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Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (TV Series)

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This article is written from the Real World perspective Stan Lee
Spider-Man: The New Animated Series
Spider-Man The New Animated Series
Beginning date July 11, 2003
End date September 12, 2003
Number of Episodes 13
Writers Morgan Gendel
Rick Suvalle
Brian Michael Bendis
Steve Ditko
Tracey Forbes
Stan Lee
Producers Craig Kyle
Stan Lee
David McGrath
Avi Arad
Brian Michael Bendis
Morgan Gendel
Audu Paden
Rick Ungar
Shea Wageman
Steven Wendland
Barbara Zelinski
Original Channel MTV
Previous Series X-Men: Evolution
Next Series Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes

Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, also known as Spider-Man and MTV Spider-Man, is the fifth animated series to feature the character of Spider-Man. It followed Spider-Man (1967), Spider-Man (1981), Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Spider-Man, and Spider-Man Unlimited. The series aired on MTV.

The show was inspired by the Ultimate Spider-Man comic line. Though, after the success of the first Spider-Man film, the show was reworked to follow that continuity. Subsequent series The Spectacular Spider-Man and Ultimate Spider-Man would become progressively more influenced by the Ultimate line.

The word "New" was added to the title to differentiate itself from Spider-Man, which is commonly called Spider-Man: The Animated Series.

Story

The story follows the death of Norman Osborn. Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson, and Harry Osborn attend Empire State University. Peter and Mary Jane try to establish a relationship together though without success. At first it is because of Peter's superhero duties, but later it is because Peter begins dating Indira Daimonji. Meanwhile Harry craves revenge on Spider-Man, whom he blames for the death of his father. Peter faces the usual assortment of villains such as Lizard, Kraven the Hunter, and Electro while trying to maintain a job and his studies. However, 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.

The series ended on a cliffhanger with Peter giving up his superhero life. The theoretical next season would obviously had seen him return to duty, but the series was cancelled.

This series featured a far more mature version of the character than typically seen on television for any animated comic book adaptation. Throughout the series, characters are clearly killed, rather than the usual ambiguous disappearance, and several characters are strongly implied to have had sex.

Background

The series Executive Producer was Brian Michael Bendis who wrote on Ultimate Spider-Man and later worked on Ultimate Spider-Man. It was produced for Sony Pictures Televison who had purchased the film and television rights to the character. Sony held the rights throughout The Spectacular Spider-Man but returned them to Marvel Entertainment when The Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel and they wanted to retain the film rights.

Initially it was inspired by and an attempt to adapted the Ultimate Spider-Man series. The success of the movie caused the series to change to more closely follow the film.

Artwork for the original pitch showed Rhino, Doctor Octopus, and Vulture.

Peter was designed to be less of a geek and more hip in order to fit with the network. Likewise, the character of Aunt May was not included, except in photographs, as there were fears an older character would put off the younger target audience.

The producers found that the more relaxed standards of MTV allowed them more creative freedom than usually allowed for a Saturday morning cartoon show.

Every cellphone in the series was a style available then from Sony Ericsson and the ringtones were from Nokia.

MTV decided that the ratings for the series were insufficient to warrant a second season, leaving the series to end on a cliffhanger.

Director Brandon Vietti stated that had the series gone on he would have used Mysterio, Vulture, and more of Kraven.

Episodes

The series only lasted thirteen episodes, the same length as Silver Surfer, Spider-Man Unlimited, and The Avengers: United They Stand. The series began airing on July 11th, 2003 and ended on September 12th, 2003.

Spider-Man aired out of production, and chronological, order. "The Party" was the first to air, though it takes place eighth in chronology. The order was corrected for the DVD release.

Ironically, "Mind Games, Part Two", the series finale, aired the same day as the announcement of Spider-Man 2, which featured Peter giving up his life as Spider-Man as a subplot.

