Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys

Go To

Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys (1996-1997) is an animated sci-fi series focusing on the exploits of a rag-tag crew of an interplanetary ship composed entirely of monkeys from Earth. They have been transformed into anthropomorphic, intelligent versions of themselves by the Applied Phlebotinum of the " ", a mysterious race of benevolent aliens whose name can't be spoken or written, only thought. The sworn enemy of the " " and the Space Monkeys is Lord Nebula, an immensely powerful being who wants to destroy the universe and recreate it in his own image. Nebula's second-in-command is Rhesus-2, a rhesus monkey whom he turned into a Cyborg with several interchangeable brains. Sadly, it was canceled after one season.



  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Inside of the Primate Avenger, as seen in episode 14, "Apes of Wrath".
  • Action Girl: Shao Lin is a woman who can fight remarkably well.
  • Affectionate Parody: The series lovingly satirizes various Science Fiction tropes and franchises.
  • Apes in Space: Captain Simian himself was an ordinary monkey shot into space before the '   ' found him and evolved him into a more humanoid form.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: In "Ape-lien", the other Space Monkeys chew out Spydor for his usual character flaws, but commend him for saving the day.
  • Assimilation Plot: "Invasion of the Banana Snatchers" involved a bureaucracy trying to trap people inside bananas in order to replace them with clones sharing a hive mind.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: Used almost to the point of ridiculousness (which was probably intended).
  • Advertisement:
  • Badass Crew: The Space Monkeys.
  • Being Half-Human Sucks: For Nebula, at least. After being dropped down a few levels in power after the two part opener, he is now susceptible to human maladies, from the common cold to indigestion.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't hurt Gor's friends. Seriously. Just don't.
    • Gor's also not fond of needles. All Spydor had to do was imply that Gor would get a shot and he went crazy.
  • Between My Legs: "Felonious Monks" features a shot where Apax is seen between Shao Lin's legs.
  • Big Bad: Lord Nebula is the show's main villain.
  • Body Horror: Rhesus-2, whose body is an awkward-looking patchwork of fleshy components and angular mechanical pieces, topped with a grotesquely organic brain. We actually get to see his conversion from an unevolved monkey into a Killer Space Monkey cyborg in episode 4 ("The Ape Has Landed"), and even in silhouette it's... not pretty.
  • Brain in a Jar: Rhesus-2 is a cyborg with exposed, removable brains.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Lord Nebula is nigh-omnipotent in the first episode and about to carry out his grand plan, only to lose most of his powers thanks to the apes and spend the rest of the show trying to get them back.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Orbitron becomes quite an eccentric artificial intelligence, after Gor accidentally crushed him.
  • Composite Character: Holoboon #3462-83B, in "Apes of Wrath", is basically a mixture of Captain James T. Kirk and Adolf Hitler.
  • Captain Superhero: The title character is a hero with the title Captain.
  • Catchphrase:
  • Combining Mecha: Their ship, the Primate Avenger, can split up into five smaller ships, each piloted by one of the crew.
  • Credits Gag: The end credits always feature a monkey-related quote, sometimes spoken by a person with a monkey-related name.
  • Danger Deadpan: Captain Simian.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Spydor, and especially the Captain himself, are prone to sarcastic remarks.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: More of a straight and deliberate example here. In "Apes of Wrath", Shao Lin purposefully uses the fact she is a female to distract a bunch of rogue Holoboons, before going wild on them.
  • The Dragon: Rhesus-2 is Lord Nebula's main underling.
  • Dream Apocalypse: Played with. The crew and some villains find a crack in a wall where you can whisper anything you want and it will appear, but are warned by a guardian that it is really the ear of a sleeping giant who dreams the universe. Not believing this, they end up wishing for bigger and better weapons as they fight, only to actually wake the giant up, which causes the universe to start to disintegrate until they manage to make him sleep again with a Techno Babble 'lullaby'. However, in the end, appropriately enough, the whole episode is implied to be All Just a Dream.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: In "Gorilla My Dreams"note , Gor dreams of his Gormungus self destroying the Primate Avenger (this was a few episodes before he gained the ability to become Gormungus).
