From the annals of early 90′s television, Shout! Factory hasÂ recovered and rereleasedÂ The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. With 22 episodes and a few extras, thisÂ first setÂ is designed to appeal to the kid in all of us, and especially to the child of the 80s in currentÂ 20-somethings. Like most childhood shows, though, Sonic has its ups and downs, and loses a little bit of its magic a decade later.
As Sonic and his tiny fox friend Tails (self-proclaimed “Freedom Fighters”)Â cavort through the barren landscape of planet Mobius, in search of adventure and chili dogs, the evil Dr. Robotnik, with halfwitted help from his robotic henchmen Scratch, Grounder, and Coconuts (and the occasional side character), hatch “sneaky, devious, underhanded schemes” to nab the blue speed demon. Fortunately for our hero, he always manages to outsmart, outfight, and (surprise, surprise) outrun the bald buffoon.
Reminiscent of Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner, Robotnik’s assistants are constantly setting out traps for Sonic that backfire and leave them crushed, mangled, and in utter disrepair. Each episode has aÂ similar story-line: Robotnik hatches an evil scheme, Sonic discovers it and seeks to stop it, Tails may or may not be captured, Sonic saves the day after briefly flirting with the chance of being taken prisoner as well. This episode design works a lot better when viewers are 8 years old and only catching one episode a week, but watching numerous episodes in a row can make the plot feel a bit repetitive. It’s also a little addictive. Each episode seems better than the last, and the more you watch, the more you want to see. But somehow it still doesn’t have the draw of earlier cartoon like Rescue Rangers, Ducktales, or even Inspector Gadget.
The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog is the kind of do-gooder kids show that seems like a borderline mockery of itself in hindsight. And ultimately this is the main draw for viewers today. The sheer absurdity of a blue hedgehog from SEGAÂ and a two-tailed fox being repeatedly tracked down and thrown into cages with bars set much too far apart is entertainment in itself. And like He-Man and G.I. Joe before it, Sonic manages to leave kids with a positive message after each show in the section entitled “Sonic Says”. This is the kind of stuff memories are made of and most will buy this collectionÂ simply to relive childhood fun. There’s plenty of fun to be had here; it’s just mostly nonsensical.