Cast

Actor Role(s)
Neil Patrick Harris Spider-Man/Peter Parker
Lisa Loeb Mary Jane Watson
Ian Ziering Harry Osborn
Angelle Brooks Indira Daimonji
Keith Carradine J. Jonah Jameson
Ethan Embry Electro/Max Dillon
Edward Asner Officer Barr
SuChin Pak Alison Tomita
Julie Nathanson Sally Johnson
Kathy Griffin Roxanne Gaines
Jeremy Piven Roland Gaines
Cree Summer Professor Williams
Jolena
Jeffrey Combs ESU Professor
Dr. Zellner
James Marsters Sergei
Devon Sawa Flash Thompson
Rob Zombie Curt Connors/Lizard
Virginia Madsen Silver Sable
Michael Dorn Kraven the Hunter
Michael Clarke Duncan Kingpin
Keith David Agent Mosely
Eve Jihan Jeffers Talon/Cheyenne Tate
Tara Charendoff-Strong Christina
Gina Gershon Shikata
Harold Perrineau Turbo Jet/Lewis Wyler
John C. McGinley Richard Damien
David Delouse Mack
Jack
Rino Romano Muang
Doug Reisman
Jennifer Hale News Announcer
Clancy Brown Police Officer
Karen Maruyama Flower Vendor
Stan Lee Frank Elson

Many of the villains that Spider-Man faced were original to the series, though closely related to existing comic book characters. Talon is based on Black Cat, Turbo Jet on Rocket Racer and/or Blue Streak, Shikata on Elektra, and Pterodax on Vulture.

Only five comic book villains appear in the series: Electro, Lizard, Kingpin, Kraven the Hunter, and Silver Sable. The X-Men are mentioned once by Peter, the only other comic book character reference. One more possible reference is someone with the username "GS122", which would most likely be a reference to Gwen Stacy who died in Amazing Spider-Man issues #121 and #122.

Indira "Indy" Daimonji, voiced by Angelle Brooks, was created specifically for the series, in a role as Mary Jane's rival similar to Gwen Stacy.

Several voice actors were prominent singers such as Lisa Loeb, Eve Jihan Jeffers, and Rob Zombie.

Edward Asner and Rino Romano were cast as Officer Barr and Muang, respectively, due to their roles in previous Spider-Man series. Asner played J. Jonah Jameson on Spider-Man while Romano played Spider-Man on Spider-Man Unlimited. Romano's casting was an in-joke since Christina mistakens Muang to be Spider-Man.

Crew

Job People
Production Company Sony Pictures Television
Adelaide Productions
Directors Sebastian Brodin
Alan Caldwell
Johnny Darrell
Vincent Edwards
Tim Eldred
Sean Frewer
Ezekiel Norton
Audu Paden
James Taylor
Brandon Vietti
Writers Morgan Gendel
Rick Suvalle
Brian Michael Bendis
Steve Ditko
Tracey Forbes
Stan Lee
Associate Producer Craig Kyle
Shea Wageman
Executive Producer Stan Lee
Avi Arad
Brian Michael Bendis
Morgan Gendel
Audu Paden
Rick Ungar
Consulting Producer David McGarth
Producer Steven Wendland
Barbara Zelinski
Composer William Anderson
Editor Colin Adams
David Tilgner
Bruce King
Assistant Editor Jhoanne Reyes
Casting Matthew C. Otoski
Tony Pastor
Casting Supervisor Matthew C. Otoski
Voice Director Susan Blu
Art Direction David Hartman
Production Managers Jim Corbett
Richmond Horine
Second United Director Gio Corsi
Storyboard Artists David Hartman
Tim Morgan
Kalvin Lee
Art Coordinator Mandy Sekelsky
Production Sound Mixer Devon Bowman
Sound Designer Paca Thomas
Visual Effects Mainframe Entertainment
Digital Artist Greg Lohr
Carl Whiteside
Sheryl Low
Lighting supervisor Jeffrey Scott
2D Compositor Sheryl Low
Motion Capture Paul Cech
Andrea Donnelly
Rob MacKenzie
Jayme Vandusen
Jody Zoerb
Motion Capture Talent Donavon Stinson
Character Modeler Jim Su
Character Designer David Hartman
Modeler Kin Fung Kwok
Vera Zivny
Animator Colin Beadle
Cedric Lo
Harry Ahn
Clint Butler
Animatic Supervisor Ben Berkman
Justin Schultz
Animatic Editor Tim Schultz
Technical Supporter Karen Chan
Production Executive Grace Benn
Software Technical Lead Gordon Farrell
Developer Morgan Gendel
Publicist Tammy Golihew
Alison Olin
Technical Director Jason Osipa

