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What's your favorite premiere episode for a Spider-Man animated series?

Discussion in 'The Marvel Animation Forum' started by RoyalRubble, Aug 19, 2017.

  1. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    There have been a lot of Spider-Man animated series over the years. But each show had a beginning, a premiere episode which tried to introduce us to various takes on Peter Parker/Spider-Man, his world, supporting cast and rogues gallery, etc. Below is a list of the first episodes from each Spidey cartoon show since 1967 and until today, complete with some technical specs and random mini-commentary.

    *Please note this thread may contain spoilers about Marvel's Spider-Man, which debuted today.

    [​IMG]
    Image courtesy of Marvel Animation Age

    SPIDER-MAN (1967-1970)
    - Premiere episode(s): "The Power of Dr. Octopus" / "Sub-Zero for Spidey"
    - Original air-date: September 9th, 1967
    - Plot(s): Dr. Octopus schemes to destroy an entire section of the city, and Spider-Man must stop him. / Professor Smartyr is kidnapped by ice-creatures to help them fix their starship, and Spider-Man must stop the city from freezing over.
    - Villain(s): Doctor Octopus / Plutonian Ice Creatures
    - Random thoughts:
    • Most of the episodes from this show were composed of two, 11-minutes long segments, especially in the first and last seasons.
    • The show used a lot of made-up villains throughout its run. Big names like Doc Ock, Green Goblin and Electro (to name a few) did appear multiple times.

    SPIDER-WOMAN (1979-1980)
    - Premiere episode: "Pyramids of Terror"
    - Original air-date: September 22nd, 1979
    - Plot: The Justice Magazine crew investigate an alien invasion in Egypt led by the mummy Khufu.
    - Villain(s): Alien mummies
    - Random thoughts:
    • Technically this wasn't a Spider-Man cartoon, but since it featured a hero with spider-like powers and Spidey himself guest-starred in 2 episodes (including the premiere), I figured it would be worth mentioning.
    • The show used mostly original villains but classic Marvel foes like Kingpin and Dormammu also appeared.

    SPIDER-MAN (1981-1982)
    - Premiere episode: "Bubble, Bubble, Oil and Trouble"
    - Original air-date: September 12th, 1981
    - Plot: Doctor Octopus commits various mysterious crimes in an effort to upgrade his mechanical arms and steal the world’s oil supply.
    - Villain: Doctor Octopus
    - Random thoughts:
    • Second time in a row Doc Ock is the villain in the premiere of a Spidey show.
    • The show featured guest appearances from other Marvel heroes (Captain America & Namor the Sub-Mariner) throughout its run. Most notably, there was also a five-part story-arc with Spidey having to confront Doctor Doom.

    SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS (1981-1983)
    - Premiere episode: "Triumph of the Green Goblin"
    - Original air-date: September 12th, 1981
    - Plot: A plane crash turns Norman Osborn back into the Green Goblin, who plans to turn the entire city into goblins.
    - Villain: Green Goblin
    - Random thoughts:
    • The aforementioned Spider-Man show from the 80s also had an episode with a similar story, titled "Revenge of the Green Goblin".
    • Spider-Man was teamed up with Firestar and Iceman for this show. The third season featured an origin story for how the three formed this team.

    SPIDER-MAN (1994-1998)
    - Premiere episode: "Night of the Lizard"
    - Original air-date: November 19th, 1994
    - Plot: Spider-Man discovers that his science teacher, Dr. Curt Connors, has been turned into a deranged lizard due to an experiment gone wrong, and is abducting people throughout Manhattan.
    - Villain: Lizard
    - Random thoughts:
    • Starting with the second season, the show did season-long story-arcs. The fifth and final season had 3 smaller story-arcs.
    • The show featured plenty of Spidey villains, and supporting characters from the comics, as well as guest-stars in other Marvel heroes (like the X-Men, Iron Man, Captain America, etc). Sandman never made it into the show.

    SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED (1999-2001)
    - Premiere episode: "Worlds Apart, Part 1"
    - Original air-date: October 2nd, 1999
    - Plot: When Spider-Man spots his two main enemies, Venom and Carnage, hijacking on John Jameson's spaceship on a trip to the mysterious planet, Counter-Earth, he fails to stop them and the two symbiote villains go with Jameson to Counter-Earth, where the ship crashes and Jameson presumably dies. The public then blames Spider-Man for Jameson's seeming death. Spider-Man fakes his own death and lies low for half a year until he gets a new nano-tech costume from Reed Richards and gets another ride to Counter-Earth.
    - Villain(s): Venom and Carnage
    - Random thoughts:
    • The show was supposed to be a continuation of the previously mentioned 90s Spider-Man show.
    • Various new Counter-Earth versions of classic Spidey villains appear throughout the show's run. Venom and Carnage are sort of the main villains, after the High Evolutionary.

