Martin Mystery
Genre
Created by
Based on
Developed by
  • Vincent Chalvon-Demersary
  • David Michel
Written by
  • Michelle Lamoureux
  • Robert Lamoureux
  • Vincent Chalvon-Demersay
  • David Michel
  • Rhonda Smiley
  • Nicole Demerse
  • Ben Joseph
  • Frank Young
  • Rob Hoegge
Directed by
  • Stephane Berry
  • Gregory Panaccione
Voices of
Theme music composer
Opening theme"Martin Mystery Theme"
Composers
  • Fabrice Aboulker
  • Pascale Stive
Country of origin
  • France
  • Canada
Original languages
  • French
  • English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes66 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Vincent Chalvon-Demersary
  • David Michel
Running time22 minutes
Production companies
Release
Original networkFrance
M6
Canal J (Seasons 1 and 3)
Canada
YTV
Vrak
Italy
Rai 2
Internationally
Jetix (Season 3)
Original release1 October 2003 (2003-10-01) –
27 March 2006 (2006-03-27)
External links
Website

Martin Mystery (French: Martin Mystère) is a French-Canadian animated television series based on the Italian comic book Martin Mystère by Alfredo Castelli.[1] The show was produced by Marathon Media Group (French television production company based in Paris), and Image Entertainment Corporation (a Canadian production and animation company based in Montreal).[2] It uses an art style similar to Japanese anime. The series premiered on YTV on 1 October 2003 in Canada (its originating country), on Canal J on 15 November 2003 in France and Jetix on 7 August 2004 in the United Kingdom.

Premise

The series re-imagines the comic books' main characters Martin Mystery and Diana Lombard as teenagers protagonists, attending Torrington Academy,[1] a high school located in the city of Sherbrooke, Quebec.[3] They work for a secret organization known as "The Center," which covertly protects the people of Earth from supernatural threats and investigates the unknown and the paranormal. Their allies at The Center include Billy, a small, green-skinned alien who is one of Martin's best friends, and Java, a caveman from 200,000 years ago, who works as a janitor at Torrington Academy and is the arm of the group.

Martin's vast knowledge of the supernatural and his remarkable intuition make him a valued agent of The Center, and compensate for his huge ego and his clumsy attitude. Diana resents these flaws at times, as Martin often does not seem to understand the seriousness of his missions, but generally respects him, and loves him and his way of being himself without compromises.

Episodes

Main article: List of Martin Mystery episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
126October 1, 2003 (2003-10-01)August 12, 2004 (2004-08-12)
214August 28, 2004 (2004-08-28)October 27, 2004 (2004-10-27)
326January 2, 2005 (2005-01-02)March 27, 2006 (2006-03-27)

