ⓘ Godzilla: The Series

                                     

ⓘ Godzilla: The Series

Godzilla: The Series is an American-Japanese animated television series developed by Jeff Kline and Richard Raynis, which originally aired on Fox Kids in the United States between September 1998 and April 2000, and a sequel to Godzilla. Malcolm Danare, Kevin Dunn and Michael Lerner reprise their roles from the film.

                                     

1. Plot

The series follows the Humanitarian Environmental or Ecological, in "Area 51" Analysis Team HEAT, a research team led by Dr. Nick Tatopoulos voiced by Ian Ziering as they battle giant mutant monsters that frequently appear in the wake of the events depicted in the 1998 film Godzilla. Dr. Tatopoulos accidentally discovers an egg that survived the aerial bombardment before it hatches, in a minor change from the ending in the 1998 film. The creature hatches after Nick Tatopoulos stumbles onto it and it assumes him to be its parent. Subsequently, Dr. Tatopoulos and his associates form a research team, investigating strange occurrences and defending mankind from dangerous mutations. Godzilla also known as Zilla Junior, the only hatchling of its species to survive in the movie, imprints on Nick and becomes the main weapon summoned against the other mutations encountered by the human characters. The series also introduces two new characters: Monique Dupre, a French secret agent assigned by Philippe Roache to keep an eye on Godzilla and H.E.A.T., and Randy Hernandez, an intern of Nicks who specializes in computer hacking.

                                     

2.1. Characters H.E.A.T.

  • Godzilla Zilla Junior vocal effects by Frank Welker – A giant mutated iguana kaiju and the only surviving offspring of the first Godzilla that attacked New York City in 1998. Due to Nicks presence at his hatching, Godzilla has imprinted on Nick as his parent and as a result, he is very protective of him. Nick also has the ability to control Godzilla to a certain extent, which allows humans to use him as a weapon against other giant and mutated monsters. He always seems able to sense whenever Nick is in trouble and is quite willing to follow him and the rest of H.E.A.T. all over the world. Unlike his biological parent, he seems to be incapable of asexual reproduction but is capable of using the signature atomic breath.
  • Dr. Niko "Nick" Tatopoulos voiced by Ian Ziering – Leader of H.E.A.T. and the "adoptive father" of Godzilla. Nick fiercely protects Godzilla and other mutations from both foreign and domestic governments. He is portrayed as younger and with longer hair than Matthew Brodericks character from the 1998 film, as well as less absent-minded.
  • Dr. Elsie Chapman voiced by Charity James – One of the original members of Nicks team; sarcastic, dry-witted, and partly interested in Craven. She specializes in studying the behavior of Godzilla and other mutations.
  • Dr. Mendel Craven voiced by Malcolm Danare – The teams engineer and chemist. He is slightly cowardly as his last name implies and prone to numerous strong allergies, but is often resourceful. He is also enamored of Elsie. Although initially fearful of Godzilla, over the course of the series he comes to trust the monster as an ally. Danare reprises his role from the film.
  • Randy Hernandez voiced by Rino Romano – An intern working under Nick, and like him, is Godzillas defender. He calls Godzilla "the G-man" and sometimes "the big guy" and he has referred to him as "Mr. G" and "the Lizard King" each on one occasion. Hugely talented in all fields of technology, but extremely lazy and somewhat laconic. He has a crush on Monique but is always rebutted when he attempts to court her. The acronym H.E.A.T. originated with Randy, although he initially wanted it to stand for High-performance Environmental Attack Team.
  • Monique Dupre voiced by Brigitte Bako – A French Agent of the DGSE specializing in hand-to-hand combat and infiltration. She is originally sent to have Godzilla killed but becomes a member of H.E.A.T. after being assigned to supervise Godzilla indefinitely. She generally seems cold and impassive, but on occasion shows genuine care and concern for her teammates and Godzilla.
  • N.I.G.E.L. voiced by Tom Kenny – Short for "Next Millennium Intelligence Gathering Electronic Liaison", N.I.G.E.L. is an analysis robot created by Mendel and reprogrammed by Randy to have various quirky voices, from a Texas cowboy to a Shakespearean actor. A running gag on the show is that he is damaged or destroyed in every episode except one, and that one only because he does not appear in it presumably to be rebuilt or replaced later evidenced by Cravens remark in the episode "End of the Line" that he should "just buy spare parts in bulk" in a concept that is similar to Kenny McCormick from South Park.
                                     

