Western Animation: The Zeta Project
The Zeta Project
is a 2001 cartoon series set in the DC Animated Universe
, specifically the future years depicted in Batman Beyond
, its parent show.
The story's main character, Infiltration Unit Zeta, is a shape-shifting synthoid: a humanoid robot designed to carry out covert assassinations on the behalf of the NSA. However, when Zeta discovers that one of his targets is innocent, he experiences a kind of existential crisis about goodness and the value of life; following this epiphany, Zeta finds he can no longer kill
. The newly enlightened Zeta refuses to continue on as an infiltration unit
and abandons his mission, going rogue. Zeta is pursued by a team of NSA agents, led by the obsessed Agent Bennett, and aided by a Ro Rowen, a 15-year-old runaway whose life Zeta saves in the pilot. The general plot of the show, then, is the Stern Chase
between Zeta and Ro (as they attempt to prove that Zeta is genuinely non-violent), and the NSA agents pursuing him (who believe that the terrorists he was investigating before going rogue have reprogrammed him for some unknown purpose). To prove his innocence, Zeta and Ro search for his creator, the elusive Dr. Selig.
As mentioned above, the Zeta character made his first appearance in the Batman Beyond
episode "Zeta" (surprisingly not a Poorly Disguised Pilot
, as his appearance there is as a mere (anti)-Villain of the Week
later deemed a worthy enough idea for a separate show), and the Terry McGinnis Batman appears in TZP episode Shadows
. Zeta reappears in the penultimate episode of Batman Beyond
, "Countdown", accompanied by Ro and pursued by Bennett's agents. In the later-produced but chronologically-earlier Justice League,
Z-8 training robots appear in numerous episodes, appearing to be earlier generations of the Zeta robot.
Being the only show in the DCAU to feature a full cast of Canon Foreigners
from the comics universe, it is sometimes seen as the Black Sheep of the DCAU, but well worth checking out on DVD.
Not to be confused with Anaheim Electronics' Zeta Project
or Zettai Hero Project
This Show Has Examples Of: