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Confusion Over Captain N's Original Air Dates & Order


This commentary was written on Friday, February 2, 2007, from 5:16 PM to 7:16 PM.


For those of you that have read my Captain N episode guide, you'll notice that it's pretty incomplete.

You've probably seen other Captain N episode guides on the Internet that differ from mine.

I will attempt to sort through the confusion in this essay. With the Captain N DVD release fast approaching, it's critical that people know a few things.

A representative from Shout! Factory (the company that's putting out the DVD release), going by the nickname Insider, contacted the fandom to make the upcoming DVD release known.

As more information became available, Amazon.com added the information on the DVD set's page:

http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B000JBXHVY/ref=s9_asin_title_1/002-3043778-6660848

Here is the order that the episodes will appear in on the DVD set:

Season One

Disc 1
Kevin in Videoland
How's Bayou?
The Most Dangerous Game Master
Videolympics
Mega Trouble For Megaland
Wishful Thinking
Three Men & A Dragon

Disc 2
Mr. & Mrs. Mother Brain
Nightmare On Mother Brain's Street
Simon The Ape-Man
In Search Of The King
Metroid Sweet Metroid
Happy Birthday, Megaman

Season Two

Disc 3
Gameboy
Queen Of The Apes
Quest For The Potion Of Power
The Trouble With Tetris
The Big Game
The Lost City Of Kongoland
Once Upon A Time Machine

Disc 4
The Feud Of Faxanadu
Having A Ball
The Trojan Dragon
I Wish I Was A Wombatman
The Invasion Of The Paper Pedalers
Germ Wars

I was eager to find out the order that Shout! Factory was going to use, because the episodes were to appear in their original air order. Furthermore, an 8-page booklet was to be included with the DVD set and contain the original air dates of the episodes.

For time and budget reasons, this booklet was dropped from the set, but Insider said that we'd merely have to look on TV.com for the original air dates, because, he claimed, TV.com air order and dates exactly matched the dates that he'd obtained from DiC, the company that made the series.

Now, let's back up a bit. Here is how the episodes for Season 1 were listed in my episode guide as of Friday, February 2, 2007:

01 KEVIN IN VIDEOLAND
Original air date: September 9, 1989

02 HOW'S BAYOU
Original air date of version 1: September 16, 1989
Original air date of version 2: ?

03 MR. AND MRS. MOTHER BRAIN
Original air date of full version: September 23, 1989

04 VIDEOLYMPICS
Original air date: September 30, 1989

05 MEGA TROUBLE FOR MEGALAND
Original air date: October 7, 1989

06 THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME MASTER
Original air date: October 14, 1989

07 THREE MEN AND A DRAGON
Original air date of full version: October 21, 1989

08 NIGHTMARE ON MOTHER BRAIN'S STREET
Original air date of full version: October 28, 1989

09 SIMON THE APE-MAN
Original air date: November 4, 1989

10 METROID SWEET METROID
Original air date: November 11, 1989

11 WISHFUL THINKING
Original air date: November 18, 1989

12 IN SEARCH OF THE KING
Original air date: November 25, 1989

13 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MEGAMAN
Original air date: December 2, 1989

I don't know where I got these dates and airing order from. Either someone submitted them to me, or I copied them from an online episode guide.

Now, here is how the episodes for Season 1 were listed in TV.com's episode list as of Friday, February 2, 2007:

http://www.tv.com/captain-n-the-game-master/show/4843/episode_listings.html

1 Kevin In Videoland 9/9/1989
2 How's Bayou 9/16/1989
3 The Most Dangerous Game Master 9/23/1989
4 Videolympics 9/30/1989
5 Mega Trouble For Megaland 10/7/1989
6 Wishful Thinking 10/14/1989
7 Three Men and a Dragon 10/21/1989
8 Mr. & Mrs. Mother Brain 10/28/1989
9 Nightmare on Mother Brain's Street 11/4/1989
10 Simon the Ape-Man 11/11/1989
11 In Search of the King 11/18/1989
12 Metroid Sweet Metroid 11/25/1989
13 Happy Birthday, Mega Man 12/2/1989

I don't know where these dates and this airing order came from, but it will be used on the DVD set.

Let's move on to Season 2, though, since that's where my main argument lies.

Here is how the episodes for Season 2 were listed in my episode guide as of Friday, February 2, 2007:

14 GAMEBOY
Original air date: September 8, 1990

?? QUEEN OF THE APES
Original air date: September 22, 1990

?? QUEST FOR THE POTION OF POWER
Original air date of full version: September 29, 1990

?? THE TROUBLE WITH TETRIS
Original air date: October 13, 1990

?? THE BIG GAME
Original air date: October 20, 1990

?? THE LOST CITY OF KONGOLAND
Original air date: November 10, 1990

?? ONCE UPON A TIME MACHINE
Original air date: November 17, 1990

?? THE FEUD OF FAXANADU
Original air date: November 24, 1990

?? HAVING A BALL
Original air date: ?

