|Sonic the Hedgehog|
|Also known as||Sonic SatAM|
|Theme music composer|
|Opening theme||"The Fastest Thing Alive"|
Michael Tavera (season 1)
|Country of origin|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Running time||20–22 minutes|
|Original release||September 18, 1993 –|
December 3, 1994
Sonic the Hedgehog is an animated television series based on the video game series of the same name. It was story edited by Len Janson and produced by DIC Productions, Sega of America, and the Italian studio Reteitalia in association with Telecinco. It is the second of DiC's Sonic cartoons, following Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. It features a more dramatic and dark story than the lighter Adventures series, depicting Sonic as a member of a band of freedom fighters battling to overthrow Dr. Robotnik, now a despotic dictator who conquered their home planet Mobius years prior, ruling it as a polluted industrial dystopia. To distinguish it from other Sonic the Hedgehog media, the series is commonly referred to by fans as "SatAM", in reference to its Saturday morning timeslot.
The program aired for two seasons with a total of 26 episodes on ABC from September 18, 1993, to December 3, 1994, and continued in reruns until 1995. A third season was planned, but ABC canceled the show, ending it with a cliffhanger. Despite its cancellation, a fan following has elevated the series to become a cult hit. The show also inspired a long-running comic book series of the same name.
The series takes place on Mobius, a planet mostly populated by anthropomorphic animals. The Kingdom of Acorn, based within the metropolitan city of Mobotropolis, was at war with an unseen enemy. King Acorn recruited a human scientist named Julian to build war machines to end the war with a victory. However, during peacetime, Julian and his nephew Snively launched a coup d'état against the kingdom. The King is banished to another dimension called the Void and most of the citizens are captured and permanently transformed into robot slaves, through a machine called the Roboticizer. Julian renames himself as Dr. Robotnik, now the dictator of Mobius. Mobotropolis is renamed Robotropolis, a polluted, industrial cityscape.
Robotnik finds himself at odds with a small collective group called the Freedom Fighters, who operate out of the hidden woodland village of Knothole. They are led by Sonic the Hedgehog and Princess Sally Acorn, King Acorn's sole heir. Other members include Sonic's best friend Miles "Tails" Prower, computer genius Rotor the Walrus, French coyote Antoine Depardieu, half-roboticized Bunnie Rabbot, and Dulcy the Dragon. They act as a rebellion against Robotnik's regime. Sonic uses the Power Rings to gain a temporary boost in power. Both the rings and the Roboticizer were designed by Sonic's uncle Chuck, one of the victims of the machine.
Early on in the series, Sonic uses a Power Ring to restore Uncle Chuck's free will in his mechanical body. Chuck decides to act as a spy for the Freedom Fighters, operating from within the city. He is eventually discovered by Robotnik in the second season and escapes to Knothole. Sally searches for her father during the series. He is found alive within the Void, shared with the sorcerer Naugus who was also imprisoned within the dimension by his former associate Robotnik. Naugus attempts to escape the Void, but both he and King Acorn discover their bodies turn to crystal if they leave the Void due to their prolonged exposure to it. King Acorn gives his daughter a list of known Freedom Fighters that they can make use of in their fight against Robotnik. The heroes gain other allies including Ari the Ram, and Lupe, leader of the elusive wolf pack.
In the series' sole two-part episode, "Blast to the Past", Sonic and Sally use the Time Stones to travel back in time, in an attempt to prevent Robotnik's planned takeover. They fail, but manage to get their younger selves to the safety of Knothole, with help from Sally's nanny Rosie Woodchuck.
In the series finale, Robotnik builds the Doomsday Project to destroy the population. The Freedom Fighters launch a full-scale attack against Robotnik, with Sonic and Sally destroying the Doomsday Project with the power of the Deep Power Stones. Robotnik is caught in the destruction and is utterly destroyed along with Doomsday and the Freedom Fighters declare victory, with Sonic and Sally kissing. In a final scene, Snively becomes the main antagonist, accompanied out of the remains of an elevator by an unseen ally with red eyes. Ben Hurst, one of the series' writers, confirmed the figure was Naugus.
