Sonic the Hedgehog is an American animated television series created by DiC, based on the video game series of the same name. The series aired from September 18, 1993 to June 3, 1995 on ABC. The series sharply contrasts with Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, a syndicated series that premiered in the same month.
While Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog is known for its bright colors and whimsical humor, Sonic the Hedgehog featured darker stories which constituted a departure from the tone of the Sonic games of the time. To distinguish between the two series, fans typically refer to this series as SatAM, because it was a Saturday morning cartoon, while Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog aired on weekdays in syndication in the United States.
The show ran for two seasons. A third season was in the early planning stages until ABC canceled the show because of low ratings (thought to result from competition with FOX Kids' Power Rangers). After SatAM was canceled, reruns of the show appeared on USA Network's USA Action Extreme Team. Boomerang will air the show during Boomeraction in 2009.
The series was also telecast in Canada on the CTV Network, although it was aired between September 18, 1993, and September 2, 1995. The possible reason for CTV airing the series during the summer of 1995, which ABC never did, was to simply run the rest of the 1994-1995 broadcast year out. The show has not been aired in Canada since its cancellation.
The program was partly recently broadcast on the UK television channels Pop and ITV2. It initially had a complete run on Channel 4 on Sunday mornings.
Despite its cancellation and limited recent airings, the show enjoys a small but loyal internet fanbase. The show was also the partial basis for a comic book series called Sonic the Hedgehog, which continues even 14 years after the cartoon's cancellation and still features many of the cartoon's own characters.
In response to popular demand, the entire series was released onto DVD by Shout! Factory on March 27, 2007. More information about this release can be read below.
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
The show takes place on a planet called Mobius (a future Earth) sometime in the 33rd century (in one episode, "Blast to the Past Pt. 1", it was mentioned the year was 3224, when the characters were just 5 years old, making the storyline take place in the year 3235, also confirmed in the spin-off Archie comic). An evil scientist named Dr. Julian Ivo Robotnik (Jim Cummings) and his pet robot chicken Cluck invaded and conquered a huge city named Mobotropolis, with the help of his assistant and nephew Snively (Charlie Adler) and his army of robot soldiers called SWATbots. He then used a giant airship called the Destroyer to turn Mobotropolis into a new city, renaming it Robotropolis, a polluted city of factories and warehouses. This invasion occurred on Friday the 13th, 3224, in an unknown month (potentially either September 13, 3224 or December 13, 3224) ("Blast from the Past" Parts 1 and 2).
Robotnik soon invaded the castle home of the city's king, Maximillian Acorn (Tim Curry), exiling him to a dimensional warp known as "The Void" and making the palace his own personal headquarters. From there, he captured the rest of the citizens, including a brainy old hedgehog named Sir Charles Hedgehog (William Windom) and his dog Muttski, and used a machine called the roboticizer to turn them into robot slaves.
Those who managed to escape retreated into the Great Forest and built a village named Knothole to hide from Robotnik, including a group called the Freedom Fighters, among them the protagonist, Sonic the Hedgehog (Jaleel White), Charles' speedy nephew, as well as his best friend Tails (Bradley Pierce), a young two-tailed fox who can twirl his tails to fly.
Other Freedom Fighters include Rotor (Mark Ballou/Cam Brainard), a walrus with a knack for machines, Antoine (Rob Paulsen), a French coyote and former palace guard with many personality flaws, and Bunnie Rabbot (Christine Cavanaugh), a pretty southern cyborg rabbit who was partially roboticized before being saved by Sonic. Last is the group's leader, Princess Sally Acorn (Kath Soucie), the king's only daughter. Sally carries a sentient mini-computer named NICOLE.
For ten years, the Freedom Fighters constantly foiled Robotnik's schemes. In the show's second season, a winged female dragon named Dulcy (Cree Summer) was a new star. Dulcy's mother Sabina was captured and roboticized along with most her species.
