90s X-Men Animated Series Now Collected in Easy-to Dispose DVD Format

Here's the thing: I really loved the old X-Men animated series from the 90s. Not the one where Wolverine had an Australian accent. The other one. I watched every episode several times. In university I watched it again when it was shown on Teletoon. I loved it then, and that was only like eight years ago. The good news for those who loved the show is that it's now available on DVD as of last week (or at least the first 33 episodes are). The bad news is that it really doesn't hold up very well.

Last night Johnathan and I got together for what should have been a perfect evening of beer, ribs and the X-Men DVDs. It took about 30 seconds to realize that no amount of beer and mapley sweet ribs would negate the fact that we were watching a terrible show.

The opening credits are great. Great music, great clips, great fonts. But after that the show pretty much falls apart every episode. Even the episodes I remembered as being good were pretty bad. The end credits were astonishingly bad.

The real problem with this show is that it is extremely loyal to an era of X-Men comics that was extremely flawed. Everyone is ugly with crazy eyebrows, terrible hair, and horrible outfits. Cable is covered in armbands, all of which are way too tight. It must take him five hours to get dressed. The stories are largely based on Claremont comics, but with all the intelligence taken out. Even the Len Wein-penned Alpha Flight episode fell flat.

The animation is lazy. The voice acting is terrible. Everyone's accents are insane. Xavier darts around in his floating wheelchair at an alarming speed in small spaces. Footage is recycled at a ridiculous rate. The characters are all flat and boring. No wonder I loved Gambit so much...he's the only one with a shred of personality. And every time Bishop is on screen we hear blues harmonica for some reason.

My favourite line was probably when Storm was buried under a pile of boulders and Cyclops's reaction was to yell "Help! Storm suffers from claustrophobia!" I think the bigger problem was that Storm was suffering from being buried under a pile of boulders.

Now keep this in mind: this series was airing at the same time as the damn near perfect Batman: The Animated Series!

So what I am saying is that I really wanted to like this. I wanted to watch it and be able to say "You know, this is a pretty solid series" because surely I did not waste hours of my life watching something really crappy. Right? I did. The world is right and I was wrong. This is not a good show. And the fact that there are no special features on the DVDs means there is no reason to buy it. But, y'know, people really like watching the old G.I. Joe cartoon too, and that thing sucks (sorry, nerds. It sucks).

I mean, I guess if you want to get stoned with your friends and redub the audio with your own jokes and post it on YouTube, this is a must-buy. But other than that, I can't really recommend it. It's best left forgotten and replaced in our collective memory by the excellent new series, Wolverine and the X-Men.