In 1966, Hasbro licensed to Palitoy to sell the popular G.I. Joe toy to the U.K. Because the term "GI Joe" is very American, they decided to rename him "Action Man." It was more or less the same toy as his American counterpart but with British military uniforms and equipment.In 1992, Hasbro took over the Action Man line and redid it, turning him into a kind of "Jack of all trades." With his new extra buff physique, Action Man was now a soldier, an athlete, a secret agent, and many other things with a brand new enemy named Dr. X.In 1995, an animated series was released by DiC where Action Man was part of a Global Defense team called Action Force (including Knuck, Natalie, Jock, and their dog Raid) but has complete amnesia and only tends to have minor flashes of memory at various times. The Action Force is often called upon to deal with the threat of a paramilitary organization lead by Dr. X.In 2000, a CGI series (unrelated to the 1995 incarnation) was produced by Mainframe Entertainment . It follows the adventures of Alex Mann, alias "Action Man," an extreme athlete who discovers he possesses an ability to analyze any situation and mathematically determine the best course of action, or as he perceives it, lots of complex math floating around in his head while time appears to stop. Alex maintains a friendly rivalry with fellow athlete Brandon Caine, who quietly resents always coming in second to Alex. The pair are approached by the mysterious Dr. X who offers to improve upon the two with cybernetic implants. Alex refuses but Brandon accepts. Soon an altered Brandon comes after Alex and Dr. X makes it clear that he wants the secret behind Alex's ability for himself. With the help of his former high school football coach (who is far more than he seems) and the rest of Team Extreme (Alex plus his camerawoman, manager, and pilot,) the Action Man must stop Dr. X's plans for "the future of humanity" and try to save his friend while still maintaining his career as an extreme sports star.There also exists a trilogy of CGI Movies. As of 2012, Hasbro is developing an Action Man film but nothing else is known so far. The french television series Alpha Teens on Machines is derived from an Action Man replacement line, retaining more or less what could be reasonably called a different interpretation of the protagonist himself, but with a completly different set of characters.
Tropes associated with the 1995 cartoon series include:
And I Must Scream: In the finale, this fate befalls Dr. X. He’s gained superhuman abilities, doesn't need food or air any longer, and becomes Nigh Invulnerable... and then Action Man traps him on an empty rock floating in the immense vastness of space with no means of escape. He actually does scream Action Man's name one last time as the rock drifts away from earth
Awesomeness by Analysis: Action Man's signature Once an Episode move called the "AMP Factor" where Alex would mentally freeze time and evaluate his surroundings in Matrix-like slow-motion to save the day.
These became less and less impressive over time. Initially it would involve complicated sequences of moves that make Rube Goldberg Devices seem straightforward. Eventually it would simply involve him running around doing things really fast while everything else was in slow-motion.
Enemy Mine: twice. In the "Swarm" two-parter, Action Man and Dr. X have to team up to stop a group of rogue trilobugs. In the grand finale Asasi teams up with Action Man
Engineered Public Confession: One of Doctor X's targets is a sporting event being attended by leaders of two countries that had just begun the possibility of stopping the war between them. He hits them with a weapon they both know about and then broadcasts news reports seemingly produced by each side saying the other side did it. Of course, Asazi ruins it all by bragging about the plan when she's got the good guys cornered. She obviously didn't know that Fidget *always* has a camera — her headset, in this case.
Ricky: Isn't it your job to anticipate accidents before they happen?
Fidget: Maybe your parents should've followed the same advice.
Grand Theft Me: Brandon, whose body gets overtaken by Dr. X in episode 2.
Good Colors, Evil Colors: The bad guys wear an assortment of black, red, dark green, and purplenote Alex also uses purple, but his is a blueish tint. Tempest averts it with his outfit, which uses heroic colors such as blue, yellow, and light grey.
A Good Name for a Rock Band: played with. In the episode "Ground Zero", when Fidgets journalist sister, Amanda asks Team Extreme who this 'Dr. X and the council of doom' are, Rikki answers they are a local rock band. Amanda doesn't buy it.
High Heel-Face Turn: Asazi, at the end of the series. Although it's questionable if she will really quit being evil, since her only motivation for helping Alex was that Dr. X plan to destroy all of humanity would be bad for her business).
Hitman with a Heart: If the final episode is anything to go by, Asazi plays this trope straight.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Little hints of it. Alex Mann was somewhere around 6 feet. Fidget was canonically 4'11".
Legion of Doom: Dr. X runs a villainous team to further his schemes. In fact, it's literally called "The Council Of Doom".
Man-Eating Plant: Action Man and Dr. X encounter a huge Venus Flytrap on a deserted island after they crash land there.
Merchandise-Driven: The show's downfall appears to be closely linked with this. The story began with good writing and decently-paced arcs. Once season two began (and toys were on the shelf) the stories became more generic and tied to toy-related concepts. Episodes became more formulaic and a "Today on Action Man..." intro often spoiled the whole episode's plot.
The Needless: After assuming his metallic form in the series finale, Dr. X no longer needs food, water, or air to survive.
Not Me This Time: the episode "Storm Front" stands out as the only episode in which Dr. X is neither seen nor mentioned. Instead Action Man gets to deal with a new villain, Tempest, who at the time had no connection with Dr. X yet.
Omnicidal Maniac: Dr. X desires to destroy all of mankind to replace it with a neo-human race.
Rule of Cool: All over the place, but most notably with the luge suit, which is basically motorcross armor with wheels so you can slide at breakneck speeds without a sled. This sort of thing is normally suicide.
Run the Gauntlet: happens in the series finale: Action Man has to fight all members of the Council of Doom, first one by one, then all of them at the same time, before facing off against Dr. X.
Take a Third Option: Alex has to fly up to his own team's plane and save his friends from a bomb on board. It's going to go off in a few seconds, and no one knows which wire will defuse it... so Grinder snatches the bomb and throws it off the plane. Problem solved.
Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Dr. X has smuggled his trilobites onto the plane, and a large one is monitoring the crew via video camera. They realize they'll need some privacy before forming a plan, so Grinder picks up a screwdriver and throws it directly into the camera's lens.
Unhand Them, Villain!: Happens twice in the Grand Finale. The first time this trope is played completely straight; Action Man demands Professor Gangrene lets Rikkie go while the former threatens to throw the later out of the airship. Gangrene is more than happy to comply with this request. The second time, when Quake threatens to throw Fidget into a lava pit, Action Man is more carefull with his choice of words and specifically demands he puts her down safely on the ground. Not that it helps.
Xanatos Gambit: Dr. X's plan in episode 25-26. He kidnaps Alex's friends, and puts them in deadly situations that will force him to use his AMP factor. If Alex succeeds in rescuing them by using his AMP abilities, then X will gain enough insight into it that he can replicate it on himself and become superhuman, and further his plans to create neo-humanity. If Alex fails in rescuing them, X will have killed Alex's friends. This doesn't help his body issue but it is personally gratifying.