Since the alphabet is the building block of our language, the Powet Alphabet is the building block of what makes us geeks.

Remember when cartoons used to be good? Back in the days between the original Power Rangers and whatever the hell umteenth spin-off they have run most recently, cartoons used to be well thought-out and fun for kids, while often having some aspects sprinkled about them that were meant for adult humor or reference. This meant kids and parents both could appreciate cartoons without realizing it. Warner Bros. was infamous for this practice, going as far back as the old Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoons for the 60’s and 70’s. Fun campy cartoons that entertained the crap out of us as youngin’s, that have managed to have little surprises in store for us as we’ve grown up and notice subtle little quips that we’d obviously missed or not gotten when we were kids. As WB carried on, this habit did not waver. Enter Freakazoid!

Warner Bros. had created a off-shoot block solely to cater to its line-up of cartoons in the mid-to-late 1990’s called “Kids WB”, meant to compete with the FOX network’s Saturday morning cartoons. The pre-cursor to this was Tiny Toon Adventures, which was popular enough to be followed up with Animaniacs a few years later, which was such a success with its myriad of side-stories and characters that it spawned its own spin-off with Pinky and the Brain. This line of cartoons from Kids WB proved to be lucrative for the network, and became the anchor for the Saturday morning slots, with weekday afternoons serving as re-run slots for after-school prime-time. In 1995 the network was given the go-ahead to order another series in the same animation-vein as the then popular Batman: Animated series. Bruce Timm, who animated Batman, and writer Paul Dini were asked by Steven Spielburg to lend their talents to the series. Thus, Freakazoid! was born.

Teenager Dexter Douglas lived as a normal geeky high-school student who was regularly the object of bullying and teasing by all those around him, including his older brother. Although dejected about this, he was non-the-less a pretty smart kid who tried to get by as many nerds do – retreating to his computer for solace. This turns his life around, as after his cat walks over his keyboard and types in a random series of key-strokes and Dexter tries deleting it, this set off a huge reaction which sucks him into the computer. The process gives him a score of superpowers and extensive internet knowledge, (which seems to manifest as the geek side of the internet rather than actual know-how) and turns him into the Freakazoid – which becomes his jovial and insane alter-ego.

Freakazoid played heavily off of the zany-silly humor that made Animaniacs popular amongst kids. Although technically a superhero, Freakazoid has a cast of equally nutty allies and enemies. The show used satire and pop-culture to lend to its bulk, with frequent breaking of the 4th wall to show it didn’t take itself seriously in the least. It almost could be said that Freakazoid’s main power was randomness, with no defined power-set and a habit to break out into nonsensical actions with his low attention-span. (bears riding unicycles tend to distract him rather well)

The show also wonderfully spoofs other superhero groups, movies, and various other mediums of entertainment.

And never mess with Freakazoid’s space.

Unfortunately, the show had issues. The biggest problem it faced was its timeslot, which was moved around constantly, to the point where even the show’s producers didn’t know where it was at any given time. The fact the show had been aimed at kids, yet had more teenage-adult humor laced into it was also a blessing, but a curse in terms of ratings. The show survived one full season and part of a second season before Kids WB canceled it. Even the fact an episode won a daytime Emmy couldn’t save the wacky cartoon.

Despite this, Freakazoid developed a cult following, and was picked up by Cartoon Network and aired between 1997 and 2003 with a total of 24 episodes. DVD releases were distributed in mid-2008, and that seems to have been the last we saw of Freakazoid since. This of course is a shame, as the animation quality and writing were top-notch, and WB could easily have won over an older crowd if they’d changed their scope a tad.