”Crash is kidnapped by a villain who’s half-man, half-ant! That’s bad enough — but ManAnt also has evil plans to grow a whole army of giant ants!” reads the official description for the series premiere of THE AQUABATS! SUPER SHOW! which aired the past Saturday on The Hub. Yes, the long-awaited (by people like me) Aquabats! show has arrived – but how is it?
Anyone that worked with me back in my Sam Goody days knows how much MYTHS, LEGENDS AND OTHER AMAZING ADVENTURES (2000, Fearless Records) got played. That would be, “quite a bit” – and it still gets spins here at The Rock Father™ house in 2012. The reality is that The Aquabats! have been rocking audiences for nearly twenty years, and after a few different attempts at television glory, the band has finally found a home at The Hub – a network that seems to appreciate what they’ve gotten themselves into.
The M.C. Bat Commander, Crash McLarson, Ricky Fitness, Eaglebones Falconhawk, and Jimmy the Robot probably aren’t names that kids will recognize – but hopefully they soon will. With new episodes airing on Saturday mornings at 11am ET/8am PT, the SUPER SHOW brings back that Saturday excitement that kids of the 70’s and 80’s remember fondly, and kids of newer generations have been deprived of. I’m saying that it gives you something to look forward to in an age of instant entertainment.
I had the interesting experience of watching the premiere with my 2 1/2 year-old daughter, my wife, and my mother-in-law and her sister – both of whom were in visiting for the weekend. “Tell me why, exactly, you like this show?” my mother-in-law asked from the kitchen. “Well, it’s the series premiere, so no one’s really seen it yet,” I responded prior to explaining what exactly The Aquabats! are.
Take the slapstick superhero action of the 1966 BATMAN series, toss in a little of the 1970’s Hanna-Barbara cartoon craziness, and add a dash of THE MONKEES, followed by a healthy sprinkling of Japanese monster action, and you have somewhat of an idea of what to expect. Why would a network take a chance on such a high-concept affair? The success of M.C. Bat Commander’s alter-ego Christian Jacobs’ other show, Yo Gabba Gabba! certainly couldn’t hurt.
For a first episode, ManAnt! drops viewers right into the action with no explanation to The Aquabats! motives, nor provides any real background as to what is actually going on. But it doesn’t have to, because you just accept it and go along with the fun. It’s fast-paced, silly, and rockin’ all at once, with a bunch of Godzilla/Power Rangers-style battle scenes, hamburgers, and Rip Taylor. Oddly, The Aquabats! can be seen performing at a Pool Party without playing their hit song of the same name.
The Bottom Line: My DVR is set to “series record,” and with The Hub notoriously being owned in part by Hasbro, my fingers are crossed for some Aquabats! toys. That bus/mobile command center (The BattleTram) they drive would look really good next to the DeLorean and Batmobile on the high shelf of my office.
The Rock Father™ rating: 4/5 Stars