ROCKS 23A: Pirates Of Dark Water episodes 1-5

Discussion in 'Other Cartoons & Collectables' started by LiamABC, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    WELCOME EVERYBODY TO THE FIRST DISCUSSION IN THE TWENTY-THIRD STRAND OF "R.O.C.K.S." - REWATCHING OLD CLASSIC KIDS SHOWS! A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    The next few weeks we're covering one of my favourite shows from the 90s, The Pirates Of Dark Water.

    This show ran for 21 episodes which is just small enough to cover in its entirety here.

    Some sources list episode 1-5 as a season on its own, calling episodes 6-13 season 2 and episodes 14-21 season 3, others list season 1 as the whole of episodes 1-13 and call episodes 14-21 season 2, equivalent to the 2 or 4 seasons debate in Thundercats.

    We're back on the usual format for this show, starting with the establishing storyline, which consists of the first five episodes:

    - The Quest
    - Dishonor
    - Break-Up
    - Betrayal
    - Victory

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these episodes, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full episode online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the show in whatever manner you want.
     
  2. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist TC.org Staff

    I'm actually surprised that I have never heard of this show before. I'm quite familiar with almost all of the animated shows of the 80s and early 90s, even if I didn't watch them.

    My first impression of the show was that it looked like a cross between Sinbad and Star Wars. We have Ren (Luke Skywalker), our young, honest and noble "chosen one" hero who sets out on a quest. He is aided by Ioz (Han Solo) a rogue pirate who provides the means of transportation and who is initially only interested in wealth but over time develops a conscience and warms up to our hero. And we have the headstrong female Tula (Leia) who is at loggerheads with Ioz.

    I was very much impressed with the animation. It is of much better quality than other shows of that time. The designs are also quite unique and thought out, unlike the use of a standard body size and type for most of the characters. Even the minor characters have their own unique look. My only gripe is Bloth. While his design is great, his coloring is too bright and gaudy. It really takes away from his menacing quality as it visually overpowers everything else. Ioz'z design is also quite unconventional for a good guy. Niddler looks like he could be related to Kowl from She-Ra! :)

    The story is quite interesting and pretty well developed. There are a lot of elements that are explored and some quite unexpected twists and turns. I like that it isn't too predictable.
     
    Mark M and LiamABC like this.
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I watched this show back as a kid in the early 90s and loved it instantly. I can appreciate why as an adult. The quest is epic and has a strong sense of continuity. The opening 5-parter is a true 5-parter, unlike some from the 80s (yes Book Of Enigmas I'm looking at you!). The writing is top notch, the voice cast are great, and the animation is also very detailed.

    The animation is particularly noteworthy when it comes to the character designs. The characters are recognisably human but just slightly different to normal - their eyes, particularly Ren's and Tula's, are different, reminding us that this is a different planet, Mer (as in sea, a very deliberate name no doubt). Actually Ren is an interesting design in general. Given that this show was before hair dyes became so completely commonplace, a character with brown skin and blond hair was an unusual sight in itself, but the look works. Bloth is another interesting design, as he appears to be based a little on Popeye's nemesis Bluto. And all the rest of the pirates have their own unique looks, Mantus, Konk, even the background characters are well-designed.

    The voice cast are also of a very high pedigree. Niddler is voiced by Frank Welker who needs no introduction, likewise Peter Cullen (Mantus), and Tim Curry (Konk), who was also voicing another more famous pirate at the same time, Captain Hook in Peter Pan And The Pirates, for which he won an award. He seems to like playing pirates as he was also Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island a few years later, and many more besides. His voicing of Sir Gawaine in The Legend Of Prince Valiant (at the same time as this show) was perhaps a slight departure, a cavalier hero, but even then he put a bit of pirate swagger into that voice and made it work. Mind you, with his portrayal of Konk, he does put a bit more something into his voice rather than just his normal one.

