Ninja Turtles Classic Collection Review

So today I’m going to tell you about my new late night obsession… The Aquabats! Super Show! I’d like to say that I’ve been living under a rock and that’s why I haven’t heard of the Aquabats before now, but truth be told despite the fact that this group has been around since 1994, I don’t know anyone who really knows who these guys are. I’ve seen posts about them on forums and then watched as hundreds of people post in unison responding, “who?” in relation to them.

That means it’s not just me, who hasn’t heard of them. I suppose if you live in So-Cal and are connected to the indie rock hipster scene, you’ve probably heard of these guys. They’re an underground band who do crazy pop rock songs. But let’s just put aside the music for a minute, because the music is irrelevant. Yes, the Aquabats are a real band who perform as superheroes, sort of like Gwar but without the mindless gore and gratuitous sexual repulsion. The Super Show is a much broader expansion of that concept and it’s freaking brilliant.

Aquabats Cartoon

I think the best way to describe the Aquabats Super Show is Space Ghost meets Scooby Doo meets Josie and the Pussycats meets Pee Wee’s Playhouse meets Adam West’s Batman meets 70’s Sentai. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, check your pulse. Each episode features the band getting into hijinks with villains and monsters, plus a brief cartoon that has the vibe of an old Hanna Barbera superhero toon. There’s also funny fake commercial breaks advertising absurd products interjected in-between.

Seriously, it’s an insane show about this band of superheroes traveling around in their giant superhero tour bus (dubbed the BattleTram and it’s bigger on the inside) fighting giant floating eyes, mummies on motorcycles, ghosts who love burritos and just about everything else awesome you can imagine. It’s in the same vein as the 60’s Batman TV show, done with the same sort of camp, only turned up about 15 notches.

Aquabats Logo

The special effects are actually pretty awesome if you love old school Sentai-type stuff and despite the low budget nature of things, nothing actually looks cheap. As it turns out the leader of the Aquabats, the MC Bat Commander, is also the guy responsible for Yo Gabba Gabba, so the costumes are good and the irreverence is right along that same sort of mentality. Every scene has some kind of new sight gag and ironic homage to everything you loved if you grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons.

It’s just insane, in the most awesome of ways. The show currently airs on The Hub, Hasbro’s TV network. I discovered it late one night by staying up too late and flipping through the channels. I thought it was going to be dumb, you know like kid’s dumb, but instead it turned out to incredibly entertaining. The first season has 12 episodes and I’ve only seen a few so far, but each one is just trippy, awesome and zany.

The Aquabats Super Show!

Apparently there hasn’t been a second season confirmed yet, because Hub isn’t sure on it. This show is a million times better than any of the goofy live action stuff that Adult Swim has produced and is right up there with the Venture Brothers in managing to parody a genre and still be creative and original on it’s own. I almost think the show is missing it’s target audience by being marketed to kids. It’s definitely okay for children, but it’s a show that’s humorous to adults.

Hub, if you have any souls, you’ll renew this show for a second season. It should be paired up with reruns of Batman or something. Seriously, check the show out when it reruns on Saturdays and see if you dig it.

6 Responses to The Aquabats! Super Show!

  • I've heard songs from there here and there on compilations but never really followed them. I's say they're more ska/rock than indie hipster or maybe they're uber-hipster since they've been around before hipsters were cool…no wait, hipsters have never been cool.
    I started watching it on Saturday mornings because it reminded me of the Krofft shows and it quickly became a new favorite. I really hope they bring the show back.

  • Haha, yeah you may be right about that. Apparently they used to be super ska, or something, but not really anymore. I just figured hipsters were probably more likely to have heard of these dudes.

  • I've started check out their back catalog because I frequently have the show's theme stuck in my head. They have some fun, off-the-wall songs.

  • Dru says:

    The Aquabats! are my favorite band, and have been since about 2003, I wouldn't classify myself as a hipster. They're a widely known band, if you know people who listen to punk really. I've never been to a The Aquabats! show that wasn't sold out, if that helps paint their following at all. Their first two albums are very ska influenced, but still see more surf and punk influence than anything. They transitioned into being a sort of punk rock sparks on their second album (Sparks is a US gone british two piece rock outfit from the 70's) and then matured into full on new wave/power pop for their recent albums. This television show is my favorite thing that has ever happened. Really happy they got their show, I hope to god it gets a second season as it's basically perfect.

  • For the record, I'm not trying to paint these guys as hipsters or the people who know them as hipsters, but I generally see a lot of crossover between hipster and modern punk stuff, at least in terms of knowing what's out there.

    I could definitely see the Aquabats being embraced by hipsters, but I don't by any stretch of the imagination think it's a "hipster thing". If that makes any sense.

  • StrangePlanet says:

    "I don't know anyone who really knows who these guys are"
    Well, you don't hang out with people who like ska music.
    For those of us who like ska, we've been buying their albums and seeing them in concert for many years. I like what I've seen of the show, but the real stuff is them in concert. Go check them out.

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