Characters

Martin is a 16-year-old boy, with a passion for monsters and the paranormal, who works as a paranormal investigator for "The Center". He is usually an underachiever at school, once getting 106 out of 902 on his pre-college aptitude test, but in the series finale he got an A+ on his history test (while Diana got an A-). As an agent of The Center, however, he often proves that he is clever and a quick thinker. Martin has a peculiar love for everything slimy, sloppy, and gooey - things that make Diana gag; his favourite pastime is taunting her by playing practical jokes and creeping/grossing her out with them. Martin is shown to be very fun-loving, immature, hyperactive, and zany, constantly bursting with energy. Impulsive and impatient, he seldom thinks before leaping into danger, often helping those in peril whenever the team are on a mission. Martin jumps to conclusions very often, coming up with every unlikely theory he can think of, usually from some horror movie or monster movie he saw or from his subscription to "Paranormal Monthly". As the leader of the trio, Martin is also the only one who wears a U-Watch. His first monster was Venoso, a female chameleon monster that has the power to shape-shift into any person it wants.
Martin appears in a crossover episode of Totally Spies!. During the episode, he is immediately smitten with Clover, even though she is uninterested in him. Towards the end of the same episode, Clover finally showed interests in Martin and even tries to get his attention, but Martin and Alex have hit it off due to a shared love of comics and video games. Throughout the episode, Martin continuously describes Sam as a "really lame buzz-kill", but doesn't lash out at him due to her composed demeanor. A running gag in the series is his constant flirting with every beautiful girl he meets, who usually reject him. Martin is voiced by Sam Vincent.
Diana is Martin’s stepsister. Like Martin, she is 16 years old and an agent of The Center she attends Torrington Academy with Martin, she’s usually seen with her two signature hair clips and her small purple shoulder bag. She is seen as a goody-goody, an overachiever in school and a genius - the exact opposite of Martin. Diana can be very jumpy and squeamish at times, which leads to Martin calling her a "wimp". However, she shows great courage when called upon and her intelligence often comes in handy on their missions: never sharing Martin's love of the paranormal, she often tries to reason with logic instead of jumping to conclusions. Diana admittedly has a hard time keeping her cool with Martin, as they argue frequently; such arguments tend to end in some sort of bet, which Diana usually loses. She also seems to be the "bait" for the majority of their missions and is often one of the earliest victims, including being cocooned by an acid-spewing insect queen, turned into a frog by a warlock Martin unleashed, and being possessed by a vengeful spirit at a mountain lodge. When Martin is incapacitated by other monsters, she uses her own skills to save him and even wears Martin's U-watch in a few episodes. Diana is voiced by Kelly Sheridan.
Java, the 200,000-year-old caveman, is friends with both Martin and Diana He works at Torrington as a cook and a janitor. However, Java assists Martin and Diana in their investigations, serving as the team's tracker. His brute strength proves useful when battling monstrous foes or breaking through barriers.
Even though he is a lover of lizards and spiders, Java's technophobia is a running gag in the show. His English is fairly simplistic, thus he does not contribute meaningfully to most conversations (e.g. "What that?", "Diana bald", and "Java no like this place"). Despite this shortcoming, Java has a knack for thinking "outside the box", which greatly helps in the team's investigations. He is a significant source of comedy in the show due to his reactions to various scenarios and his poor hygiene as a caveman (e.g. his offensive foot odor, putrid armpits, and filthy breath). Java is sometimes the victim of the paranormal, including being transformed into a monster, such as when he inhaled the Chaos Beast in its gas form, or was brainwashed by a pirate-controlled Martin. Java is voiced by Dale Wilson.
As the multi-tasking director of "The Center", M.O.M. oversees the investigation of paranormal activities throughout the world. Martin's capabilities make him one of her favourite agents - if "favourite" is taken to mean "the agent that she would rather spend the most time with in the field and out of her office". Her real name is unknown, though she used the alias Ms. Olivia Mandell (derived from the initials M.O.M.) in the episode "Web of the Spider Creature".
Before working at The Center, she used to drive an ice cream truck. Serious, uncompromising, and an expert at hand-to-hand combat, she usually has to deal with Martin blowing up nearly every piece of gadgetry she is working on whenever he appears for a debriefing in her office (a running gag until season 3). Despite her typically dry sense of humor, M.O.M. is actually - as Billy says - "a real party animal when she gets going". The team sees proof of this when she accidentally shows them a series of photographs in the episode "The Amazon Vapor", while trying to debrief them on their next mission, due to some malfunctions at The Center. When she was an agent, the first creature she captured was Gastromo, a parasitic, iron-eating, slug-like monster who infects and controls those he touches. It appears her favourite holiday is Christmas when she is always in a rather happy and festive mood. As a result, Martin says in disbelief that it looks like "M.O.M. is actually having fun". In the crossover episode of Totally Spies! titled "Totally Mystery Much?", M.O.M. is shown to have a possibly romantic history with the spies' boss Jerry, much to the spies' and Martin's displeasure, as she and Jerry spy-flirt between holograms. The initials M.O.M. are said to actually stand for "Mystery Organization Manager", as explained by Martin in that episode. M.O.M. is voiced by Teryl Rothery.
