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Spider-Man: The New Animated Series

For the original animated series, see Spider-Man: The Animated Series

Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (also known as MTV Spider-Man) is an animated series featuring the Marvel comic book superhero Spider-Man, which ran for one season, 13 episodes, starting on July 11, 2003. The show was made using computer generated imagery (CGI) rendered in cel shading and was produced by Mainframe Entertainment (Executive Producer Brian Michael Bendis, who also wrote the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book) for Sony Pictures Television and broadcast on MTV and YTV; it featured characters and a loose continuity from the 2002 Spider-Man movie (except Aunt May, who was seen only in photographs throughout the series). Initially, this series was intended to be an adaptation of the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book. Spider-Man was voiced by Neil Patrick Harris.

The complete series was released on DVD as Spider-Man: The New Animated Series: Special Edition on January 13, 2004. Four separate DVD volumes containing three episodes each were also released from 2004-2005. The entire series was licensed by Marvel and Sony to DigiKids/Sentimental Journeys, who re-edited the footage from many episodes into one feature, which is sold as a personalized DVD in which the purchaser's face is revealed under Spider-Man's mask

Complete episodes of the series can be viewed online for free on Hulu(Episode 6 is missing) and kids' entertainment channel Kabillion beginning May 1, 2008.

This series is able to be viewed online using the Netflix watch instantly feature available to any paying subscribers.

Synopsis

The CGI version of Marvel's popular superhero features the voice talents of Neil Patrick Harris as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Lisa Loeb as Mary Jane, and Ian Ziering as Harry Osborn. Assuming this series fits into the movie continuity, it takes place sometime after the first, but before the second (as Norman Osborn is dead). Here, Peter has graduated from high school and is attending Empire State University (although in the films he attends Columbia University). Still burdened with the desire to use his incredible, spider bite-derived powers to do good, he finds it hard balancing his responsibilities of being a superhero with schoolwork and his romance with Mary Jane Watson. Almost in all of this series, Harry craves for revenge on Spider-Man. But in the When Sparks Fly episode, Harry intends to help Spider-Man trap Electro.

Peter Parker was originally supposed to wear baggier clothes to hide his superhero musculature, but cost-effective difficulties with the CG format prevented folds from being put into his everyday attire. As a result, Peter's street clothes were redesigned to be close-fitting and contemporary, while still managing to hide his physique (and the costume he wore under his duds) as Spider-Man.

Aunt May does not appear in this series (except for a photograph in Peter's bedroom), because MTV executives feared that the appearance of any old people would deter their target youth audience from watching. By contrast, she made several prominent appearances in the first animated series and was a regular character on NBC's Spider-Man and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends in the 1980s, and Spider-Man: The Animated Series on Fox Television.

The series employed a device which became a calling card for the show, where Peter Parker could apparently move so fast as to almost instantly change into his costume at will. Some of these scenes were visually creative. The police interrogation room sequence from "Law of the Jungle" is frequently cited as one of the best, with Peter shedding his clothes and suiting up as Spider-Man in a series of frozen, strobe light images as the emergency power struggles to kick in. However, other "quick changes" were downright baffling. As he runs down an alley to change in "Mind Games, Part 2," Peter's outer clothes literally morph into his costume in a burst of light. The first episode of the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon, "The Power of Doctor Octopus," featured the fastest change into costume before this series.

Every cellphone in the series is a bar style from Sony Ericsson.

Credits

Voice talents

Role Voice actor
Spider-Man/Peter
Parker
Neil Patrick Harris
Mary Jane Watson Lisa Loeb
Harry Osborn Ian Ziering

Recurring characters

  • Angelle Brooks provided the voice of Indira "Indy" Daimonji. The character appeared in seven of the thirteen season one episodes. An original character created just for the series, she often acted as a foil for Mary Jane and Peter's romantic interest at the Empire One Television Studio. The character showed an intense, flamboyant, and unabashed affection for Peter Parker, pursuing him publicly to MJ's consternation.
  • Newspaper publisher J. Jonah Jameson was played by Keith Carradine and appeared in five of the thirteen episodes during season one. Consistent with his appearances in the comics and films, Jameson spent most of his appearances berating Spider-Man and adding political spin to his activities, usually in front of Peter Parker. Jameson is so passionate about this that he even appears on a competitor's news broadcast to denounce Spider-Man.
  • The series also introduced Max Dillion / Electro, played by Ethan Embry who appeared in three season one episodes. This version of Max Dillion was a high school contemporary of Peter, MJ, and Harry. During this arc, Peter tries to save Max from both his overly-aggressive desire for recognition and acceptance, as well as his own self-hatred recognizing aspects of these tragic flaws within himself.

