X-Men Animated Series 20th Anniversary

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X-Men Animated Series 20th Anniversary

Postby O.Supreme » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:11 am

Greetings All,

Today October 31st marks the 20th anniversary of the debut of the X-Men Animated Series originally broadcast on Fox Kids. Unfortunately I don’t have a detailed personal back story with this one as I did with Batman:TAS, however I do have a bit of background material I’d like to share, and remembering the first episode when it aired.

When Batman:TAS started airing in September of 1992, Fox had reinvented its Saturday morning format. They had the song/tagline “Everybody knows… IT’S ON FOX!â€
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Postby Shin_Edda_Robo!!!!! » Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:44 pm

As a kid, I liked the X-Men show to the Batman series. Looking back though, I clearly think Batman TAS and the entire DCAU continuity is the better of the two.

I think as far as production values go, Batman TAS has aged better than X-Men.
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Postby Dr Kain » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:06 pm

Yeah. I loved the X-Men toon as a kid, but when I try to watch it today, I can barely get through two episodes. The animation is choppy, the stories are okay (well, the individual ones), and they feature some of the worst of the 90s in X-Men designs. Batman TAS on the other hand, remains to be the greatest cartoon of all time.
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Postby sentaison » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:59 pm

I have to agree that the X-men series has not aged well. While most of the stories were told well, the animation was obviously inferior to Batman. I have the entire Batman TAS on dvd, and it still looks decent. I haven't had any real desire to watch any of the 90's Marvel offerings since they first aired. If I run across one while channel surfing, I usually keep looking. There have been much better efforts at X-men series since the movies came out.
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Postby Dr Kain » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:59 pm

sentaison wrote:I have to agree that the X-men series has not aged well. While most of the stories were told well, the animation was obviously inferior to Batman. I have the entire Batman TAS on dvd, and it still looks decent. I haven't had any real desire to watch any of the 90's Marvel offerings since they first aired. If I run across one while channel surfing, I usually keep looking. There have been much better efforts at X-men series since the movies came out.


Hell, I still think X-Men Evolution is the best adaptation in comic form. It had a rough first season, but once they got into the second season, the show took off.
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Postby O.Supreme » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:12 am

^ I find that odd because Evolution was the the least faithful adaptaiton from the comics. The characters ages, the stories, the look of the characters, especially the brotherhood, etc... basically had nohing to do with the comics. It is my least favorite of the 3 series. I actually liked the look of the 90's series I guess I just liked the comics of that time better than current ones, and they actually lifted several stories from the comics themselves even though they were not handled exactly as in the comics, they came the closest. I have this entire series on DVD. I also have the Blu-Ray of Wolvie & The X-Men (got the whole series cheap less than $20.00), and I just copied Evolution which is available in its entirety on Youtube, Netflix etc...
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Postby MekaGojira3k » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:26 am

I liked the show as a kid, but now I can't stand the 90s Marvel stuff. I never made it past the first two episodes of Wolverine and the X-Men. So I'd say Evolution is my favorite cartoon adaptation.
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Postby sentaison » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:13 pm

I think the appeal of Evolution was that it wasn't just a copy/rehash of the stories that had been covered in the 90's series. It was a fresh approach that didn't lend itself to long time readers of the comic (like me) saying to themselves, "OK, I know where this is going". I can see how some purists wouldn't go for it, but I enjoyed it.
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Postby Dr Kain » Fri Nov 02, 2012 1:09 am

O.Supreme wrote:^ I find that odd because Evolution was the the least faithful adaptaiton from the comics. The characters ages, the stories, the look of the characters, especially the brotherhood, etc... basically had nohing to do with the comics. It is my least favorite of the 3 series. I actually liked the look of the 90's series I guess I just liked the comics of that time better than current ones, and they actually lifted several stories from the comics themselves even though they were not handled exactly as in the comics, they came the closest. I have this entire series on DVD. I also have the Blu-Ray of Wolvie & The X-Men (got the whole series cheap less than $20.00), and I just copied Evolution which is available in its entirety on Youtube, Netflix etc...


Honestly, I don't care about faithfulness to the comics if the story telling is good. There are so many versions of the comics that the argument becomes moot.

Sure, faithfulness is awesome, but again, look at Batman TAS. It did a lot different from the comics, and it did it better. Mr Freeze became a sympathetic villain, which was nothing like he was in the comics. Even the Dark Knight Trilogy deviated from the comics and made it is own thing, creating the greatest super hero trilogy ever, and one of the best trilogies out there.

The X-Men movies are nothing like the comics, and yet, three of them turned out great.

As for Evolution, I loved what they did with Apocalypse.
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Postby O.Supreme » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:23 am

I will agere there. The Apocalypse story arc that ended Evolution was pretty cool, but that was what? The last 10 episodes of a 52 episodes series. I guess it just bugged me that the characters were for the most part the wrong ages, weren't easily recognizable, or had the wrong allegiance. This is why I had the same problem with Transformers Animated, and Spectacular Spider-Man. Good Writing will suffer if people can't tolerate the look of the show. Green Lantern on CN currently suffers from the same problem IMHO.
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Postby Dr Kain » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:50 pm

Green Lantern doesn't even have good writing though.

