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25 years ago, Batman: The Animated Series creators Bruce Timm and Paul Dini envisioned a new superhero cartoon with slightly comedic overtones. However, the then-fledgling Kid’s WB and executive producer Steven Spielberg had different ideas. By the time Freakazoid! debuted in 1995, it was one of the zaniest superhero shows ever. It took more inspiration from Animaniacs than Batman, but that didn’t stop the Dark Knight from making an unofficial cameo appearance!
But the open secret of Freakazoid! is that it was clearly inspired by Mike Allred's Madman character. According to Allread, Timm acknowledged that Freakazoid! borrowed a lot from Madman... though the series producers never gave Allred any onscreen acknowledgement or compensation. Fortunately, Allred has been willing to let bygones be bygones.
As for the series itself, Freakazoid! may have been a decade or so ahead of its time as its sense of humor arguably went over the collective heads of its intended audience. Freakazoid! played really well to adults who loved its subversive elements. Essentially, it was an Adult Swim show before there was even an Adult Swim!
Because Freakazoid! didn't have the wide audience of Batman or Animaniacs, it came to an abrupt end in 1997 after only two seasons. Even the subsequent DVDs have gone out of print, which has caused Freakazoid! to be largely forgotten.
Regardless, we think the time is right for Freakazoid! to return. And if Spielberg can ever pick Freakazoid out of a line-up, then perhaps it's not out of the question!
For more Freakazoid! tidbits and trivia, check out the latest episode of SYFY WIRE's Everything You Didn't Know!