has a reputation for being preachy and moralistic, and as such, corny. But when I watched this show during its earlier seasons (before it DID become preachy at the expense of story), I really enjoyed it. It featured a lot of things I liked back then: a team of teens travels the world and ends up fighting evil. While the fight was connected to an environmental problem, and therefore meant to convey a message, it was still good vs. evil with globe-trotting teen heroes.
One thing that many people forget about this show, or don't often bring up, is that it was violent
. The violence was often part of the message, such as having a drug addict break a window and cut himself on the broken glass and bleed to death, or showing people who were fed poisoned food mutate. The villains were also unbelievably cruel. Not just in their callous disregard for the lives of everyone around them, but also for how they'd often have the heroes tied up and put into horrible situations, not cartoony deathtraps. This, Inspector Gadget
, and the Choose Your Own Adventure
books probably helped cement my childhood interest in contemporary adventure stories that put kid or teen heroes in life threatening danger against cruel villains.
This cartoon is best known, however, for its preachiness. Somehow it all rolled off my back when I was a kid, as I was too busy enjoying the adventure. I did notice the messages and could tell the show had them, but they didn't stick with me. I was used to cartoons containing messages anyway, so it didn't strike me as strange.
I do remember being annoyed by Wheeler, the American, being an idiot. I was less offended by the Unfortunate Implications
and more by the character himself.
What I really didn't like about the show, though, was its later seasons. The production values went up noticeably, the new theme song was catchier, but the stories became far less about the heroes actually doing stuff, and more about them passively learning a lesson. One episode consisted of little more than being put on trial by a bunch of talking wolves who forced them to explain why humanity was so cruel. It was annoying; I liked the show for its adventure, and didn't mind the preachiness. Remove the adventure, and suddenly I have no reason to watch.