You know, one really has to wonder where our advanced society would be today without the diligent pioneering efforts of animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbara. Why, without shows like The Flintstones, we might not have foot-powered cars made out of wood and stone. Were it not for The Jetsons, we wouldn’t be flying jet-cars and being waited on by robotic maids. And, if Hanna-Barbara not have given us the lesser-known animated cult classic, Sealab 2020, there stands an excellent chance that manned undersea scientific compounds would still be a figment of some sci-fi writer’s imagination.
While it only lasted one season of thirteen episodes, Sealab 2020 nevertheless struck a favorable enough chord with Archer‘s own Adam Reed and Matt Thompson, who took footage from this classic and created the four-season Adult Swim hit, Sealab 2021 out of it. Though the strange humor found in that 2000-2005 series isn’t present in this original show, the 1972 item may nevertheless manage to get a chuckle or two out of today’s viewers over just how dated and overly environmentally-friendly it is. It’s the funky theme, though — a genuine product of its time — that really sells it for me.
Set in a huge underwater facility manned by 250 scientists and their families, Sealab 2020: The Complete Series brings us their weekly adventures, with exploits ranging from radiation leakage to sunken treasures. The great Ross Martin provided his voice as the lead character, Dr. Paul Williams (no, not that Paul Williams), along with John Stephenson as Capt. Michael Murphy (were Hanna-Barbara’s writers just big music fans, or…?). Child actors Josh Albee and Pamelyn Ferdin provide the voices for the two adventurous young characters. The Warner Archive Collection brings us another lost animated gem on DVD-R in a 2-Disc set that is available from WBShop.com.