This article is about the animated series. For other uses, see Freakazoid (disambiguation).
Steven Spielberg Presents Freakazoid!
24 (47 segments) (list of episodes)
Mitch Schauer (season 1)
Tom Ruegger (senior producer)
John P. MacCann
Warner Bros. Animation
September 9, 1995 (1995-09-09) –
June 1, 1997 (1997-06-01)
Freakazoid! is an American superhero comedy animated television series created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini and developed by Tom Ruegger for the Kids\' WB programming block of The WB. The series chronicles the adventures of the title character, Freakazoid, a crazy teenage superhero who fights crime in Washington, D.C. It also featured mini-episodes with the adventures of other bizarre superheroes. The series was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Television, being the third animated series produced by the collaboration of Steven Spielberg and Warner Bros. Animation after Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs.
Bruce Timm, best known as a producer of the DC Animated Universe, originally intended it to be a straightforward superhero action-adventure cartoon with comic overtones, but executive producer Steven Spielberg requested it to be a flat-out comedy. The show is similar to fellow Ruegger-led programs such as Animaniacs, having a unique style of humor that includes slapstick, fourth wall breaking, parody, surreal humour, and pop culture references.
The series was one of the first to debut on the new Kids\' WB Saturday morning block of The WB, on September 9, 1995. The series lasted for two seasons, finishing with 24 episodes, the final one broadcast on June 1, 1997. Although the series originally struggled in the ratings, reruns on Cartoon Network and a fan following elevated it to become a cult hit. Warner Bros. considered renewing the series for a third season, but deemed it to be too expensive. The show also ranked #53 on IGN\'s Top 100 Animated Series list.
3514September 9, 1995 (1995-09-09)February 24, 1996 (1996-02-24)
1210September 14, 1996 (1996-09-14)June 1, 1997 (1997-06-01)
Freakazoid (voiced by Paul Rugg) – The protagonist of the series. He is the alter ego of geeky 16-year-old computer ace Dexter Douglas (voiced by David Kaufman), who became Freakazoid from an overloaded Pinnacle chip inside his computer. He attends Harry Connick Jr. High School. To transform into Freakazoid, Dexter says \"Freak out!\" To change back into Dexter, Freakazoid says \"Freak in!\". Dexter and Freakazoid sometimes identify as separate identities, and other times are considered the same person. His alliterative name takes from Peter Parker and Bruce Banner. His outfit comes from Shazam.
The Douglas family
Debbie Douglas (voiced by Tress MacNeille) – Dexter\'s mother. She is unaware that her son is Freakazoid and is generally blithe and clueless.
Douglas Douglas (voiced by John P. McCann) – Dexter\'s father who is incredibly incompetent, but attempts to keep his family in line regardless.
Duncan Douglas (voiced by Googy Gress) – Dexter\'s older brother. He is a bully towards Dexter and a stereotypical jock who is also frequently tormented by Freakazoid.
Mr. Chubbikins (vocal effects provided by Frank Welker) – The Douglas\' morbidly obese cat. He jumped on Dexter\'s keyboard while chasing a butterfly, accidentally typing in the key sequence which activated the Pinnacle chip\'s flaw, turning Dexter into Freakazoid.
Sgt. Mike Cosgrove (voiced by Ed Asner) – A heavyset, gruff police sergeant with a heart of gold who is friends with Freakazoid and several other characters. By pointing at something and saying \"Cut it out\", he has the almost supernatural ability to get people to stop whatever they are doing on command, no matter what they may be doing at the time. Cosgrove also possesses the odd power of finding Freakazoid no matter where he is, and often interrupts his heroic endeavors to ask him to visit various entertainments, which Freakazoid always enthusiastically agrees to no matter what he is doing at the time. During this visit, Cosgrove inevitably reveals important information about the plot of the episode, resulting in Freakazoid leaving to foil the villain\'s scheme and Cosgrove being left to enjoy the attraction for himself. Additionally, at some point, Freakazoid entrusted Cosgrove with his secret identity, and was deeply upset when he accidentally revealed it to Steff and Professor Jones.
