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Sealab 2020 - The Complete Series

4.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

"This is the year two thousand and twenty. The place is the Challenger Sea Mount, the top of an underwater mountain, a complex beneath the sea. Two hundred and fifty men, women and children live here. Each of them, a scientist pioneer. For this is our last frontier, a hostile environment which may hold the key to tomorrow. Each day, these oceanauts meet new challenges as they build their city beneath the sea. This is Sealab 2020."

With these words setting the stage, and some funky bass riffs setting the tone, Saturday morning TV took the 70s underwater Sci Fi adventure plunge. Ably overseen by Hanna-Barbera's ace action animators and voiced by a superb cast (including John Stephenson, Ross Martin, Jerry Dexter and Ann Jillian), the oceanauts of Sealab face seaquakes, sharks and falling satellites while finding the time to serve up lessons on environmentalism, tolerance, and teamwork across this 2-Disc, 13-Episode Collection

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Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Archive
  • DVD Release Date: June 21, 2012
  • Run Time: 280 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0085A9K6W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,767 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Sweeney on August 10, 2012
Format: DVD
I've actually watched several episodes from this series recently, and was surprised to discover that -- far from horrible -- it's actually a serviceable bit of Saturday morning nostalgia.

First airing on Saturday morning in September of 1972, the show had a very short run of 13 episodes. Going in, I was hoping for excitement and adventure reminiscent of Jonny Quest (far and away Hanna-Barbera's finest moment, in my opinion). Alex Toth, who designed many of H-B's most popular classic characters (Space Ghost, Herculoids, etc.) did many of the designs for 2020, which lends it a cool comic-booky look not unlike Quest.

Alas, the show has a very different tone -- perhaps because of the prevailing attitude of the early 70's that cartoons should abstain from violence. The result is an almost educational show, teaching kids about the various sea creatures and rudimentary information about the ocean and diving. And initially the show comes off as very boring because of this. But I have to admit that after being bored by the first 2 episodes, I found myself becoming more and more interested in the next two. The show has some good messages, such as overcoming handicaps and preserving the environment, and deals with some decent issues most cartoons would never touch.

In some weird way, the stories and scripts are more reminiscent of live action programs than a cartoon. They are fairly adult and lack the zaniness one might expect from this era of Hanna Barbera (i.e. Funky Phantom, anyone?). In other words, it is a perfect counterpoint to the new Sea Lab 2021, which goes for sheer laughs.

I think that the other reviewers that gave 2020 negative reviews have never actually seen the show. When you think about the time period when this show was made, it's probably one of the better H-B shows. While we'll never have another Jonny Quest again, 2020 was an interesting project that will probably, like Quest, never be duplicated.
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I remember watching this show as a kid and I really liked it. Most people diss the show without even having watched it. It's educational and moralistic. People compare this show to Sealab 2021 and say they hate it. Stop comparing and you'll realize this is very likeable series. Highly recommended!
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I loved the show as a kid all - even despite its preaching about the environment (which at least was understated and realistic compared to the infinitely more heavy-handed Captain Planet). My only problem is that this collection is misnamed as the complete series. While it's true that it includes every episode that was actually ever aired, there were three other episodes made as well that were never broadcast for some reason. It would have been nice to have seen those as well, as I was expecting from something billed as the *complete* series.
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Saw this show back in the 70's, caught it in re-runs during the summer after the series first aired. Saw maybe 3 or 4 episodes and then September came along, and with it a whole slew of new cartoons. Sealab 2020 wasn't amongst them. It was fully about 20+ years later that I ever saw anything substantial about the show, and that was in print, being model sheets drawn by Alex Toth. Truth be told, I bought this set because of Alex Toth and his work.
Keep one thing in mind: this is NOT the "Sealab 2021" parody series.

The show is dated, the DVD shows the art and animation more clearly than ever before, and probably moreso than ever intended.
You can tell the background are painted on card-stock, and the animation is clearly painted onto cels. Okay......that is how cartoons were done then. The stories are a touch preachy, but the episodes I have watched tried to be more entertaining than educational. The stuff is still aimed at kids. The "Toth" influence is there.....a bit........but most of the sophistication implied in his designs and storyboards is largely lost in the crude limited TV animation. You can see what they were trying for........but the studio/network politics of the day didn't seem to grant the leeway to allow the series to get to what it was intended to be.
This is a nostalgic novelty, probably even an acquired taste. It's not as entertaining or as thrilling as other Hanna Barbera action adventure series, but nevertheless has its place in their pantheon.
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This colorful undersea show is pro-environment, with people of different ages, races and yes, even handicaps working together to solve problems -- sometimes, urgent ones. I didn't appreciate Sealab 2020 as much in 1972, but as an adult, I'm not too proud to learn a few things along with my entertainment. 2020 seemed like a long time in the future back then.
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Underrated cartoon from prolific animation giant Hanna-Barbera that was initially broadcasted in the early 1970s but now virtually unknown except as inspiration for Cartoon Network's very funny parody Sealab 2021. Yes, this 13-episode series takes things a little too seriously, the environmental message a little too earnest, and some stories are a trifle slow-moving for (IMHO) modern tastes, but there are some nostalgic pleasures to be had. Standout episodes include 'Green Fever' and 'Collision of the Aquarius', ending on a strong note with 'The Arctic Story'. This DVD is barebones but the episodes are bright, colourful and relatively clean, with clear sound overall.
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