The 1994 Cartoon Series
Marvel Action Hour: The Fantastic Four (Season One)
Originally Aired: 24/9/1994 - 17/12/1994
Running in the "Marvel Action Hour" slot, The Fantastic Four were top of the bill to an Iron Man cartoon and included introductions from Stan Lee. Sadly, however, the animation was extremely crude, and with the tone of the series seemingly pitched towards easily pleased infants it completely lacked what the previous cartoon series possessed in charm.In terms of vocal talent then Beau Weaver, Lora Alan and Brian Austin Green did well as Reed, Sue and Johnny respectively. Yet generally it stumbled, with Chuck McCann making the Thing sound as if he had learning difficulties (politically incorrect but true) while John Vernon's Doctor Doom resembled a half-drunk Bela Lugosi. Neil Ross's second take on Doom was better, and was aided by being in the season finale, by far the best episode of the run.Lowlights of the series were almost too many to list, though particular note must be drawn to the dire theme song;
Galactus actually licking his lips as he prepares to devour the Earth; Johnny's "Flame On Rap" and not one but THREE episodes ending with a "cute comedy fluffy dog" coda. Then there's Behold The Negative Zone, during which the Thing interfaces with said place after ordering a smiling elephant for Alicia on the Home Shopping Channel. Yes, really. Having said all this, I must ashamedly confess to actually laughing at the inanity of the Thing's "Clobberin' Time Rap" with Green Jelly.Based upon the early Lee/Kirby comic strips, the first season took only loose inspiration and contained the following episodes: The Origin of the Fantastic Four: Parts 1-2; Now Comes the Sub-Mariner; Incursion of the Skrulls; The Silver Surfer & the Coming of Galactus: Parts 1-2; Superskrull; The Mask of Doom: Parts 1-3; Mole Man; Behold the Negative Zone and The Silver Surfer & the Return of Galactus. While it didseem to improve towards the end of the run, generally the experience felt like watching something truly quite wretched.