Guest voice talents

  • Stan Lee provided the voice of Frank Elson in the penultimate episode of Mind Games. His character appeared for one scene in the next episode but didn't have any dialogue.
  • The heavy-metal singer Rob Zombie provided the voice of Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard in episode 3, Law of the Jungle. When Spider-Man 2 arrived in theaters, the continuity of Dr. Curt Connors confirms that this is not a bridge series between the two movies, as Curt Connors becomes the Lizard and dies. Even if he did survive, which is unlikely, neither Pete nor Connors make any reference to their previous encounter, However that episode could be non canon.
  • Rap star Eve lent her voice to Talon (based on Black Cat) in Keeping Secrets.
  • Kathy Griffin provided the voice of Roxanne, one of the Gaines Twins in Mind Games 1 and 2.
  • Jeremy Piven provided the voice of Roland Gaines in Mind Games 1 and 2.
  • Michael Dorn voiced Kraven the Hunter in Mind Games 1 and 2.
  • Michael Clarke Duncan reprises his role as The Kingpin from Daredevil in Royal Scam.
  • Jeffrey Combs is the voice of a professor in Heroes and Villains (episode 1x06) and Dr. Zellner in Flash Memory (episode 1x09).
  • James Marsters (Spike of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) voiced Sergei, the leader of a high-tech gang of mercenaries called Pterodax, in Tight Squeeze and Mind Games: Part 1.
  • Harold Perrineau Jr. provided the voice of Turbo Jet, a villain possibly based on Rocket Racer or Blue Streak in Heroes and Villains.
  • Gina Gershon provided the voice of the ronin Shikata in Sword of Shikata.
  • John C. McGinley of Scrubs fame appears in the episode Sword of Shikata.
  • Ethan Embry provided the voice of Electro in The Party and When Sparks Fly.
  • Devon Sawa provided the voice of Flash Thompson in Flash memory.
  • Tara Strong provided the voice of Christina in Head Over Heels.
  • Cree Summer provided the voice of Professor Williams in Law Of The Jungle.

Episode guide

Note: What follows is the chronology according to the DVD release. MTV aired the episodes out of order. The air dates have not been changed.

