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Sealab 2021 is an American animated television series shown on Cartoon Network's adult-oriented programming block, Adult Swim. It premiered on December 21, 2000 and the final episode aired on April 25, 2005. Sealab 2021 is one of the four original Williams Street series that premiered on Adult Swim in 2000 (the others are Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Brak Show, and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law).
Like Cartoon Network's Space Ghost to Coast, they used stock animation from the original Sealab 2020 show which aired from 1972-1973. It was mostly used in the First season and was gone by the third season.
Adam Reed and Matt Thompson, the creators and writers of Sealab 2021, thought up the idea for the show in 1995 while they were production assistants for Cartoon Network. They stumbled on a tape of the show Sealab 2020, and wrote dialog to match the lips. Cartoon Network passed on the show because they believed that it wasn't funny. The orginal pitch pilot they showed to Cartoon Network is available on the Sealab volume 1 DVD. Five years after quitting Cartoon Network, the two went back to the original tape, this time making the characters do what they wanted. Cartoon Network bought the show, coincidentally around the same time that Adult Swim was created.
The show is set one year after the time frame of Sealab 2020. During this year, the crew's professionalism and morals have slowly degraded, causing the crew to spend more time goofing off in various ways rather than doing any serious work. None of the episodes share any connection or ongoing plot. As a result, continuity is frequently ignored; for instance, the entire installation is destroyed at the end of many episodes, and cast members are often killed in horrible ways such as getting beaten to death with a bat. While the show contains many references to the pop culture of the 1980s-2000s and appears to be set in the year 2021 as the title suggest., John F. Kennedy is President and Robert Kennedy is his Attorney General, suggesting that it is in fact still the early 1960s. (Episode 29, "Red Dawn")
Fans and critics felt that the show fell into a decline following the death of Harry Goz, the voice of Captain Murphy. This was because most of the fans and critics call Captain Murphy the best character and could not be replaced by Captain Shanks
Fifty-two 11-minute episodes of Sealab 2021 were produced, as opposed to only 16 25-minute episodes of the original Sealab 2020. Sealab 2021 is rated TV-14, and sometimes TV-PG or TV-MA.
- see Captain Murphy
Captain Bellerophon "Tornado" Shanks (voiced by Michael Goz) earned his position as Sealab's new captain by answering a help-wanted ad. A retired football coach and lovable redneck, he has all of Murphy's shortsighted idiocy combined with a Southern charm. Tornado's leadership qualities have led him to coach the crew in a football game against killer robots, declare Sealab a sovereign nation (named Sealabia), warp the minds of Sealab's orphan population, and assert that a huge tumor on his head would go away through prayer alone, forcing the crew to shrink themselves and get injected into his body in order to save him. In the episode, "Dearly Beloved Seed", it is revealed that Shanks had six brothers, who are all deceased. Late in the series, Shanks dropped his southern accent because "everyone thought I [Shanks] was gay." Shanks is voiced by Michael Goz, son of Harry Goz.
Debbie DuPree (voiced by Kate Miller) is the token female of the crew (other than "Black Debbie"), a marine biologist, and blonde and beautiful to boot. Being the token female, she tends to get upset when the guys do chauvinistic things but is also a stereotypical dumb blonde. She has an on going sexual relationship with Doctor Quinn and slept with Murphy at least once. She is slightly promiscuous and an exhibitionist, often ripping open her shirt for various male characters. In the episode "Butchslap" she tells Marco that being a filthy whore is "all she knows". In the last season, she becomes devoutly religious, going so far as to speak in tongues.
Derek "Stormy" Waters
- see Stormy
- see Quinn
Jodene Sparks (voiced by Bill Lobley) is the station's sarcastic, scheming radio operator, and co-conspirator with Captain Murphy in most of his escapades. In a dream of Murphy's, Sparks is portrayed as also being the head of a terror organization located inside of a mountain, where his minions refer to him as "The Overlord" (featured in the episode "Happycake"). Sparks is never seen without his headset or out of his rolling, swivel office chair, even while out scuba diving, although in the episode "Green Fever", he is seen in a personal transporter instead of his chair. In one episode, Debbie stabs his legs, which he claims he can't feel so he can claim disability to get an affirmative action based promotion; in another episode he exclaims "I'm not crippled; I'm just lazy!" after having his legs shrunk. In episode 12, Sparks can be seen playing a drumset, in fact using his legs, while rocking out with 'Marduk', the Stimutacs-induced Sun God. Regardless, it has not stopped other characters (primarily Shanks) from addressing him as "cripple" or implying such. Sparks seems to have the vice of cupidity, as his quest for money has been in several plots; such as the murdering of the crew to collect on life insurance policies, the creation of Stimutacs to "make an assload of money", and his numerous underhand deals with Paddy O'Reilly. He can also regrow his own head.
Marco Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar Gabriel Garcia Marquez (voiced by Erik Estrada) is the station's engineer, macho man, and wannabe Latin lover. He often exclaims random things in Spanish, although he doesn't actually speak the language. He has tried to seduce both females on the station at various times, with limited success. He also has a thing for CHiPs, which starred Estrada himself. One of his catchlines is "I'll give it a shot of Vitamin M!" He was given the nickname "Mailbox Head" by Captain Murphy in the "Radio Free Sealab" episode. Note to the names: Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar is the main character of the Spaniard epic XI century poem "El Cantar del Mío Cid" while Gabriel García Márquez is the 1982 Literary Nobel Prize winner journalist and novelist from Colombia. It should be noted that in earlier episodes that he was portrayed as the most level-headed of the crew, which changed throughout the series' run. When under the influence of Stimutacs, he possesses the "strength of a bear that has the strength of two bears".
DVD Name Release Date Ep # Additional Information Season One July 20, 2004 13 This two disc boxset contains the first 13 episodes ("Radio Free Sealab" through "Swimming in Oblivion"). Bonus features include alternate endings for episode "I, Robot", deleted scenes, the original pitch pilot, and uncensored scenes for "Radio Free Sealab". Music during the main menu is the original recording of the theme song. Season Two February 1, 2005 13 This two disc boxset contains the second set of 13 episodes ("Der Dieb" through "Return to Oblivion"). Bonus features include commentaries for all thirteen episodes, an animatic for the unseen episode "Ronnie", and other assorted bonus features - many of which involve women in bikinis. The DVD cover, used for the "Bizarro" episode, is a homage to the cover of Uncanny X-Men #100, by artist Dave Cockrum. Music during the main menu is the theme song played backwards.
Season Three July 12, 2005 13 This two disc boxset contains the third set of 13 episodes ("Splitsville" through "Neptunati"). Bonus features include two unseen episodes and the animatic of a third unseen episode, commentary for four episodes, and other features. Music during the main menu is the music used in the "Red Dawn" episode.
Season Four August 8, 2006 13 This two disc boxset contains the final 13 episodes ("Isla de las Chupacabras" through "Legacy of Laughter"). Bonus features include alternate endings and deleted scenes. For this set, Cartoon Network abandoned their usual digipak packaging design in favor of a more traditional amaray-style keep case. During the main menu, underwater sound effects are used.