Monday, May 14, 2012

Marvel Series That Ended Too Soon

     It happens all the time, whether it was receiving bad reviews or because the company was being purchased by someone else, some good TV shows just get cancelled and there is nothing that die hard fans can do about it. Three series come to mind, Marvel series to be exact that ended too soon. Each one could have easily pulled off two more marvelous seasons but for whatever the reason, each show ended too soon. Spiderman: Unlimited, Wolverine And The X-Men and The Spectacular Spiderman. I didn’t think much about these series’ abrupt endings until I began watching the new Ultimate Spiderman series and it got me thinking. I’m a fan of the Ultimate series, its been pretty good so far, but I cant help but thinking that, a) This series only exists due to the Spectacular’s cancellation and b) is it too soon for yet another Spidey cartoon?

     In 1999, legendary cartoon shows of the 90’s were coming to an end and most of us thought we wouldn’t see another good superhero cartoon for at least another couple years. Then the WB released an icon in Batman Beyond, set in the same universe as the renowned Batman: The Animated Series, but 50 years in the future. The series was a huge success right from the start and the boys at DC loved it. Marvel began to take notice, although their successful series of the decade like The X-Men, Ironman and Spiderman had ended, Marvel still wanted to compete. So they took their most successful character (old Web-Head) and revamped him the way that DC revamped Batman, creating Spiderman: Unlimited. Taking place some time after the previous Spiderman series finale, it appears that Peter has found the long lost Mary Jane and is living happily with her, until he need to travel to an alternate Earth in order to save John Jameson, the astronaut. Along with a new, high-tech suit, Spiderman encounters alternate versions of The Vulture, Green Goblin and Kraven, not to mention his own versions of Venom and Carnage who followed Jameson to this other world for their own devilish reasons. The premise of the first season was to help Jameson and the rebels take down the High Evolutionary and his band of genetically altered animals so that he and John could return back to their own world, but in the season finale, while stopping the High Evolutionary, Venom and Carnage unleash the Synoptic, a large monster-like symbiote that begins its attack on the city, and then, Boom! Cancelled! Well, it didn’t quite happen that fast. The network is was running on wanted the air time for shows with better ratings so they eventually decided to cut the series from their network. The series only lasted 13 episodes and never made it to a second season. The plot of the next season would have involved the rebels working together with the Beastials to destroy the symbiotes. In my opinion, that would have made damn good television.

     Speaking of damn good television, Wolverine and the X-Men. The X-Men of the 90’s and even the teenagers from X-Men Evolution left a good, lasting impression for fans over many years. Then in 2008, Marvel released its newest X-series with an interesting plotline to say the least. After an explosion at the mansion, Prof. X is put into a comma that lasts roughly 20 years, waking him up in a world destroyed by the Sentinel army. A world where mutants are hunted and destroyed. Along the way he encounters future mutants like Marrow and Bishop, along with a future Wolverine. Using some equipment from the Cerebro machine, Xavier contacts the X-Men in the past and guides them to help figure out what caused this terrible future. The X-Men in the present eventually defeat the Brotherhood of Mutants, along with the Hellfire Club as Emma Frost sacrifices herself by destroying the Phoenix Force in the finale episode. While the X-Men of the present stop the terrible events from destroying the future, the X-men of the future destroy the Sentinel army as they watch their world transform before their very eyes. Xavier contacts the present to let his students know that they successfully altered the future, but not in the way he was hoping. The ultimate mutant known as Apocalypse as seized control of the entire planet and is a champion to the people. At his side are Mr. Sinister and Cyclops? 26 episodes down the drain because the show never continued and was cancelled. I don’t have to go into detail about how awesome it would have been to witness a revamped storyline based on the comic story, Age of Apocalypse. A great show’s second season never saw the light of day due to financial conflicts. (At least have a cool reason like “the next season would have been too magnificent to show on television, so we couldn’t make it”. That would have been a better excuse for the younger audiences at least).

     Finally we have, one of my favorite Marvel series ever, The Spectacular Spiderman. The difference between this show and the other two is that this one actually managed to pull off a second season. This was the newest Spiderman series since that one Spidey series was done with CGI stuff as apposed to the traditional method. Spectacular saw a young Peter Parker, 3 months into the superhero gig, yet already an expert. He battles many classic foes through out the first season while trying to balance his job and his friendships between Harry, Gwen and MJ (classic Spidey plot). The final storyline of the season featured the black suit, which Peter used to battle the Chameleon and the Sinister Six. Once he had defeated Venom at the season’s end, he received a kiss from Gwen, complicating things a little for the next season. Peter somehow ends up in a relationship with Liz Allen for pretty much the whole season while Gwen ends up with Harry who recently returned from psychiatric therapy. New villains surface like Kraven and Mysterio along with an updated Sinister Six. And even Venom returns to cause Peter some more trouble. In the season finale (series’ finale) The Green Goblin is revealed to be Norman Osborn and apparently dies in an explosion, which was mostly his own fault, but of course Harry blames Spiderman. In the last scene, we see Norman in a disguise boarding a plane. And that was it. Producer Greg Weisman stated that, if there had been a third season, they would have included such characters as Scorpion, the Hobgoblin and maybe even Carnage. We currently have Ultimate Spiderman, putting it’s own unique take on the early years of Spiderman with a larger role made by SHIELD and Harry Osborn as Venom? I’m a Spidey fan to the core so I’m sure the Ultimate series will be great, but I cant help but wonder if all these series had continued. (Also, how awesome is Spectacular's intro?)

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