  • Dumb Muscle: Gor, who broke the intelligence amplifier partway through his amplification, so his tremendous strength comes with the setback of being much less intelligent than the other Space Monkeys.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: The heroes are apes.
  • Evil Counterpart: Rhesus-2 to the Space Monkeys, especially Captain Simian. He shares Captain Simian's origin of being an ordinary monkey launched into space as a test pilot for an experimental rocket (though from the Earth-paralleling world of Terrestria) and being upgraded by an alien that intercepted him on his one way trip. He shares Dr. Splitz/Splitzy's combination of high intelligence & techno-wizardry with a less than conventional approach to science. He shares Spydor's love of fast-talking, albeit in the form of bad puns and cheesy action liners. And, like Shao Lin and Gor, he's a deadly combatant, if focused on blasting stuff over fisticuffs.
  • Expospeak Gag: Dr. Splitz/Splitzy is this trope. Quite often, Dr. Splitz would say something in an overly complicated manner, with his Splitzy persona then describing the same thing in much simpler vernacular.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Captain Simian and Shao Lin switch minds in "Escape from the Plant of the Apes".
  • Gentle Giant: Gor is large, but good-natured. Unless he becomes Gormungous or his Berserk Button is pushed, that is.
  • A God Am I: Lord Nebula is trying to achieve godhood by destroying the universe and remaking it as he sees fit.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Averted fiercely in a flashback in "Rhesus Pieces" that showcases Rhesus-2's predecessor being disintegrated by Nebula, complete with full on lingering shots of the bloody aftermath. And this was a kid's show.
  • Grand Finale: The last three episodes "The Mandrill Who Knew Too Much", "Ape-pocalypse Now", and "Ape-pocalypse...A Little Later", where Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys put a permanent stop to Lord Nebula's plans with help from a new ally named Mandrax, who is actually a future version of Captain Simian.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Lord Nebula is half-human, half-black hole.
  • How We Got Here: The first episode begins In Medias Res, with the Back Story revealed through a series of Flash Backs.
  • Hulking Out:
    • After Gor receives the ability to become Gormungus.
    • In the same episode, a skinny bird-alien can turn into a monstrous skinned ape-looking thing. It does this by turning itself inside out...
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Spydor, Gor, and Dr Splitz/Splitzy hold this view, due to varying levels of cruelty they received from humans in the past. Captain Simian and Shao Lin, who had far more pleasant experiences with humans, don't share this mindset.
  • Humongous Mecha: Rhesus-2's "Lobe-iathan," which has a giant brain inside a clear glass dome.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode title features some kind of monkey-based pun.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The aforementioned trope. In-Universe, Rhesus-2 loves spouting these off with a brain/mind related theme, drawing attention to his interchangeable brains.
  • Insufferable Genius: Orbitron was pretty condescending about his intelligence before Gor-illa accidentally crushed him.
  • Irony: In "Little House on the Primate", Gor asks Spydor what patience means and Spydor answers that he'll tell him later. Gor then starts to get impatient on learning what patient means.
    Gor: I want to know what patience means now!
  • Killer Space Monkey: Without the "killer" part, of course. Unless you count Rhesus-2...
  • Lady of War: Shao Lin is a female warrior who manages to still be graceful.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: In "Plan Ape from Outer Space", Shao Lin makes a remark about Captain Simian being "full of...stuff."
  • Mind Rape: At one point, Rhesus-2 is punished for failure by being given back his original brain... which has the memory of his conversion. The last shot of the episode cuts away to a starfield as he screams.
    • Gets worse if you consider the implied Body Horror of said conversion.