2.2. Characters Supporting

  • Major Anthony Hicks voiced by Kevin Dunn – Commanding officer of the Sandy Point Military Base in New York, who played a key role in the first Godzillas death. Though he is at first skeptical of the second Godzilla, over time he develops a soft spot for the creature, whom he views as a hero. Dunn reprises his role from the film.
  • Audrey Timmonds voiced by Paget Brewster – Nicks college sweetheart and somewhat untrustworthy girlfriend, whose career as a reporter often leads the two into conflict.
  • Victor "Animal" Palotti voiced by Joe Pantoliano – Channel 8 News cameraman and Audreys working partner who is always willing to help film Godzilla and the other mutations.
  • Mayor Ebert voiced by Michael Lerner – The Mayor of New York City, who is determined to keep it safe from mutation-related threats.
  • Philippe Roache voiced by Keith Szarabajka – High ranking agent in the French DGSE. Roache led the team hunting down the first Godzilla and later sent Monique to kill the second, but relented when the creature saved lives.


                                     

2.3. Characters Villains

  • Cameron Winter voiced by David Newsom – A former classmate of Nick in college. He is a devious technological mogul whose desire is to control Godzilla for the furtherance of his ulterior goals.
  • Dale, Bill, and Hank – Three game hunters who came to New York to hunt Godzilla. Dale is the leader of the group, Bill is the middleman, and Hank is the idiot of the group. The three of them would usually try to hunt Godzilla, which usually ends with them either being thwarted by H.E.A.T. or ending up in legal trouble. Their names are a parody of the characters from King of the Hill.
  • Sidney Walker voiced by Steve Susskind - An everyday guy who was undergoing Theta wave therapy to cure his insomnia, but ended up in a coma-like state that eventually manifested as the giant monster Crackler.
  • The Leviathan Aliens voiced by Ron Perlman – An ancient race of psychically powerful extraterrestrials. One of their spaceships, called the Leviathan, crashed on Earth sometime during the Cretaceous Period of the Mesozoic Era and remained hidden until modern times. They attempted to conquer Earth by using a tachyon transmitter to send mind-controlling signals to subdue the mutations in order for their alien race to invade the planet - including Godzilla and their cyborg mutation, Cyber-Godzilla created from the carcass of the first Godzilla - but were ultimately defeated by H.E.A.T and a freed Godzilla and forced to retreat, probably for good.
  • Dr. Jonathan Insley voiced by Nick Jameson - Dr. Jonathan Insley is the main antagonist that appears in the episode "Future Shock." He is the creator of the D.R.A.G.M.A.s.
  • Alexandra Springer voiced by Linda Blair - Alexander Springer is the main antagonist in the episode "S.C.A.L.E.". She is the leader of S.C.A.L.E. Servants of Creatures Arriving Late to Earth, a radical group that believe that mutations are the next stage of evolution and must be protected. She and S.C.A.L.E. interfere when Godzilla and H.E.A.T. were stopping Skeetra but were then arrested. She gave Audrey a S.C.A.L.E. pin for spreading their message, she was bailed and then followed the Heat Seeker to Monster Island as the pin turned out to be a tracking device. She and her forces released the mutations, then locked up H.E.A.T. along with Animal and Major Hicks, and had Audrey continued filming so the world would know of their actions. Luckily, H.E.A.T. managed to escape, captured Springers forces, and placed the mutations back in their habitats. Springer attempted to activate the islands self-destruct, but was then arrested by the military. In custody, she gave Audrey a tape and asked her to tell her story to the world. However, Audrey decided not to air it and threw the tape into the fire.
  • Milo Sanders voiced by Stuart Pankin - An obnoxious tour guide of "Monster Liner", he bothers Nick and H.E.A.T. and ends up putting his passengers in danger while Godzilla was fighting the Deep Dweller. He also invited some photographers who attempted to get pictures of Godzilla up close, but were attacked by the Deep Dweller and had to be saved by H.E.A.T. While onboard the Heat Seeker, Milo sneaks down below and finds a tape that reveals the location of Godzillas lair. Seeing this as his one chance of fame, he plans to reveal to everyone where Godzilla is. Audrey and Animal tried to stop him, but he escapes with the tape by stealing the H.E.A.T. Chopper. However, his attempt to reveal the location of Godzilla is cut short, when a news broadcast shows the police recovering the H.E.A.T. Chopper. Knowing that hes in trouble, he tries to flee but is then arrested by the police, ruining his chance of fame.
  • Dr. Alexander Preloran voiced by Kenneth Mars - A brilliant xenobiologist who Craven idolizes. Preloran and his colleagues enter a sunken Leviathan ship, where Preloran decides to help them conquer Earth, believing it will help the planet. He ultimately sacrifices himself by launching an escape pod manually so H.E.A.T. and his colleagues can escape, though Preloran soon discovers a doorway flooded with light and enters it, leaving his fate ambiguous.
  • Tobias Wilson voiced by Dorian Harewood - A ringmaster of the mutant circus "Mutant Mania", he put a bounty on Godzilla, but Nick and H.E.A.T. saved Godzilla from the bounty hunters. Later, Nick confronts him for his bounty on Godzilla, telling Wilson to leave Godzilla alone or hed do everything in his power to shut down Mutant Mania. When Medusa, a mutated Sea anemone escapes and starts wreaking havoc in New York, he tries to stop Mayor Ebert from destroying Medusa, claiming "shes private property". However, the mayor holds him responsible for the incident. After Godzilla defeats Medusa and places her in an oil container, Wilson attempts to flee with her but was stopped and then arrested by Major Hicks.
  • Colonel William Tarrington voiced by Michael Chiklis - A soldier who is head of a project overseeing the creation of mutant scorpions for weapons. After the first scorpion proves to uncontrollable, he has a group of smaller, more controllable scorpions created. Tarrington appears to see the error of his ways after Godzilla destroys the scorpions, but orders a new batch of scorpions created immediately after.
  • Paul Dimanche voiced by Jesse Corti - A corrupt politician who is overfishing a Louisiana bayou and leaving the locals hungry. He shows no care for the safety of his guest when the Swamp Beast attacks his boat and mansion. After he was saved by Georges, he confesses his crimes and was unknowingly filmed by Animal.
  • Dr. Hugh Trevor voiced by Roddy McDowall - A scientist who is studying Nessie the Loch Ness Monster, but wants to destroy it for attacking his lab. It is later revealed he kidnapped Nessies baby and plans to sell it on the Black Market. However, Godzilla and Nessie stop him and save the baby, after which Nessie tossed his sub back into the water. It is unknown what happened to him after Godzilla helped Nessie save her baby.
  • Maximillian Speil voiced by Clancy Brown -
                                     