The show ran for two seasons before it was canceled. The final episode, "The Doomsday Project", ended with a cliffhanger suggesting a new villain for season three; it was later revealed that the villain would have been a sorcerer from a previous episode named Ixis Naugus. There were rumors of a third season, but it was never produced.
Many fans and newcomers have debated over whose eyes were in the background at the end of "The Doomsday Project". Some thought it was Knuckles the Echidna, while others thought Metal Sonic. On the popular semi-official SatAM website, Ben Hurst revealed that the eyes belonged to "Ixis Naugus. Not Knuckles. Not Metal Sonic. Ixis Naugus." He also did not specify if Knuckles and Metal Sonic would appear later on in the series, had it been able to continue.
A DVD of five first-season episodes was available from DiC and Lions Gate Home Entertainment under the title Sonic the Hedgehog: Super Sonic, which was released on Feb. 26, 2002. However, this was pulled when Buena Vista claimed to have distribution rights to the series.
The five episodes that were on this disc, all from Season 1, were:
It was thought that the Super Sonic DVD would be the show's lone DVD release. However, on September 18, 2006, it was announced that a Boxset entitled Sonic The Hedgehog: The Complete Series would be released by Shout! Factory in partnership with DiC on March 27, 2007. More details to the above information can be found here and here.  Bonus features including a printable script of "Heads or Tails", interviews with the voice of Sonic (Jaleel White) and the story writer, and opening sketches are included as extras, along with all the covers save the front of the box being decorated with fan-art.
According to writer Ben Hurst, there were no scripts written for Season 3, but there were originally plans for 13 more episodes. The planned third season would have featured Snively briefly attempting to take over (quickly failing in the prosses) and would then accidentally release Naugus from the Void, who would eventually take over as the main villain with Robotnik as his lackey (Naugus is also the person whose eyes were seen behind Snively at the end of Season 2). The King would also be freed from the Void and Snively, reduced to nothing, would later defect to the Freedom Fighters (which briefly occurred in the Sonic Archie comic). Furthermore, Tails matures and plays a much larger role as an official of the Freedom Fighters, even showing a bit of a rebellious side and would save the Freedom Fighters from a major disaster. It has also been said that Sally is romanced by someone other than Sonic and that Dulcy comes into her full powers.
Although it's an idea that has been pitched before, professional animator Matthew Sullivan (known for his work on The Simpsons, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and Family Guy) is preparing to pitch to Sega and DiC for a revival of the series, one that will hopefully include writer Ben Hurst. Unfortunately, after Sullivan was questioned about this by fans on a forum, he failed to appear again, making fans believe this was all a hoax.
In 1993 an article in Sonic the Poster Mag #1, a spin-off of the British Sonic/Sega comic Sonic the Comic officially licensed by Sega Of Europe, announced two new television series staring Sonic the Hedgehog, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM). Within the four pages of plot synopsis and concept art, a group of screen shots that greatly differ from the rest appear without explanation. These screen shots have circulated through the internet contributing to the theory of a cartoon series aborted before production which has been dubbed "The Mystery cartoon" also "Pre-SatAM".
While there has not been any confirmation from DiC on the matter, it is widely considered that these images were a prototype for SatAM, due to similarities (Sally Acorn, The Robotocizer, Freedom Fighters) with the series and their appearance within an article announcing SatAM.
The supporting characters in the Pre-SatAM cartoon are most likely based on the small animals freed from enemies in the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. Most notable is the lack of Tails; it could be that the concept was drawn up before Tails' arrival in the franchise.
In a recent interview with Peter Morawiec, a former programmer for Sega Technical Institute and the famed creator of Comix Zone, it was revealed that he had developed a prototype game based on the cartoon continuity, using a completely different engine than that of the traditional Sonic games. It would have been the second time that characters from the cartoon series would have shown up, and possibly the first video game appearances of both the SatAM version of Robotnik and Snively.