  • My Future Self and Me: At the end of the Grand Finale, The Reveal is that Mandrax, "a mysterious mandrill with unimaginable powers" who has been helping the heroes, is actually a much older Captain Simian from a Bad Future.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Captain Simian introduces himself in this manner while being interrogated in the beginning of the episode "The Maltese Monkey".
    Captain Simian: The name is Simian. Chuck Simian.
  • No Name Given: The " ", as their name can't be pronounced. The who?
  • Non-Indicative Name: Despite the show's title, only two of the crew are actual monkeys, the other three being apes.
  • Non-Lethal Warfare: The " " give the Space Monkeys non-lethal weaponry.
    • Thou Shalt Not Kill: The implicit reason for this is so that the Space Monkeys aren't tempted to kill their enemies.
    • Never Say "Die": Not that they were afraid of including mentions of the possibility. Hence, subverted.
  • Parental Bonus:
    • In "Little House on the Primate", Shao Lin talks to Captain Simian about how play is useful in relieving tension and states that she doesn't play before swinging off. Simian then remarks that Shao Lin can use some tension relief in a way clearly referring to lovemaking.
    • The subplot of the Orbitron falling in love with the Bananatron has the Orbitron give a couple of suggestive lines. When Captain Simian asks about making contact with the sentient plants, the Orbitron answers that he's trying before Simian clarifies that's not the kind of contact he meant. Later, when Captain Simian says his recurring line of having to remember to get the Orbitron fixed, the Orbitron replies with "Don't even think about it".
  • Parenthetical Swearing: Spydor frequently uses the intensifiers "monkey-loving" and "monkey-flipping", which are blatantly family-friendly alternatives to saying "motherfucking".
  • Physical God: Nebula. After his ship was destroyed in the two-part opener, he was able to rebuild it (and Rhesus-2) completely, by sheer force of will.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Space Monkeys. We have a captain who is basically James T. Kirk as a chimpanzee, a scheming kleptomaniacal spider-monkey prone to get-rich-quick schemes, a golden monkey who never quite grows entirely out of the arrogance that comes from being a martial arts master who used to be considered an incarnate goddess, an orangutan with a split personality that sets him between a stuffy professor and a Southern US-accented hick grease-monkey, and a simple-minded gorilla with a massively destructive temper.
  • Red Shirts: The holo-boons, Hard Light baboons in red jumpsuits who exist to both get destroyed so that none of the main characters have to die and avoid angering the censors.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Gor's eyes turn red whenever he gets angry.
  • Robotic Reveal: In "The Monkey Has Landed", Lilith is revealed to be a robot when she leaps in front of a laser blast meant for Captain Simian, exposing her robotic insides.
  • Royal "We": Shao Lin was fond of referring to herself with plural pronouns at first.
  • Running Gag:
    • Because the " " are always referred to with abrupt silence taking place of where their species' name would have been spoken, nearly every mention of them is met with another character saying "The who?"
    • Every time the Orbitron goes into an odd ramble, Captain Simian remarks, "Gotta get that thing fixed."
    • Simian tends to say, "Check. It's a ______ thing," in response to another character explaining why they're doing what they're doing.
    • Characters frequently refer to something, most commonly music playing, as "Strangely soothing."
    • "And of course, cheese."
    • Nebula suffers from a different ailment every time he appears.
    • During the separation sequence for the Primate Avenger, Spydor's lack of thumbs results in many a Visual Pun, from him holding up a picture of a thumb to wearing a metal thumb that rises up when he turns a little crank.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: A peculiar variation, where Captain Simian says that they have to risk their lives to save someone because of a rule in the ship's manual...the ship's manual turns out to be nonexistent, but if it did exist, it should have that rule!
  • Shout-Out: The series references many famous Science Fiction films and series, including:
  • The Smurfette Principle: Shao Lin is the only female primate of the group. Then again, she's also arguably the most capable combatant, so it levels out.