Roddy MacStew (voiced by Craig Ferguson) – Freakazoid\'s mentor, and expositionist; an ill-tempered Scotsman who once worked for Guitierrez and was the first to discover the Pinnacle Chip\'s flaw. In \"The Chip\" (detailing Freakazoid\'s origin story), he was trapped in the Internet after going into it to escape from Guitierrez\'s minions, but Guitierrez later forced him out and he resumed his mentor role.
Steff (voiced by Tracy Rowe) – Freakazoid\'s perky and sweet yet cynical and sarcastic blonde girlfriend; her real name is Stephanie. She discovers Freakazoid\'s secret identity when Cosgrove accidentally points it out aloud in \"Mission: Freakazoid\".
Hans (voiced by Larry Cedar) – A mysterious agent with a Western European accent who takes Freakazoid to Professor Heiney\'s lab.
Professor Heiney (voiced by Ed Gilbert) – A scientist with a lab in the mountains who Freakazoid sometimes goes to for help. He researches and kills monsters, and is often attacked by them.
Ingmar – Freakazoid\'s mute butler, who built and maintains the Freakalair. He quit in \"Mission: Freakazoid\" to become a rodeo clown and was replaced by Professor Jones. He is a parody of Zorro\'s mute manservant Bernardo and Batman\'s butler Alfred Pennyworth.
Professor Jones (voiced by Jonathan Harris) – A snooty and cowardly parody of Dr. Zachary Smith from Lost in Space (who was also portrayed by Harris). He is the replacement to Ingmar and is old friends with him. Jones does not get along with Cosgrove well and gets little respect from Freakazoid or anyone else. A running gag is that someone would ask if he was on that show with a kid and a robot which is a nod to Jonathan Harris\' work on Lost in Space.
Joe Leahy (voiced by himself) – The show\'s vocal narrator and announcer who sometimes gets more involved than the job usually requires.
Freakazette – Only mentioned in the first episode for a brief verse during the \"Freakazoid and Friends\" theme song (set to the tune of the Animaniacs theme).
Foamy the Freakadog (vocal effects provided by Frank Welker) – A vicious, rabid dog which Freakazoid freed from the dogcatcher\'s van. Foamy is painted blue, has a Freakazoid costume, and is prone to maul and/or beat Freakazoid due to his rabid condition.
Handman (voiced by Paul Rugg) – Freakazoid\'s brief \"right hand man\", who is just a painted face on his right hand and has great difficulty pronouncing Freakazoid\'s name correctly. He fell in love with and married Handgirl, a painted face on Freakazoid\'s left hand.
Expendable Lad (voiced by Paul Dini) – Freakazoid\'s brief sidekick in \"And Fanboy Is His Name\". He was hospitalized due to Milk Man bruising his clavicle and was subsequently released from Freakazoid\'s service.
Leonard Maltin (voiced by himself) – He was kidnapped by Dr. Mystico during the episode \"Island of Dr. Mystico\", while Maltin was giving his opinion of the same episode. Freakazoid points out that Mystico\'s prisoners all have superpowers, and Maltin\'s is his knowledge of film.
Henry Kissinger (voiced by Paul Rugg) – A politician who was kidnapped by Dr. Mystico\'s \"orangu-men\". In the show, he speaks in a low, groggy, incomprehensible mumble. He is also briefly mentioned in \"Two Against Freak\", hosting a show called Teen Chat.
Norm Abram (voiced by himself) – A master carpenter who was kidnapped by the Lobe to make a wooden instrument to destroy Freakazoid, but got free and helped turn the tables against the Lobe and his allies.
Freakazoid! features a number of campy villains that make up his rogues gallery. They consist of:
The Lobe (voiced by David Warner) – Freakazoid\'s archenemy, an evil genius whose entire head is a giant brain. Despite his high intellect, he has very low self-esteem, once even having a scheme foiled by Freakazoid simply insulting the plan, despite actually being impressed by it once the Lobe has left. No background information of any kind is given for the Lobe and his real name is never revealed.
Cobra Queen (voiced by Tress MacNeille) – Audrey Manatee is a former shoplifter whose theft of an experimental expired cosmetic transformed her into a cobra woman with command over snakes and other reptiles. In later episodes, Cobra Queen and Cave Guy are dating. She has a lair in the sewers and often complained about the lack of light there until Freakazoid suggested getting Japanese lanterns. Cobra Queen seems to be offended when compared to Sylvester the Cat.