Sonic the Hedgehog was created by DiC Animation City in association with Sega of America, which produced a total of 26 episodes for its two-season run, and the Italian studio Reteitalia S.p.A., part of Fininvest company in association with Telecinco. The show's animation was outsourced to the Korean studio Sae Rom Production and Spanish studio Milimetros.
Before production began, Sega of America CEO Tom Kalinske and its newly appointed consumer products director Michealene Risley approached DiC Entertainment's CEO Andy Heyward and the ABC network to produce a television show featuring Sonic. After being shown the character, Heyward agreed to make the show and was granted the license. According to Robby London, DiC originally made a deal to produce only the Saturday morning Sonic series for the ABC network, which was originally planned to air in the Fall of 1992. The cartoon was to be more light-hearted compared to the final product, as reflected by the episode "Heads or Tails", early promotional material found in Fleetway's Sonic the Comic and the early issues of Sonic the Hedgehog comics by Archie, which were based on the Saturday morning Sonic cartoon. However, DiC also wanted to expand the show and produce additional episodes for weekday syndication as well, similar to what DiC had previously done with The Real Ghostbusters, but Mark Pedowitz, the then-senior vice president of business affairs and contracts at ABC, who expected the Sonic cartoon to air exclusively on ABC, rejected the idea, telling London "If you guys want to do syndication, be our guest, go with God, but you won’t be on our network."
ABC would not agree to the deal until London came with a proposition that DiC would produce a separate, vastly different Sonic show for syndication instead, the result of which became Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Afterwards, ABC was at first willing to air only a single half-hour episode as a prime-time special scheduled to air in March 1993 (which would become the episode "Heads or Tails") before ultimately delaying it and including it as part of the show which ABC picked up again for a full season, this time airing in the Fall of 1993, alongside Adventures airing in syndication at the same time. During that time, the Saturday morning Sonic cartoon received a makeover and was made darker and more serious in order to distinguish itself from the syndicated Sonic cartoon. The show bible for the Saturday morning Sonic cartoon was written in February 1992 with the final revision made on March 10, 1993.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||13||September 18, 1993||December 11, 1993|
|2||15||13||September 10, 1994||December 3, 1994|
|No.||Title||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"Super Sonic"||Jules Dennis||September 18, 1993||238-205|
|An ancient, formerly evil wizard named Lazar takes away Sonic's speed, with the promise to return it if Sonic retrieves the wizard's computer archive of spells from Robotnik. (This episode was the actual 1st full edition of this series to air on ABC, on Sept. 18, 1993.)|
|2||"Sonic Boom"||Len Janson||September 25, 1993||238-201|
|Princess Sally and Antoine follow up on a lead that suggests that her father, King Acorn, may be alive. Meanwhile, Sonic attempts to rescue a captured freedom fighter.|
|3||"Sonic and Sally"||Ben Hurst & Pat Allee||October 2, 1993||238-202|
|When the Princess is captured, Robotnik creates a robotic duplicate of her as a means of spying on and sabotaging the Freedom Fighters.|
|4||"Hooked on Sonics"||Randy Rogel||October 9, 1993||238-207|
|Antoine goes after Robotnik himself in an attempt to impress Sally and earn personal glory.|
|5||"Ultra Sonic"||David Villaire||October 16, 1993||238-203|
|Sonic finds his long lost uncle, Sir Charles, after a failed mission in Robotropolis.|
|6||"Sonic's Nightmare"||Frank Santopadre||October 23, 1993||238-209|
|Sonic is paralysed by a recurring nightmare personifying his own personal fears; meanwhile, Robotnik unleashes a machine capable of destroying the world.|
|7||"Warp Sonic"||Matt Uitz||October 30, 1993||238-210|
|The Freedom Fighters find themselves defending an underground city of Mobian refugees, all the while coming to terms with their own personal relationships.|
|8||"Harmonic Sonic"||David Villaire||November 6, 1993||238-208|
|Robotnik launches a spy satellite in an effort to locate Knothole Village, the Freedom Fighters' hidden base. Sonic and Rotor head towards the satellite using a makeshift rocket to destroy it.|
|9||"Sonic and the Secret Scrolls"||Janis Diamond||November 13, 1993||238-204|
|The Freedom Fighters embark on a mission to find magical scrolls which may hold the key to unlimited power.|
