Reviews: Sonic SA Tam
Decent but very overhyped.
Sonic SatAM has always been a relatively decent but overhyped show to me, no matter how times I give it a try. Sonic is the only useful Freedom Fighter 90% of the time, but he's an arrogant tool at the same time. Sally is the somewhat bossy but reasonable leader who serves as the tech support on the field and the rest of the Freedom Fighters really aren't that useful. Dr. Robotnik is basically a kid-friendly genocidal sadistic monster except he has a machine and oil fetish with Snivelly is his snarky jaded sidekick and that's all they are. The best part of Dr. Robotnik is that Jim Cummings voiced him. Outside of that, the more interesting parts of the story is that the world of Mobius gets fleshed out beyond just Knothole and Robotropolis. But overall, Sonic SatAM was a product of the 90s hasn't aged well when it comes to story, voice acting (Outside of Jim Cummings), animation and art. Still an important part of the Sonic franchise that spawned the Archie Sonic comics and I will always remember it for that.
Fun but Flawed Take on the Franchise
Sonic Satam was Di C's second attempt at a Sonic The Hedgehog Animated Adaptation, and in many fans eyes, the most exceptional. It separates greatly from Di C's usual affair with video game series, and compared to Adventures Of Sonic's more light hearted affair, is a darker story with continuity based plots. The show gets credit in it's execution of a darker take, as while very different in style, it keeps mostly true to the basic surreal ideas of the games, just slapping a Cerebus Syndrome onto them, rather than trying to make Sonic something it isn't by giving him a gun or lecturing him on romance and politics. It also doesn't overdo it and still has a nice balance of drama and the usual whimsy found in Di C's shows. That's not to say it isn't pretentious at times however, sadly a bit of story loses out due to lack of emotional development. There's a blatant use of 'Red shirt' characters here for example and the backstory utilised in the two parter is rather poorly done. The characters are fairly likeable, but don't expand that much to be very exceptional. Sonic is basically a more arrogant replica of his Aosth counterpart, even mirroring his voice and dated 90s slang. Sally is a decent original character but still largely just Di C's Princess Zelda in cartoon squirrel form. The show's enterpretation of Robotnik is delightfully sinister, but still a rather cardboard embodiment of eeevil. The rest of the cast are just background extras or comic relief that add a little fun, but don't add much to the plot. The show also sadly suffers in the second season due to placing all creative control onto one writer. While Ben Hurst (RIP) had some decent ideas, they were a bit skewed into very particular prefered concepts, perhaps most blatantly Sally. She takes over everything, appearing as Sonic's co lead and most of the cast being downgraded to boost her role. Sally is at least very likeable but a lot of stuff seems to get put in the background in favor of her banter with Sonic (Bunnie has a great concept but is barely given any spotlight). All in all, it's a fun show, but not much different from the standard cheesy Sonic fare, it has it's definite good points, but the same can be said for nearly every cartoon of the franchise. Watch expecting a bit of fun but don't expect it to be the epic blockbuster material many make it out to be.
My gateway back to animation
As a kid, I watched the comedic Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog. Being not very familiar with the Sonic franchise (I didn't own a Sega console as a kid, or know anybody who did), I never even know that this show existed until I saw a Nostalgia Critic review on it. When I saw the intro sequence, my jaw dropped. I had missed out on something. There I was, silently bemoaning the fact that I wasn't a kid anymore. Then I gave in and watched the series anyway. And what a joy it is! Allright, it's a kids show so it never gets too edgy, but it's still surprisingly dark. It takes the concept of woodland critters fighting a mad professor's robots and turns it into something that I can actually take seriously. The characters are likeable and well voiced, although there's disappointingly little Tails - isn't he supposed to be Sonic's sidekick? And then of course there's Robotnik - what a total contrast to the buffoon of Adventures. This is one of the most menacing villains I've ever seen on a kids' show. So there you have it - just enough darkness and complexity mixed in with just enough jokes and cuteness to make it possibly the best video game adaptation ever. On a related note, watching this show rekindled my love of animation and helped to lower my resistance to watch kids' shows - if it's good enough, who cares? Quality is quality. This eventually led to me checking out series like Avatar The Last Airbender, WITCH, Gargoyles, Thundercats 2011 and My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. I owe it all to Sonic.