Saturday, 17 May 2014

Saturday Morning Cartoons - AnimALIENation

I wouldn't say this post is dedicated to the late H.R. Giger. That would be an insult, as I'm pretty sure he wouldn't appreciate being connected to this unfortunate and little-known footnote in the Alien franchise.

The year was 1992. Alien 3 was slated for release in May of that summer. Misguided executives at FOX felt the need for an animated series which would coincide with the film, to make oodles of money a la Ghostbusters, which had recently been re-branded as a successful kiddie franchise. The cartoon was to be called Operation: Aliens.

Never heard of it? That's because it was never released, presumably because of Alien 3's poor box office returns. FOX pulled Operation: Aliens before it could be released in Fall of 1992, and left behind only a smattering of stills and a random assortment of merchandise that quickly moved to department store discount bins. 

You'll note in the above commercial that there's a Bull Alien. Here's a commercial that showcases a flying Queen, along with Gorilla Aliens.

The action figure line is said to hint at the concept behind the unreleased Operation: Aliens, which was to feature movie characters from the far more colourful and action-figure friendly Aliens (1986) battling hybrid versions of the creature, which could take on characteristics from animal hosts like bulls, gorillas or...uh...crabs?

It's not known whether or not the animated stills are from an actual produced pilot or just a theme song, but it gives an interesting look as to what could've been. Weirdly, characters who were killed in Aliens are still showcased here. It isn't exactly known who this would've appealed to. Kids? Nerdy sci-fi fans? I would assume it wasn't really known at the time, and chalk it up to a period where networks just threw shit to a wall to see what stuck. 

Due to the late cancellation of the cartoon, Operation: Aliens still existed as a toy line briefly, in merchandise that couldn't be discontinued in time. The toy brand was later shortened to Aliens.

Later to try and rekindle interest in the toys, they also released Aliens Vs. Predator toys, without a TV series or movie (at the time) to help promote it. Or is that Aliens Vs. Preda-TORE?

LOL! Love that Willow Smith Predator - whippin' her hair back-and-forth!

Anyway, I hope they can release that Operation: Aliens footage on YouTube, or as an upcoming Blu Ray extra. It couldn't have been any worse than some of the other R-rated adult series-turned cartoons that saw the light of day - some of which I figure we should take a look at next week, for whatever reason. Be there? I guess.

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