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After the success of the first Spider-Man film, Sony and Mainframe Entertainment released Spider-Man: The New Animated Series as the first fully C Gi show to feature everyone's favourite webslinger. It was released in 2003 on MTV, thus gaining the Fan Nickname of MTV Spider-Man.
The series was initially supposed to be an adaptation of the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, but ended up taking place after the events of the first live-action film. It still had Brian Michael Bendis as a writer from the Ultimate series and the artistic style did harken slightly towards Mark Bagley's artwork, but ultimately it became its own thing.
Starring Neil Patrick Harris in the title role, the story of the show involved Peter, Harry and Mary-Jane during their years in university. Harry is struggling over his father's death, Mary-Jane has begun pursuing acting in the middle of her strained relationship with Peter, and Peter is doing what he is usually forced to do; juggle battles against supervillains with his personal life. It's somehow darker than your usual Spider-Man series, and mature as well. Shamefully, it's greatly overlooked.
The series was rather short-lived, at only 13 episodes, but was still a fairly good show in its own right and a second season was planned but never started (some fans blame MTV for that). It would be the last Spider-Man TV series for a good number of years, until The Spectacular Spider-Man came along.
Not to be confused with the series that inspired the name from this one, Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
This series provides examples of;
- Actor Allusion: Ed Asner portrays a character (a cop) with a thick mustache, who hates Spider-Man and constantly views him as a criminal. Say, that sounds familiar...
- Also, at the end of her episode, Christina thinks she has discovered Spider-Man's secret identity. Everyone anxiously waits for her answer... only for her to reveal "Meng, the Drip-Den guy" as his true identity. She'd be closer to the truth than you'd think. Rino Romano voiced Meng, and previously voiced Spidey in Spider-Man Unlimited.
- Almost Kiss: Peter and MJ have one in the first episode, where MJ pins Peter close to the wall and leans in saying that she always trusts her feelings, but it turns out she was just adjusting the position of the flat-screen TV. Given this is Peter and MJ we're talking about though, this is pretty much the only time one of these is teased.
- Anti-Villain: The show's most common way of adapting villains, or even making their own Canon Foreigners. This, combined with the show's tendencies to kill off villains, results in a lot of tragedy.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: When asked by local nut, Christina, Peter admits that he does not believe in psychic abilities. Ironically, the villains he would face in the season finale, would be twin psychics.
- Ascended Extra: A background girl with pink hair and camo pants would get the name Francesca and become Harry's girlfriend in the final episodes.
- Badass Mustache: Kraven.
- Badass Normal: Kraven, Talon, and Silver Sable.
- Betty and Veronica: Mary Jane and Indy fulfill these roles to Peter.
- Big No: Spider-Man lets one out when Kraven kills Mary Jane. Fortunately, it turns out to be an illusion.
- Blood Knight: Shikata.
- Bloodless Carnage: And the impact of the violence loses nothing. We have Spider-Man cut and bruised, heads sliced off and electrocution, giving even The Dark Knight a run for its money.
- Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: The Pterodax take a news studio hostage, demanding the surrender of Spider-Man. Is anyone actually surprised that Peter Parker happened to be one of the hostages?
- Bullying a Dragon
- Canon Dis Continuity: The series makes a lot of references to taking place after the first live-action movie, but Spider-Man 2 seems to ignore it, based mainly on the fact that Curt Connors/The Lizard dies in this series, but is alive, well, and apparently has never transformed before in the film.
- That and Peter and Harry's living arrangements are reflective of most of the first movie where they're sharing an apartment, whereas their living arrangements in the movies had Harry back in his dad's penthouse and Peter in a small apartment (chances are they took hold when Norman died).
- There are a few things that are carried over into the second movie like Harry's drinking and tension with Peter due to the latter taking Spider-Man photos.
- Canon Foreigner: Indy and most of the villains (Christina, Shikata, Pterodax, Talon, Turbo Jet, and the Gaines Twins). The only villains from the comics were Lizard, Electro, Kingpin, Silver Sable, and Kraven.
- However, some of the villains from the series are expies of comic antagonists. Talon being Black Cat and Turbo Jet being Rocket Racer come to mind.
- Cassandra Truth: In one episode, Peter fails to make it to one of Mary Jane's theater performances (again) and the next day, he attempts to apologize to her with a story about how he was abducted by the FBI, questioned and then left on the George Washington Bridge... which actually happened. MJ doesn't believe him and assumes that he just didn't want to come and deliberately blew her off.
- Cel Shading: The series is animated by CG, but its visual look is a deliberate attempt to combine traditional hand drawn animation as well.
- Continuity Nod: The series supposedly takes place after the first film, so there's a few of these here in regards to that.
- Mary Jane and Spidey's famous "upside-down kiss" is given a few mentions.
- Harry is still grieving over the death of his father, Norman, thinking that Spider-Man killed him and Peter is unable to tell him how it really went down.
- A reference is made that Mary Jane used to date Flash in high school.
- Spider-Man encounters the Kingpin, who resembles and is voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan, making the Daredevil movie in the same continuity as the series and Spider-Man movies.