  • The Starscream: Rhesus-2 sometimes shows a rebellious attitude towards Nebula. When Nebula is incapacitated in the series finale, he doesn't hesitate to take control for himself. When he uploads his brain patterns into the Holo-boon generator, turning them evil, he mentions superseding Nebula with their help... but gave them the same idea, and they turn against him after driving off the Space Monkeys.
  • Southern-Fried Genius: Splitzy shares his other self Dr. Splitz' intelligence, but also gains a Southern accent.
  • Split Personality: Dr. Splitz/Splitzy exemplifies the trope of having two personalities, with Dr. Splitz being a stoic scientific genius and Splitzy being a redneck mechanic.
  • Strange Salute:
    • The Space Monkeys routinely congratulate each other by high-fiving with their feet.
    • The corrupted holoboons in "Apes of Wrath" make armpit farts to salute their supreme leader, Holoboon #3462-83B.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The " ", a race of aliens who are responsible for evolving Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys to their current state. The who?
  • Toilet Paper Trail: Lord Nebula at one point is seen with some toilet paper stuck to his foot in "The Apes of Wrath".
  • Turned Against Their Masters: A multi-level one in "Apes of Wrath": Rhesus-2 sabotages the Holoboon Generator aboard the Primate Avenger in order to slip the Space Monkeys a device imprinted with his brainwave engrams, causing the holoboons to turn on the Space Monkeys. He did so in order to use the holoboons as an invincible army to help him turn against Lord Nebula. But the holoboons then turn on him under the command of Holoboon #3462-83B. And then Captain Simian manages to slip his brainwave engrams into the holoboon generator, allowing him to subvert the holoboons back from Holoboon #3462-83B's command.
  • Transformation Trauma: Quite literally so; Rhesus-2's memories of actually undergoing his cyber-conversion are so traumatic, due to the intense agony they involved, that they render him nearly catatonic should he be unfortunate enough to plug-in his original brain. Even with his other brains, he retains enough subconscious recollections to make the memories his worst nightmare.
  • True Companions: The crew of the Primate Avenger are all shown to be near and dear friends.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: It was vaguely implied that the Captain and Shao Lin may have had some feelings for each other (when they weren't verbally assaulting each other, of course).
  • Unstoppable Rage: When Gor gets mad... well, he's a gorilla. It gets even more dangerous when he's hit with alien technology that causes him to go One-Winged Angel ("Gormungous") when he gets mad. And they don't COMPLETELY reverse he still does it for the rest of the series.
  • Vader Breath: Parodied in "Ape-pocalypse Now", where Lord Nebula breathes heavily while wearing a paper bag over his head.
  • Voices Are Mental: Averted in "Escape from the Plant of the Apes". Captain Simian and Shao Lin swap minds in the episode, but are still played by their regular voice actors, who imitate each other's vocal mannerisms.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: In the pilot, Rhesus-1 is shown as a puddle of gore after evidently failing Nebula. But "Rhesus Pieces" shows that, after his remains were spaced, someone else retrieved them and revived him.
  • "What Do They Fear?" Episode: The main point of the episode "Mind Over Monkey", where Rhesus-2 sends a bomb to the Primate Avenger and delays the Space Monkeys' efforts to stop it from exploding by distracting them with illusions of their worst fears. Spydor is afraid of pit bulls, Gor-illa is afraid of forest fires, Splitzy is afraid of being locked in a cage, Shao Lin is afraid of being forcefully taken from those she cares about, and Captain Simian's worst fear is letting his team down by being killed in action.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Since the Holoboons are, well, holographic, no one is concerned that they seem to exist just to die at the hands of the Monster of the Week, even if they are shown to have independent thoughts and personalities.
  • Where No Parody Has Gone Before: Star Trek lampoons are all over the place in the series.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Any time the Captain was placed in real mortal danger, Shao Lin would drop her normally calm, professional demeanor and blurt out, "Charlie!"
  • You Have Failed Me: Rhesus-2 occasionally pulls this on his own brain by admonishing it for being ineffectual and shooting it before replacing it with a new brain.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: