It's complicated... I really like the directing, acting and writing but, there are issues with the way it's shot that I just can't deny. As much as I love the storytelling and the fantastic performance but, there are also certain scenes that didn't need to exist.
... View More
Originally was supposed to be a development animated project that was set to premiere in 1971 for CBS' Saturday Morning schedule,the short-lived animated action-adventure/science fiction series "Sealab 2020" ended up premiering on September 9, 1972 as part of NBC's Saturday Morning schedule that lasted 13 episodes until December 2, 1972. Only the original episodes aired during its broadcast while the repeated episodes lasted from January of 1973 until its demise for the Saturday Morning scene on September 1, 1973."Sealab 2020" was the next to last of the Hanna-Barbera action adventure cartoons that were produced during the 1970's. This was a series that was part "Star Trek" under the sea with elements of Jules Verne,part "Ivan Tors",with hints of Irwin Allen's 1960's television series "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" for great measure. With an educational purpose that was prone to teach kids about the ocean environment and different types of sea animals to boot,all within an half-hour.The cartoon series takes place in the year 2020...."Sealab" was an underwater laboratory where 250 people,including children lived. It's leading scientist was oceanographer and Native American Dr. Paul Williams(who was a Chinook Indian),who was head of the research facility under the sea who studied the undersea world assisted by aquanauts Hal(Jerry Dexter),Gail(Ann Jillian),and Ed(Ron Pinkard). Sparks(William Callaway)was the radio dispatcher and communications officer,while Captain Mike Murphy(voiced by Hanna-Barbera stockplayer John Stephenson)was in charge of the Sealab's operations. Captain Murphy's children,Bobby(Josh Albee),and Sally(Pamelyn Ferdin),along with Jamie(Gary Shapiro)got involved in some of the adventures which were involving dangerous rescues and helping out others in several episodes. Mrs. Thomas(Olga James)was the educational consultant with Sealab and was responsible for looking after the children of Sealab and was Bobby and Sally's teacher.The great Ross Martin(of the television series "Mr. Lucky",and was also of "The Wild,Wild,West" fame)was the voice of Dr. Paul Williams who was one of several minorities that were featured in this short-lived series. Regular Hanna-Barbera stockplayers John Stephenson,Jerry Dexter,and even in some episodes Don Messick along with Henry Corden, Mike Road, Janet Waldo, Joan Gerber, Casey Kasem and Paul Frees provided character support. Peter Dixon and former "Star Trek" writer-producer Fred Freiberger contribute to some of the stories. After its initial run on NBC ended,"Sealab 2020" came back in re-runs during the mid-1980's on cable as part of the USA Network's Cartoon Express and most recently,Cartoon Network's Boomerang Channel brought it back after a decade long hiatus...in re-runs mostly.
... View More
The short-lived action/adventure animated series "Sealab 2020" was very distinguished from other Hanna-Barbera produced cartoons of the early 1970's by its exceptional and quite unique for its production design of that era. This was a show that was in fact part "Jules Verne",part "Ivan Tors",and part "Irwin Allen" The animated designs for this series came from the great Alex Toth who did many production designs for several Hanna-Barbera cartoons(and Toth was responsible for bringing a lot of Hanna-Barbera classic characters from the 1960's including "Jonny Quest","Dino Boy In The Lost Valley","Birdman!","Space Ghost","Mighthor","The Herculoids",not to mention was the designer behind another great H-B cartoon of the 1970's..."The Superfriends")."Sealab 2020" was a surprisingly interest,with its mix of action and adventure with a lot of science fiction thrown in plus it was well balanced in the educational and creative aspect as well. About this show. "Sealab 2020" had a very short run of 13 episodes. It originally first aired as part of NBC-TV's Saturday Morning schedule from its premiere on September 9, 1972 until December 2,1972. During its first season only 13 of the original episodes ran from September 9, 1972 through December 2, 1972(which included three episodes that never aired during its original broadcast on NBC). Repeated episodes(all 13 episodes were rebroadcast)ran from January of 1973 until September 1, 1973.The concept of this show was fascinating beyond belief. A team of scientists working at a large research base under the sea.....250 people who were researchers and biologists worked here under its research facility under the sea,lead by Dr. Paul Williams(voiced by Ross Martin of "Mr. Lucky",and also "The Wild,Wild West" fame)and was conducted by a team of expert team members who were associated with