Sunday, May 22, 2016

Nostalgia Theater: Back to School With X-Men: Evolution

With this week's upcoming release of X-Men: Apocalypse (read my mixed review of that one here), I thought I'd look back at another time the Marvel mutants made their mark in animation. Now, I already discussed the groundbreaking X-Men animated series from the '90s, which I argued is remembered more fondly than it probably deserves, a couple of years ago. But in fall of 2000, mere months after the first X-Men feature film lit the fuse on that still-going movie series, the second X-Men series, X-Men: Evolution made its debut on the now-defunct Kids' WB. Here's the intro:

Unlike the previous show, which was set in the "present" of the comic books, representing a pretty decent translation of what the X-Men's status quo was in the early-to-mid '90s, Evolution instead chose a "back to basics" approach in line with the earliest comic books. As such, we got versions of our heroes as teens, still getting their bearings while attending Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. In fact, the set-up of the show is very similar to what we're getting in the latest movie, right down to which characters were spotlighted.

The core team on the series consisted of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, and Rogue, with X-veterans Storm and Wolverine serving as instructors (which is a little weird, but whatever). In later episodes other characters like Beast and Angel and many others showed up as well. The primary conflict on the show was with the rival school headed up by shapeshifter Mystique and (secretly) Magneto, a front for the evil Brotherhood of Mutants. In later seasons we'd get other big baddies like the aforementioned Apocalypse.

X-Men: Evolution lasted four seasons and 54 episodes, finishing in October of 2003 (just after the second X-Men movie). That's not a bad run, and it's actually the third-longest for a Marvel-based animated show (after the '90s Spider-Man and X-Men shows), but it's weird how it exists in this weird nostalgic middle ground. Too old for youngsters, too recent for oldsters. That said, the show is available for streaming on Hulu, and with so many people unaware it even exists, Evolution is a fun treat that's just waiting to be discovered.

One Year Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Given the Hook to Hook

Two Year Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Star Trek: The Next Generation Warps to the Finish Line

Three Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Phantom 2040 -- The Ghost Who Walks...Into the Future

Four Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: De-Neuralizing Men in Black: The Series

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