|Spider-Man: The New Animated Series|
|Developed by||Brian Michael Bendis|
|Narrated by||Neil Patrick Harris|
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original release||July 11 –|
August 22, 2003
|Preceded by||Spider-Man Unlimited|
|Followed by||The Spectacular Spider-Man|
Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (also known as Spider-Man 2003 and MTV Spider-Man) is an animated television series that was the first of two shows based on the Marvel Comics character Spider-Man to be produced by Sony Pictures Television following their acquisition of the character's entertainment license. Initially intended to serve as a continuation of Sam Raimi's 2002 Spider-Man film, as well as a loose adaptation of the Ultimate Spider-Man comic books by Brian Michael Bendis, the show was made using computer generated imagery (CGI) rendered in cel shading. It ran for only one season of 13 episodes, premiering on July 11, 2003, and was broadcast on cable channels MTV in America and YTV in Canada.
The show is no longer considered canon to the events of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man film series, as events in the series were ultimately contradicted by the events of the first film's eventual follow-up, Spider-Man 2, released theatrically a year after this show's debut and cancellation.
Set shortly after the events of the 2002 film, Peter Parker, and his friends Mary Jane Watson, and Harry Osborn start attending Empire State University together. Peter and Mary Jane try to establish a relationship without much success. Peter's superhero duties, and later his involvement with Indira Daimonji, interfere with his romance with Mary Jane, while Harry continuously blames Spider-Man for the death of his father Norman Osborn. Peter faces an assortment of other villains including the Lizard, Kraven the Hunter and Electro while trying to maintain a job and his studies. He faces two psychic twins that ruin everything in the wallcrawler's life, causing Peter to give up being Spider-Man and try to live a normal life.
Peter Parker's journalist girlfriend Indira "Indy" Dajmani was voiced by Angelle Brooks in seven episodes.
Spider-Man: The New Animated Series was initially supposed to be a direct adaptation of the Ultimate Spider-Man comics by Brian Michael Bendis, who also worked on the series' production and wrote the original unused pilot for Sony Pictures Entertainment, who had purchased the film and television rights to the character. However, after the success of Sam Raimi's 2002 Spider-Man film, the show was reworked to follow that continuity. The series was redeveloped by Morgan Gendel, best known as writer of the "Inner Light" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Gendel, with the team of writers he hired, was given free rein by Sony to develop several original characters who fit in with the series' more adult tone, including Indira Daimonji, Shikata and the creepily telepathic Gaines Twins. The computer-generated imagery (CGI) was produced by Mainframe Entertainment.
Peter Parker was originally supposed to wear baggier clothes to hide his superhero musculature, but cost-effective difficulties with the CG format prevented folds from being put into his everyday attire. As a result, Peter's street clothes were redesigned to be close-fitting and contemporary, while still managing to hide his physique (and the costume he wore under his clothes) as Spider-Man. The character of Aunt May was not included in the series (except for a photograph in Peter's bedroom), because MTV executives feared that the appearance of any elderly people would deter their target youth audience from watching.
The producers found that the more relaxed standards of MTV allowed them more creative freedom than usually allowed for a Saturday morning cartoon show.
MTV decided that, even though the ratings were high compared to other shows in the same time-slot, the series did not fit in with its other programming. Director Brandon Vietti stated that had the series gone on he would have used the villains Mysterio, Vulture, and more of Kraven.