Billy is a tiny green alien who works for "The Center", as M.O.M.'s personal secretary, often seen flying on his mini hovercraft. He idolizes Martin and in one episode, it was revealed that he even has a picture of Martin (marking him as the "crazed fan of the show" archetype). He usually greets the gang when they are first signed in, and often does his signature high five with Martin. His role is generally a supportive one; he pops in sometimes during a mission to give Martin, Diana, and Java valuable information, usually startling them in the process. He also analyses slime or fabric samples that Martin sends in during a mission. However, he won't help Martin and the gang on a mission directly unless he is forced to.
In the second season, Billy was revealed to have once been a great alien warrior, known as Ganthar, on another planet, but he gave up violence for good. When Martin asked why a planet on Billy's list of hologram worlds was blue, it was revealed by M.O.M. to be the world which changed Ganthar into Billy, which is the reason he doesn't go on missions with the other three agents. He arrived on Earth in the Roswell Incident in 1947. Billy adopted a human disguise — the "B.S. 1000" — to be with Martin and Diana at their school. There are a few episodes in season 3, in which it is hinted that he has romantic feelings for Diana, much to Martin's disgust, such as one of the Christmas specials where he invited her under the mistletoe and actually went on a friendly date with her. It is revealed in the episode "Revenge of the Doppelganger" that Billy was once a supermodel on his home planet. This might be true; since he was fearsome and powerful, he might have been popular with his people. Billy is also voiced by Sam Vincent.
Gilian is a beautiful and popular girl at Torrington Academy, an aspiring fashion designer and fashionista, who is both Diana's best friend and Martin's main love interest, yet she does not return any of his affections nor accept his attempts at romancing her. She has blue eyes and auburn hair, and is usually seen wearing a midnight blue blouse and skirt with blue knee-high boots.
Whenever Martin saves her, Gilian has expressed genuine feelings of affection for him in gratitude, such as the first Christmas special where they share their first kiss with each other out in the snow. There have even been times where she wants to pursue a relationship with him, specifically when she expresses jealousy over his other girlfriends. Unfortunately for him, though, this never lasts. Reasons for this included her memory being erased, Martin subsequently doing something stupid, or something else interfering, like when Gilian comes down with the flu. Gilian is voiced by Tabitha St. Germain.
Marvin, Martin's rival, enjoys the extreme, saying that he enjoys the adrenaline rush that comes with such activities. Some of his activities includes rock climbing in the Himalayas, parasailing over the Great Barrier Reef, street-luging on the German Autobahn, jungle kayaking, and snowboarding down the face of K2. He does virtually everything that Martin himself can do, but better, and even dresses similarly. His father is a pilot, explaining Marvin's ability to travel around the world frequently.
Marvin first appeared in the episode "Attack of the Mothman" where he shows off his skateboarding skills and a comic book featuring a protagonist based on him. His talents and popularity make Martin jealous as Diana, Java, Gilian, Billy, and even Torrington as a whole fawn over him. He reappears in "The Amazon Vapor" where he discovers Martin and Diana's secret and helps on their mission with his talents and quick thinking. Diana fears and Martin hopes that they will erase his memory of the event. However, in "The Third Eye", it is revealed that he works for The Center and has acquired his own U-Watch because M.O.M. recognized his amazing potential.
Unfortunately, he ends up being relegated to The Center's South Pole facility because of his negligence in the previous mission, and blames his unfortunate circumstances on Martin. Martin remarks that it is not really that bad because he has a beautiful team mate, whom Martin has a crush on in the episode. Martin and Marvin continue in their mutual dislike until the episode "Body-Swappers", when Martin gives Marvin the majority of the credit for getting rid of the parasite and M.O.M. decides to relocate Marvin to Hawaii. In a subsequent episode, "Rage of the Leprechaun", Marvin contacts Martin and Diana for help after being stalked by a leprechaun that wanted to get back the magically lucky, four-leafed clover Marvin had stolen from him. After the incident, Marvin is punished by M.O.M. for keeping the clover instead of getting rid of it, which Martin calls a "rookie mistake", but M.O.M. is equally disappointed in him for letting greed get the best of him as well. What happens to Marvin after that is unknown, as he is not mentioned in the remainder of the series but it was presumed Marvin was sent back to The Center's South Pole facility as punishment. Marvin is voiced by Matt Hill.
Gerard Mulligan is Martin's father. Unlike his immature son and more like his stepdaughter, Gerard is a very rational, logical person, and considers anything related to the paranormal to be "balderdash". As a scientist, he spends much of his time doing field work in the forest. In the third season, he finds out about "The Center" and that Diana and Martin work for it. Diana's mother is never mentioned in the series and Gerard only spoke about Martin's mother once in season 3, when he thought Martin was going to tell his mom about what happened, when Martin was actually speaking about M.O.M. Gerard is voiced by Michael Donovan.

