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Season 2 Review


Tuesday, October 10, 2006, 10:30 AM - Monday, November 13, 2006, 6:18 PM


Introduction (10:30 AM - 10:37 AM)

For over 3 years now (I know; far too long), I've been reviewing the second season of "Captain N: The Game Master". I've posited numerous conceptual, writing, and animation errors. Now, I'm going to take a look at the 14 episodes as a whole. I'm not going to complain about the designs of the characters, their speech impediments, or the animation mistakes. Those are fundemental problems of the series as a whole, and so I'm going to save those complaints for my overall review of the entire series.

In this Season 2 review, I'm going to be taking a hard look at the writing of the 9 writers. I'll point out the good and the bad and give my opinions for what they could have done better. So now, if you have the strength, come along with me and revisit Season 2 of Captain N.


Plotholes (10:46 AM - 11:27 AM)

There aren't as many (or at least as huge) plotholes in Season 2 are there are in Season 1, but they are there.

I'm not going to list all of the plotholes here. You can read my episode reviews for those (and I'm sure that I missed some). But I'm going to look at the major ones: King Charles contacting the N Team, animation vs. live-action, warps between Metroid and the Palace, and the inside of Kevin's body.

  • In "Gameboy", how was King Charles able to contact the N Team before the interdimensional warp zone opened?

  • In the opening and closing themes and in "Kevin in Videoland", Earth is shown to be live-action. In "The Big Game", Kevin's friends fail to recognize that they and their surroundings are suddenly animated.

  • Mother Brain has an "all-knowing computer mind mirror" that can, apparently, see anything anywhere in Videoland (including the Palace) and give her information on secret power sources. So why isn't Mother Brain the Ruler of Videoland already? You'd think that she'd be able to get info on the Palace's defenses and how to bring them down. And why does Mother Brain wait so long to get information from her mirror? This is also a plot device. Jeffrey Scott started this in Season 1, and it continued in Season 2.

  • The bad guys and the heroes can, apparently, warp to each other's bases whenever they want, so why hasn't one side defeated the other already?

  • Why does Kevin's body of sentient creatures living inside it?

    In addition to these major plotholes, there are many smaller ones (see my episode reviews).

    Taking all of this into account, the season collapses in on itself. It can't, logically, occur.


    Plot Devices (Friday, October 20, 2006, 11:40 AM - 12:22 PM)

    The Season 2 writers didn't use quite as many plot devices as Jeffrey Scott did in Season 1, but there are quite a few:

  • Gameboy himself in "Gameboy". Dr. Wily reprogrammed him into Game Brain and turned him against the N Team. Real original.

  • Mother Brain's monitor. It's still there, It can still apparently see anything anywhere in Videoland at any time. It's still way too convenient.

  • The hypnotic ink in "The Invasion of the Paper Pedalers". This was just retarded.

  • The brain-swapper in "Queen of the Apes". Mind-swapping stories had already been done to death elsewhere by this point.

  • Zelda's condition in "Having a Ball". Zelda being weakened by the separation of the Triforces is given no explanation, and it contradicts information given earlier in the episode, which stated that Link had restored the Triforce. Why was Zelda not weak before the Triforce was restored?

  • Kevin taking off his power belt in "Once Upon a Time Machine". This leads to a quest for Kevin to get his weapons back. Kevin didn't need to take off his power belt in the first place. He could have proved his point to Link while keeping it on.

  • Warping to Faxanadu in "In Feud of Faxanadu". The N Team got involved in an adventure on a world that they just happened to warp to, because they had to evacuate the Palace of Power, because of a stupid power overload that they created in the first place.

    I'm sure that they are other plot devices that I've overlooked here, but you get the idea.


    Characters (Monday, November 13, 2006, 1:31 PM - 2:19 PM)

    How well did the Season 2 writers do on characterization, compared to Jeffrey Scott?

    Let's take a look at each of the N Team members:

    Kevin Keene:

  • Kevin's Zapper has a Freeze setting that shoots out ice cubes. It's accessed by moving a small lever on the left side up 2 positions. The bottom position seems to be the standard Zapper setting. A small blue light comes on by the lever when the Zapper is set on freeze ray.

