Forgotten Cartoons Episode 36: Static Shock
Welcome back to "Forgotten Cartoons", everyone! For the first time since Episode 27, I'm reviewing a show that wasn't requested by anyone but was picked by me. I remembered watching it back in the day, and I was curious to see how it holds up. It is titled "Static Shock"."Static Shock" was created by Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek Dingle. It is based on the DC Comics character Static and takes place in the DC Animated Universe. It aired on Kids' WB from September 2000 through May 2004 with a total of 4 seasons and 52 episodes. Virgil Hawkins is a 14-year-old who lives with his older sister Sharon, and his widowed father Robert in Dakota City. He attends high school with his best friend Richie Foley, and has a crush on a girl named Frieda. He also has a dispute with a bully named Francis Stone. A gang leader named Wade recently helped Virgil, hoping to recruit him, but Virgil is hesitant. Wade eventually leads Virgil to a restricted area for a fight against Francis' crew, but it was interrupted by police helicopters. During the dispute with the police, chemical containers explode, releasing a gas that causes mutations among the people in the vicinity (this event was later known as "The Big Bang"). As a result, Virgil obtains the ability to create, generate, absorb, and control electricity and magnetism—he takes up the alter-ego of "Static". The gas also gives others in the area their own powers, and several of them become supervillains. The mutated people become meta-humans known as "Bang Babies" and their mutations apparently spread to other people around them.I watched reruns of this show on Cartoon Network when I was a kid, and I remember liking it. I hadn't really thought of this show until recently, so I decided to give it a try. I watched the entire first season in preparation for this review. One thing I can say for sure, it's a hell of a lot better than the last show I reviewed, "The Mighty B". However, to say it's merely better than "The Mighty B" would sell it short. This is a genuinely really good superhero series.I'm not surprised that this show mostly works, considering that most of the crew behind it is people who worked on the previous DCAU shows. Static may not have been that popular of a character, but they mostly did a pretty good job adapting him.I ended up liking the main character Virgil, A.K.A. Static, quite a lot. He's very smart, responsible, and always determined to do what's right, and he's generally very resourceful with how he uses his magnetic powers. Yet, he's also a normal high school boy who still has some growing up to do. To balance it out, he has a snarky sense of humor and delivers good one-liners.Virgil's best friend Richie is a nice character for him to play off of. He can be funny sometimes, and he's generally very supportive of Virgil's superhero escapades and tries to help however he can. I remember that he gains super-powers and becomes partners with Static in the later episodes. I'll have to check those out sometimes.Virgil's family members may get on his nerves at times, but they are actually quite likable and care for him very much. Though Virgil's father Robert may seem kind of strict at first, he's a genuinely very caring and supportive parent toward his kids. He's very understanding toward a lot of Virgil's feelings and is a great person for him to talk to. While Virgil and his sister Sharon bicker quite a lot, they still respect and care for each other at the end of the day.Most of the villains are pretty fun. Ebon is the main antagonist of the series. He is a shadow who creates inter-dimensional portals, can manipulate pure darkness and shadows, and transport others to various locations of his choice. We also meet many other villains with powers such as firepower, stretching, altering reality, controlling winds, and more.Despite being a kids show, "Static Shock" actually tackles some heavy social themes. One of the most notable is the episode "Sons of the Fathers". In the episode, we meet Richie's dad, who is racist against African Americans and thus dislikes Virgil. Also, in the Season 1 finale, "Tantrum", we learn just how much the death of his mother has been affecting Virgil.While the animation is a little stilted at times, it didn't keep the show from giving us some really fun action scenes. Most of the battles in the show are really good, and Static often defeats the villains in creative ways. The humor is mostly pretty solid, too.All in all, I enjoyed "Static Shock". While the show had minor pacing issues at times, I was very satisfied with it, and I might check out more of it later on. It delivers most of what you want in a superhero show, and it also addresses some serious topics that you almost never saw in kids cartoons at the time it came out. I'd say give it a watch.So that's a wrap for this episode of "Forgotten Cartoons". To my watchers and anyone else reading this, do you have any requests for what forgotten cartoons you want me to do a review on? Leave it in the comments!