Entry updated 17 January 2022. Tagged: TV.
US animated tv series (1996). Adelaide Productions, Columbia TriStar Television. Created by Doug Langdale and Douglas TenNapel. Directed by Toshiyuki Hiruma, Llyn Hunter, Audu Paden and Rafael Rosado. Writers include Doug Langdale, Richard Stanley and Jan Strnad. Voice cast includes Charles Adler, Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Cree Summer and Billy West. Thirteen 23-minute episodes. Colour.
Villainous industrialist Mister Moloch (Cummings) and the Mad Scientist in his employ, Dr Maston (Adler), create the ultimate Weapon: G.e.e.K.e.R. (West) – but before being fully programmed, G.e.e.K.e.R. is stolen by Lady MacBeth (Summer), a Cyborg warrior woman, and Noah (Garrett), an intelligent T. Rex (see Dinosaurs). Though these characters are humorous – Moloch is extremely calm, Dr. Maston is a tetchy Mastodon, Lady MacBeth barely capable of controlling her temper and Noah the voice of reason – they are reasonably compatible with the setting: a light but violent adventure set in a bleak Dystopian future. However, G.e.e.K.e.R. is not.
He is an artificial Shapeshifting human with a banana-shaped head, and whilst the rest of the series is usually within shouting distance of scientific law, he embodies extreme cartoon Physics – something coming from nothing – with the rubber hose animation and the surreal whackiness of early animation. Much of the humour comes from this dissonance between G.e.e.K.e.R. and the rest of the world: though also amusing are Noah's lugubriousness and Moloch's even temper; after briefly clenching his fists in frustration, the latter apologizes to his minions, "Please excuse me for this wanton display of emotion."
The plots involve Moloch's attempts to recover the child-like G.e.e.K.e.R., but include our heroes visiting a Space Station, where they battle then befriend an intelligent cold virus that temporarily takes over its hosts (see Hive Mind), and the "hidden city of the Dinosaurs" – who have spent millions of years Underground before communicating with the surface. They also face Dr Maston's "cyberseeds" which grow into giant mechanical plants; whilst G.e.e.K.e.R. discovers Comic books and decides to become a Superhero, despite Lady MacBeth grabbing a comic and protesting, "Will you look at this stuff, it's nothing like the real world – it's full of guys who can change shape and cyborgs and [stuttering as realization hits] dino ... saurs."
In the finale Dr Maston's Time Machine temporarily sends the trio a hundred years into the future, where they discover the galaxy is ruled by Emperor Moloch, with G.e.e.K.e.R. as his enforcer ... until it is revealed that the Emperor is a Robot and this G.e.e.K.e.R. has the mind of Moloch. The Time Travel had required an exchange of mass – and when the three disappeared a Mind Transference Beam from the future replaced them, which Dr Maston copied, allowing Moloch to mindswap (see Identity Transfer) with G.e.e.K.e.R. when he came back. This is explained by an aged, near senile Noah: their meeting sends young Noah into despair, believing opposition is futile. However, a cryptic remark by old Noah enables G.e.e.K.e.R. to foil Moloch on their return (see Time Paradoxes) – he uses a mirror to deflect the beam so Moloch swaps minds with Dr Maston instead.
In the first episode G.e.e.K.e.R.'s head turns into an airplane – and through one of the windows we see the pilot fondly feed a cat. It is a little disappointing that although there are a lot of funny asides and absurd moments (see Absurdist SF), the show never quite reaches that level of oddness again. The series is at its strongest when – as exemplified by the finale – the stories properly engage with their sf ideas. The first season was very promising; sadly there were no more. CBS, the show's broadcaster, tried to have the show classified as one of its required "educational and informational" programmes following the 1996 strengthening of the 1990 Children's Television Act; this ploy failed. [SP]
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