Western Animation: Spider
is a 13-episode musical children's TV series made for The BBC
in 1991. It follows the adventures of a spider and a small boy, the stories being told through song. Usually, it's a simple acoustic number, but the series ventured into rock 'n' roll and haunting melody once or twice. No actual dialogue ever appears, other than when sung by the crocodile or hamster in a couple of episodes, but there are sound effects and laughter.
While there was no over-arching plot as such, the focus was on the development of the relationship between Spider and the boy. For the first few episodes, the boy fears and hates Spider, trying to shoo away or kill him. Spider, however, just wants to be friends and, in episode six, finally succeeds. By the end, the pair are truly the very best of friends.
After it ended, the series was released on VHS and subsequently DVD, on which it has become something of a cult classic among adults who fondly remember the show. In 2005, there was talk of a new series being made, with the episodes extended in length from five to 11 minutes and Andrew Sachs to narrate. Since then, there has been no further news, so it can be assumed that the plans never came to anything.
The entire series is now on YouTube
, links to which can be found on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider!_(TV_series)
Spider! provides examples of:
- Cats Are Mean: It tries very hard to kill poor Hamster, failing largely because of Spider's intervention.
- Determinator: Spider in almost every episode. Lampshaded in the episode "Spider's Song", which is specifically about how Spider never gives up.
- Evil Laugh: Spider has one, though it's mischievious rather than evil.
- Excited Show Title!
- Friend to All Living Things: Spider, with the boy primarily, but also his other pets, siblings, stuffed toys, classmates and assorted woodland creatures in other episodes.
- Heroic BSOD: The boy goes through a sort of one when repeatedly failing to create a house of cards. Reminding himself of other failures each time, he eventually pulls through thanks to watching Spider successfully make a web despite the best efforts of a fly.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Some of Spider's possessions could conceivably be stored in the hole in the wall in which he's seen hiding in the earlier episodes, but this trope is the only explanation for things like the snorkelling and scuba gear he somehow finds while already in a full bath.
- Made of Iron: Spider is capable of going through a full dishwasher cycle and emerging a bit soggy but otherwise unharmed. Grown men can also pick him up by one of his legs, dangle him in the air and even throw him against a wall, and he'll be completely all right. In "Spider's Song", he breaks a couple of his legs, but the injuries don't seem to last long.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Spider appeared in 2 children's compilations that weren't by The BBC. First was In the Bath in NSPCC Children's TV Favourites Volume 2 in 1993 and Panda Comes to Stay (named Spider Comes to Stay) in My Best Friends, also in 1993.
- Musical Episode: Every episode is told in song, but the trope applies to "C-Rocker", which is a song in-story, as performed by the animals to the boy and his siblings.
- No Name Given: None of the characters are ever named, and are generally referred to by their species name and "the boy".
- Oddball in the Series: Unlike most works, see Musical Episode above.
- Shout-Out: The concept of Spider as Determinator was clearly inspired by the legend of Robert The Bruce being supposedly saved from his Heroic BSOD by watching the never-ending efforts of a spider to make its web in a cave.
- Smug Snake / Too Dumb to Live: Subverted in "Spider's Song". The fly certainly seems this way, spending far too much time gloating over Spider's failure to make a web and not nearly enough time taking advantage of its many opportunities to escape, leading to its eventual capture in the completed web. The last thing we see in the episode, however, is the fly somehow escaping and flying off. Spider does notice this, though it doesn't seem to matter as he's also succeeded in winning the boy's friendship.