Cave Guy (voiced by Jeff Bennett impersonating Jim Backus) – Royce Mumphry is a thuggish blue-skinned caveman with upperclass diction and taste who has a stereotypical WASP tone (see Locust Valley lockjaw). He subscribes to The New Yorker and also seems to have an odd fear of Klingons, primarily because of their language.
Longhorn (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) – Jubal \"Bull\" Nixon was once an employee of the Johnny Cat cat litter company until he turned to a life of crime. Because he was searched for by law enforcement so frequently, he had plastic surgery to turn himself into a humanoid Texas Longhorn. Freakazoid even pointed out that this did not prevent Longhorn from appearing on America\'s Most Wanted every week. He loves country music and despite being a lousy songwriter, he is determined to get a recording contract in Nashville. Longhorn also owns a massive truck nicknamed \"Bessie Mae\" which is outfitted with all kinds of devices and can fly.
Turk (voiced by Matt Landers) – Longhorn\'s henchman.
Armando Guitierrez (voiced by Ricardo Montalbán) – The eyepatch-wearing man whose company Apex Microchips designed the faulty Pinnacle Chip responsible for Freakazoid\'s creation. He is similar to Khan from Star Trek, who was also played by Montalbán. Originally a normal human, he briefly gained powers similar to Freakazoid\'s by exploiting the Pinnacle chip\'s flaw. However, he was defeated in the Internet and fell into a pit, which made the right half of his face cybernetic which he now covers this by wearing a hooded robe. Guitierrez hates being called a weenie to which he will angrily respond \"I am not a weenie! It is YOU who are the weenie!\" In \"Normadeus\", he is among the villains invited by the Lobe to witness Freakazoid\'s destruction.
Jocko (voiced by Paul Rugg) – Guitierrez\'s henchman who is completely inarticulate.
Candle Jack (voiced by Jeff Bennett) – A supernatural villain with a burlap sack over his head who abducts anyone who says his name and ties them up with rope, apparently because \"he\'s a nut\". Though he prides himself on being scary, he has a weakness for pie and also seems to enjoy watching F Troop.
Waylon Jeepers (voiced by Jeff Bennett) – A creepy little man from Venice Beach who created the Medusa Watch which can turn people (and pigeons) into stone. He has also created a similar device that turned beavers into gold. He is obsessed with all things supernatural and is well acquainted with several monsters including Dracula, the Wolf Man, and the Loch Ness Monster. Additionally, Jeepers\' schemes seem to deeply infuriate Freakazoid and Jeepers is shown to be the only villain that Freakazoid genuinely does not like (whereas the rest of the villains appear to have a friendly relationship with Freakazoid off-battle) once going on a long (and unscripted) rant against him after he tried to show him the Medusa Watch. His name is a play on famous country guitarist Waylon Jennings.
Invisibo (voiced by Corey Burton impersonating Vincent Price) – Ahmon Kor-Unch is an invisible, smart-mouthed pharaoh who is only invisible via the staff he carries. He was sealed away inside a sarcophagus in the ancient past, but freed in the modern day after Dexter and Duncan accidentally broke the seal on the sarcophagus while fighting. Invisibo planned to absorb power from the local power plant to become unstoppable, but was defeated by Freakazoid who destroyed his staff, allowing him to be visible again. He was locked back into his sarcophagus which was taken away by authorities. Invisibo resurfaced in \"Normadeus\" where is among the villains invited by the Lobe to witness Freakazoid\'s destruction where he regained his invisibility.
Booger Beast (voiced by Frank Welker) – A slimy monster who attacks Steff in the cold opening of episode 9.
The Nerdator (voiced by Aron Kincaid) – A man who planned to kidnap all of the nerds in the world and absorb their knowledge to become a \"Super-Nerd\". However, Freakazoid convinced him of the downsides of being a nerd, after which he discontinued his plot and instead began kidnapping \"good-looking, but vapid airheads\". His character design is a parody of the Predator.
Arms Akimbo (voiced by John Schuck impersonating Edward G. Robinson) – A spoiled model turned extortionist who, after years of posing, was left with his arms frozen in a jaunty pose with his hands on his hips. He sells \"oops insurance\", a form of protection racketeering which mainly consists of him breaking valuable things before comically following it up with a small \"Oops\".