I never bothered to watch the second season of Spectacular Spider-Man since it was announced the show as being canceled before it even aired, so I figured it was pointless.
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Postby MekaGojira3k » Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:36 pm

I can't really get hung up on the ages or allegiances. I'd rather let the writers play with that.
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Re: X-Men Animated Series 20th Anniversary

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:56 pm

I've been rewatching the X-Men animated series recently. I'm trying to watch it all in narrative order for the first time and that's proven to be a challenge. There are several different numerical orders to the 76 episodes that make up this series:

  • Script Order - This is the correct narrative order. Every episode of the series was assigned a script number. According to Stephen Melching, one of the show's writers, ordering the episodes by script number "reflects the sequence in which the stories were assigned to writers, and is a good guide for how the series was *initially* planned to develop." The script numbers were not minded by Fox, however, as they created their own...

  • Production Order - As soon as Saban Entertainment (the show's production company) supplied Fox with any production materials for an episode, that episode was assigned a production code by Fox, regardless of whether the materials they received were ready to air at that point or needed to be sent back to AKOM (the animation studio in South Korea) for retakes. Although these production codes were assigned without regard for the script numbers, they actually managed to not deviate from the script order until well into the third season, when some episodes took a longer time to get their first cut, by which point other episodes that should have come after them ended up receiving production codes sooner. Thus, the makings of a mixed-up episode order were in place, but it only got worse because even the production code sequence had no bearing on...

  • Broadcast/DVD Order - This is the order in which Fox actually premiered the episodes on American television. Everything up through the seventh episode of season three (the conclusion of the five-part "Phoenix Saga") aired in the correct narrative order (the script order). However, what should have been the very next episode, "No Mutant is an Island" didn't air until over two years later, as the fourth episode of season five. There were a lot more inconsistencies in the broadcast order, although to Fox's credit they always aired multi-part episode stories together in the correct order, never debuting a "part two" before a "part one" or anything like that. Unfortunately, when Disney released the complete series on DVD in 2009-2010, they retained the broadcast order for the episodes across all five DVD volumes. You might think this is just the episode order licensors will stick with forever, but that brings us to the most uncanny of all...

  • Hulu Order - The entire X-Men animated series is available to stream for Hulu users but, bizarrely, Hulu doesn't present the episodes in any of the above sequential orders. Once again, every episode up through "The Phoenix Saga" in the third season is presented in the correct order, as they've always been. It then has the two-part "Savage Land, Strange Heart" just like the broadcast/DVD order, however, next it has "No Mutant is an Island" as if someone at Hulu was trying to fix that particular ordering error. (There's a similar reordering with the episode "Longshot.") From there, amid the remaining season three episodes that are presented in their broadcast order, Hulu squeezes in a number of season four episodes in a seemingly random order, making for a giant shuffle. It's the most bizarre thing and I can't figure out what the folks at Hulu were trying to do here.

To try and keep track of all this as I watch the series, I made a spreadsheet to sort through all of the different ordering sequences. I've made it publicly viewable on Google Sheets for anyone else who wants to refer to it.

X-Men Animated Series Episode Guide - Sortable Spreadsheet

The spreadsheet cannot be edited but you can toggle through the different sorting views by clicking the drop-down arrows next to the column headings. The default view has them ordered by script number, the intended narrative order.
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Re: X-Men Animated Series 20th Anniversary

Postby O.Supreme » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:41 am

Unfortunately X-Men suffered from many production issues that caused the episodes to air out of order. It's odd because the out of order issues from the first season are fixed on the DVD's. As far as I can tell there is no version of Season 2 that is out of order. Season 3 is where things get bad however, and you have to jump through several DVD's of other seasons to get the correct order of what happened basically between the Phoenix Saga and Dark Phoenix saga. Thanks for posting the link however, I knew of these some time ago, and just made a print out for myself and stuck it inside my X-Men DVD's that Buena Vista released a few years back.
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Re: X-Men Animated Series 20th Anniversary

Postby tbeasley » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:46 am

I revisited this series after X-Men: Apocalypse and largely enjoyed myself. Some episodes are better than others (and some definitely look better than others), but it was still a fun experience that brought back a lot of memories. I grew up watching this and the Spider-Man show from around the same time and they've always been my favorite Marvel properties. When the Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi films came out I associated them more with the animated shows than the comics.

So while I don't think it's aged as well as the Batman animated series it was very cool seeing something from before the live action films took over.
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Re: X-Men Animated Series 20th Anniversary

Postby Benjamin Haines » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:48 pm

O.Supreme wrote:Unfortunately X-Men suffered from many production issues that caused the episodes to air out of order. It's odd because the out of order issues from the first season are fixed on the DVD's. As far as I can tell there is no version of Season 2 that is out of order. Season 3 is where things get bad however, and you have to jump through several DVD's of other seasons to get the correct order of what happened basically between the Phoenix Saga and Dark Phoenix saga. Thanks for posting the link however, I knew of these some time ago, and just made a print out for myself and stuck it inside my X-Men DVD's that Buena Vista released a few years back.


