Short-lived but fantastic 1991-1993 Hanna-Barbera cartoon series which switched off between syndication and ABC. It began as a five-part miniseries which aired on Fox Kids as simply "Dark Water".Ren is the prince of a fallen kingdom, and he has to find the Thirteen Treasures of Rule to restore it to its once pristine glory. Rounding out his "unlikely but loyal crew of misfits" are ecomancer Tula, roguish Ioz, and the monkeybird Niddler.However, Ren learns that his quest is far more urgent than simply personal career advancement; the menacing substance called dark water that consumes everything it touches is spreading and it threatens to destroy the world. Only the thirteen treasures can stop it and Ren must find them before it is too late.It was notable because it was one of the first children's series to have an in-depth, epic storyline. Alas, the production costs were too high, and the art quality suffered a noticeable drop on its second Channel Hop. Ultimately, it was canceled 21 episodes into its run (only eight of the thirteen treasures had been collected). All 21 episodes were released on DVD on August 31, 2010, listed as The Complete Series. Additionally, in 1991 Marvel Comics released a comic book series based on the show.Notable for being created by David Kirschner, who was also the producer of the original Childs Play movie. No relation to the Japanese horror film Dark Water (or its US remake). Also no relation to Candle Cove. Also no relation to Gothic 5Risen 2: Dark Water (which shares a pirate themed setting). Incomplete Cast:
Small Annoying Creature — Niddler, the monkeybird (anyone else notice he's like a cross between Abu and Iago?). It should be noted that in the original broadcast version of the pilot mini-series, Niddler was a more serious character and there was actually a hint that the Monkeybirds would be used to explore themes of racism. This was dropped completely from the character and species after the Retool, along with recasting the voice actor from Roddy McDowall (who used his normal voice) to Frank Welker, who... didn't. Moreover, when the miniseries became the first five episodes of the regular series, all of Niddler's lines were re-recorded by Frank Welker for continuity purposes.
Aesop Amnesia: Of a sort. In "The Dark Disciples" Ren needs Jenna to tell explain very forcefully that by "the key" to the chamber where the treasures are meant to be placed she means his sword. Somewhat strange because he'd used his sword as a key to open the room where the treasure on Andorus was hidden without anyone telling him to.
Channel Hop: The Five-Episode Pilot was a miniseries that aired on the Fox network (called simply "Dark Water", with Niddler originally voiced by Roddy McDowall), then that and eight new episodes showed on ABC, then the next (and final) season showed up as part of a syndicated block.
Dark-Skinned Blond: Ren. Heck, most of the characters are pretty dark-skinned yet hair colors tend to run the gamut.
Disney Death: Tula is devoured by the Dark Water. She does not die, however, as the Dark Dweller decides to use her as bait for Ren.
"A Drop Of Darkness"- Bloth won't kill Ren until after he's performed Ren's supposed wedding (albeit, the woman who arranged this promised Bloth the compass and treasures in exchange for this).
"The Game"- Bloth helps Ren defeat the Korb monsters hunting them after they are no longer chained together as payback for Ren not abandoning him when he had the chance to earlier in the episode (and just after said chains had been broken).
"The Dark Dweller"- Bloth captures Ren just after the latter has lost Tula to the dark water and is in the midst of a Heroic BSOD. Does he throw him to the Constrictus? Heck no! Instead he keeps Ren around as a ship slave because he "would rather watch Ren die a thousand deaths by guilt..."
Also in the same episode, when Bloth forces Ioz to battle one his pirates, he decides to "be a fair man" and tosses him a sword...all Ioz has to do is get past the pirate.
Evil Albino: Bloth is pretty pasty. The Pale/White Warriors from the second episode are a subversion, as they were aggressive but not evil. They were also much taller and more muscular than any of the other characters.
Fantastic Racism: Monkeybirds were used and the first miniarc even went so far as to show the slavemarkets. While it was swept under the rug later on Niddler does mention on occasion that he can't enter certain pubs because monkeybirds aren't allowed there and characters in general seem to consider Niddler a lesser being even before he has a chance to prove himself as the Small Annoying Creature.
Unusual because Ren (despite being the fighter) is quick, agile and tricky rather than particularly strong, while Ioz seems to be the physical powerhouse (and is the Mighty Glacier in the video game). Also Tula has her thief-ly moments as well, and was trained as a warrior (though this doesn't really come up much after the miniseries and in the Amazon Land episode).
Flanderization: In the first episode, Niddler is concerned about getting something to eat because Bloth starves him. It doesn't come up in the rest of the miniseries after he is free from Bloth. After the network jump, Niddler possesses an all-consuming desire for food.
Food As Bribe: Niddler loves minga melons and can be bribed into doing almost anything with the promise of them.
"Freaky Friday" Flip: Bloth switches bodies with Ren (and Konk with Niddler) thanks to a powder by Morpho, it has to be noted however that their voices stay the same so the audience has Ren bellowing Curse my eyes! through the entire episode.
Myth Arc: The quest to find the thirteen treasures stop the Dark Water from spreading across the world. Notable as one of the first kid shows to actually have an over-arching plot. Sadly the show was Too Good to Last and it got cut short with only eight of the treasures found.
No Ending: The show ended with only 8 of the 13 treasures recovered.
Sealed Evil in a Can: The Dark Dweller in the backstory. Unlike other sealed evils, he actually managed to free himself and the Dark Water.
Kiroptus, one of the servants of the Dark Dweller was also sealed in the backstory. And like The Dark Dweller, he managed to free himself with a little help from Ren - only to be sealed again by the end of the one episode he appeared.
Unreveal: Cartoon Network aired a brief segment during commercial breaks in which they were asked about the ending of the show. It then cut to the opening sequence of the show until we finally see... that it has been taped over.
What Happened to the Mouse?: The Lugg Brothers just sort of disappear after leaving Zoolie's gamehouse with Konk in the miniseries. Konk is later delivered to Bloth in a barrel by some woman, and the Lugg Brothers are never seen or mentioned again.