The Milk Man – A milk-themed villain whom Freakazoid and his then-sidekick Expendable Lad fought in \"And Fanboy Is His Name\". He injured Expendable Lad\'s clavicle, resulting in him retiring.
Deadpan (voiced by Bebe Neuwirth) – A plain-looking, shapeshifting supervillainess with a monotonous voice, appearing in the cold open of \"The Wrath of Guitierrez\". She tried to conquer Washington by transforming into Freakazoid, but this plan was quickly foiled when the real Freakazoid appeared and nonchalantly exposed her. Deadpan also makes a cameo in \"The Lobe\", among the crowd watching the Lobe attempt to lobotomize Freakazoid.
Mary Beth (voiced by Tress MacNeille) – Cosgrove\'s former girlfriend, a cosmetics executive and monster. She is short-tempered and when angered turns green, develops a deep raspy voice, and shoots fire from her nose. Allegedly existing since the beginning of time, she absorbs the life force of superheroes to remain immortal and planned to do so to Freakazoid, but was foiled, died, and shriveled into a pile of dust. Her name is a play on cosmetics giant Mary Kay.
Janos Ivnovels (voiced by Jim Cummings) – The ruthless dictator of Vuka Nova and its Minister of State Security. He is responsible for capturing Freakazoid\'s family (and the mime from Animaniacs) and imprisoning them in Chesky Beresch Prison, the toughest prison in Europe. He and his subordinate Colonel Anton Mohans were defeated after Freakazoid and his friends rescued the Douglas family and mime, and last seen being tortured by the mime and his pals.
Colonel Anton Mohans (voiced by Larry Cedar) – A vicious thug who finds torture relaxing.
Vorn the Unspeakable (voiced by Richard Moll) – A Cthulhu-like demon summoned by Jeepers using a book entitled How to Summon Monsters the E-Z Way.
Dr. Mystico (voiced by Tim Curry) – A mad scientist who lives on a remote island and experiments with the native orangutans. He was kicked out of university for his mad science, and thus set up a laboratory on an island to continue his experiments. He seeks to take over the world, though he always seems to say Cleveland instead.
Sparkles - Dr. Mystico\'s pet white cat. He is similar to the cat that is owned by Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Orangu-Men (vocal effects provided by Jim Cummings) - A group of creatures created by Dr. Mystico by splicing human and orangutan DNA. Three of them, Fatima, Ackbar, and Ringo, serve as his henchmen.
Kid Carrion (voiced by Jeff Bennett) – A zombie cowboy who primarily makes non-speaking cameo appearances, and resembles Tex Hex from Bravestarr. Kid Carrion was part of the characters that was created during the original development of this show.
Major Danger – A villain who was part of Bruce Timm\'s original development of the show. He makes a cameo in \"The Lobe\", among the crowd watching the Lobe attempt to lobotomize Freakazoid.
Bombshell – A villain who was part of Bruce Timm\'s original development of this show. She makes a cameo in \"The Lobe\", among the crowd watching the Lobe attempt to lobotomize Freakazoid.
Eye-of-Newt – A strange one-eyed creature resembling Newt Gingrich, whose name is a reference to Shakespeare\'s Macbeth (\"Eye of newt and toe of frog...\"). He has no dialogue and is a background villain, although it seems that he is frequently captured by heroes like Freakazoid or the Huntsman.
Mo-Ron/Bo-Ron (voiced by Stan Freberg) – An obese and dimwitted alien from the planet Barone\'s (a reference to the restaurant of the same name). His name was later changed to Bo-Ron to appease network censors\' concerns that use of the word moron might be offensive. His design is a parody of Ro-Man, the alien monster from Robot Monster. His first appearance was when he tried to deliver Earth an important message, only to forget what it was. This message turned out to be a comet heading towards Earth, which caused everyone to flee the area. He also appeared in the episode \"Next Time, Phone Ahead!\", a parody of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. In \"Freak-a-Panel\", he was among the characters who confront Freakazoid over being dropped from the show, and was given a job washing the Freakmobile.
Fanboy (voiced by Stephen Furst) – An obese, acne-stricken, socially awkward fanboy and would-be sidekick to Freakazoid who obsesses over various media. Fanboy\'s age is never specified; he could be anywhere between his late teens to early 30s. In \"Freak-a-Panel\", he was among the characters who confront Freakazoid over being dropped from the show, and was given a job washing the Freakmobile.
Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton (voiced by Frank Welker and Tress MacNeille respectively) make frequent cameos in the show, partly because of its setting of Washington, D.C.
Barbra Streisand (voiced by Tress MacNeille) also makes a number of appearances, most notably in the episode \"Dexter\'s Date\", which features a parody of Hello, Dolly!.
Hero Boy (voiced by John P. McCann) – The title character from Freakazoid\'s favorite TV show, a parody of Astro Boy. He has no powers (save for flying) and is invariably shrugged off by the monsters he fights, as his pathetic fighting techniques (consisting of weakly pounding on enemies) always fail miserably.
Steven Spielberg (voiced by Frank Welker) – The show\'s executive producer. His most notable appearance was in \"The Freakazoid\", where Freakazoid, the Brain from Pinky and the Brain, and Wakko Warner from Animaniacs get into a disagreement over which of their shows he likes best, only for Spielberg to reveal that he has no idea who they are. In \"The Nerdator\", Spielberg is among the nerds captured by the Nerdator. During this time, he was directing an E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial sequel called E.T. Returns.
Paul Harvey (voiced by Paul Rugg) – A loud, obnoxious man who often interrupts the story to give background information on villains (in the episodes introducing Cobra Queen and Longhorn), or to describe, rather than show, the ending of an episode (in \"Candle Jack\"). He is a parody of the radio personality of the same name.
Lonnie Tallbutt (voiced by Mitch Schauer in human form, vocal effects provided by Jim Cummings in werewolf form) – A werewolf that begs Dexter for help. His name is a combination of that of Lon Chaney Jr. and Lawrence Talbot, the character Chaney played in the 1941 film The Wolf Man. He is prone to grabbing people\'s shirt collars and yelling \"You don\'t understand!\".
Weena Mercator as the Hopping Woman – A person acknowledged whenever credits are used in an episode.
Yakko Warner (voiced by Rob Paulsen) – The oldest brother of the Animaniacs.
Wakko Warner (voiced by Jess Harnell) – The younger brother of the Animaniacs.
Dot Warner (voiced by Tress MacNeille) – The youngest sister of the Animaniacs.
The Brain (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) – A megalomaniacal genius lab mouse from Pinky and the Brain.
Freakazoid! also features several mini-segments, primarily in the first season. Each of these have their own theme songs and title cards, and only occasionally appear in the main show. These segments include:
Lord Bravery – Nigel Skunkthorpe (voiced by Jeff Bennett impersonating John Cleese) is a superhero from the United Kingdom resembling a Roman soldier. He does not do much in the way of superheroics. In fact, he is snooty, cynical and unwilling to do unpleasant tasks in the course of his duties such as entering a sewer to perform a rescue. Likewise, he gets little respect and recognition from the public and even from his wife and mother-in-law (voiced by Tress MacNeille and Mark Slaughter respectively), with whom he lives. At one point in \"Office Visit\", he loses his name due to a trademark dispute with a bakery and changes it to Lord Smoked Meats and Fishes. His theme song is delivered in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan\'s song \"A British Tar\". In \"Freak-a-Panel\", he was among the characters who confront Freakazoid over being dropped from the show and was given a job washing the Freakmobile.
The Huntsman – The Huntsman (voiced by Jeff Bennett impersonating Charlton Heston) is a Robin Hood-like hero who lives in the woods. Marty Feeb was a poor hunter who saved a chunky elf from being eaten by a crow and was rewarded with magic corn that gave him enhanced strength and speed, as well as shiny teeth, resulting in him becoming the Huntsman. He also has a brother called Hector Feeb, who he claims lives in a townhouse. The Huntsman can be summoned by a police officer blowing into the Horn of Urgency in the local police station and arrived at the office of police lieutenant Artie King (voiced by Dorian Harewood) who would often be seen reading the newspaper. His sketches are often themed around beginning with a lengthy, overly heroic opener, with a title that would indicate an action-oriented episode, that ends up being a short and anticlimactic due to him not being needed after all due to the \"slow crime period\". The Huntsman is also an umpire in the annual Superheroes/Villain All-Star Benefit Softball Game. In \"The Freakazoid\", the Huntsman gives a request to Freakazoid to help him find work when he went to another town that had crime and found that it\'s crime dried up upon his arrival. In \"Freak-a-Panel\", the Huntsman was among the characters who confront Freakazoid over being dropped from the show and was given a job washing the Freakmobile.