Good catch. I didn't realize that some of the season one episodes aired out of order. So the DVD order isn't 100% the same as the broadcast order; the DVDs restore the first season episodes to the proper script order but leave everything else arranged according to broadcast premiere date. Hulu also has the entire first season in the proper script order.

I just corrected the spreadsheet, FYI. Sorry I didn't catch that before you printed it out.
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Re: X-Men Animated Series 20th Anniversary

Postby Benjamin Haines » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:49 pm

This article from The Hollywood Reporter is a great read:

'X-Men' at 25: The Unlikely Story of the Animated Hit No Network Wanted
The influential Fox Kids cartoon only hit the air after a studio exec bet her career on it, with the show going on to prove the Marvel Universe "had commercial value far beyond what anybody estimated."
Eric Lewald (showrunner) wrote:Saban tried a couple of times to get cheaper animation studios with various, huge problems. One caused a two-year delay in two of the episodes. He sent it over to a different studio than we were used to. We tried them out. It came back unusable and it was a two-year fight to get the materials back. That's why the episode right after the Phoenix Saga, where Jean is found alive, she's not found alive until two years later. It doesn't make any sense, but that and another episode were delayed because Saban was trying to find a cheaper way to produce it. In the fifth season he actually found a cheaper place that worked out, so the animation actually looks a little different. Some of the quality controls were lifted. The budgets went down. They were cranked down. It had not happened the first four years, really. The stories didn’t go down so much in the last year, though a couple of the weaker ones were there, but the quality control on the animation went down.
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Re: X-Men Animated Series 20th Anniversary

Postby Dr Kain » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:25 am

Wait a minute... is this about X-Men or Power Rangers? Becuase the studio exec bet her career on Power Rangers, not X-Men.
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Re: X-Men Animated Series 20th Anniversary

Postby O.Supreme » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:40 am

It's hard to believe its been 25 years (and 5 since I started the thread)... 8) . The show still looks amazing to me for the most part. They really should have ended with "Beyond Good and Evil" the 5th season was really unnecessary.

Still to put things in perspective. New World Animation, which made the last few episodes of X-Men's 5th season for less money, that look awful compared to the rest, was the same company that came in and produced 2nd seasons of both F4 & Iron Man in 1995, and made them look great, in comparison with the turds that were the first season.

It's just sad that now, because of the rift between Disney/Marvel and Fox, there is no plan for an X-Men animated series in the future. All Disney wants is vanilla generic cartoons mimicking the MCU (and in many cases spoiling it years in advance), and all Fox wants to do is live action series and films. Even though Disney has had Marvel since 2009, they played nice for the most part. X-Men and F4 characters continued to make appearances in Marvel animated series until about 2013...then all of a sudden, gone...most likely not to be seen again for a long time.

Seeing Marvel slowly wipe two of their most famous character groups from all their world building media is just sad.
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Re: X-Men Animated Series 20th Anniversary

Postby Benjamin Haines » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:39 pm

O.Supreme wrote:It's just sad that now, because of the rift between Disney/Marvel and Fox, there is no plan for an X-Men animated series in the future. All Disney wants is vanilla generic cartoons mimicking the MCU (and in many cases spoiling it years in advance), and all Fox wants to do is live action series and films. Even though Disney has had Marvel since 2009, they played nice for the most part. X-Men and F4 characters continued to make appearances in Marvel animated series until about 2013...then all of a sudden, gone...most likely not to be seen again for a long time.


Fox is developing an animated Deadpool series to air on FX, so anything is possible.


Dr Kain wrote:Wait a minute... is this about X-Men or Power Rangers? Becuase the studio exec bet her career on Power Rangers, not X-Men.


She risked it on both shows according to the article.

Aaron Couch and Byron Burton wrote:TV executive Margaret Loesch had long championed the idea that there was TV gold to be made with Marvel, and she'd spent years pitching shows to the networks. Loesch was particularly taken with the X-Men, the ragtag team of mutants led by Prof. Charles Xavier, who taught them to deal with their mutant powers, all the while protecting a public who feared and even hated them. She oversaw a failed pilot, 1989's Pryde of the X-Men, (featuring, of all things, a Wolverine with an Australian accent) and vowed not to make the same mistakes again. When Loesch started her role as Fox Kids CEO in 1990, she convinced Fox head Jamie Kellner to let her greenlight an X-Men show, staking her career on its success. She brought in Haim Saban of Saban Entertainment and production company Graz for the show.

Haim Saban wrote:Obviously, after I was able to deliver the network this hit series, my relationship with the president of Fox Children’s Network, Margaret Loesch, was very good. I basically had an open door to pitch Margaret any projects in our development pipeline. One project that I was eager to pitch her was the Power Rangers. I had seen the Power Rangers on TV in Japan back in 1984 and tried to sell it in the USA for nearly 10 years. There were just no takers. So I thought that Margaret might be the right executive with the right eye to take a gamble on this project. I presented her with a very rough pilot and she replied:"hmm, this could be interesting." She eventually committed to putting it on air even though her bosses, (including Rupert Murdoch), all told her that she was playing with her career and that she should just cancel the series before it even premiered.
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