  • Kevin can recharge his Power Pad and Zapper using Gameboy's battery's power and a cable.

  • Kevin had a paper route back home and learned a move to throw a newspaper directly into an open mailbox. "Just a twist of the wrist, and you can't miss."

  • Kevin's mom baked cookies for him back home.

  • Kevin can do a converted kickflip on a skateboard.

  • Kevin can surf - on the same surfboard as Lana.

  • Kevin can ride a bicycle.

  • Kevin knows a cheerleader named Stacey back home. He helped her study for her Algrebra test. He asked her for a date, but she was busy.

  • Kevin was on the junior varsity swim team.

  • Kevin can play football.

  • Kevin was never in London.

  • Kevin has seen some pictures of 1920 New York.

  • Kevin studied moon rocks that were over a billion years old in school.

    Princess Lana:

  • Lana is ambidextrous with the Zapper.

  • Lana has the authority to add new members to the N Team.

  • Lana's father gave her a birthday bash last year. Simon claims to have been "smashing".

  • Lana's father used to tell her stories about Tetris when she was a little girl.

  • Lana has an older brother named Lyle. She hasn't seen him in 2 years. He's a Keeper of the Sacred Square on Tetris. He left before King Charles was kidnapped by Mother Brain.

  • Lana can surf - on the same surfboard as Kevin.

  • Lana can ride a bicycle.

    Simon Belmont:

  • Simon is claustrophobic.

  • Simon often waits until the last moment, so he can make a grand entrance.

  • Simon's mother always told him, "A good hero knows when to fight and when to run."

  • Simon watches something called "General Morgue".

  • Simon is in the Hall of Heroes.

  • Simon can play football.

    Mega Man:

  • Mega Man can rollerskate.

  • Mega Man can play football.

    Kid Icarus:

  • Kid Icarus' uncle Methusulus is less than a billion years old.

  • Kid Icarus used a shrinking arrow before. It lasted only an hour.

  • Kid Icarus can play football.

    Duke:

  • Duke can rollerskate.

  • Duke can play football.

    Gameboy:

  • Gameboy is from the Mirror World.

  • Gameboy was sent to the N Team by King Charles.

  • Gameboy can rollerskate.

  • Gameboy can recharge Kevin's Power Pad and Zapper using his battery's power and a cable.

  • Gameboy can keep the Palace of Power's defense system running for 12.2 hours using his battery - and that's when it's not fully charged.

    We get some nice details on Kevin, Lana, and Simon, but they and the other N Team members still lack strong characterization. So far, Kevin and Lana are the only "real" characters in this series.

    We really don't learn anything about the bad guys either, but that's not as important as knowing the heroes.

    Furthermore, all of the characters are idiots. Lana's the smartest, but even she throws a ball and invites everyone in Videoland to it.

    As far as characterization goes, the writers did a better job than Jeffrey Scott did and get a "C" from me.


    Filler (2:22 PM - 2:41 PM)

    How well did the Season 2 writers use time, compared to Jeffrey Scott?

    Here is the total amount of time, which I've calculated by adding up the times in my episode reviews, that was wasted in Season 2 of Captain N: 128 seconds. That's 2 minutes and 8 seconds. That's way less than the 23 minutes that Jeffrey Scott wasted in Season 1. Keep in mind that this is based on quick picks that I'd done after watching each episode. If I was to sit through all of the episodes and carefully remove what wasn't needed, I'm sure that the amount of wasted time would be greater. Also, I haven't included the time that was wasted by showing the N Team playing sports and watching TV or King Hippo and the Eggplant Wizard falling, being dropped, being zapped, etc.

    Still, the Season 2 writers made great use of the time that they had to work with.


    Rip-Offs (2:50 PM - 3:00 PM)

    The Season 2 writers didn't rip off as much stuff as Jeffrey Scott did in Season 2. From what I've been able to recognize, they ripped off:

  • the zombie concept from many horror films in "The Invasion of the Paper Pedalers".

  • the mind-swapping concept from many sci-fi films in "Queen of the Apes".

  • "Videolympics" in "The Big Game".

  • "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" in "The Lost City of Kongoland".

