Friday, February 3, 2012


The 90s was a strange time for Saturday morning children’s animation. The toy-tie-in wave of He-Mans and Pound Puppies was officially dead. Perennial mainstays like Scooby Doo were quickly losing ground. And live action shows like Power Rangers and Saved by the Bell were taking up a lot of television real estate that was once devoted to cartoons. Pretty much anything that wasn’t part of Disney Afternoon was doomed to be an afterthought of cartoon history. Everything, that is, except Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Then along came Skeleton Warriors, which attempted to be a brave new meld of horror and action with a high-quality, glossy sheen. It even used some computer animation to up the trendiness factor. It seemed like this was the show that preteen boys was waiting for.

And then it was promptly forgotten.

It wasn’t an out-and-out failure. It was mildly successful and lasted a few short seasons, but it didn’t spark a phenomenon like TMNT did. It was just… there. And yet, if you watch any episode from its undistinguished run, the show's ambitions are clearly on display. The animation is detailed and fluid. I mean, look at all those skulls…

The main problem is that the main characters are not nearly as interesting as the complex world that the show sets up. I would not be able to name a single character from the show, let alone the main character. I could name more Captain Planet characters than Skeleton Warriors characters, and the latter show is WAY more in my wheelhouse. All-in-all, a Saturday morning cartoon called Skeleton Warriors was a major missed opportunity.

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