteracy by having him spray pesticides, not knowing it warns that too much could prove lethal to a nearby town.
 
“Off Road Hog” (11/30/91) – Greedly holds off-road races through the desert, causing damage to its delicate ecosystem in the process.
 
“Trouble on the Half Shell” (12/7/91) – The Planeteers must protect tortoise eggs on the Galapagos Islands from the stranded and hungry Greedly and Skumm.
 
“Stardust” (1/18/92) – Gi and Linka learn their favorite rock singer has been bankrolling Greedly’s latest surface mining operation.
 
“The Blue Car Line” (1/25/92) – Plunder makes the Australian transit line seem haunted, causing people to drive more and take advantage of his auto-related businesses.
 
“Birds of a Feather” (2/1/92) – Linka and Ma-Ti stumble upon Greedly’s exotic bird smuggling operation in Central America.
 
“Summit to Save Earth, Part One” (2/8/92) – Zarm turns the world’s leaders off of their ecology plans, unites the Eco-Villains, tricks the Planeteers into giving up their rings, and turns Gaia human.
 
“Summit to Save Earth, Part Two” (2/15/92) – The Planeteers and Commander Clash must defeat Zarm before Gaia ages into dust.
 
“Losing Game” (2/22/92) – Blight runs experiments in Africa that turns ordinary cattle into “raging bulls” that threaten to destroy the region.
 
“A Twist of Fate” (2/29/92) – A blow to the head leaves Wheeler separated from the team and suffering from amnesia among the homeless.
 
“The Great Tree Heist” (3/7/92) – Greedly is “sucking up” 500-year-old trees to turn them into pressed board furniture.
 
“Scorched Earth” (3/14/92) – Zarm takes over the body of a national dictator and issues a “Scorched Earth” policy against environmental activists preventing beach and forest development.
 
“The Hate Canal” (3/21/92) – Skumm uses tainted cheese to infect Venetian canal rats with a disease they quickly spread through the city.
 
“Radiant Amazon” (3/28/92) – Ma-Ti seeks revenge on Sludge and Nukem for destroying his village.
 
“Fare Thee Whale” (4/4/92) – The Planeteers work to keep Blight and Plunder from using a legal loophole to hunt whales.
 
“Utopia” (4/11/92) – Kwame finds himself in a gang-dominated world run by Skumm and Blight with no allies except those found in the last surviving unpolluted refuge in the world.
 
Season 3:
“Greenhouse Planet” (9/12/92) – The Planeteers try to talk the President out of using Blight’s rocket fuel, resulting in him, Kwame and Ma-Ti being stranded on Venus.
 
“A Creep From the Deep” (9/19/92) – Sludge killing off a giant squid’s fuel supply causes it to attack a small fishing town.
 
“The Deadly Glow” (9/26/92) – The Planeteers must stop Nukem from stealing radioactive minerals and to save a town from radiation exposure.
 
“A Perfect World” (10/3/92) – The Planeteers help restore a simulation of a perfect world after it’s infected by Blight and MAL.
 
“The Dream Machine” (10/10/92) – Zarm drives a town to greed by “granting” their wishes, blinding them to the fact it costs them their own natural resources.
 
“Bitter Waters” (10/17/92) – Sky Runner asks the Planeteers to help retrieve his people’s land after Plunder tricks them into selling it to him.
 
“The Guinea Pigs” (10/24/92) – The Planeteer must stop Blight from stealing animals from the shelter for her experiments.
 
“OK at the Gunfight Corral” (10/31/92) – Greedly, Rigger and Sludge go back in time to create the biggest trash crisis ever.
 
“Canned Hunt” (11/7/92) – The Planeteers expose a great hunter who uses tamed animals for his expeditions.
 
“Hog Tied” (11/14/92) – Gaia tells the Planeteers about their 1940s counterparts and their efforts to stop Greedly’s grandfather.
 
“A Formula for Hate” (11/21/92) – When a high schooler contracts HIV/AIDS, Skumm spread rumors about it to his classmates in order to turn them against him and spread the disease further.
 
“If It’s Doomsday, This Must Be Belfast” (11/28/92) – The Planeteers split up to stop different conflicts around the world before they lead to the detonation of nuclear bombs.
 
“The Night of the Wolf” (12/5/92) – The Planeteers investigate alleged wolf attacks on a ranch.
 
Season 4:
“A Mine Is a Terrible Thing to Waste, Part 1” (9/11/93) – Toxic waste dumped by Sludge revives Captain Pollution.
 
“A Mine Is a Terrible Thing to Waste, Part 2” (9/18/93) – Sludge and Plunder join Captain Pollution in the fight against the Planeteers.
 
“I Just Want to Be Your Teddy Bear” (9/25/93) – Greedly poaches black bears in Louisiana during Mardi Gras.
 
“Missing Linka” (10/2/93) – Linka returns home to care for her ailing grandmother and discovers that half of the town has the same affliction.
 
“The Unbearable Brightness of Being” (10/9/93) – Blight switches body with Gaia, leaving Gaia scrambling to prove to the Planeteers she is who she says.
 
“Wheeler’s Ark” (10/16/93) – Returning endangered species to their homes proves challenging as the Eco-Villains destroy them faster than the Planeteers can return them.
 
“Sea No Evil” (10/23/93) – Gi learns that Greedly has been using dolphins to recover toxic waste from a Nazi shipwreck.
 
“Future Shock” (10/30/93) – Zarm recruits Eco-Villains from the future to ensure that their polluted timeline comes to be.
 
“I’ve Lost My Mayan” (11/6/93) – Studying ancient Mayan civilization leads Ma-Ti to fall through time to the period and is imprisoned after being mistaken for the son of a rebel.
 