    SPIDER-MAN: THE NEW ANIMATED SERIES (2003)
    - Premiere episode: "The Party"
    - Original air-date: July 11th, 2003
    - Plot: Parker's nerdy high-school friend Max is hazed in a deadly fraternity prank that turns him into Electro, a high-voltage villain that threatens the campus. Only Spider-Man can stop him from exacting his revenge on the students.
    - Villain: Electro
    - Random thoughts:
    • The episodes aired out of order, sometimes making the continuity of the show hard to follow. It was also loosely set in the same continuity as the live-action Spider-Man movies of the time.
    • The show featured mostly made-up villains throughout its run. The likes of Kraven the Hunter, Lizard and Silver Sable did appear. Electro appeared in 2 episodes. A version of the Kingpin (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan) also appeared in an episode.

    THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (2008-2009)
    - Premiere episode: "Survival of the Fittest"
    - Original air-date: March 8th, 2008
    - Plot: Summer is ending and Peter Parker's junior year is about to start of high school. His superhero ego, Spider Man has to face the Enforcers and the Vulture.
    - Villain(s): Vulture and the Enforcers
    - Random thoughts:
    • The show was split up into mini-arcs, 3 or 4 episodes long. Each one had a recurring theme, and the episode titles were based on different terms from a specific subject taught in schools, in keeping with the theme of "The Education of Peter Parker".
    • A lot of classic and newer Spidey villains, and various supporting characters from the comics were used on the show.

    ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN (2012-2017)
    - Premiere episode: "Great Power" / "Great Responsibility"
    - Original air-date: April 1st, 2012
    - Plot(s): One year after becoming Spider-Man, a teenage Peter Parker is approached by Nick Fury to train with S.H.I.E.L.D. Spidey turns Fury down, but soon finds that villainous forces may require him to join the big leagues after all. / When Spider-Man accepts Nick Fury's offer to be trained by S.H.I.E.L.D. to become the Ultimate Spider-Man, he discovers that he will be joining forces with four other teenage Super Heroes - Nova, White Tiger, Power Man and Iron Fist.
    - Villain(s): The Frightful Four (Wizard, Thundra, Klaw and Trapster) and Doctor Octopus
    - Random thoughts:
    • First time both parts of an hour long premiere episode air on the same date.
    • Starting with season three, the show gained the subtitle "Web Warriors". The fourth and final season was known as "Ultimate Spider-Man Versus the Sinister Six".
    • With a total of 104 episodes, this is currently the longest running Marvel cartoon as well as the longest Spider-Man animated series produced so far.
    • For more thoughts regarding the Frightful Four in animation, check out this thread.

    MARVEL'S SPIDER-MAN (2017-present)
    - Premiere episode: "Horizon High, Parts 1-2"
    - Original air-date: August 19th, 2017
    - Plot(s): Peter is accepted into Horizon High: a school for geniuses, where his best friend Harry Osborn was just suspended. Peter makes his debut as Spider-Man and must battle the Vulture. / Spider-Man must work to stop the Scorpion from wreaking havoc at the museum.
    - Villain(s): Vulture and Scorpion
    - Random thoughts:
    • Second time both parts of an hour long premiere episode air on the same date.
    • To discuss this premiere more in-depth, check out this thread

    Which of these Spider-Man premieres did you enjoy the most? Obviously you can pick more than one, if you'd like. Do you think the older shows still hold up? What would you change - if you could - in one of the premieres to make it more enjoyable? How would you handle the start of a new Spider-Man cartoon, if you had the opportunity? Who should be the first villain(s) he has to fight?

    Leave a comment below and discuss, and remember to be respectful of each others' opinions!
     
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    #1 RoyalRubble, Aug 19, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2017
  2. Matt Parker

    Matt Parker New Member

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    Spectacular's, honestly. It sets up almost every major arc the series explored, introduces us to a Spidey who had been crimefighting for long enough to not be a complete novice, yet was still naive and inexperienced, and made me fall in love with the series and its take on the hero.
     