?? THE TROJAN DRAGON
Original air date: ?

?? I WISH I WAS A WOMBATMAN
Original air date: ?

?? THE INVASION OF THE PAPER PEDALERS
Original air date of full version: ?

?? GERM WARS
Original air date: ?

There are a few observations that I'll make about this rather incomplete information:

1) I have no episodes listed for September 15, October 6, October 27, or November 3.

2) Original air dates were determined by determining which Captain N episodes aired with which SMB3 episodes (either from my own tapes or reader contributions) and checking an online SMB3 episode list.

3) No episodes after "Gameboy" are numbered, because, even though I had original air dates for many of those episodes, I wasn't sure of the exact order yet, hence the many "??"s.

4) I merely lumped the episodes with no determined original air dates after the others for the sake of convenience, in no particular order, other than "Having a Ball" has more Link/Zelda content than "The Trojan Dragon", so I put that first, and "Germ Wars" seems, thematically, like a season finale, so I put that last. The placement of these last 5 episodes was entirely my idea.

Now, here is how the episodes for Season 2 were listed in TV.com's episode list as of Friday, February 2, 2007:

http://www.tv.com/captain-n-the-game-master/show/4843/episode_listings.html?season=2&tag=nav_bar;2

14 Gameboy 9/8/1990
15 Queen of the Apes 9/22/1990
16 Quest for the Potion of Power 9/29/1990
17 The Trouble With Tetris 10/13/1990
18 The Big Game 10/20/1990
19 The Lost City of Kongoland 11/10/1990
20 Once Upon a Time Machine 11/17/1990
21 The Feud of Faxanadu 11/24/1990
22 Having a Ball 12/1/1990
23 The Trojan Dragon 12/8/1990
24 I Wish I Was a Wombatman 12/15/1990
25 The Invasion of the Paper Pedalers 12/22/1990
26 Germ Wars 12/29/1990

A few things are readily apparent:

1) The air order is the same as the air order in my episode guide.

2) The air dates in my episode guide appear here as well.

3) The 5 episodes that I couldn't determine original air dates for now have air dates, evenly spaced out 1 week apart.

See the problem? Someone submitted the information from my episode guide to TV.com and apparently just ignored the multiple question marks - as well as my statement: "Please note that I don't know the order of all of the episodes! What I have listed here is the general order that the episodes go in!"

Whoever submitted the information assumed the following:

1) The order that I listed the episodes is the order in which they aired. I never made any such statement or even assumption.

2) All of the air dates that I have are correct. Even I'm not sure of that.

3) The 5 episodes that I listed at the end each aired exactly 1 week apart from each other, following my last determined date of November 24. I never intended to give that impression. Like I said, I listed them last for convenience. I fully intended to move them, if I ever determined their original air dates.

I brought my concerns to Insider from Shout! Factory, but he disputed my claim that DiC merely got the information from the Internet.

Furthermore, Insider claimed that he found the original air dates for Seasons 1 and 2 in DiC's archives, getting them out of boxes that had been in storage for years, and - surprise! - they match TV.com's list exactly!

That is such a dubious claim that I highly doubt it. For one thing, it would mean that they aired a repeat the very week after the Season 2 premiere, which makes no sense at all.

Furthermore, TV.com's information comes from my episode guide, which was largely assembled using an equally (un)credible online SMB3 episode list. TV.com merely added some (suspicious) air dates for the episodes that I (arbitrarily) placed at the end of my episode guide.

For TV.com's episode order and air dates to match those in DiC's ancient paper archives would be a freakin' miracle and one of the most amazing coincidences of all time!

Besides, Insider also disputed my assumption (which I never said I was certain of) that the episodes originally aired with no repeats, saying "I can tell you with GREAT certainty, that VERY FEW cartoons went through seasons without re-runs somewhere in the middle. Like any television series, there is often a hiatus while new episodes are being made. So to assume that season one or season two went straight through without repeats is probably a bad assumption." However, take another look at TV.com's Season 1 listing, which Insider claimed is accurate:

1 Kevin In Videoland 9/9/1989
2 How's Bayou 9/16/1989
3 The Most Dangerous Game Master 9/23/1989
4 Videolympics 9/30/1989
5 Mega Trouble For Megaland 10/7/1989
6 Wishful Thinking 10/14/1989
7 Three Men and a Dragon 10/21/1989
8 Mr. & Mrs. Mother Brain 10/28/1989
9 Nightmare on Mother Brain's Street 11/4/1989
10 Simon the Ape-Man 11/11/1989
11 In Search of the King 11/18/1989
12 Metroid Sweet Metroid 11/25/1989
13 Happy Birthday, Mega Man 12/2/1989

No repeats. If Season 1 pulled it off (as he claimed by supporting TV.com's list), then why couldn't Season 2?

To read my conversation with Insider, go here:

http://z3.invisionfree.com/Ultimate_N_Zone/index.php?showtopic=548&st=120

I'm disappointed that we won't be getting the episodes in their true original air order on the DVD set. I hope that we can someday determine the original air dates.