“Talkin’ Trash” (11/13/93) – While visiting his ailing father, Wheeler discovers his old girlfriend is now heading up a gang with connections to Skumm.
 
“The Energy Vampire” (11/20/93) – Blight turns Nukem into an energy vampire where the only think that can slake his hunger is an environmentally devastating power station.
 
“Bottom Line Green” (11/27/93) – The Planeteers investigate sabotage at a factory that’s attempting to go green.
 
“Gorillas Will Be Missed” (2/4/94) – A boy from a future without gorillas gets sucked into the past while experiencing a VR game about the Planeteers and the endangered gorilla.
 
“Bug Off” (2/18/94) – Skumm creates an army of weevils resistant to pesticides.
 
“You Bet Your Planet” (2/25/94) – Aliens pit the Planeteers and Eco-Villains against each other in an intergalactic game show where Captain Planet is the prize.
 
“Going Bats, Man” (3/5/94) – The Planeteers investigate a movie producer when local bats are accused of terrorizing people.
 
“Jail House Flock” (3/26/94) – The Planeteers end up in trouble with the law when they try to stop Greedly from legally draining a swamp that houses an endangered bird.
 
“High Steaks” (4/2/94) – Plunder tries to ruin an environmentally-sustainable ranching operation.
 
“Planeteers Under Glass” (4/23/94) – The Planeteers end up trapped in Blight’s computer simulation where the effects of pollution are greatly accelerated.
 
“Orangu-Tangle” (4/30/94) – The Planeteers go up against a mother/son poaching team who are stealing away baby orangutans.
 
“No Horsing Around” (5/7/94) – Greedly wrangles wild horses on protected land to sell for slaughter.
 
“’Teers in the ‘Hood” (5/14/94) – The Planeteers attempt to stop the violence between rival gangs.
 
Season 5:
“Twilight Ozone” (9/10/94) – Nukem is behind animals mysteriously going blind.
 
“Hollywaste” (9/17/94) – Blight takes her do-good sister’s place in an environmentally friendly movie so that she can ruin it.
 
“The Ghost of Porkaloin Past” (9/24/94) – Greedly inherits his grandfather’s estate and turns his hotel into a wasteful desert golf course.
 
“The Disoriented Express” (10/1/94) – Blight kidnaps a philanthropist to stop her from starting a smog-reducing railway system in overcrowded Latin America cities.
 
“Horns A’ Plenty” (11/5/94) – Plunder teams-up with the Slaughters to keep the Planeteers out of their rhinoceros horn poaching operations.
 
“A River Ran Through It” (11/12/94) – Greedly starts a dispute between loggers and fishermen of a town.
 
“No Place Like Home” (11/19/24) – Blight manages to turn Gaia mortal, and if she isn’t returned to Hope Island by sunset the planet will be lost.
 
“Little Crop of Horrors” (11/26/94) – Blight alters an erosion-controlling vine with a stolen growth enhancement ray, which leads to it mutating into a plant monster.
 
“In Zarm’s Way” (2/4/95) – Zarm pits two children against each other in a simulation for a bet with Gi over hate being learned, not a natural trait.
 
“No Small problem” (2/11/95) – Sludge shrinks the Planeteers and leaves them in a dump.
 
“Numbers Game” (2/18/95) – Wheeler dozes off while in the tunnel of love with Linka, leading to a dream where he’s a family man and Hope Island is destroyed by overconsumption.
 
“Nothing’s Sacred” (2/25/95) – Ma-Ti is enraged by Skumm’s theft of a sacred artifact.
 
“Who’s Running the Show?” (5/13/95) – The Eco-Villains hijack a television station in order to spread their message of pollution and waste.
 
Season 6:
“An Eye for an Eye” (9/9/95 UK) – Greedly decides to wipe out river dolphins to protect his fishing operation.
 
“Whoo Gives a Hoot” (9/23/95 UK) – The Planeteers must prove to a judge that Plunder is clearcutting an old-growth forest.
 
“Frog Day Afternoon” (10/7/95 UK) – Blight steals frogs from their habitat to use their DNA to restore her flawless skin.
 
“Five Ring Panda-Monium” (11/4/95 UK) – The Planeteers go undercover in a circus to rescue animals abducted by the Slaughters.
 
“A Good Bomb Is Hard to Find” (11/11/95 UK) – Blight’s future self comes back to warn that the future is peace-loving, so they decide to restart the Cold War by stealing plutonium.
 
“Dirty Politics” (11/18/95 UK) – Blight’s future daughter comes to the past to help the Planeteers prevent her mother from winning the US Presidency.
 
“Old Ma River” (11/25/95 UK) – Wheeler investigates what caused everyone else to become sick in an Indian town.
 
“One of the Gang” (1/27/96 UK) – Ma-Ti visits the poor community of a town and becomes involved in their troubles.
 
“Twelve Angry Animals” (2/3/96 UK) – A group of animals rescue the Planeteers from a blizzard, only to put them on trial for the crimes of humanity.
 
“Never the Twain Shall Meet” (2/10/96 UK) – While in Mississippi, Ma-Ti and Wheeler dream of experiencing the river like in the works of Mark Twain.
 
“Delta Gone” (2/17/96 UK) – The Eco-cruiser is shot down while investigating a mysterious dam that turned the Okavanga Delta into a desert.
 
“Greed is the Word” (2/24/96 UK) – TV stars help the Planeteers stop a destructive speedboat race running through the Florida waterways.
 
“101 Mutations” (5/11/96 UK) – Blight runs a puppy mill that deals in dogs with birth defects.