Sealab 2020
Created byAlex Toth
Directed byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voices ofJohn Stephenson
Ross Martin
Josh Albee
Pamelyn Ferdin
William Callaway
Jerry Dexter
Ann Jillian
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes15 (2 unaired)
ProducersWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Running time20 minutes
Production companyHanna-Barbera Productions
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 9 (1972-09-09) –
December 2, 1972 (1972-12-02)
Sealab 2021

Sealab 2020 is an American animated television series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and broadcast on NBC from September 9 to December 2, 1972, on Saturday mornings. The series was created by Alex Toth, who also created such other Hanna-Barbera cartoons as Space Ghost and Birdman and the Galaxy Trio.[1] A total of 13 episodes were aired, with two episodes remaining unaired. As with most Hanna-Barbera series, the show was in occasional rotation on Boomerang, the TV channel that owns the Hanna-Barbera archives.

From 2000 to 2005, the series had returned for a second life when it was parodied as Sealab 2021 on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.


The series took place at Sealab, an underwater research base on the Challenger seamount. Commanded by Captain Michael Murphy, Sealab was home to 250 people, and was dedicated to the exploration of the seas and the protection of marine life. Dr. Paul Williams, a Chinook oceanographer, led the scientific research team.[2]

Among other things, the crew of Sealab faced such challenges as attacks from sharks and giant squids, potential environmental disasters, and threats to Sealab and marine life from shipping.



No.TitleOriginal air date
1"Deep Threat[3]"September 9, 1972 (1972-09-09)
Radiation is released into the water by some leaking barrels. Meanwhile, the captain's grandson and his friend Sally get lost while diving.
2"Lost"September 16, 1972 (1972-09-16)
A red tide engulfs Sealab, cutting down its oxygen supply. Meanwhile, Gail becomes attached to a lost, young dolphin she has found and tries to train it to rescue divers.
3"Green Fever"September 23, 1972 (1972-09-23)
An anchor hits the Sealab, causing one of the compartments to flood.
4"The Singing Whale"September 30, 1972 (1972-09-30)
A whale expert and his wheelchair user son visit Sealab just as a blue whale and the obsessed hunter chasing it come to the seamount.
5"The Shark Lover"October 7, 1972 (1972-10-07)
When the level of shark activity skyrockets around Sealab, they call in a shark expert to try to learn the cause and ensure safety for the oceanauts.
6"The Basking Shark"October 14, 1972 (1972-10-14)
A probe sent to study the planet Neptune's atmosphere returns to earth after 12 years but on reentry the parachute fails and it crash-lands in the ocean near Sealab. Mr. Mills from the Aerospace Bureau enlists the help of Sealab to help recover the probe within 48 hours. An anomalous malfunction with the sonar system and perceived sudden disappearance of the probe lead Aerospace to suspect Sealab sonagrapher Henry Lucas of espionage. The probe turns up in an unusual place and is retrieved in an even more unusual way.
7"Where Dangers Are Many"October 21, 1972 (1972-10-21)
Sealab crew investigates a disturbance to find an automatic bottom-dredging mining operation in their area. The captain of the operation, Samuel Carlson, gets trapped under his dredge and is rescued by Sealab. While Carlson is decompressing after having received medical attention at Sealab, the crew manage to convince him to allow them 24 hours to demonstrate how to mine less destructively.
8"Backfire"October 28, 1972 (1972-10-28)
Sealab members are out trying to capture an electric manta ray when they see some strange figures whom they determine to be drilling for oil, with Sealab's permission but without the crew's knowledge. They try to get the men to relocate the oil drilling to another field miles away from Sealab but the drillers refuse. Then a tsunami hits and their oil drilling operation is destroyed. The episode is called Backfire because if they had moved the drilling operation they would have averted disaster.
9"The Deepest Dive"November 4, 1972 (1972-11-04)
The crew of Sealab are testing a new submersible vehicle called the "Crystal Ball", which is made out of mostly glass and is supposed to be better than conventional submersibles and dive deeper. They are given a mission to place a seismograph unit at the bottom of a deep part of the sea, but for some reason the unit stops functioning. They go back out with a second replacement seismograph unit and realize that a giant squid had taken the first unit and used it for material for its rock home. The squid catches the Crystal Ball and the crew is stuck trying to escape from its grasp. They eventually get free and the new seismograph unit works.
10"The Challenge"November 11, 1972 (1972-11-11)
The Sealab team meet Alex, an archaeologist who has dedicated the last 7 years to finding the sunken ship Viking, which sank over 100 years ago. It is rumored that the ship was carrying some Aztec treasures. Alex's brother Chuck is very excited by the discovery, and his excitement is getting in the way. Sealab follows rules and guidelines that guarantee safety, but prevent Chuck from finding the treasure faster. Alex is willing to cut his losses if lives could be lost, but Chuck will not let the last 7 years of his brother's life be for nothing.
11"Collision of the Aquarius"November 18, 1972 (1972-11-18)

A malfunctioning cargo submarine crashes into the side of the Seamount and its damaged nuclear reactor threatens Sealab, forcing an evacuation. The oceanauts race against time to prevent the submarine's reactor from melting down, but complicating the situation is its commander, who has an acrimonious history with Captain Murphy.

This episode was remade in 2002 with the voice actors of the comedy series Sealab 2021, and retitled as "7211."
12"The Capture"November 25, 1972 (1972-11-25)
The Sealab crew reluctantly assists biologist Mr. Harlem in collecting animal species living on the Challenger Seamount. Two of the children are upset by this and secretly release the captive animals. In the process, the children become trapped in the cage and get dragged over the edge of the seamount.
13"The Arctic Story"December 2, 1972 (1972-12-02)
Members of the crew use the submarine Dolphin in a desperate search for a two-man Arctic research station which is underneath a capsized ice floe.
14"S.O.S.: Sealab Ocean Signal"Unaired (Unaired)
15"Utopia of Cassidy"Unaired (Unaired)
The Sealab crew discovers an island of Paradise. Or do they?


Sealab 2020 was parodied by the Cartoon Network Adult Swim show Sealab 2021 from 2000 to 2005.

Home media

On May 22, 2012, Warner Archive released Sealab 2020: The Complete Series on DVD in region 1 as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classic Collection. Although promoted as 'The Complete Series', the DVD consists only of the thirteen aired episodes and does not include Episodes 14 and 15 that were unaired. This is a manufacture-on-demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Warner's online store and[4]

The pilot episode "Deep Threat" is included in the Warner Bros. Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1970s Vol. 2 DVD set.[5]

Print media

The fanzine Lancelot Link Fan World, published by Cornell Kimball, often covered Sealab 2020.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Markstein, Don. "Sealab 2020". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  2. ^ Sennett, Ted (1989). The Art of Hanna-Barbera: Fifty Years of Creativity. Studio. p. 183. ISBN 978-0670829781. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  3. ^ "DVD Talk review of Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1970s Vol. 2". Retrieved 2009-12-22.
  4. ^ "Sealab 2020 – The Complete' Original 1972 Cartoon is Now Out from Warner Archive!". Archived from the original on 2012-08-25.
  5. ^ "DVD Talk review of Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1970s Vol. 2". Retrieved 2009-12-22.
  6. ^ "Lancelot Link Fan World Number 3 June 15 1975". June 1975.