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  3. Frontier

    Frontier Moderator
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    I think for me it would probably be a tie between "Night of the Lizard" and "Survival of the Fittest."

    Two strong starts for what are still, for my money, one of the best Spider-Man animated adaptions ;).
     
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  4. ObserveCreative11

    ObserveCreative11 New Member

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    I would put it this way: in terms of a pitch perfect integration of a potential and clueless new viewer (let's say, with zero knowledge of the comic book lore or early Ditko/Lee/Romita Sr.'s stories; something that I experienced myself when I was 5-years-old) into this superhero's strange and exciting world, I would most definitely go with John Semper Jr's TAS and Greg Weisman's Spectacular.

    Not only were they fresh, original, daring, colorful and innovative at the time they originally aired, but both shows also weren't afraid to offer truly exciting stories and thrilling action (while educating us on the classic mythos and legends of Spidey from all time periods, be it the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, early 2000's or Brian Michael Bendis' early run on USM), while also providing you with some of the best psychological treatment of Peter Parker and his alter ego-related problems (identity crisis, moral lessons, tough relationships with other people in his life and how it all ties to new villains popping up and spoiling the day for our favorite webhead + not to mention surprising us with some of the best goosebumps, jump scares and revelations that really rocked your world and left the said moments cemented in your memory). And that (along with perfect attention to sound design and orchestral accompaniment by Udi Harpaz on TAS and Lolita Ritmanis and Michael McCuiston on SSM), in retrospect, always allowed them to stand the test of time and to be relevant to a lot of different generations.

    However, if we're looking for something bold, provoking (with dark themes, tragic endings, unresolved conflicts) and really captivating that tends to steer away from the traditional approach (what we consider to be canon), but at the same time is not afraid to make a new statement on the character's essence without any serious harm being done to the way we perceive Pete Parker, then I would, without a doubt, turn my attention to Will Meugniot's Spidey Unlimited (one could even go as far as saying that it was the only series amongst many other Spidey shows where it actually felt like a decent comic book coming to life in terms of its treatment of vibrant and astonishing visuals, they tried that later on with the Ultimate Spider-Man video game and succeeded in that department; and the show's development history deserves its own separate topic: how to go from a faithful adaptation of the first 30+ something Ditko issues to a peculiar cross of 2099/Clone Saga shenanigans and to what we ultimately got) and Brandon Vietti's MTV Spider-Man (aside from enchanting CGI graphics and immersive soundtrack, the latter I began to develop a newfound interest for after I was finally done with my own university experiences and a lot of little things that went unnoticed by me when I was at school, I really found a new appreciation for once I got to a new place in my own life cycle).

    And then I would conclude it with the combo of the 60's/Amazing Friends/'81 (not because they are smashing or something like that, although there is enough character design, Adam West-like kid-friendly nature, inspired audio choices and psychedelic aura surrounding it that it might be really worth it to check them all out in its entirety), but just so you have an additional level of awareness added to your overall knowledge of Pete's rich history in a wide range of mediums (it's like, you have to experience Spidey's participation in the Electric Company show at least once, but you don't have to be religiously devoted to it, I mean with an exception of a couple of thought balloons, the guy never utters a single word).

    USM and Marvel's SM I would ignore completely, for I don't want to give props to soulless, fabricated diversity-infested, synergy-infused, universe-building, damp, toy factory like in its nature (on the inside and on the outside) commercial products that are made by a questionable committee (intent on instilling false hope and optimism because they are aware that there is no serious talent behind the machine, be it their animation/music/voicover departments, that can save them all from another disaster) that consists of questionable individuals (some of them, like Joey Q, are even responsible for the destruction of everything sacred and acceptable in 616 Universe) with only one, single goal in mind... to remind everyone that Spidey still exists (along with his completely 'unique and exciting' Spider-friends?!), which, in itself, is the worst bait that one could offer to any viewer when there is an apparent lack of understanding and true appreciation of the character's extensive history (55 years of it).

    Fin.
     
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  5. Red Arrow :D

    Red Arrow :D Proud Beneluxer

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    Shouldn't it be "your favorite episode from a Spider-Man animated series"?

    (Sorry if this sounds rude. I'm not a native speaker :D )
     
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  6. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    It would be interesting to consider how good a premiere is on its own, regardless of how future episodes turn out to be. The show might be more episodic, or serialized. There's a chance you won't know that just by watching the first episode. Obviously it's kind of hard to do that for shows that have aired years ago, to look back at only the first episode and disregard any subsequent stories.

