Very few things are better than Sealab 2021. In a sea of people that think that TV is getting worse, I actually think quite the contrary and I think TV is getting better and Sealab 2021 is the proof of that. The problem is that rubbish TV is growing exponentially making it very hard to find the great gems out there.
Sealab 2021 is something unique in television. It has, quite simply everything a TV show needs to be a universal success: intelligent political/social commentary, plenty of good jokes, plenty of silly jokes, lots of pop culture references (to make some of us feel intelligent) and meaningful/sensible violence. However, the show isn’t a global success. The main reason for this is that it is showing on Adult Swim and its 12 minute long episodes make it awkward for normal TV channels.
Here are the reason why I think everyone should be watching Sealab 2021. The show’s main character is Captain Murphy (voiced by Harry Goz) is everything you want in a lead role. Some sort of a wiser older Homer Simpson. Throughout the series Murphy slowly comes through as a totally iconic figures. It helps that he gets the show’s best lines (e.g., “Remember, is not what The Party can do for you puddy, is what your puddy can do for The Party” or “I said a little! He is barely alive enough to kill.” or “We have bigger problems than a butter shortage”). Sadly, Harry Goz died in September 2003 and he took Captain Murphy with him. Personally, I think the series never quite recovered from this.
The music in the show is great and always meaningful to the story. No superfluous music stuff here. The theme song is a masterstroke by the band Calamine created especially for the show. It does exactly what every theme tune should do: making the series instantly recognisable. Listen to it on YouTube and you will be singing along to the theme tune almost instantly. The show has also a continuous collaboration with nerdcore rapper MC Chris.
The episodes are true genius. They only last 12 minutes (in the classic Adult Swim style) and the writers manage to pack unimaginable amounts of fun and action. It is very hard to describe the impact they have or the stories they are trying to communicate. They are all different and invariably end with all the crew dying in some freak accident – this is a perception actually as someone pointed out to me. The best way to do this is to use You Tube and suggest some of the classics: The more serious episodes like Happy Cake (”I don’t know, it is French. It’s crap”), sci-fi non-sense with Lost in Time (”Does vaporise mean nothing happened to it?”), theatre-like episodes like All That Jazz (”Hey, some sort of rescue toaster”), evil empire stuff with Der Dieb (”That’s the problem, we don’t know which throat to slit”), pure non-sense with tons of pop-culture references with Vacation (”uh-oh”) and the political ones with Article 4 (”ui, mis huevos!”) and Red Dawn (”There is a spectre haunting Sealab, and that spectre is my 5 year plan”).
After 52 episodes Sealab 2021 came to an end. Enjoy them.