Broadcast

Martin Mystery aired in Canada on YTV and Discovery Kids in English, and on Vrak in French, from 2003 until the series finale in 2006. In the United States, the first 7 episodes were originally shown on FoxBox in May and June 2004. Later, Nickelodeon showed Martin Mystery from May through July 2005. Nickelodeon's sister channel, Nicktoons Network (now shortened as Nicktoons), aired reruns of the show from 4 July 2005 until 27 April 2008.

In other markets

Other channels that aired the show included M6 in France, Rai 2 in Italy, and Jetix throughout Europe (excluding Italy and Poland). Additional channels in Europe included SVT1 and SVT Barnkanalen in Sweden, NRK Super in Norway, Yle TV2 in Finland, GMA Network and Q (now known as GTV) in the Philippines, VT4 in Belgium and ZigZap in Poland.

MBC 3, Ajyal TV, and ART 3 broadcast this show in Arabic throughout the Middle East, with the voice talents of Mo'awad Ismail as Martin and Mariam El Khesht as Diana.

Crossovers in other series

Marathon and Image also produced Team Galaxy, Totally Spies!, and The Amazing Spiez!. Male characters resembling Martin, Diana, and Martin's rival Marvin have appeared in Totally Spies!, such as in the episode "Super Agent Much?", and many others.

Martin's character guest-starred in the 2007 Totally Spies! episode "Totally Mystery Much?" which had him team up with the spies to investigate Yeti sightings. M.O.M. also appeared in this episode and it was implied that she and Jerry (the spies' equivalent) had been an item in the past. None of the other Martin Mystery characters appeared in a Totally Spies! episode.

Cancellation and future

In March 2006, the show ended production after 3 years on the air with 66 episodes being aired,[1] presumably due to low ratings. The last episode was aired on 27 March 2006.

In December 2013, a possible "new season project" was announced on the official Martin Mystery Facebook page. As of 2021, there has been no further announcement or plans for such.[4] However, there have been talks about a potential digital remaster and re-release of the series in 16:9 widescreen.[1]

Home media

Home video of Martin Mystery was distributed in France by PolyGram and MK2. In Italy, home video was distributed by 01 Distribution. Home video for the English version of season 1 was also released in Canada and the United States but has become a rarity in recent years.

Reception

Common Sense Media a non-profit organization providing independent reviews, age ratings, and other information about all types of media wrote "Scooby-Doo meets X-Files; tweens OK."[5]

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Do You Remember Martin Mystery? What About the Original Comics?". Comic Book Resources. 21 September 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  2. ^ Crump, William D. (2019). Happy Holidays—Animated! A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year's Cartoons on Television and Film. McFarland & Co. p. 184. ISBN 9781476672939.
  3. ^ Green 2019, p. 110.
  4. ^ "Martin Mystère - Martin Mystery Facebook: Breaking news ! We are now more than 100 000 fans! The show is becoming one of the most popular on Facebook! After three seasons broadcasted throughout the world, the producers of the show are now working on a great new season's project! Thanks to you all, there are chances that Martin, Diana, Java and Billy will be reunited! More news coming soon here!". Facebook. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Martin Mystery - TV Review". 18 April 2006.

Bibliography