    Tula was voiced by Jodi Benson, best known as being the voice of Ariel, The Little Mermaid; Bloth by Brock Peters, known to me for a couple of Star Trek roles, Admiral Cartwright in a couple of the films, and Sisko's father in DS9, and Ioz by Hector Elizondo who has cropped up in a few things here and there (he played the most interesting character in the Princess Diaries movies, and was the voice of that owl guardian of the library in Avatar). The least familiar name to me was George Newbern (Ren), but it turns out even he is known to me for something else, he was the son-in-law in the Father Of The Bride movies. Shows how long it's been since I last saw them!

    The storyline concerning the whole quest thing is a familiar enough concept, there are a lot of typical details (the son follows in his father's footsteps, is evocative of so many things from Star Wars to Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors), but the story is still distinctive enough. Actually I suspect that the 13 Treasures Of Rule was an influence on the 2011 Thundercats remake. That and the Neosapien rebellion in Exosquad which was about a year or two after this show, are the two things that TC2011 reminds me of the most. Incidentally we covered Exosquad last year if you're curious, it's well worth checking out.

    This show did have the usual omission in the toyline, they didn't make a figure of Tula, instead making a figure of Zoolie. On the villains' side, the extra figure was a character called Joat, who only appeared in one episode (despite being planned as a recurring character like Zoolie).

    Wilycub, I was interested in your likening Niddler to Kowl from She-Ra - my first thought was that he was Snarf to Ren's Lion-O. In any case, I think he's my favourite character in the show, Frank Welker deliciously hams it up to steal every scene he's in. I also liked your Star Wars analogy, which you'll find just as applicable when we do Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors, if not more so!

    Overall - yes, I'm still loving this show. I loved it as a kid, I loved it when I saw it again in 2013, and I'm loving it again now. One of the best the 90s had to offer, up there with Prince Valiant, X-Men and Exosquad.
     
    Mark M likes this.
  4. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I finally watched the 5 parter.
    I do recall watching this now and then growing up but I didn't really like it. Not the show as such, I hated the Constrictus which kind f reminded me a bit of the Sarlac Pit in Return of the Jedi.

    I can definitely see a resemblance to the Star Wars characters.
    Also Bloth's voice sounds a bit like James Earl Jones.
    The show has a really great voice cast with some instantly recognisable voices like Hector Elizondo, Frank Welker and Peter Renaday.

    As for the pilot 5 parter. It is really great. It's an interesting story and not predictable and the characters are likeable.

    It's really annoying they didn't make the figure of Tula. :mad Although it didn't really make much difference as the toys were never really sold in many places. Here anyway. I only ever seen the figures once in Woolworths and if I remember correctly it was Ioz or some of the bad guys.

    I love the character designs for the show and the backgrounds. They remind me of Frank Frazella's paintings. I imagine if he had been given the opportunity Frank gone have produced some real masterpieces with these characters. Although I think Bloth might be a little to bright.

    It was great seeing this cartoon again after so long. I can't wait to watch the full series.
     
    Wilycub likes this.
  5. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist TC.org Staff

    That's exactly what I was reminded of too! :)
     
  6. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist TC.org Staff

    Yes, I noticed that and I like that they took the effort to make them look different than the "standard human model". The eyes and the hair made them look a little "elvish". Even the ears were a bit like elves.
     
  7. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    There is a bit of a Legend of Zelda style to the designs. I guess the whole quest is also a bit like LoZ.
    Coincidently there was a PODW video game, but it was more of a side scrolling beat'em up than an RPG adventure like LoZ.
     
  8. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    The quest for the treasures was I am sure one of the influences on Thundercats 2011, as I said before. It's also reminiscent of King Arthur And The Knights Of Justice which started the following year, where the stand-in "knights" (an American football team brought back from the 20th century by Merlin?!?) were seeking the Keys Of Truth to return to their own time (and free the real Arthur and his knights, although I'm not quite sure). All three of these shows had something in common, they never got completed. Pirates Of Dark Water is the best of them by a long way, although Knights Of Justice, for all its dopy concept, had a truly awesome theme song.
     

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