  • the possession-by-an-evil-spirit concept from many fantasy and horror films in "The Lost City of Kongoland".

    That's all that I can think of at the moment. Perhaps the Season 2 writers ripped off other things that I'm not aware of, too.

    Still, they didn't seem to rip off as much as Jeffrey Scott did, and what they did rip off was mostly well-done, the hypnotic ink zombie idiocy notwithstanding.


    Unanswered Questions (3:30 PM - 3:42 PM)

    Did the Season 2 writers answer any of the questions that Jeffrey Scott failed to answer in Season 1?

    Let's go through them, one at a time:

  • How did the war start? Not answered. All that we learn is that Tetris didn't participate.

  • Why did Lana choose Simon, Mega Man, and Kid Icarus to be on the N Team? Not answered.

  • Why were King Hippo, the Eggplant Wizard, and Dr. Wily chosen by Mother Brain to be her minions? Not answered.

  • How did the N Team retake Videoland at the end of "Kevin in Videoland"? Not answered.

  • What are the characters' ages? Not answered. The only clue that we have is that Kevin was on the junior varsity swim team in Season 1.

  • Why is Lana's father so old? Not answered.

  • What happened to Lana's mother? Not answered. Lana's mother was never even mentioned.

  • Why does Lana's father have white (and therefore previously blond) hair, but Lana has brown hair? To further confuse matters, Lyle has blond hair. I suppose that Lana's mother may have brown hair, but this does question Lana's biological relationship to the King - and to Lyle. Not answered.

  • What are Lana's royal duties? Okay, this was answered. Lana apparently handles every complaint that's brought to her attention - at least for one episode. Why didn't she do anything before that? Why doesn't she do anything after that? Did she learn to delegate authority?

  • What is the Palace of Power's security system like? Not answered. All that we learn is that Gameboy can power it.

  • What are Kevin's qualifications for being "the Game Master"? Not answered.

  • What was Kevin's daily life on Earth like? This was partially answered. He was on the junior varsity swim team and had a paper route. His mom baked cookies. He studied moon rocks in school.

  • Who is the leader of the N Team? Not answered. All that we learn is that Lana can add new members to the team, which I suppose implies leadership.

    So some questions were answered, but most weren't. A few throwaway lines would have been sufficient to answer these questions.


    Continuity (3:43 PM - 3:52 PM)

    We know there wasn't much continuity in Season 1. How well did the Season 2 writers do on continuity, compared to Jeffrey Scott?

    Here is a list of the continuity that existed in Season 2:

  • Every other episode must occur after "Gameboy".

  • "Quest For the Potion of Power" must occur before "Having a Ball", "Once Upon a Time Machine", and "The Trojan Dragon".

    That's it! Every other episode can be viewed in any order. "Gameboy" and "Quest For the Power of Power" are the only episodes that must be viewed before certain other episodes. The status quo was restored at the end of almost every episode. The Season 2 writers didn't do anything to fix the Magic Reset Button nature of the series.


    Season 2 Usefulness Ratings (4:00 PM - 4:15 PM)

    Here are the total usefulness ratings that I've figured for each N Team member in Season 2:

    Kevin: 90
    Lana: 33
    Simon: 27
    Mega Man: 26
    Kid Icarus: 25
    Gameboy: 18
    Duke: 10

    For comparison, here are their total Season 1 usefulness ratings:

    Kevin: 47
    Kid Icarus: 23
    Simon: 21
    Mega Man: 17
    Duke: 14
    Lana: 9

    Kevin was nearly twice as useful in Season 2 as he was in Season 1. In fact, everyone except Duke beat their Season 1 records, but Kevin and Lana are the most dramatic examples. Lana more than tripled her Season 1 score, showing that the Season 2 writers put her to far better use than Jeffrey Scott did. I still wish that Lana was given a weapon, though. If Lana had been armed, she could have scored a lot higher.

    Simon is up by only 6 points, Mega Man by 9, and Kid Icarus by 2. Duke is down by 4 points. Gameboy proved to be useful 18 times, but that's still the second-lowest score.

    With the exception of Lana scoring higher than almost everyone else (you go, girl!), there are no surprises here.


