Todd McFarlane's Spawn
Todd McFarlane's Spawn, also known as Spawn: The Animated Series, is an American adult animated noir television series which aired on HBO from 1997 through 1999 and reran on Cartoon Network's Toonami programming block in Japan. It has also been released on DVD as a film series. The show is based on the Spawn character from Image Comics, and won an Emmy in 1999 for Outstanding Animation Program (longer than one hour).
Why It Rocks
- Gorgeous animation.
- Great art style that still looks good for today.
- Great voice acting.
- Interesting and likable characters like Spawn/Al Simmons.
- Cyan is adorable.
- It stays faithful to the Spawn comics, and it wasn't afraid of being dark like the comics.
- Interesting story about a Hellspawn wanting to see his wife again after being killed by his "close" friend.
- Some episodes have uncensored NSFW in it.
- The Freak, and Malebolgia do not appear in the show.
- Angela does not encounter Spawn in the show.
- The show went on 2 hiatuses that happened after Season 1 and 2 ended that lasted almost a year.
- Spawn can be unlikable sometimes.
- The series finale went off on a cliffhanger in season 3.
The series has achieved a small but loyal cult following who praise the animation, writing, voice acting, music and dark tone, whereas the graphic violence and intentional unresolved cliffhanger has attracted criticism. Variety stated in 1997 that "It’s as dark and complex as anything HBO has attempted in the live-action arena. And visually, it’s quite the stunner. HBO wanted different, and it surely got it." A more mixed review at the time in 1997 came from The Dallas Morning News, they questioned why anyone would "want to subject themselves to such a relentlessly grim, gruesome dehumanizing experience."
Todd McFarlane's Spawn was ranked 5th on IGN's list of "The Greatest Comic Book Cartoons of All Time", and 23rd on IGN's list of "Top 25 Primetime Animated Series of All Time" (despite the fact the show was aired at midnight on HBO).
Series producer Eric Radomski reflected in a retrospective interview that "Spawn TAS was a personal triumph for me. Very rarely do artists get the opportunity to have as much uncensored creative freedom as I did at HBO on Spawn."
John Leekley who served as the head writer and showrunner for the second and third season revealed that some of the ideas for the scrapped fourth season involved the return of Angela looking to avenge the death of Jade who was her previous lover, several one time characters would've returned and had larger roles, a gang war spiraling out of control led by the ruthless Barrabas, Spawn befriending a runaway teenage girl named Kristen with a case of pyrophobia, a now disfigured Wynn looking for redemption, Chapel breaking out of the asylum and winds up a pawn for Angela, Merrimack having to team up with Twitch to save her daughter and most of the characters coming to the realization of Spawn's identity.
A sequel series titled Spawn: The Animation was in development in 2004 and was set to be released in 2007 with Keith David reprising his role but due to McFarlane wanting to push the animation further, the project ended up in production limbo until it was quietly cancelled.