M.A.S.K. is a television series based on the Hasbro toy line of the same name, produced in 1985 by DiC Audiovisual. In this show, a team of helmeted heroes routinely skimp out of their day shifts to fight equally-helmeted villains.
The M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) unit, an underground team of vigilantes led by philanthrophist Matt Trakker, use specialized helmets with technology-derived superpowers (called "masks") and vehicles that can transform into powerful machines of war to combat the forces of evil worldwide. They frequently come to blows with V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem), a black-market trade organization helmed by main antagonist Miles Mayhem that also possess masks and transforming vehicles of their own who seek to loot world heritage sites for their riches.
Why It Fired Away
- Well-polished artwork for the character designs and decent background art.
- Rotating cast of heroes and vehicles adds variety to episodes.
- Compared to its contemporaries, the show is more "grounded" in reality (a few episodes notwithstanding), thus giving it a distinct flavor.
- Transforming vehicles were not necessarily a unique concept, but M.A.S.K.'s still managed to look cool and not afraid to get a bit outlandish (such as Trakker's flying car).
- V.E.N.O.M. as a whole were interesting antagonists. Rather than the typical "take over the world" plots of toy line villains, their members were mostly interested in black-market profiteering, though they still retained some comical quirks like their contemporaries.
- The "child focus" character Scott is one of the more tolerable examples of his archetype and did make himself genuinely useful. His comic-relief sidekick T-Bob was also reasonably tolerable most of the time.
- The theme song is considered a major highlight of the show, and had an extended version released.
- As was typical of 80s toyline cartoons, PSAs with sound advice would show up at the end of every episode, such as how to avoid child predators.
- The second season shifts the focus from a straightforward action show to a racing show and flanderizes the main antagonists, and is generally seen as weaker than the first.
- Received a controversial comic adaptation that suffers from poor writing and questionable decisions (such as racelifting Trakker).
- The 2015 short film Kung Fury features a dream sequence animated in a style similar to M.A.S.K. and other "merchandise-driven" shows.