    Grading the Episodes (4:21 PM - 4:46 PM)

    Now, I'm going to grade each episode according to how good or bad that I feel that they are:

    Gameboy (B)
    The Invasion of the Paper Pedalers (B)
    Queen of the Apes (C)
    Quest For the Potion of Power (A)
    Having a Ball (B)
    The Trouble With Tetris (C)
    The Big Game (B)
    I Wish I Was a Wombatman (D)
    The Trojan Dragon (B)
    The Lost City of Kongoland (C)
    Once Upon a Time Machine (C)
    The Feud of Faxanadu (C)
    Germ Wars (D)
    When Mother Brain Rules (F)

    Excluding "When Mother Brain Rules", since it's an extra clips episode, my overall grade for Season 2 is a C. That means that it was average - not great, not horrible. It's worth noting that it's a slightly higher C than my Season 1 grade.

    It's worth noting that, when averaging "When Mother Brain Rules" in, Season 2's grade is still above Season 1's grade. Season 2 writers, take a bow.


    Grading the Writers (4:46 PM - 5:24 PM)

    Using my Season 2 grades above, I'm now going to grade each writer. Michael Maurer and Matt Uitz will each receive a full grade for "Once Upon a Time Machine". Since Sean Roche & David Ehrman only cowrote, as did Ted Alben & Greg Klein, I've paired them together.

    Dorothy Middleton:
    Gameboy (B)
    Final Grade: B

    Michael Maurer:
    The Invasion of the Paper Pedalers (B)
    The Trouble With Tetris (C)
    Once Upon a Time Machine (C)
    The Feud of Faxanadu (C)
    Final Grade: C

    Sean Roche & David Ehrman:
    Queen of the Apes (C)
    I Wish I Was a Wombatman (D)
    Final Grade: D+

    Rick Merwin:
    Quest For the Potion of Power (A)
    Final Grade: A

    Dennis O'Flaherty:
    Having a Ball (B)
    The Big Game (B)
    The Lost City of Kongoland (C)
    Final Grade: C+

    Matt Uitz:
    The Trojan Dragon (B)
    Once Upon a Time Machine (C)
    Final Grade: C+

    Ted Alben & Greg Klein:
    Germ Wars (D)
    Final Grade: D

    In terms of final grade, Rick Merwin is the best Season 2 writer, followed by Dorothy Middleton, followed by Dennis O'Flaherty, followed by Matt Uitz, followed by Michael Maurer, followed by the writing team of Sean Roche & David Ehrman, followed by the writing team of Ted Alben & Greg Klein.

    While it's true that Rick Merwin scored the highest, he wrote only 1 episode. In terms of quantity in addition to most watched, Dennis O'Flaherty is my personal favorite Season 2 writer.

    Oh, yeah, writing in pairs doesn't guarantee a superior product.


    My Thoughts on Season 2 (6:01 PM - 6:12 PM)

    In general, Season 2 was better than Season 1. With 9 writers involved, the chances of getting a really good writer increased, but chances for a progressing story arc and consistent characterization decreased.

    The star episode of this season was "Quest For the Potion of Power", hands down. Also, going by the polls that I used to have on my site, more people like QFTPOP than Season 1's "The Most Dangerous Game Master". Which is better? You decide.

    The crappiest episodes, excluding "When Mother Brain Rules", were "I Wish I Was a Wombatman" and "Germ Wars", but even those two episodes were better than Season 1's "Happy Birthday, Megaman".

    Season 2 had its highlights (Captain N teaming up with Link and Zelda) and its low points (we didn't need a Wombatman episode or a Tetris episode).

    Gameboy was an unnecessary addition. Seriously. He's annoying. I don't like him.

    And where the hell was Samus Aran?


    Looking Forward to Season 3 (6:13 PM - 6:17 PM)

    Season 2 of Captain N improved upon Season 1. It brought Captain N into the 1990s. It wasn't all great, but I enjoyed it overall, and "Quest For the Potion of Power" will always be one of the coolest animated video game stories ever made. Now, at long last, we leave Season 2 and head into Season 3. If you're already familiar with it, then you know what to expect. If not, then follow me, if you dare, and find out.


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