Lilo & Stitch: The Series
Lilo & Stitch: The Series (or simply known as Lilo & Stitch on its title card) is an American animated television series produced by Walt Disney Television Animation. A sequel spin-off of the 2002 feature film of the same name, and the follow-up to the August 2003 direct-to-video pilot Stitch! The Movie, it premiered on September 20, 2003 on ABC as part of ABC Kids, with a delayed premiere on Disney Channel on October 12, 2003. The series ended on July 29, 2006 after airing 65 episodes in two seasons.
Continuing where Stitch! The Movie left off, Lilo and Stitch are given the task of collecting the rest of Jumba's missing experiments, changing them from bad to good, and finding the one place where they truly belong. Meanwhile, the former Captain Gantu and his reluctant partner, Experiment 625 (later named Reuben), try to capture the experiments for the imprisoned Dr. Hämsterviel.
Running for two seasons, it had a total of 65 episodes. The storyline of the series concluded with the Disney Channel broadcast of the television film Leroy & Stitch on June 23, 2006.
Why It Rocks
- Most the voice actors from the original film reprise their roles in this show, including Lilo & Stitch writer/director Chris Sanders as X-626/Stitch himself.
- Many of the experiments in the show are creative and unique.
- X-625/Reuben was a likeable character and a straightman to Gantu.
- Dr. Jacques von Hämsterviel was really a unique Disney villain who was teased in the first film before the show was even in development.
- Great and memorable characters such as Stitch, Jumba, Lilo, David, Cobra Bubbles, Dr. Hämsterviel, Nani, Pleakley and Reuben.
- Pleakley was weird, but still funny.
- Stitch is still extremely cute (and fluffy)!
- There's even crossover episodes for some of the other Disney Channel shows (The Proud Family, American Dragon: Jake Long, and Kim Possible) and even a crossover with one show (Recess) that had already ended production prior to Lilo & Stitch's debut.
- Stitch and X-624/Angel's relationship is adorable.
- It ended with a TV film titled Leroy & Stitch, which was just as good.
- Beautiful, fluid and colorful animation that's almost as good as the film.
- They'll often take one of the experiments' adventures and turn it into an Aesop.
- The show has several adorable moments of the Pelekai 'ohana enjoying life together as a family, reminding audiences why they could not help falling in love with them when they first saw the original film.
- It's the first sequel TV series based on a Walt Disney Animation Studios film to have been referenced in a later animated feature film by the studio (X-619/Splodyhead cameoed as an image on a red pillow on Fred's bed in Big Hero 6).
- This might mean that Lilo & Stitch: The Series is actually canonical to the "Disney Animated Canon". (A big might though because Disney has a lot of puristic fans who refuse to acknowledge any sequels, prequels, and other spin-offs not made by WDAS.)
- It's also the first Disney Television Animation series to have one of its own characters appear in the Kingdom Hearts series, with X-221/Sparky (who, admittedly, first appeared in the pilot film) being a mandatory boss battle in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
- Angel's popularity has actually single-handedly saved the show (and the experiments overall) from being near-completely forgotten by Disney long after it ended, unlike with most of their other sequel/prequel spin-off shows to their animated films. She actually gets merchandise made after her released worldwide to this very day, even in the United States where the Lilo & Stitch franchise's overall popularity waned the most, years after both this show ended and the infamous anime that she appeared more frequently in (mentioned below) made its very brief American run. She even appears in a few decent Disney-themed mobile and video games, such as Disney Tsum Tsum and Disney Magic Kingdoms.
- It was followed up by two spin-offs of dubious quality that separated the 'ohana; the infamous Stitch! anime and the Chinese animated Stitch & Ai.
- The show is tonally different from the original film, with an increased emphasis on kid-friendly humor and less drama, which some find to be too much of a change. Because of this, a number of purist Lilo & Stitch fans disregard this show, the sequel films and even the genetic experiments besides Stitch (even though they as a whole originally debuted in prequel material released before the first film) as fanon discontinuity and restrict 'ohana to only the main characters of the original film (which some fans argue goes directly against the inclusive message of 'ohana).
- Lilo Pelekai was pretty flanderized in several episodes, turning from a troubled, socially inept kid with a serious belief in voodoo into a whiny, overachieving brat.
- Then again, Lilo was a bit bratty in the original film as well, but that's more due to her personal troubles back then.
- Nani Pelekai also suffers some flanderization in several episodes as well. Whereas her temper in the films was understandably due to her stress in trying to keep her family together, in the show, she unnecessarily grounds Lilo and Stitch for rather minor misdeeds, the worst cases being in "Bonnie & Clyde" where she punishes them for just burping and running all over the house, and "Phantasmo" where she doesn't allow Stitch to defend himself for all the bad things the episode's experiment framed him for.
- Keoni Jameson, while a decent person to Lilo, is a bland and unnecessary addition to the show. Lilo's crush on him often brings out the worst in her.
- According to executive producer and screenwriter Jess Winfield in a TV Tome forum that has sadly been almost entirely deleted from the Internet (this fan archive of the first four pages is all that's left), even the writing staff did not like working with the character, who was mandated by the executives to be an audience surrogate.
- Only about a hundred experiments were made for the show (including both the pilot and finale films). Even with the anime's experiments factored in, an overwhelming majority of Stitch's 625 predecessor "cousins" remain unseen to this day.
- Some of the characters the show introduced were severely underutilized, most notably Lilo's new friend Victoria (who only had a major role in just two episodes) and several experiments, especially Angel (who only had two episodes that first aired nearly two-and-a-half years apart from each other), Experiment 627 (who only had one episode), and — if the films are included — Leroy from Leroy & Stitch (which remains his only animated appearance in the franchise to this day). The anime, for what it's worth, did rectify this issue to an extent, most notably with Angel.
- "Ace" would have been a more substantial episode than a mere clip show, but the original climax (Lilo and the experiments stage a tidal wave that Pleakley accidentally gets caught in, prompting Jumba to save him) was cut due to tragic real life events; at the time of the episode's production, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami occurred, which lead to the loss of over 200,000 lives worldwide. Not wanting to be seen as insensitive to the victims of the disaster, the writing staff agreed to cut out the climax, which led to the episode's conversion to a clip show. (Disney also temporarily halted reruns of "Cannonball" for a few months because of the disaster.)
- Some bad episodes such as "Heckler", "Phoon", "Morpholomew", and "Sinker".
- Significant continuity errors thanks to a rushed production cycle, such as experiments first appearing in episodes before what are supposed to be their proper debuts, and having reformed or been freed from Gantu and Hämsterviel when they should be under their possession.
- The inconsistency with X-033/Hammerface is one of the worst examples; he first appears in "The Asteroid" as part of the 'ohana and is called "Hammerhead" by Pleakley. However, his proper debut is supposed to be "Dupe", where he is found, activated, named and trained by Gantu, and the experiment later gets rescued in "Snafu" along with the other experiments Gantu and Hämsterviel had caught. This would mean that "The Asteroid" has to take place after "Snafu".