3. Home media

Columbia TriStar Home Video released two separate episode collections on VHS: Trouble Hatches, composed of the two-part pilot episode which was actually titled "New Family" when it first aired, and Monster War, featuring the three-part episode of the same name. In 2006, Sony released nine episodes on DVD, spread out onto three separate volumes: The Monster Wars Trilogy, consisting of the same three-part episode previously released on the VHS version, Monster Mayhem, which included "What Dreams May Come", "Bird of Paradise", and "Deadloch", and Mutant Madness, which contained "S.C.A.L.E.", "The Twister" and "Where Is Thy Sting?".

In 2006, Sony released the "Monster Edition" DVD of Godzilla 1998, featuring three episodes of the TV series: "What Dreams May Come", "Monster War: Part 1" and "Where Is Thy Sting?". In 2014, Mill Creek Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in North America, including the two unaired episodes. The episodes were released in chronological order, not the broadcast order.

                                     

4. Reception

The series did well during Fox Kids Saturday morning line-up. Ultimately, however, it was overshadowed by the late 1990s Pokemon / Digimon war between Kids WB and Fox Kids during the 1999-2000 season. As a result, Godzilla: The Series was placed in different timeslots on Saturdays to accommodate many of the Digimon marathons and back-to-back episodes this would affect other Fox Kids shows as well. For a brief period of time, episodes of Godzilla: The Series were either never repeated, or skipped over and rescheduled. There was a brief period where the show was taken off the schedule to accommodate new shows for midseason, resulting in two episodes that were never broadcast in the U.S.

The series was more positively received by fans than the film it was based on, being considered more faithful to the original Godzilla that fans were familiar with.



                                     

5. Video games

Two video games were released for the Game Boy Color. They were developed by Crawfish Interactive and published by Crave Entertainment. Godzilla: The Series was released in 1999 and Godzilla: The Series - Monster Wars was released in 2000.