The Lawn Gnomes – Baffeardin (voiced by Clive Revill), Huska (voiced by Carl Ballantine), Honna (voiced by Rose Marie), and Quist (voiced by Larry Gelman) are a group of gnomes-turned-lawn gnomes that come to life at night in a parody of Gargoyles. Infamous for their mischief back in 995 AD, they were advised by the Great Mystic Gnome (voiced by Roscoe Lee Browne) to change their ways. They planned to do so, but were cursed to become stone by day by the powerful wizard Rathgar (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) after they tripped him and attacked his younger Viking brother Erik the Large (also voiced by Maurice LaMarche). They would revert at night during which time they were given the opportunity to mend their ways by fighting evil, after which the curse would be lifted
Toby Danger – A parody of Jonny Quest that was originally written by Tom Minton as a standalone short for Animaniacs, but slotted into Freakazoid! to fill time. It features the adventures of Toby Danger (voiced by Scott Menville), his scientist father Dr. Vernon Danger (voiced by Don Messick), his adoptive sister Sandra Danger (voiced by Mary Scheer), and Dr. Danger\'s bodyguard Dash O\'Pepper (voiced by Granville Van Dusen) as they fight Dr. Sin.
Fatman and Boy Blubber – The misadventures of two morbidly obese superheroes (voiced by Marc Drotman and Paul Rugg, respectively), in a parody of the Batman TV series. Their only segment involves them coming to the aid of Louis (voiced by Scott McAfee), an overweight boy who loves sweet buns and is being tormented by bullies Joey (voiced by Scott Menville) and an unnamed bully. After attempting to capture the bullies and failing due to their extreme lack of physical fitness, Fatman and Boy Blubber deliver a pseudo-inspirational speech to Louis about their own struggles with being overweight, and how they often end up eating unhealthy food instead of having sensible meals. When Louis asks what the point of the speech is, Fatman changes the subject to ask if Louis has anymore sweet buns in his lunchbox; the hero then tries to confiscate the food and begins beating Louis up with Boy Blubber when he refuses to give the sweet buns to them. Fatman and Boy Blubber also briefly appear in \"Hero Boy\", reading a storybook to some children.
The voice actors of the show Freakazoid! included various actors from other television series and films. Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Jeff Bennett, and Frank Welker, who all provided voices in the series Animaniacs, were on Freakazoid!. Actors Ed Asner, Ricardo Montalbán, Larry Cedar, Jonathan Harris, and Stephen Furst also provided voices for the series. Also, writers John P. McCann and Paul Rugg (who played Freakazoid) added voices themselves.
Casting for the show had been difficult for the Freakazoid! staff, as no lead character had been found even after extensive auditions. Eventually, when writer Paul Rugg was brought to demonstrate the voice in a recording session, he ended up filling the role, as he said: \"I went in there and did it. Then they played it for Steven Spielberg and he said \'Yep! Fine, sure, great,\' and then I panicked ... and I had to do it.\" Rugg played the role of Freakazoid through the entire series run.
The animation was outsourced to Animal-ya, Studio Junio, and Tama Production in Japan, Seoul Movie, Dong Yang Animation, and Koko Enterprises Ltd. in South Korea.
The music for Freakazoid! was written by Richard Stone, Steve Bernstein, Julie Bernstein, Gordon Goodwin, and Tim Kelly. Stone won a Daytime Emmy with lyricist (and senior producer) Tom Ruegger for the main title song in 1996. Julie Bernstein was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Original Song in 1998 for the song \"Invisibo\" from the episode \"Freak-a-Panel\".
Controversy with Mike Allred\'s Madman
Cartoonist Mike Allred has criticized the show and its lead character as plagiarism of his comic book Madman, asserting that the title characters share several personality traits, and wear similar costumes featuring a chest emblem including an exclamation mark. During the short run of the show, Allred remained relatively silent on the subject, but in 2003, he responded to a question about the show on the message board of his official website:
Bruce Timm was kind enough to tell me that Madman was a direct inspiration for the show, with comics open and referred to when developing the show.
