They may be space monkeys, but these simians mean serious business.
Before we got all full tilt boogie with the Christmas-themed madness here at the clubhouse I wanted to take a look at a few cartoons and movies that have recently resurfaced from my strange, subconscious mind. The first of which was yesterday’s Muppets Tonight and the second being another series from 1996, Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys (CSATSM).
The product of an odd collaboration between Hallmark Entertainment and Monkeyshine Productions, neither of whom ever produced anything else notable enough to warrant mention on this site again, CSATSM took the concept of animals in space (much like Bucky O’Hare before it) and gave them your standard set of superhero powers and personalities. The one exception in the cast is Rhesus 2, a half-robot, half-monkey villain voiced by Malcolm McDowell who literally uses his brain as a weapon, often launching it from his head to strangle his opponents.
Aside from Rhesus 2, the main cast included Captain Simian; a chimpanzee sent into space by NASA and rescued by aliens, Shao Lin; a Chinese golden monkey skilled in martial arts, Spydor; a spider monkey version of Jim Carrey, Splitzy; an orangutan whose split personality made him super smart, and Gor; a mountain gorilla with an Incredible Hulk complex. Lord Nebula rounded things out as the main big bad, a half-human, half-black hole with a hard on for destroying all life in the universe, but not enough godly power to avoid the common cold.
Lasting only one season I do have to admit that the monkey puns got pretty old after awhile (Ape-lien, Invasion of the Banana Snatchers, A Clockwork Orang), but the show itself remained pretty entertaining up until the end. In fact, the more I think about it CSATSM seems to have been part of a trend in the mid 90s to have animal superhero teams – joining the fondly remembered ranks of Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series, Biker Mice from Mars and Street Sharks (among others).
*Image source: The History Bluff