Animation

The computed generated imagery was produced by Mainframe Entertainment, best known for ReBoot and Beast Wars.

The look was designed to appear like traditional cel animation to look more appealing.

The design was to appear closer to the Ultimate Spider-Man comic incarnation.

Neon signs were often used in night scenes to invoke a Film Noir feeling.

This series was the first Marvel animated series to be completely animated by computers. Previous series used either all cel animation or a combination of the two. Though the design was made to look like cel animation. Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes and Iron Man: Armored Adventures would follow suit, though other series would use a combination of traditional and computer animation.

This presented some problems as they were unable to render a large number of characters on screen at once, or many different character models. Spider-Man would often have the same cuts and damage in different episodes. The producers said that the cuts were always under the top character layer.

Mary Jane Watson's hair is shorter than the comics or previous series as it was difficult to have long, flowing air. This is also why Kraven does not have his signature lion's mane vest but instead a leather jacket. Peter was originally was supposed to wear baggier clothing to hide his muscles and costume but this presented problems, similar to Mary Jane's hair, so they were made tighter and form-fitting.

Many character models were reused for others, with usually just a change of outfits. For example, Frank Elson is a reworked version of the twins from "Flash Memory".

Trailer

Spider-Man MTV Trailer02:01

Spider-Man MTV Trailer

Continuity

The series was designed to follow the events of the first Spider-Man movie. Events of the film are referenced, such as Harry Osborn accusing Spider-Man of killing his father, the climax of the movie. It does not follow the movie series continuity, however, since Dr. Connors is apparently killed in the series but is alive in the second and third films.

Also, the series title used the same font as the film.

Additionally, Michael Clarke Duncan returned as the Kingpin from the Daredevil film, despite being made by 20th Century Fox.

Reception

Spider-Man received mixed though generally good reviews. Critics generally appreciated the show's tone, praising a more mature comic book show. The animation was widely lauded as one of the best looking animated series.

Critics were divided on the villains and other original characters. Many expressed their desire to see the character's vast rogue gallery and supporting cast shown rather than series-exclusive versions. Others felt that all the characters worked despite their originality. Though it was pointed out that few returned, with a villain-of-the-week feel, and many were disappointed that fan-favorites like Lizard and Electro were killed. Several critics were confused as to why Indy was introduced rather than Betty Brant or Gwen Stacy.

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 series has a 8.5 on TV.com, 7.0 on IMDb, and four stars on Amazon.

Legacy

In 2010, Neil Patrick Harris joined alongside fellow Spider-Man voice actors Dan Gilvezan, Christopher Daniel Barnes, and Josh Keaton to voice the main Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. Harris was nominated for Best Performance by a Human Male in the Spike's Video Game Awards.

Home Release

The series featured four volumes and one complete series releases released on VHS, DVD, and UMD.

Releases include:

External Links


Spider-Man series
Pre-MAU Spider-Man (1967)Spider-WomanSpider-Man (1981)Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
MAU Spider-ManSpider-Man Unlimited
Post-MAU Spider-Man: The New Animated SeriesThe Spectacular Spider-ManUltimate Spider-Man

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