Stupidly, I was flattered; happy to inspire anything. But when the show came out, with no acknowledgement or credit or any kind of compensation, I slowly became annoyed as everyone and their uncle confronted me with \"there\'s this cartoon that\'s ripping off Madman\" and \"you oughta sue\".
I simply wrote a friendly letter to Steven Spielberg telling him his production was a direct lift of my creation, I had no intention of creating ripples, I just wanted him to know that I knew. No one replied, which is fine. And to be honest, Madman is an amalgam of a half a dozen other influences. So who am I to complain (the exclamation mark on the chest still kinda irks me a little though. A little too close for comfort).
The humor in Freakazoid! relied heavily on slapstick, parody and pop culture references. Due to the series being metafiction, much of the series was self-aware humor (i.e. breaking the fourth wall); for instance, after the first appearance of the Freakmobile, the show goes immediately into an impromptu commercial for a toy version, and later in the episode, Freakazoid addresses an audience, congratulating the staff on how hard they have worked to make the show toyetic. A running gag involves a repeated credit for \"Weena Mercator as the Hopping Woman\", though no such character appears in any episode. The show also incorporated humor aimed at the WB Network, such as questioning the meaning of the initials \"WB\".
Freakazoid! made frequent use of stock footage, including a peaceful scene of a field of flowers (\"Relax-O-Vision\"), numerous people screaming and traditionally dressed Bavarians dancing and slapping each other (\"Candle Jack\"), and a man being shot in the belly with a cannonball and a man wrestling a bear (\"The Chip\").
Cameo appearances were also a major element of the show\'s humor. At various times, Freakazoid! hosted appearances by characters from other Warner Bros. shows such as Pinky and the Brain, Animaniacs and even an insinuation appearance of Batman from Bruce Timm\'s animated version. Portrayals of many celebrities (including producer Steven Spielberg) and guest appearances by such figures as Jack Valenti, Leonard Maltin and Mark Hamill as themselves were also commonplace. Norm Abram had an entire episode, \"Normadeus\", built around him. One original character, a bizarre-looking man named Emmitt Nervend, plays no role whatsoever other than enabling a Where\'s Waldo-esque hunt for his cameos (complete with the number of his appearances announced in the closing credits).
One of the show\'s longest cameo appearances was in the episode \"The Freakazoid\", where Freakazoid, Wakko from Animaniacs, and the Brain from Pinky and the Brain argue over which of their shows is Steven Spielberg\'s favorite, with Freakazoid arguing that his show was the favorite (Tiny Toon Adventures was not represented in the discussion as it was on Nickelodeon at the time, while the others were on Kids\' WB). However, when the trio confronts Steven over the issue, he admits to having no idea who they are.
I mean, it probably would not have worked as a straight super-hero show. It was really neither fish nor fowl. It was such a weird idea that it probably needed to be a comedy more than an adventure show.
Bruce Timm, Modern Masters Volume 3: Bruce Timm
Freakazoid! was created by animators Bruce Timm, who had previously produced Batman: The Animated Series, and his writing partner Paul Dini, who was also a story editor for Tiny Toon Adventures. Timm was called upon by Steven Spielberg, who Timm said \"liked\" Timm\'s Batman series, to help create a new superhero show. After a meeting with Spielberg, Timm said that Spielberg had \"really liked\" the idea for the series, after which Timm and Dini created the character Freakazoid, an edgy superhero with a manic personality. Timm came up with the name for the character naturally, as he recalled, \"The name \'Freakazoid\' just kind of jumped out of me, I don\'t even know where from. I said \'Oh, yeah, \'Freakazoid\', that might be an interesting name.\'\" Dini and Timm have also discussed their desire to create a TV show about the Creeper, another comedic character.
Timm originally created Freakazoid! to be a serious \"adventure show\" with some comedic undertones. However, his initial idea for the series did not come to be, as he stated:
I don\'t mind that it\'s not on my résumé. I bailed on it really early. It started out as an adventure show, but it ended up turning into more and more of a comedy show; every time we\'d have a meeting with Steven, the concept would kinda change, and it kept leaning more and more towards zany comedy. It really started out almost like Spider-Man, on that level of, like, a teenage superhero. And it reached a point where it became a comedy with the Tiny Toon Adventures/Animaniacs kind of humor. (...) I don\'t have anything against that; I just don\'t have a flair for it, so I bailed—I just hung out here while my staff had to do the show.
