FREAKAZOID!Original medium: TV animation
Produced by: Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros.
First Appeared: 1995
Creator: Bruce Timm
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Freakazoid! was originally conceived as a reasonably ordinary superhero, whose adventures had strongly comedic overtones, like the early Blue Devil or the very early Plastic Man. But by
the time he appeared on television (starting September 9, 1995), he'd become a complete whack job, less serious than The Fat Fury and less sane than Flaming Carrot. Freakazoid! was the Madman of animated heroes — even to the point, some say, of plagiarism.
Freakazoid! started out as teenage computer geek Dexter Douglas, whose techno-obsession was such that the gift of a new, ultra-cool chip sent him into near-ecstasy. But once installed, the chip turned out to have a bug — when his cat, Mr. Chubbikins, accidentally typed a long, nonsensical string of characters, it was primed to suck Dexter right into the Internet. Afterward, when he uttered the phrase "Freak Out" (his version of "Shazam!"), he was transformed into a blue-skinned, superhero-clad, weird-haired, powered-up freak. But the phrase "Freak in" would make him so normal, even his parents, Douglas and Debbie Douglas, couldn't see anything freaky about him.
Freakazoid! had the usual superhero abilities of super-strength and super-speed, and was reasonably invulnerable. But the closest he coame to flying was to run very fast, working his hands and making voice sounds to pretend he was flying. He had one super power that was unique — all the information of the Internet, which as we all know consists of a near-infinite conglomeration of knowledge and nonsense, all jammed together in no particular order. He had all the facts there are at his disposal, but was about as well-connected to the real world as the average political blogger. Not that any particular political point of view ever seems to have entered his head.
His friend, Sgt. Mike Cosgrove of the Washington DC (where he lived) Police, had a couple of super powers of his own. For one thing, he could drive off in his police car, looking for Freakazoid!, and pull up right next to him no matter where in the world he happened to be. For another, he could put a stop to any activity, even, in a brief guest appearance on Animaniacs, a ruckus involving The Warner Brothers (and Sister), just by saying "Cut it out!".
Other characters included Duncan Douglas (Dexter's older brother, inclined to bully Dexter until "that blue guy" turned up), Stephanie or "Steff" (Dexter's cute, blonde girlfriend, who knew his secret identity), Expendable Lad (Freakazoid!'s sidekick, who, being expendable, was quickly written out of the series), Fan Boy (an annoying fanboy), and Emmett Nervend (who never took part in stories but was frequently seen in backgrounds, often with something funny happening to him).
Freakazoid! was voiced by writer Paul Rugg, who later did the voice for Professor Rottwood in American Dragon: Jake Long; while his non-super Dexter self was David Kaufman (Danny Phantom). Sgt. Cosgrove was Edward Asner (best known for face acting, but he also had minor roles in both Buzz Lightyear and Duck Dodgers). Debbie and Douglas Douglas were John P. McCann (who seldom worked in voice acting, but also did some writing for Batman Beyond) and Tress MacNeille (Disney's 21st century Daisy Duck), respectively; and Duncan was Googy Gress (Bouncing Boy of The Legion of Super Heroes in Justice League animation).
Stephanie was Tracy Rowe (Marcella in the 1988 Raggedy Ann). Fan Boy was Stephen Furst (Dash in The Little Mermaid II). The Narrator, who often acted almost as a character in the series, like the one in Rocky & Bullwinkle, was Joe Leahy (Razorclaw in Transformers). Mr. Chubbikins was Frank Welker (Foofur). Emmett Nervend didn't speak.
The show was produced by Amblin Entertainment (Tiny Toon Adventures, Roger Rabbit), and aired on the Warner Bros. TV network (Earthworm Jim, Taz-Mania). 24 episodes were made over a period of two seasons. After they ran their course, they were rerun on Cartoon Network (Dexter's Lab, Powerpuff Girls) until 2003. So far, they aren't available on VHS or DVD.