Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Pirates of Dark Water (1991)

As anti-violence restrictions that had been in place since 1968 were either being abolished or eased out, a doorway was opened for a return to swashbuckling adventure, the likes of which hadn't been seen since '68's Arabian Knights. Fortunately, the newest series of this kind came from the same studio.....

The Pirates of Dark Water began as a 5-part miniseries that aired on Fox in February 1991. However, 7 months later, the series moved to ABC, with the miniseries encored over the first five weeks. It was also the first---and to my knowledge, the only---series created by David Kirschner ("Child's Play"), who was with Hanna-Barbera at the time.

Dark Water's central plot centered on Ren (George Newbern) and his battle with Lord Bloth (Brock Peters), while at the same time trying to save Mer from the titular menace, the dark water that threatened to consume Mer.

In an interesting turn of events, when the series changed networks, Kirschner and his casting directors made a change with Nibbler, Ren's sidekick. Originally voiced by the inestimable Roddy McDowell, the role was recast with Frank Welker dubbing over McDowell's original vocals.

Now, here's the intro:

 The early success of the series led to a 9-issue comic book, published by Marvel, but the show ended without Ren and his crew finishing their quest. The series was cancelled in 1993 after 2 seasons.

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

This was a really great show that could have gone much farther than it did.

I think only 9 treasures out of the 13 were collected by the time the series ended. I'd always wondered why another miniseries or TV movie was never made to finish the story. I had never even read the comics so I don't know what progression had taken place.

Don't forget two other esteemed voices in this series: Hector Elizondo as Ioz and Jodi Benson as Tula.

I hated that Roddy McDowell was replaced as Nibbler. His voice seemed like a good fit for the character. No offense to Welker, but when he took over, all I could think of was Mixelplik's voice was coming out of Nibbler's mouth.

Another think I liked about the show was how such a complete world was created for Mer. There were even swear words! "Chongo Longo" & "Noy Gee-Tat!" were great alternatives to conventional profanity!

hobbyfan said...

Hector Elizondo didn't last the entire series. Jim Cummings replaced him in season 2. Also, according to sources, only 8 of the 13 treasures were recovered.

In re.: Frank Welker as Nibbler. I was thinking Peewit (The Smurfs) more than Mxyzptlk. I think this might have been Jodi Benson's only job for H-B, as she's better known as the voice behind the Little Mermaid for Disney.