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Season 3 Review


Friday, December 8, 2006, 2:00 PM - 4:29 PM


Introduction (2:00 PM - 2:05 PM)

For 13 days now (far less than the over 3 years years that it took me to review Season 2), I've been reviewing the third 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 7 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 3 review, I'm going to be taking a hard look at the writing of the 6 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 3 of Captain N.


Plotholes (2:06 PM - 2:12 PM)

There aren't as many (or at least as huge) plotholes in Season 3 are there are in Seasons 1 or 2, but they are there, mostly due to time constraints:

  • Why did the Sheriff give up after Maid Marian's rescue?

  • How did Rebound get into Hoop Mountain?

  • Did Alucard really side with Kevin and Simon, or was he planning to double-cross them?

  • How did Mother Brain take over the Palace of Power?

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

    Like I said, these are mostly due to time constraints and could have some kind of explanations.


    Plot Devices (2:13 PM - 2:20 PM)

    The Season 3 writers didn't use quite as many plot devices as were used in Seasons 1 or 2, but there are a few:

  • The golden arrow in "Misadventures In Robin Hood Woods". Kid Icarus was lucky that it saved Marian.

  • The Magic Hoop in "Pursuit of the Magic Hoop". That was silly.

  • Dr. Wily kidnapping Duke and Rush in "A Tale of Two Dogs". Why bother? Just announce your plans for domination, and Kevin and Mega Man will show up.

  • Astos putting Kevin under a spell in "The Fractured Fantasy of Captain N". N Team members being turned evil had already been done by this point.

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


    Characters (2:21 PM - 2:31 PM)

    Season 3 was not the time for characterization. With shorter running times and less episodes, the focus had to be on action. Still, let's see how well that the Season 3 writers do on characterization.

    Kevin Keene:

  • Kevin never played the Robin Hood video game before.

  • Kevin read about Robin Hood in storybooks.

  • Kevin seems to be a Larry Bird fan.

  • Kevin can play baseball.

    Princess Lana:

  • The combined power of the jewel in Lana's tiara and the jewel in Lyle's ring can either cure some that's been Tetrisized or produce a destructive laser blast.

  • The Prince on Final Fantasy is a good friend of Lana.

    Simon Belmont:

  • Simon has a scrapbook.

  • Simon can play baseball.

  • Simon wears white boxers with red hearts.

    Mega Man:

  • Mega Man can play baseball.

    Kid Icarus:

  • Kid Icarus can play baseball.

    Duke:

  • Duke can play baseball.

    Gameboy:

  • Nothing!

    We get some details on Kevin and Lana, but they and the other N Team members still lack strong characterization. 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 (she did defeat Mother Brain), but that's not saying much.

    As far as characterization goes, it wasn't the writers' priority, given the time constraints. They get a "C" from me, but that doesn't matter much.


    Filler (2:32 PM - 2:33 PM)

    How well did the Season 3 writers use time? With the running time for each episode halved, the Season 3 writers made great use of the time that they had to work with. I didn't detect any real filler. They were forced to write efficiently.


    Rip-Offs (2:34 PM - 2:40 PM)

    The Season 3 writers didn't rip off much stuff, given the short length of Season 3. From what I've been able to recognize, they ripped off:

  • the wish concept from many fantasy films and "Wishful Thinking" in "Pursuit of the Magic Hoop".

  • the N-Team-member-turns-evil concept from many fantasy and horror films, "Mr. and Mrs. Mother Brain", "Simon the Ape-Man", and "The Lost City of Kongoland" in "The Fractured Fantasy of Captain N".

    That's all that I can think of at the moment. Perhaps the Season 3 writers ripped off other things that I'm not aware of, too.

    Still, they didn't seem to rip off much.


    Unanswered Questions (2:41 PM - 2:46 PM)

    Did the Season 3 writers answer any of the questions that Jeffrey Scott failed to answer in Season 1 and the other writers mostly failed to answer in Season 2?

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

  • How did the war start? Not answered.

  • 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.

  • 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? Not answered.

  • What are Lana's royal duties? After "The Lost City of Kongoland", we don't know.

  • What is the Palace of Power's security system like? Not answered.

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

  • What was Kevin's daily life on Earth like? No further information was given.

  • Who is the leader of the N Team? Not answered. Lana leads the mission in "The Fractured Fantasy of Captain N", which I suppose, taken together with previous evidence, implies leadership.

    So the questions weren't answered. A few throwaway lines would have been sufficient to answer these questions.


    Continuity (2:47 PM - 2:50 PM)

    Season 3 episodes are far more stand-alone than the previous episodes. Every episode can be viewed in any order. The status quo was restored at the end of almost every episode - with the exception of Mother Brain's defeat in "Battle of the Baseball Know-It-Alls", but that was the only episode in which she appeared, anyway. The Season 3 writers didn't do anything to fix the Magic Reset Button nature of the series. However, the situation might have been out of their hands. They could have been told to write stand-alone episodes just to fill up a certain amount of weeks.


    Season 3 Usefulness Ratings (2:51 PM - 3:05 PM)

    Here are the total usefulness ratings that I've figured for each N Team member in Season 3:

    Kevin: 41 (7 episodes)
    Kid Icarus: 10 (3 episodes)
    Lana: 8 (4 episodes)
    Mega Man: 8 (3 episodes)
    Duke: 7 (4 episodes)
    Simon: 4 (3 episodes)
    Gameboy: 0 (1 episode)

    For comparison, here are their total usefulness ratings from Season 2 and 1, respectively:

    Season 2 usefulness ratings:

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

    Season 1 usefulness ratings:

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

    Kevin was less than half as useful in Season 3 as he was in Season 2. This isn't surprising, given that Season 3 basically amounted to 3.5 normal episodes. However, what's surprising is that Kevin was almost as useful in Season 3 as he was in the much longer Season 1. Everyone else scored lower than in either Season 1 or Season 2. Of course, they were in less episodes as well. Kevin was the only N Team member that was in all 7 episodes.