Dr. Williams. Mike Murphy was the Captain of the facility(voiced by Hanna-Barbera stock player John Stephenson,and later on in some episodes by H-B voice-over regular Mike Road). Other team members were Captain Murphy's children,teenage daughter Sally(Pamelyn Ferdin),and her little brother Bobby(Josh Albee). Sparks(William Callaway)was the communications officer at the research facility,while Hal(Jerry Dexter), Gail(Ann Jillian),and Ed(Ron Pinkard)were the divers and biologists who worked aboard the facility and each day the team faced new challenges in just every episode as they faced the dangers and discoveries along the depths of the sea. Other voicework for this series came from other Hanna-Barbera stockplayers including Casey Kasem, Mike Road, Henry Corden, Janet Waldo, Joan Gerber,and Paul Frees just to name a few.In some perspectives,the show had a different tone than most of the Saturday Morning cartoons that were all over the place during the 1970's. During that decade,the violence was eliminated for all Saturday Morning TV,and with the case of "Sealab 2020",it was part science fiction and not to mention part educational as well....teaching kids about the various sea creatures and information about the ocean environment. Some episodes were good while others were just as boring and dull in a perspective. For one,it lacked the sense of adventure of "Jonny Quest" or the other H-B superhero shows of the period("Sealab 2020",was the next to last of the action adventure shows Hanna-Barbera produced during the 1970's),but let's face it...it's wasn't another knockoff of another repulsive and annoying sequel to "Scooby Doo","Yogi Bear",or "Flintstones" spin off,that were all over the place during the 1970's when Hanna-Barbera continued to make spin-offs of their original shows. When the show ended its original run on NBC,cable's USA Network brought it back in the mid-1980's as part of its "USA's Cartoon Express" program in reruns,and most recently after a 20 year hiatus,repeats have ended up on Cartoon Network's Boomerang channel,and "Sealab 2020" will celebrate its 40th Anniversary come 2012.
... View More
I've actually watched several episodes from this series recently, and was surprised to discover that -- far from horrible -- it's actually a serviceable bit of Saturday morning nostalgia.First airing on Saturday morning in September of 1972, the show had a very short run of 13 episodes. Going in, I was hoping for excitement and adventure reminiscent of Jonny Quest (far and away Hanna-Barbera's finest moment, in my opinion). Alex Toth, who designed many of H-B's most popular classic characters (Space Ghost, Herculoids, etc.) did many of the designs for 2020, which lends it a cool comic-booky look not unlike Quest.Alas, the show has a very different tone -- perhaps because of the prevailing attitude of the early 70's that cartoons should abstain from violence. The result is an almost educational show, teaching kids about the various sea creatures and rudimentary information about the ocean and diving. And initially the show comes off as very boring because of this. But I have to admit that after being bored by the first 2 episodes, I found myself becoming more and more interested in the next two. The show has some good messages, such as overcoming handicaps and preserving the environment, and deals with some decent issues most cartoons would never touch.In some weird way, the stories and scripts are more reminiscent of live action programs than a cartoon. They are fairly adult and lack the zaniness one might expect from this era of Hanna Barbera (i.e. Funky Phantom, anyone?). In other words, it is a perfect counterpoint to the new Sea Lab 2021, which goes for sheer laughs.I think that the other reviewers that gave 2020 negative reviews have never actually seen the show. When you think about the time period when this show was made, it's probably one of the better H-B shows. While we'll never have another Jonny Quest again, 2020 was an interesting project that will probably, like Quest, never be duplicated.
... View More
This is one of my fav tv shows as a kid, because it was very entertaining and intelligent at the same time.It comes from the days when tv could make interesting shows that were very well balanced in the creative and educational aspects; like Sesame Street, the Ludvik Von Drake and Goofy cartoons on The Wondeful World of Disney, and some broadly educational music and science shows like the British Vision On and the Australian Curiosity Show, and folks like Leonard Bernstein and Prof Julius Summer Miller.I remember the episode on Sealab when Vincent Van Pattern did a guest role as the voice of a boy in a wheelchair, as well as the episodes of a shark plague, and when Bobby runs into a toxic chemical spill. Considering this comes from Hanna Barbera - the creators of THE JETSONS and THE FLINTSTONES , among other things, this is pretty good stuff.