Spider-Man S1 (1994-1995)

Short review of the first season of the 1994 animated FOX Spider-Man TV show.

The 1994 animated Spider-Man show is unusual in that it’s effective despite some really big eyebrow raisers. Like most Marvel shows its target audience is still first and foremost kids, which means no blood, wounds or even real bullets. Peter Parker too often is portrayed like a bumbling fool in his human identity and characterization on the show in general lacks sophistication (compared to most of DC’s animated offerings).

Still, while the writing isn’t big on complex character motivation or drama, it has some things going for it: no long opening arc trying to establish who Spider-Man is, excellent pacing that makes sure things never get boring, enough plot to satisfy even older audiences (who can forgive the show for lacking depth) and a Spider-Man who – while still plagued by self-doubt sometimes – most of the times enjoy doing his superhero act and is cracking funny one-liners endlessly (and some of those showed that the writers were pretty geeky themselves). So, despite the usual annoyances of a kiddy-TV show, it was fun to watch.

Plotwise the first season depicted a couple of classic stories and classic villains remixed, like the back costume and the rise of Venom, and fights with the Lizard, Mysterio, Rhino, Doctor Octopus, Kraven and the Hobgoblin. While there’s no overall season arc, there were recurring characters like Ozborn and the Kingpin, which gave the show more cohesion than your usual episodic TV.