After Timm left the series, Tom Ruegger, who developed the other Spielberg series Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs, was brought in to re-develop the series Timm had created \"from the ground up\". Ruegger\'s version of the series used some of Timm\'s designs and concepts, but Timm said that the series was \"radically altered\" to become the comedy series that was more to Spielberg\'s liking.
Ruegger then began writing stories for the series, and came up with a pile of very short segments. Spielberg liked what Ruegger had written, but wanted longer stories for the series as well. Ruegger then asked writers John McCann and Paul Rugg to come onto the series to write longer, more elaborate stories for the series and, according to Rugg, \"(...) figure out what this was going to be, and the answer was like, \'We didn\'t know\', and still don\'t\".
Premiere, cancellation, and syndication
Main article: List of Freakazoid! episodes
Freakazoid! premiered on Kids\' WB\'s Saturday lineup on September 9, 1995. During its run, Freakazoid! came across problems of appealing to its target demographic, young children. Tom Ruegger said that Freakazoid! had done poorly in ratings because the audience that the series gathered was older than the target audience. Also, Freakazoid ran into timeslot problems. Writer John McCann said that the time slot of the series changed frequently: \"They put it at eight o\' clock in the morning, 3:30 in the afternoon, they shifted it all around; we couldn\'t even find it, and we wrote the thing\". The series ran on Kids\' WB until February 14, 1997, when it was canceled due to poor ratings, airing only one complete season and part of a second season. Rugg said the series\' demise was the result of a combination of people not understanding the series, time slot changes, appealing to the wrong demographics, and that \"(...) there aren\'t a lot of Nielsen boxes in federal prisons. Had there been, I\'m telling you, we\'d still be on the air today\". However, the show was later picked up by Cartoon Network and was rebroadcast from April 5, 1997, until March 29, 2003. The series had a total number of 24 episodes. In 2006, Freakazoid! was one of the shows scheduled to be broadcast on the AOL broadband channel, In2TV. The show is currently available to stream for free on Tubi. In Italy, Freakazoid! along with Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, was shown on RAI and later Mediaset. In Japan, Freakazoid! along with Tiny Toon Adventures was shown on TV Asahi.
The series won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program.
Bruce Timm said that the series still has a cult following of fans who ask him questions about the series whenever they meet him.
According to Timm, the character\'s co-creator, he actually has a preference for the second season:
BRUCE: I actually liked the second season better than the first season. The second season was less Animaniacs. It was more Monty Python, it was much more surreal. It was less hip, topical in-jokes, and---
MM: And more eating cotton candy in the Himalayas.
BRUCE: And the weird Astro Boy parody and stuff like that. I thought that stuff was much funnier and much more unique. The first season, to me, was just Animaniacs with a super-hero in it.
Video on demand
As of June 2022, the series is currently available to stream for free in the United States on Tubi. It is also available to purchase on DVD and digital stores. In Latin America, the show streams on HBO Max.
The entire series is currently available for purchase on Amazon Prime Video in Italy.
Freakazoid never had his own comic book, but he did make a special guest crossover in issue #35 of the Animaniacs comic book published by DC Comics.
Warner Home Video has released the entire series on DVD in Region 1.
July 29, 2008 (2008-07-29)
Audio commentary on three \"key episodes\", promos from the series launch, and a featurette tracking its evolution from an action series to a comedy series.
April 29, 2009 (2009-04-29)
Featurettes on the making of the last episode, \"Favorite Moments\" from the series, and an original demo tape for the song \"Bonjour, Lobey\" from series composer Richard Stone.
In popular culture
The sixth season episode of Teen Titans Go!, \"Huggbees\", aired on November 14, 2020, and features Freakazoid helping the Teen Titans defeat the Lobe and Brain when they join forces. It was mentioned by Freakazoid that Steven Spielberg would have to approve the crossover which led to Robin sending a message to Steven who approves of the crossover. According to Rugg, the production team for the show had sent him a script involving Freakazoid in December 2019 which he approved. The episode has Rugg, David Warner, Ed Asner, and Joe Leahy reprising their respective roles.