Shows That Never Made It Past Season Two: #5 Animorphs

No one to Help You When You're lost...how appropriate

My Only Hate Sprung From my Only Love

 If you grew up in the 90's, you were likely reading Goosebumps and The Babysitter's Club. I, on the other hand, was reading Animorphs. A science fiction series about five kids engaged in a guerrilla battle with an alien invasion force known as the Yeerks. Their only weapon is the power to change into animals for two hours at a time.

I was. In. LOVE with this series.

Fourteen and I had been suspended from middle school. My ability to get back in with mainstream students hung by a thread. Animorphs gave me something to look forward to every month and kept me on the straight and narrow. I became a regular customer at the Bennington Bookshop, desperately scouring the shelf and leaping for joy when I saw cover of the new book.

I wrote fanfiction back before I knew there was a term for it. And I wasn't alone. In high school, www.fanfiction.net became my support group for all things Animorphs related. I was a regular visitor to www.animorphs.com, the official website, where KA Applegate would post e-mail responses to her readers.

So when I found out that a TV series was going to air on Nickelodeon, I was overjoyed. My favorite characters were going to morph into animals on the screen. Hork-Bajir were going to menacingly attack them and Visser Three was going to burn his way across the screen in his deadly array of alien animal morphs.

Two seasons later, I developed a healthy distaste for any media adaptation of a book.

"My Name is Jake"

Aired: 1998 to 1999

Premise: A parasitic alien race known as the Yeerks have targeted Earth for their next big conquest. A world full of bodies to infest, the Earth would be a huge victory for the Yeerks as they are currently in an Interstellar Battle of Wits with the Andalites.

The Andalites make an attempt to thwart the Yeerks that is about as effective as an Italian tank offensive and alas, a dying Andalite warrior makes it to Earth and tells five kids about said invasion. He offers them a chance to fight the Yeerks by giving them the power to morph into animals.The catch is, if they remain in any animal morph for more than two hours, they remain trapped.

X-men Fans will recognize Shawn Ashmore who plays a fifteen year-old student who is actually three years older than me.

Boris Cabrera (known as Boring Cabbage in some circles) portrays a walking Latino stereotype.

Brooke Nevin portrays a blond with brown roots who is also a gymnast.

Nadia-Leigh Nascimento plays Cassie, the "love interest" of our intrepid leader and the resident animal expert.

Christopher Ralph plays a veteran Shakesperean actor who speaks in a deadpan voice. Also you'd best not get attached to the actor because much of his performance is done in voice overs.

Paulo Costanzo later joins the cast as Ax, Elfangor's younger brother.

This Parody Sums Things Up Quite Nicely...

Why Was it Canceled

 Some websites will tell you that the series got too scary for kids. They forget that most of the "kids" who watched Animorphs were the same kids who tune in to Friday the Thirteenth and the Alien movies without flinching.

Any reader of the book series will tell you that the writers of the show clearly didn't care about the source material. Now, that's not to say that the show should be a carbon copy of the book. But when you change certain elements of the main story, you're going to lose your audience.

For example: Tobias.

In the book, Tobias is a target of bullies who has been shuttled back and forth between an aunt that doesn't care if he lives or dies and an alcoholic uncle...who doesn't care if he lives or dies. He's targeted by bullies and when we read about him in the book series, we get the impression of a kid who was one step away from suicide, or opening fire on his classmates.

It's no surprise to half of the readers that Tobias becomes trapped as a hawk, because morphing became his drug of choice and he over dosed.

Now, the books paint a really telling picture of Tobias. You sympathize with him because, well, his life sucks. That's all their was to it.

The TV show gives us a different glipmse into Tobias' life. We see him wake up in a comfortable bed in a nice house with an off screen aunt who is actually concerned if he slept well. The whole episode Tobias comes off like an ungrateful dick.

Wait a minute? Am I supposed to sympathize with him now?

And this is just one example of the millions of things that went wrong with the Animorphs TV series. It was clear to many viewers that the writers simply didn't care about the source material and that if anything, this was just a paycheck for anyone else who showed up to work.

Poparena's Opinionated Animorphs Book Review

Justified?

As mentioned before, Animorphs was basically a paycheck to anyone who worked on it. Even the lousy special effects could have been forgivable if everyone had shown an ounce more passion.

We've seen successful adaptations of books. True Blood and Vampire Diaries are both excellent examples. Even though the characters might appear different from their literary counterparts, it's the actors performance that brings them to life. The writers actually care about weaving a compelling story and keeping you interested.

This is what needed to happen in the Animorphs series and it failed.

So my answer is yes. It was definitely a justified cancellation.

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5 comments

Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

My son is a huge fan of animorphs books, and I think we have collected almost the complete series, plus the Meta morphs etc. He can spend whole day reading one book after another, until I have to stop him to save his eye sight from getting worse. On top of that, he and his dad will create their own animorphs stories daily, and that have continued for months... yes. I often heard the word "Conceal, viser, etc"; they never get enough of them.


Izzy 23 months ago

I remember one episode of the Animorphs TV series when they had an episode of the reaction. They totally threw it off. No spoilers though.


Daniel 22 months ago

I love this show i have all the books I hope they reboot it or else i will do it myself


David Garrett 13 months ago

When you read an animorph book your imagination pictured the event a lot better than a TV show on Nickelodeon could ever portray it. The TV show was a failure in every way. Nickelodeon couldn't possibly come close to the bloody science fiction going on inside my head when I read those books. I've read every book that animorphs ever put out and I doubt anyone will ever write a more epic series. Animorphs will live on forever in my memories.


Julie 13 months ago

I watched the Animorphs on Netflix (because I'm a big fan of the books), and the series had a cliffhanger at the end with the fact that Tobias was Efangalor's son. Which made me really mad that the Animorphs show was canceled. It was like, Noooo! you can't end you're not finished!

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