    For comparison, by figuring each N Team member's usefulness average based on total number of appearances, they are ranked as follows:

    Kevin: 5.8571428571428571428571428571429
    Kid Icarus: 3.3333333333333333333333333333333
    Mega Man: 2.6666666666666666666666666666667
    Lana: 2
    Duke: 1.75
    Simon: 1.3333333333333333333333333333333
    Gameboy: 0

    The difference here is that Lana drops from third place to fourth place. At least Lana is still more useful than Simon, Duke, and Gameboy.


    Grading the Episodes (3:25 PM - 3:39 PM)

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

    Misadventures In Robin Hood Woods (C)
    Pursuit of the Magic Hoop (B)
    Return To Castlevania (B)
    Totally Tetrisized (B)
    A Tale of Two Dogs (C)
    Battle of the Baseball Know-It-Alls (D)
    The Fractured Fantasy of Captain N (B)

    So my overall grade for Season 3 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 2 grade, which itself is a slightly higher C than my Season 1 grade.

    That makes Season 3, on average, the best season of Captain N.


    Grading the Writers (3:40 PM - 3:52 PM)

    Using my Season 3 grades above, I'm now going to grade each writer. Since Paul Dell & Steven Weiss only cowrote, I've paired them together.

    Dorothy Middleton:
    Misadventures In Robin Hood Woods (C)
    Totally Tetrisized (B)
    Final Grade: C+

    Matt Uitz:
    Pursuit of the Magic Hoop (B)
    Return To Castlevania (B)
    Final Grade: B

    Dennis O'Flaherty:
    A Tale of Two Dogs (C)
    Final Grade: C

    Calvin Kelley:
    Battle of the Baseball Know-It-Alls (D)
    Final Grade: D

    Paul Dell & Steven Weiss:
    The Fractured Fantasy of Captain N (B)
    Final Grade: B

    In terms of final grade, Matt Uitz is the best Season 2 writer, followed by the writing team of Paul Dell & Steven Weiss (they technically tied with Matt Uitz, but they only cowrote, so I'm ranking them lower), followed by Dorothy Middleton, followed by Dennis O'Flaherty, followed by Calvin Kelley.

    Compared to Season 2, Dorothy Middleton's average dropped from a B to a C+, Matt Uitz's average climbed from a C+ to a B, and Dennis O'Flaherty's average dropped from a C+ to a C.

    Matt Uitz and Dennis O'Flaherty are my personal favorite Season 3 writers.


    Filler Episodes (3:53 PM - 4:06 PM)

    To fill up the 6 remaining weeks of Season 3 (to tie with the 13 "Super Mario World" episodes), various episodes from Seasons 1 and 2 were used as filler in Season 3. They are as follows:

  • "The Invasion of the Paper Pedalers" was edited down to half-length and aired on Saturday, November 2, 1991.

  • "Quest For the Potion of Power" was split into two parts and aired on Saturday, November 9, 1991, and Saturday, November 16, 1991.

  • "Three Men and a Dragon" was edited down to half-length and aired on Saturday, November 23, 1991.

  • "Nightmare On Mother Brain's Street" was edited down to half-length and aired on Saturday, November 30, 1991.

  • "Mr. and Mrs. Mother Brain" was edited down to half-length and aired on Saturday, December 7, 1991.

    With the exception of "The Invasion of the Paper Pedalers" (I haven't seen it), the cut-down episodes were well-edited and re-scored. "Quest For the Potion of Power" was rescored but not cut. New narration was added to the end of Part 1 and the beginning of Part 2.


    My Thoughts on Season 3 (4:07 PM - 4:22 PM)

    What the hell happened?

    Yes, as I said above, Season 3 is, on average, the best season of Captain N, but that doesn't mean that it's the best season. I'll save that argument for my overall series review.

    The animation downgrade, the fewer episodes, and the shorter length per episode diminishes Season 3's quality greatly. I know I said in my "Misadventures In Robin Hood Woods" review that I'd address the animation and time in this review, but I'll hold off on that until my overall series review.

    This is very much a filler season. Nothing stands out as a very good episode (no episode got an A). There is no continuity between this season's episodes.

    Still, Season 3 accomplished one important thing: Mother Brain was defeated. It was done very stupidly, but it happened.

    Season 3 seems like part Season 1 and part Season 2 to me. Here are my reasons for each:

    Season 1: no Gameboy for the most part, a return to the old ending of the opening theme, the return of series-specific commercial bumpers, episodes on Castlevania and Megaland

    Season 2: 3 returning Season 2 writers, a Tetris episode

    Still, Season 3 has its own unique identity. Aside from the look and episode length, Season 3 feels like extra side quests and mini-adventures with only a few N Team members. The entire N Team appeared together only once.

    So, yeah, I don't much care for Season 3.

    And where the hell was Samus Aran?


    Next (4:23 PM - 4:29 PM)

    I told you this would be a relatively short trip back to Videoland. Season 3 of Captain N ended the series with a whimper. Next, at long last, we'll return to Videoland and revisit every episode of the series when I review the entire series as a whole! See ya then!


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