|10||"Sub-Sonic"||Barbara Slade||November 20, 1993||238-211|
|The Freedom Fighters' home, the Great Forest, is dying. In search of magical water that causes plants to grow at an accelerated speed, the Freedom Fighters journey underground where they begin disappearing one by one.|
|11||"Heads or Tails"||Len Janson||November 27, 1993||238-010/238-213|
|Sonic heads to Robotropolis in search of materials to build a defense against an impending invasion by Robotnik. However, the inexperienced Tails is tagging along.|
|12||"Sonic Past Cool"||Kayte Kuch & Sheryl Scarborough||December 4, 1993||238-212|
|Robotnik has set his eyes on the last living herd of a dinosaur-like species. The Freedom Fighters help the creatures navigate through the Great Jungle while fighting off the advances of Robotnik's machines.|
|13||"Sonic Racer"||Len Janson||December 11, 1993||238-206|
|Robotnik holds a race in Robotropolis in a bid to lure Sonic into a trap. The other Freedom Fighters take advantage of Robotnik's fixation on the race in hopes of destroying the city's power generator.|
|Title||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|14||1||"Game Guy"||Ben Hurst & Pat Allee||September 10, 1994||238-302|
|Sonic and Sally befriend an ally who claims to be part of another Freedom Fighter group, but he is not what he seems to be.|
|15||2||"Sonic Conversion"||Ben Hurst & Pat Allee||September 17, 1994||238-301|
|Knothole's De-roboticizer is a success! Bunnie Rabbot and Uncle Chuck are back to their normal selves! But the Freedom Fighters' latest accomplishment seems too good to be true.|
|16||3||"No Brainer"||Pat Allee||September 24, 1994||238-303|
|When Sonic loses his memory, Snively takes advantage and gets the hedgehog to infiltrate Knothole.|
|17||4||"Blast to the Past"||Ben Hurst||October 1, 1994||238-304|
|18||5||October 8, 1994||238-305|
Part I: The war with Robotnik goes badly. The only hope may lie in a pair of magical Time Stones: using them Sonic and Sally could travel to Mobotropolis Kingdom's past, prior to Robotnik's takeover and stop the fight before it begins.|
Part II: The time-travel mission to stop Robotnik has failed; his armies have already taken Mobotropolis! Also, Sonic and Sally have somehow put their younger selves and the Knothole Village in the Great Forest at risk.
|19a||6a||"Fed Up with Antoine"||Len Janson||October 15, 1994||238-306a|
|Antoine is appointed king of a biker gang, unaware of their cannibalistic tradition.|
|19b||6b||"Ghost Busted"||Pat Allee||October 15, 1994||238-306b|
|Sonic and Tails investigate a possible ghost problem while camping out.|
|20||7||"Dulcy"||Ben Hurst & Pat Allee||October 22, 1994||238-307|
|Dulcy is summoned to a dragon mating ground as Robotnik seeks to Roboticize the remainder of her species.|
|21||8||"The Void"||Ben Hurst||October 29, 1994||238-308|
|When Sally and Bunnie disappear, Sonic and Nicole rush in to rescue them, discovering the Void. Within the Void they encounter a mysterious wizard named Naugus, a long-lost friend, as well as Sally's father, the long lost King of Mobotropolis.|
|22a||9a||"The Odd Couple"||Len Janson||November 5, 1994||238-309a|
|Antoine is forced to share his house with Sonic after a failed landing from Dulcy destroys the hedgehog's home.|
|22b||9b||"Ro-Becca"||Pat Allee||November 5, 1994||238-309b|
|Antoine accidentally activates a robot Rotor was working on. The robot suddenly develops a crush on him.|
|23||10||"Cry of the Wolf"||Pat Allee||November 12, 1994||238-310|
|Sonic and company finally make contact with another Royal Freedom Fighter group. They must work together when a nearly indestructable war-machine arrives to attack.|
|24||11||"Drood Henge"||Ben Hurst||November 19, 1994||238-311|
|Sonic and Tails team up in order to thwart Robotnik's scheme to possess the magical Deep Power Stones.|
|25||12||"Spyhog"||Ben Hurst||November 26, 1994||238-312|
|Uncle Chuck finds himself increasingly at risk operating as a spy in Robotropolis.|
|26||13||"The Doomsday Project"||Ben Hurst||December 3, 1994||238-313|
|Robotnik's Doomsday Project begins a week earlier than anyone had anticipated. With all of Mobius in danger, the Freedom Fighters prepare for what may be their final battle.|
The Saturday morning series differs from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, which premiered two weeks earlier and aired on weekday afternoons in syndication. While Adventures is lighthearted and comical, Sonic the Hedgehog featured a comparatively complex plot and dramatic atmosphere. It explored unusual story concepts for animation, including losing loved ones to war and relationships focusing on young couples.
