The success of X-Men: The Animated Series in the early 90’s opened the door for an onslaught of Marvel animation on Fox Kids. Spider-Man joined the likes of Hulk and the Fantastic Four in returning to TV, though his was the only show to really rival the popularity of X-Men.
This Spider-Man series was heavily influenced by the late 80’s early 90’s comics in terms of both storytelling and art style. As per the comics of the day, Mary Jane was presented as Peter’s main love interest and eventual wife, and villains like Venom and Carnage played significant roles over the course of the series.
This Spider-Man series thrived in a way none had before it. Even more so than X-Men, the show tapped into the serialized nature of comic book storytelling, delivering complex characterization and long-form story arcs that played out across entire seasons. The show found time to dabble in many corners of Spider-Man’s world, while also welcoming other Marvel players like the X-Men, Punisher, and Daredevil into the mix. And its a testament to the show’s quality that after five seasons, it was canceled not because of low ratings but because of behind-the-scenes conflicts.
This is the best Spider-Man animated series ever made. It is also one of the best superhero animated series ever. The story arcs were epic and unpredictable, Spider-Man had the perfect personality and voice in Christopher Daniel Barnes, and nearly every major character in the Spider-Man mythos made an appearance. Also, the majority of the character designs were great to look at and had a very realistic look to them.
Spider-man: The Animated Series that aired on Fox from 1994-1998 was the best of all the animated Spider-man programs to date. Each episode actually consisted of a story and an attempt at character development. As storytelling in live action television seems to have evolved over the years, many of these animated programs have de-evolved.
It is not a perfect show. There was a lot of reused animation (scene cuts from previous episodes reused in later episodes). Sometimes it would fit and look alright, and other times it was pretty obvious. Also, even though some things were toned down for being a children’s show, I never got the feeling or impression that anything was lacking (even in later viewings as an adult). Anyway, I seriously doubt there will ever be another Spider-Man show that comes close to the quality of this one.This IS Spider-Man.
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