Screw this show. Originally created in 1991, Pirates of Dark Water was way ahead of its time. The cartoon featured a dark atmosphere with serialized storytelling. The former was a first for cartoons in the States while the latter was rarely seen outside of soap operas. The premise was strong, the characters unique, and the animation fluid. So what what was the problem? The show never ended.
Much like the Nothing in Neverending Story, an evil, unknown substance known as
oil Dark Water was taking over the planet of Mer. A prince named Ren, along with his crew, traveled the seas in search of the Thirteen Treasures of Rule. The Treasures held the power to stop the Dark Water. Constantly at this back was Bloth, a villainous pirate lord trying to claim the treasures for himself. Among Ren’s crew was an ecomancer named Tula, a pirate named Ioz, and a monkey-bird named Niddler. All this was set against a backdrop of interesting creatures reminiscent of the then-current early ’90s style à la Beetlejuice.
The show aired a 5-part mini-series in early ’91 to introduce the show. These episodes were retooled slightly with some voice changes before the show returned that fall, bringing the episode count to 13. This is where problems started to occur. The show wasn’t as popular as Hanna-Barbera was hoping. The high production costs due to animation quality proved to be prohibitive. ABC (who originally aired the show) dropped it after the first season. Fox picked it up for an additional 8 episodes, ending the series entirely with only 21 episodes in total.
Ren and his crew had only collected 8 of 13 Treasures when the series ended. No material has been produced beyond this. While fans of the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon got some closure when the final script was eventually released, there’s been no such luck here. No scripts, no comics, nothing. There’s been two different games made, one for Super Nintendo and the other for Genesis. Each had their own play style. Finally, there’s the infamous clips from Cartoon Network, where they claimed to have the last 15 episodes and were set to air them. Instead, they played a video of a cat lapping up milk. Jokes!
Will there ever be more from this property? Who knows. Likely not, though stranger things have happened. I would like to see an ending only because the writer in me hates seeing things like this left open. The question is, would it be worth it now after 20 years?
Confused by the lack of finality to the series? Still hoping for a conclusion? Tells me!
Pirates of Dark Water live action movie!