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Atomic Betty

Entry updated 31 May 2021. Tagged: TV.

Canadian-French animated tv series (2004-2008; vt Atomic Betty: Mission Earth). Atomic Cartoons, Breakthrough Entertainment, Télé Images Kids. Created by Trevor Bentley, Mauro Casalese, Bob Davies and Olaf Miller. Directors include Mauro Casalese, Virginie Jallot and Ridd Sorensen. Writers include Jono Howard, Kevin Gillis and Mike Kubat. Voice cast includes Colin Fox, Bruce Hunter, Tajja Isen, Debra McGrath, Mike Marshall and Rick Miller. 78 episodes, usually containing two eleven-minute stories, plus one 44-minute special. Colour.

Twelve-year-old Betty Barrett (Isen) is better known to the wider universe as Atomic Betty, heroic member of the crime-fighting Galactic Guardians (see Crime and Punishment; Superheroes): with her Spaceship and bickering sidekicks, Alien Sparky (Miller) and Robot X5 (Hunter), she foils the nefarious plans of alien Villains. Living in contemporary Canada, Betty's main worry is being called to duty at the most inopportune moments, having to make excuses to family, friends or teachers – most of whom know nothing of her other life.

Her primary antagonist is would-be ruler of the galaxy Maximus I.Q. (Fox/Marshall), clearly inspired by Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon; but Betty battles several other villains, including her own relative, Auntie Matter (McGrath), who can turn herself into a Black Hole. Stories feature numerous sf tropes, such as space pirates, Shapeshifters, Dream Hacking, evil Clone Bettys, Virtual Reality, a Universal Translator; Miniaturization, Pollution, clog dancing, Time Travel and various Rays: one turns biological creatures into robots; another gene-splices (see Genetic Engineering). There is also a Parody of Richard Condon's The Manchurian Candidate (1959) (see The Manchurian Candidate).

Atomic Betty was a competent children's series, lively and upbeat, with a feisty heroine; it is less entertaining for adults than such peers as My Life as a Teenage Robot (2003-2007) and Kim Possible (2002-2007), doubtless due to its younger target audience. Season 3, entitled Atomic Betty: Mission Earth, is the strongest; it focuses more on humour, and has the Headquarters of the Galactic Guardians moved to Betty's home town. A planned sequel, Atomic Betty Redux, set five years later, never materialized. [SP]


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