    For example, "Horizon High", which has just debuted today. This is kind of the only one where one can judge the premiere on its own merits, at the moment. Having said that, I would also probably pick "Survival of the Fittest" and "Night of the Lizard" as my favorites (even ignoring the latter episodes of each show, I think those two pilots still hold up great).

    The 60s Spidey cartoon was pretty much standard super-hero animation which was present at the time. But I should give it some points for debuting with that great theme song. The stuff from the 80s was fun but nothing really memorable, though I admit I find myself re-watching episodes of Amazing Friends every now and then. If I had to pick a favorite first episode from the pre-90s era, "Triumph of the Green Goblin" would probably be it.

    "Night of the Lizard" was a good way to start the 90s show. The story was decent and animation-wise I think it's one of the better looking episodes of that series. I liked how it focused on more dramatic plots than the cartoons before. Plus, it introduced several of Spidey's supporting cast, which was cool.

    Spider-Man Unlimited was different from the start. It's a more radical change from what you'd expect in a Spidey show, but I think it worked out pretty well in the end. It's kind of funny that the premiere I listed above is only the first part, meaning it ends with a cliff-hanger. Sadly the show ended that way as well.

    The CGI Spidey show had a decent start but it was kind of restricted to what it could do throughout its run because of the live-action movies.

    "Survival of the Fittest" was great. A nice story, good mix of villains and a neat way to introduce Peter/Spidey and his supporting cast. The balance between action and humor was pretty much perfect as far as I'm concerned. Even without watching the rest of the show, I think this episode can stand on its own and still be entertaining enough. Pretty impressive.

    For Ultimate Spider-Man, the premiere pretty much set the tone for the rest of the show. Just by those first two episodes, you kind of knew the team dynamics, the use of cut-away gags, etc. It wasn't horrible, but I have to admit I find it pretty hard to sit through some of the early episodes of the show nowadays. If I were to count the latter seasons as different shows, things did improve as the show progressed. The final season was the best, with some intriguing stories, but still didn't exactly live up to its full potential.

    Marvel's Spider-Man is off to a pretty good start. The animation isn't the greatest and the character designs might take a while to get used to, but the story was decent, Spidey's characterization isn't that bad, the supporting cast is there, the action and humor work for the most part, but there still seems to be something missing. I will probably talk more about this in its own thread, but for now I'll just say this was a decent way to start the show and I still think it has some potential.

    Who knows, maybe it will become everyone's favorite when the next Spidey cartoon will premiere in a few years, and this thread will most likely be brought back. :p
     
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  7. Rick Jones

    Rick Jones Hero Fan
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    I'm sure nostalgia probably plays a big part in it at this point but Night of the Lizard is just one of those great pilots in my opinion. The way I anticipated that thing as a kid is probably only on par with how I was before the first Raimi movie was released. Trying to look at it objectively, it just works so well. The animation is great. The voice acting is well done. They manage to introduce all of the key elements we need to know of Peter's world organically in that short space of time and without anything feeling rushed or crammed in. The premise seems very similar to Batman's On Leather Wings but by making this first antagonist's story more of a sympathetic one, it manages to set it's hooks in from both a stylistic and emotional level. Every pilot is focused on getting you interested in their version of Peter above anything else but by choosing a villain he can be 100% empathetic towards, it's possible to be emotionally invested in this story from jump, without needing to know the full origin story or anything. I don't think any of the other premiere episodes quite do that as well for me.

    On a curious note, was Heroes and Villains the first episode aired of TNAS? I just remembered how out of order the show always felt and it left me a bit puzzled since I always felt like there was a lot of information I was missing.

    Sent from my HTC6500LVW using Tapatalk
     
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    #7 Rick Jones, Aug 26, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
  8. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    Apparently, "The Party" (Electro's first episode) aired first. I remember the show airing out of order but cannot recall what order they used. I guess I should have researched this a little more but I went with "Heroes and Villains" since that was supposedly the pilot.
     
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  9. Rick Jones

    Rick Jones Hero Fan
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    No worries. I remembered seeing The Party first on TV then Heroes and Villains was the first on the DVD release but I still was just a little confused. Heroes and Villains is definitely the right call to go with. It's still a shame, they screwed up the airing so much back then.

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  10. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    Just for fun - I also added the Spider-Woman cartoon to the list. Especially since Spidey guest-starred in the series premiere.
     
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