Season 1: 2003

# Title Overview Original Airdate
1 Heroes and Villains When a lowly high-tech thug named Turbo Jet starts stealing jewels to save the people who live near campus from relocating, he becomes a hero to New York - especially to the people on campus. But meanwhile, Spider-Man's reputation of a hero changes to a villain, thanks to Turbo Jet because the wall-crawler isn't stealing for the campus people. But as Spider-Man knows in his superhero career, stealing is stealing and something isn't good about Turbo Jet. Meanwhile, Harry Osborn seems to have involvement in the campus buildings being torn down. August 22, 2003
2 Royal Scam Spider-Man is duped into helping the Kingpin gain a computer chip that can access all the banks in the world. But after he helps him, he realizes he's been scammed (seeing the so-called Agent Robertson in the door to backstage of MJ's play reading a script) and must get the chip back before he really is a villain and the big crime lord pulls off the biggest heist in history! Meanwhile, with Spider-Man's alter ego, Peter Parker, is slowly losing his friendship with Mary Jane, as he misses her plays. August 15, 2003
3 Law Of The Jungle Peter’s professor, Doc Conners, injects himself with reptilian DNA to grow back his long lost right arm but that transforms him into Lizard. Now with his newfound abilities, he plans to kill Harry Osborn for revenge because Conners blames his late father, Norman Osborn, for his arm's loss. Now Spider-Man must save Harry. Meanwhile, Harry celebrates the first anniversary of his father's death and looks into his stuff. July 18, 2003
4 The Sword Of Shikata A powerful ninja assassin named Shikata is sent by Richard Damien to find and capture Spider-Man. But when Shikata sees how worthy a foe Spider-Man is after one fight, she decides to quit her deal with Damien and fight Spider-Man to the death. Meanwhile, Mary Jane becomes an actress thanks to Damien. July 11, 2003
5 Keeping Secrets Spider-Man meets a highly advanced techno-thief called Talon only to find out it's Harry's new girlfriend, Cheyenne Tate. Now Spider-Man and Peter Parker must break the two up without hurting either of Harry or Cheyenne's feelings. July 18, 2003
6 Tight Squeeze Pterodax, a group of three high-tech terrorists, takes the Empire 1 news station hostage and demand Spider-Man while one of their hostages, Peter Parker, is Spider-Man! Now, Peter must find a way to get out of Empire 1 in time to save the people without anyone knowing who he is. Meanwhile, Peter finds a possible new love interest in the quirky Indira Daimonji, short-formed Indy. July 25, 2003
7 Head Over Heels Peter’s lab partner Christina's new invention that helps her read minds goes haywire, driving her insane and making her obsessed with being with Spider-Man, in which she is already a fangirl of his! Meanwhile, Mary Jane decides to level her relationship with Peter by offering each other tidbits. July 25, 2003
8 The Party Peter's dorky friend Max Dillon gets bullied too far, only to become Electro. He seeks to kill his tormentors. July 11, 2003
9 Flash Memory Dr. Zellner tests his “smart drug” on Flash Thompson, who begins to display dramatic spikes in intelligence. However, the cure proves deadly. With only minutes to find an antidote, Zellner takes Flash’s suggestion that he experiment on an already intelligent candidate: Peter Parker. Meanwhile, Spider-Man notices that not only does Flash take the drug, but also two twin crooks: Jack and Mack. August 29, 2003
10 Spider-Man Dis-Sabled Spider-Man battles Silver Sable, an eastern European assassin for hire when Peter takes a photo of her trying to kill the Mayor of the city. However, Sable really wants to kill the visiting European commissioner, as he is a terrorist known as "the Piranha". She then goes undercover as the Mayor's assistant while Peter, Mary Jane, Harry and Indy investigate on her. Sable then kidnaps MJ, Harry and Indy and threatens Peter if he doesn't give her the evidence on what she's going to do, then the trio she has dies. Meanwhile, Peter starts dating Indy, which strangely makes MJ jealous. August 8, 2003
11 When Sparks Fly Electro returns from his seeming death and tries to make Sally, a girl he has a crush on, become just like him. August 1, 2003
12 Mind Games, Part One Spider-Man battles two telepathic twins called the Gaines Twins, and is brainwashed by them to believe that Kraven the Hunter killed Mary Jane in an attempt for him to kill Kraven. September 5, 2003
13 Mind Games, Part Two Spider-Man comes to his senses that Kraven didn't kill MJ, puts him to jail and battles the Gaines Twins as he figured out they have Mary Jane, but in the process seriously injures Indy by pushing her off a roof, putting her in a coma. Now all of New York wants Spider-Man to either leave the Big Apple or retire. Spider-Man agrees to retire but not before he defeats the Gaines Twins first. In the end, Peter is done being Spider-Man. September 12, 2003

Bendis wrote the first episode of the series (in terms of release date and not chronological order) and the opening scene is based on a similar opening scene from his Ultimate Spider-Man #22, in which a desperate Peter attempts to get out of his costume and attend class with humorous results. It follows the scene closely right down to the dialogue (in which Peter, after taking off the costume's feet, complains about the hot roof) but changes when Peter gets to class; in the original issue, Peter arrives in class late and slides on the floor by accident and causing a big mess, in the episode Peter somehow manages to sneak in class without anyone noticing. Bendis later commented on his messageboard that 80% of his script was used in the finished episode. If this is true in the case of the opening scene, then its possible that Peter's 'geekier' actions in the scene removed because they contrasted with the 'hipper' route that MTV took with the character.

Villain appearances and references

External links

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