Good morning and welcome to the final chapter of X-Men: The Animated Series – Revisited. If you’ve made it this far, then you know I’ve watched 70 episodes of X-Men: The Animated Series and I only have six episodes to go.
The end of the road is here – and it’s a disastrous end I’m afraid. The series undergoes a slight makeover for the final six episodes and it’s all pretty terrible stuff.
I could have sugarcoated it, but where’s the fun in that?
If I had a time machine… I’d use it to win the lottery.
If I decided to use the time machine a second time, I’d travel back to the ’90s and stop this season from going into production.
It really is that bad.
BUT… before I get to the pain of this final season, I must also point out that in addition to 76 episodes of their own show, the X-Men also popped up in five episodes of the ’90s Spider-Man cartoon (aka Spider-Man: The Animated Series). Those episodes are as follows:
- The Mutant Agenda
- Mutants’ Revenge
- Secret Wars – Chapter 1: Arrival
- Secret Wars – Chapter 2: The Gauntlet of the Red Skull
- Secret Wars – Chapter 3: Doom
Spider-Man was an excellent cartoon and it was fantastic to see the two shows crossover. Damn, that Spider-Man cartoon was SO GOOD.
Anyway, time to finish my journey with X-Men: The Animated Series.
The Fifth Horseman
1min – New animation. It sucks.
1min 25secs – This episode opens with Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen and…
2mins 15secs – …Fabian Cortez. Yep, he’s back (following the events of Sanctuary: Part 2).
2mins 50secs – Apocalypse is also back. He survived the events of Beyond Good and Evil, but he’s trapped in a non-corporeal form.
3mins 45secs – Jubilee and Beast have appeared and they’ve been given a bit of a makeover. Beast looks pretty much the same, but Jubilee now looks a little older. She sounds older too.
10mins – Jeez, the animation is bad.
11mins – It’s good to see what happened to Fabian Cortez, but I’m not really sure this warrants bringing Apocalypse back. He’s story is over.
12mins 30secs – The Beast is mutating into a scary monster (more beast-like than usual).
17mins 30secs – This episode features only two X-Men. As with the latter episodes of Season Four, the core cast hardly appear any more. Either this was due to budget cuts or they simply couldn’t be arsed with this season.
20mins – Apocalypse has taken over the body of Cortez so he can be reborn. Will he ever return?
I have no issue with updating the animation to convey the passage of time – it worked perfectly well in Batman: The Animated Series – but it doesn’t really work here. Why? Because the story telling is just lame.
And now onto a TRULY DIRE EPISODE OF X-MEN…
Jubilee’s Fairytale Theatre
Just look at the picture above. You can see how crap this is, right?
1min 30secs – After a lengthy absence, Gambit finally puts in an appearance. He’s voiced by a different actor and it’s very distracting.
2mins 40secs – The premise of this episode is that Jubilee gets trapped in a cave with a bunch of kids. To help pass the time, she tells a story about knights, elves and trolls. Yep, Wolverine as a troll.
UGH… WHO THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA?!
6mins 30secs – This episode is a complete embarrassment. How a series that produced Beyond Good and Evil, Days of Future Past and The Phoenix Saga could also produce this shite is beyond me. It’s as if the writing staff have just given up and are happy to let anything slide.
11mins – This episode has clearly been written with six-year-olds in mind.
15mins – The audience that watched Night of the Sentinels would now be five years older, so understandably they might not be watching the show any more, let alone be buying the toys, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to aim the stories at such a young demographic. This wasn’t the thought process when the series began, so it shouldn’t be the thought process now. It simply makes no sense to sink this low.
Absolute crap. Let’s never speak of this again.
This episode is the only story worth watching in this season. This isn’t a recommendation – I’m simply trying to make the best out of a bad situation.
3mins – Wolverine is remembering his time in Paris during World War II. I love the fact he can remember this, but according to the series he struggles to remember most things from his past.
5mins 50secs – There are some very questionable German accents in this episode. Very questionable.
6mins 15secs – Captain America has just turned up! Hurrah! Best moment in this episode.
6mins 30secs – It’s important to note that Cap is one of the only non-mutant super heroes to appear in X-Men and have a significant role. Usually when a non-mutant super hero appears in this show (Thor, Doctor Strange, Black Panther etc) they get a brief, non-speaking cameo appearance. Cap actually gets lines!
10mins 15secs – The Red Skull!
18mins – Hmm.. it’s good to see a Wolverine story featuring Captain America, but once again it all feels kind of pointless.
Watchable, but nothing amazing. At this point I’m thankful for watchable – it’s better than shite.
1min – This episode deals with the introduction of Cannonball. You may recall that Cannonball has previously appeared in the series, via a quick non-speaking cameo. In the cameo Cannonball looked NOTHING like he does here.
3mins 30secs – If at all possible, the animation has gotten worse.
4mins – Rogue is back. She sounds a little different, but I believe the character is still being voiced by Lenore Zann.
15mins – This episode is beyond boring.
I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise for moaning about how bad these episodes are, but they really are difficult to watch. I genuinely don’t see the point in their existence.
Speaking of which…
2mins – This episode is set in the past and focuses on the early years of Mister Sinister.
6mins – A Mister Sinister origin episode would have been fine during Season Two, to provide further insight into the character, but here it just seems out of place. Sinister had his time in the spotlight years ago, so why bother giving him an origin now?
7mins – Once again, this episode is boring. I’m aware that I’m repeating myself but I can only say what I see.
15mins – I really have nothing to say. This is the penultimate episode of one of the best animated shows of the 1990s and NONE of the X-Men appear in this episode!
Right, just one episode to go. I’d like to say that after 75 episodes the series draws to a well-crafted conclusion, but alas I can not.
This final episode is OK, but not the story it should be. The only saving grace is the fact the show does at least get an ending.
It’s a bad ending, but it’s an ending.
Here we go…
1min 30secs – Henry Peter Gyrich is back and once again he’s peddling his usual shtick about mutants being the enemy of humanity etc.
3mins – Gyrich has injured Xavier.
4mins – With Xavier hurt (and on death’s door), mutants around the world are preparing to rise up.
6mins 30secs – Magneto is galvanising his troops. The X-Men will have to stop him. It must be Saturday morning.
8mins – Morph makes a welcome reappearance. It is fitting to see him return as the show draws to a close.
13mins 30secs – Xavier only has hours to live.
16mins 30secs – It’s time to say goodbye. On his death bed, Xavier says a few words to each X-Man. I’d shed a tear but I’m struggling to stay awake.
18mins 35secs – With moments left to live, Lilandra has turned up to offer hope. By whisking Xavier off into space, she can keep him alive.
Er… OK. A bit of a cop out, but I’m past caring.
19mins – The show ends with the X-Men and Magneto united as Xavier goes off into space.
And that’s the end.
76 episodes and X-Men is officially over. The series might have ended with a whimper, but it certainly started out with a bang and maintained its momentum for a considerable amount of time.
Should this final six episodes have been made?
Heck, no – but I can’t change the past. What’s done is done.
The ’90s was a truly awesome time for the X-Men and a large part of the property’s success was because of this series. X-Men was a smash hit and it was truly one of the best cartoons of the decade.
Thank you to those that have stuck with me over the past 12 chapters of this X-Men rewatch/retrospective. Now it’s time for you to tell me your thoughts.
What do you like about the X-Men and what are your memories of watching this show? What was your favourite episode and who was your favourite character?
Sound off in the comments section.
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