While featuring a darker tone in comparison to Adventures, the Saturday morning show's first season had an episodic structure and aired out of order, however the second season featured a story arc (which would've continued in the later seasons, had the show not been cancelled). At ABC's request, the second season included episodes devoted to humor, while darker and dramatic elements were reduced. Other changes in season two include Princess Sally donning a jacket, Dulcy the Dragon being added to the cast and Rotor receiving a new design. ABC also ended up, in some weeks, airing back-to-back episodes of this show during the 1st season, while in Season 2, each time slot for the show was for a single episode only.
After the program's initial run, it appeared on the USA Network's Action Extreme Team block from June 1997 to January 1998. ABC did not replicate this, replacing Sonic with reruns of Free Willy. Sonic the Hedgehog aired in Canada on the CTV Network, with a bonus summer run between June 10 and September 2, 1995. It has not been rerun on broadcast or cable television in Canada since its cancellation on CTV, but was present on the Shomi video-on-demand platform until its November 30, 2016, closure. In 2004, it started airing on Spacetoon TV in the MENA region until May 2015. All scenes with depicted romance have been censored due to federal laws in Saudi Arabia.
From 1994 to 1996, it had a complete run on the UK television on ITV and Channel 4, In December 1994, the first season was broadcast in the Republic of Ireland on RTÉ2. On September 2, 2016, reruns of the series began airing on Starz. As of 2020, the show can be found on demand on Pluto TV on Paramount+, as well as YouTube. On March 15, 2021, it began airing in Malaysia on TA-DAA!.
|VHS/DVD name||Episodes||Distributor||Release date||Note|
|Super Sonic||"Super Sonic"
"Sonic & Sally"
|Buena Vista Home Video (1994)
Lions Gate Home Entertainment/Trimark Home Video (2002)
|October 21, 1994 (BVHV)
February 26, 2002 (Lions Gate)
|Sonic Racer||"Sonic Racer"
|Buena Vista Home Video (1994)
Lions Gate Home Entertainment/Trimark Home Video (2002)
|October 21, 1994 (BVHV)
February 26, 2002 (Lions Gate)
|Hooked on Sonics||"Hooked on Sonics"
|Buena Vista Home Video||October 21, 1994|
|Super Sonic||"Super Sonic"
"Sonic & Sally"
|Lions Gate Home Entertainment/Trimark Home Video (2002)
NCircle Entertainment (2008)
|February 26, 2002 (Lions Gate)
December 23, 2008 (NCircle)
|The Lions Gate release has an extra episode ("Sonic and the Secret Scrolls") as an award for completing the trivia game. The NCircle re-issue has the episodes in a different order, and lacks the bonus episode.|
|The Complete Series||All 26 episodes of the series||Shout! Factory||March 27, 2007||This four disc boxset includes the entire 26 episodes from the series, and are presented in its original, uncut broadcast presentation.
Bonus features include: storyboards, concept art, storyboard-to-screen comparisons, deleted/extended scenes, a printable prototype script of the series pilot (Heads or Tails), and interviews with Jaleel White and writer Ben Hurst.
The individual cases and the DVDs themselves also feature fan art submitted to Shout! Factory during the box set's development phase. The set features cover art by Ken Penders, and was released by Shout! Factory and Vivendi Visual Entertainment.
The Region 2 version was distributed by Delta Music Group PLC in the UK and released on September 10, 2007. While it contains the same content and bonus features as the Shout! Factory release, it uses different artwork for menus and packaging and comes with a set of stickers.
|The Fight for Freedom||"Hooked on Sonics"
"Sonic and the Secret Scrolls"
|NCircle Entertainment||September 16, 2008|
|Sonic Goes Green||"Heads or Tails"
"Sonic Past Cool"
|NCircle Entertainment||March 3, 2009|
|Freedom Fighters Unite||"Sonic Conversion"
|NCircle Entertainment||May 5, 2009|
|Sonic Forever!||"No Brainer"
"Blast To The Past (Part 1)
"Blast to the Past" (Part 2)
"Fed Up With Antoine" and "Ghost Busted"
"The Odd Couple" and "Ro-Becca"
|NCircle Entertainment||March 16, 2010|
|Doomsday Project||"Harmonic Sonic"
"Cry of the Wolf"
"The Doomsday Project"
|NCircle Entertainment||August 31, 2010|
|The Complete Series||All 26 episodes of the series||NCircle Entertainment||September 19, 2023||This DVD box set features all 26 episodes and it’s a two disc box set (13 episodes each).|
After DHX took over distribution of DiC Entertainment in 2012, all previous releases of Sonic the Hedgehog went out-of-print. Due to legal issues with Archie Comics based on it, NCircle wasn’t going to reissue the show. It wasn't until 2023 that NCircle announced a re-release of the complete series on DVD for September 19th after the issues were resolved. The complete series is also available to purchase and download on iTunes.
Main article: Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics)
Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic book was initially based on the Saturday morning cartoon. From its earliest issues, the book shared the characters and story premise established within it. However, the comic differed in that it featured humorous plots modeled after the weekday show. After writer Ken Penders had the opportunity to view the Saturday morning program, the comic gradually became adventure-driven.
The comic series shifted focus again after ABC cancelled Sonic the Hedgehog, developing into a relationship-based superhero story, and following a reboot, Archie's Sonic was primarily inspired by the video game series. Nevertheless, the characters and locales from the Saturday morning cartoon remained prominent until the comic's cancellation in July 2017.
Several video games were intended to use elements from the TV series, although only one was completed. This was Sonic Spinball, released in 1993 for the Sega Genesis. It contained characters from the show, including Princess Sally, Bunnie Rabbot, Rotor and Muttski. Spinball was commissioned due to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 being pushed back from its intended 1993 release in the holiday shopping season to February 1994, with the game being developed in under a year. An 8-bit port of the game was also released for the Master System and Game Gear due to the poor reception of Sonic Drift in Japan.
Another video game tentatively titled Sonic-16 was intended to be set in the same universe, with a prototype being created by Sega Technical Institute in November 1993. However, Yuji Naka and Sega management disliked the project, allgedly due to its slow-paced nature, and it was soon cancelled without any further development. Directly afterwards, the same team worked on Sonic Mars; this would have featured Princess Sally and Bunnie Rabbot as playable characters. This project eventually evolved into Sonic X-treme, which was cancelled in 1996 due to development difficulties. Hackers also found within the data of the arcade game SegaSonic the Hedgehog (1993) a near-complete sprite sheet for the Robotnik design used in the cartoon, with it being speculated it was to be used in a scrapped English localization.
In 2002, writer Ben Hurst attempted to pitch an animated film in order to revive the series. Hurst said that he proposed his idea of "a feature film to be the Third Season of SatAM" to a Sega executive, who was interested in the project, and that he later received a call from Ken Penders, head writer of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series by Archie Comics, who had been alerted about the movie. Hurst stated he told him to relay his strategy to Sega in an attempt to get them interested, however after calling Sega back, his contact's demeanor had completely changed; they angrily stated that Sega is paid to develop Sonic projects, rather than paying others to do so. Hurst theorized that Penders had told them about their strategy in a "less-than-flattering way", and that he implied he would be the writer of a Sonic movie.
Penders would later pitch Sega his own concept for a movie in 2003 based on the Archie comic, under the name Sonic Armageddon. Not much is known about the pitch, except that the film would have followed Sonic and friends after their home planet of Mobius explodes, something shown in pitch art and stated by Penders himself. According to Penders, he had the support of both X-Men director Larry Hudson and Sega of America licensing manager Robert Leffler behind him, and cites the opportunity to make the film as to why he left his position as lead writer of the Sonic comic at Archie. He created four pieces of concept art and a homemade pitch video, but the project never materialised due to the death of Leffler and what Penders described as "massive corporate upheaval" at Sega sometime in 2007.
From 2019 onwards, a group of fans calling themselves 'Team Sea3on' spun out from the online "FUS" community ("Fans United for SatAM,") and began work on bringing a third season of the programme to life, basing the plotlines on both Ben Hurst's original notes as well as the group's active webcomic. The group are presently working within 'proper legal channels' to advance the project with Sega's awareness. The effort gained attention from the likes of IGN. In April 2022, a full teaser trailer was uploaded to the group's YouTube channel, with a cover of the Satam theme song "Fastest Thing Alive" by Johnny Gioeli of Crush 40.
Sonic the Hedgehog ranked No. 9 for all of Saturday Morning with a 5.2 rating, an estimated 4.8 million viewers during its first season.
The first season received an approval rating of 40% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on five reviews. Patrick Lee of The A.V. Club gave it a positive review, saying that "the show pushed its cartoon animal characters to the most dramatic places they could go without venturing into self-parody. Over the course of the series, the characters dealt with loss, romance, and death [...] The entire series successfully pulled off that sort of balancing act, and even 20 years later, it’s still a solid Saturday morning cartoon". Mark Bozon of IGN criticized the show as dated, considering it "so bad, it's good." Writing for DVD Talk, Todd Douglass Jr. remarked that Sonic didn't stand the test of time. Overall, he considered it to be of low quality, although he found the stories "Ultra Sonic" and "Blast to the Past" to be "the crème of the crop."
Luke Owen of Flickering Myth felt Sonic aged better than is often supposed, praising its well-executed characterizations and treatment of war, although he considered Antoine to be "one of the worst characters committed to a cartoon series." GamesRadar listed the show as one of "the worst things to happen to Sonic." It criticized its plot and characters as "unwanted". The Escapist journalist Bob Chipman credited the series with providing a viably menacing take on Doctor Robotnik, and an engaging narrative. Bob Mackey of USgamer wrote that the cartoon's writing didn't live up to its intriguing premise. In particular, he argued that the Antoine character perpetrated negative French stereotypes.
((cite web)): CS1 maint: postscript (link)
I became enamored of the storylines in the series but was told we couldn't tie-in directly to the stories in the series as DiC - just like SEGA - refused to cooperate with us in allowing us access to their material for the purpose of tying together the continuity of the book with the show, something I was very much interested in, as was Scott. It was only during the time when it was uncertain whether or not ABC would even renew the series for a third season that DiC provided us with scripts and other materials, probably out of hope that maybe the book would help attract more viewers if it were tied in more closely with the show. Mike and I were even invited to submit outlines with the idea we would be contributing to the third season as scriptwriters. … It was only when we learned the show was cancelled that I changed my mind about embracing the show as it was and instead decided to proceed as if the book were the third season and continuing beyond that. There were many reasons for this but the most important one boiled down to simply this: the book's very survival. We never, ever felt the book had much of a shelf life beyond the existence of the games and animated series if we didn't develop it into its own unique series." -Ken Penders, former writer of Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic, The Times They Are A' Changing.Original Source: http://www.kenpenders.com