Due to various production delays, the episodes aired on MTV out of the correct scripted order. This caused some confusion with audiences regarding the chronology of the series. The DVD releases feature the episodes in the correct order. Each episode has a montage at the end of which states "Next Time On Spider-Man". The order given here is that of the DVD.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Heroes & Villains"||Tim Eldred||Morgan Gendel||August 22, 2003|
|Spider-Man battles Turbo Jet, a modern-day Robin Hood armed with a homemade propulsion system, who steals from the wealthy and gives to the poor. Spidey's life gets even harder as the public rallies around Turbo Jet – and against Spider-Man.|
|2||"Royal Scam"||Vincent Edwards||Rick Suvalle||August 15, 2003|
|Spider-Man is duped by the infamous Kingpin into stealing the TX-1 super-chip, designed to decrypt the confidential satellite transmissions that drive the world's financial markets. Now he must find a way to get it back.|
|3||"Law of the Jungle"||Audu Paden||Greg Johnson||July 18, 2003|
|Peter's professor, Dr. Curt Connors, injects himself with reptilian DNA, which slowly changes him into the angry, vengeful Lizard. As the serum affects Connors' brain, Spider-Man must stop his beloved professor as he begins seeking revenge on those who have harmed him - including Harry!|
|4||"The Sword of Shikata"||Brandon Vietti||Todd Felderstein and Morgan Gendel||July 11, 2003|
|The master martial artist/assassin Shikata is sent to capture Spider-Man for a wealthy man's collection of rare animals. Shikata determines that Spider-Man is too noble a foe to simply capture and they must fight to the death.|
|5||"Keeping Secrets"||Alan Caldwell||Marsha Griffin||July 18, 2003|
|Spider-Man is out to catch Talon, a female thief who's behind a series of high-risk robberies in the city. Things get complicated when Spidey learns Talon's true identity - she's his best friend Harry's new girlfriend.|
|6||"Tight Squeeze"||Vincent Edwards||Morgan Gendel||July 25, 2003|
|Three ex-KGB agents – now a team of mercenaries called Pterodax – take a group of people hostage, including Peter and his new crush Indy. Their demand is simple; they want Spider-Man! Peter will need to use his cunning and cleverness to figure out a way to appease Pterodax without revealing his alter-ego.|
|7||"Head Over Heels"||Brandon Vietti||Tracey Forbes||July 25, 2003|
|Peter Parker's lab partner Christina reads his mind with her new invention: an ESP crown. The crown malfunctions, jolting her own brain with electricity and altering her sanity. No longer able to distinguish fantasy from reality, Christina attempts to kill M.J. in order to limit the competition for Spider-Man's eternal affection.|
|8||"The Party"||Audu Paden||Story by : Brian Michael Bendis|
Teleplay by : Brian Michael Bendis, Morgan Gendel and Marsha Griffin
|July 11, 2003|
|Peter Parker's nerdy high-school friend Max is hazed in a deadly fraternity prank that turns him into Electro, a high-voltage villain that threatens the campus. Only Spider-Man can stop him from exacting his revenge on the students.|
|9||"Flash Memory"||Tim Eldred||Whip Lipsey and Scott Lipsey||August 29, 2003|
|Dr. Zellner tests his "smart drug" on Peter Parker foe Flash Thompson, and Flash immediately displays dramatic spikes in intellect. However, along with the IQ boost comes a potentially fatal side effect. With only minutes to find an antidote, Zellner takes Flash's suggestion that he experiment on an already intelligent candidate; Peter Parker.|
|10||"Spider-Man Dis-Sabled"||Alan Caldwell||Morgan Gendel and Rick Suvalle||August 8, 2003|
|Peter covers a press conference and inadvertently videotapes incriminating evidence against Silver Sable, an Eastern European assassin for hire. Now she will stop at nothing - including killing Mary Jane, Harry, and Indy - to get the tape back.|
|11||"When Sparks Fly"||Vincent Edwards||Morgan Gendel||August 1, 2003|
|Electro returns from his seeming death and tries to make Sally, a girl he has a crush on, become an electrical being just like him.|
|12||"Mind Games, Part One"||Alan Caldwell, Vincent Edwards and Audu Paden||Morgan Gendel||September 5, 2003|
|The Gaines Twins, a brother and sister with uncanny telepathy, escape from an armored transport convoy, but Spider-Man apprehends them by overcoming their brain blasts with his own superhuman will power. Later, just as Spider-Man reveals to MJ that he's really Peter Parker, Kraven the Hunter confronts Spider-Man. As payback for the years he spent in jail, Kraven attacks MJ with one of his poison darts. Spider-Man rushes to her side too late, as her life slowly slips away. Now, Peter is out for revenge.|
|13||"Mind Games, Part Two"||Tim Eldred and Brandon Vietti||Steven Kriozere||September 12, 2003|
|Spider-Man realizes that the diabolical Gaines Twins have brain-blasted him into believing that MJ has died at the hands of Kraven the Hunter. He corners the Twins – but things take a turn for the worse when they once again use their telepathy to trick Spider-Man. This time Indy is seriously wounded. The guilt causes Peter to pack his costume inside of a suitcase filled with rocks and throw it to the bottom of the harbor, quitting his career as a crime-fighter. Is this the end of Spider-Man, or a new beginning for Peter Parker?|
The series received mostly positive reviews from critics and audiences, with praise aimed at the voice acting (particularly Harris), the mature tone, writing, animation and soundtrack, though it also received criticism from fans for its divergence from the sequel films to the 2002 film, most notably with the abrupt cliffhanger ending contradicting the events of the 2004 film Spider-Man 2.
In 2004, the series was nominated for an Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Television Production while "Keeping Secrets" got a nomination in Outstanding Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production.
The complete series was released on DVD as Spider-Man: The New Animated Series: Special Edition on January 13, 2004. Four separate DVD volumes containing three episodes each were also released from 2004 to 2005. The entire series was licensed by Marvel and Sony to DigiKids/Sentimental Journeys, who re-edited the footage from many episodes into one feature, which is sold as a personalized DVD in which the purchaser's face is revealed under Spider-Man's mask.