- Darker and Edgier: Definitely more so than the usual Spidey fare.
- Deadpan Snarker: Peter is wonderfully so in this series, but this may be the one series where Harry does it just as often.
- Downer Ending: The series ends with Indy in a coma, that she may never recover from, caused unintentionally by Spider-Man, Peter's relationships with Mary Jane and Harry are damaged to a greater extent than ever before, Spider-Man is viewed as a criminal by virtually the entirety of New York City, who actually demand him to leave, and Peter quits being Spider-Man by putting his costume into a suitcase filled with bricks and throwing it into the river. A second series was planned to restore some of these events, but never materialized.
- Enhance Button: When Peter accidentally captures video of an assassination attempt on the Mayor, part of the tape is broadcast on Empire 1. Silver Sable, the perpetrator, then breaks into his apartment to try and steal the tape, in case she appeared in the unaired part of the video. Indy and Peter deduce the burglar's motive, and then "Auto-Sharpen" a still from the video to reveal Silver Sable pointing a gun in the background.
- Executive Meddling: According to the producers, the network frowned on old people, hence why we barely saw J. Jonah Jameson and didn't see Aunt May (outside of a picture in one episode) or Robbie Robertson.
- Talon was also originally supposed to be Black Cat until Eva was hired and MTV demanded she be changed to be closer to the singer.
- Expressive Mask
- Expy: Talon for Black Cat and Turbo Jet for Rocket Racer
- Fake American: Devon Sawa, who voices Flash Thompson, is Canadian.
- Family-Friendly Firearms: Averted, the guns are real (typically a Beretta) and are realistically portrayed.
- Goth: Christina.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Peter and Mary Jane as usual, although MJ has a bit of competition in this series in the form of Indy.
- Honor Before Reason: Shikata, clearly.
- Hostage Situation
- Hot Chick with a Sword: Shikata.
- Inspector Javert: Officer Barr.
- Ki Attacks: Shikata projected green energy blasts that also doubled as telekinesis.
- Killed Off for Real: A good number of villains end up dead as a result of their actions in this series.
- Lunacy: Shikata gained her immortality and regeneration by reflecting moonlight off her magic sword and onto herself.
- My God, What Have I Done?: At the end of the series, one of the psychic twins, Roxanne, tricks Spider-Man into pushing Indy of the roof of a building by creating an illusion where he thought he was fighting against her instead. As a result of this, Peter quits being Spider-Man.
- Also happened in "The Party" when Spidey is forced to kill Max Dillon/Electro(who in this continuity is one of his friends from high school!).
- Mythology Gag: Spidey makes reference to the X-Men. Michael Clark Duncan would reprise his role of Kingpin. Also, Christina claims to know Spider-Man's true identidy is Meng. Meng was voiced by Rino Romano, who voiced Spidey in Spider-Man Unlimited, so technically, she was right.
- Never Found the Body: Silver Sable. This is in fact the reason why Spider-Man isn't surprised that she shows up working with Kraven at the end of the series. But, as it turns out, that was just a mental illusion.
- Not Me This Time: Kraven the Hunter apparently murders Mary Jane. In a rage, Spider-Man nearly kills Kraven, only to discover that Kraven is innocent. Mary Jane was never murdered, and Spider-Man had been tricked by two other villains into thinking Kraven had killed her. (Kraven had killed the parents of the villains, and they weren't powerful enough to take revenge themselves.) Kraven doesn't get away scott-free, however: Spider-Man still drops him off with the police.
- Oh Crap: Peter does this especially often in this series.
- Only Six Faces: Many of the characters have similar designs and the animators note that they were prone to recycling animation.
- Samurai: Shikata's schtick.
- Screwed by the Network: It was a cartoon on MTV. It was doomed from the start.
- During one discusion with Peter and Harry about a thief-
- During Peter's Cassandra Truth moment:
Peter: "I was literally two steps outside the theater, when these two Men in Black yanked me into the back of a black van!"
- The first (aired) episode:
Peter:I bet the X-Men get to go to parties.
- The first (chronological) episode:
Spider-Man: Maybe I need an image makeover. *Whilst using his fingers as makeshift "ears" and speaking in a darker tone of voice* I'm... Spider-Man.
- "Mary wants something about my personal life. Help me, Harry won Kenobi. You're my only hope.
- Peter is science partners with Christina, who would turn out to be an Ax Crazy Stalker with a Crush for Spider-Man. After an experiment that sends her over the deep end, Peter describes her to Mary as "The science partner from Sunnydale."
- Took a Level In Dumbass: Flash Thompson. He's much more of an idiotic jock than before.
- Unstoppable Rage: Happens to Spider-Man in the season finale, when he is tricked by a pair of psychic twins into thinking that Kraven The Hunter had killed Mary-Jane.
- Wham! Episode: "The Party" is where the series really starts to take a darker turn where two regular characters are killed (one of them by Spidey himself) and is one of the few times in the character's history that he has knowingly broken his Thou Shalt Not Kill rule.
- What Could Have Been: Talon was originally going to be Black Cat, but was changed as soon as her voice actress, Eve, was cast.