Thank you Netflix! I must say that despite being money grubbing assholes you have reunited me with my childhood love, X-men the Animated Series. No, not lame ass X-men Evolution, I have no interest in watching X-men meets Saved by the Bell. I’m speaking of the early 90s cartoon series that kept my eyes glued to the screen every Saturday morning at 10:30, Pacific Standard Time. It was not uncommon to find me wearing a makeshift trench coat and gloves with the fingers cut off attempting to throw playing cards at friends and family members. Yes mon amis, I was and still am an X-men fanatic. That said; don’t mistakenly believe that means that I enjoy everything X-men. On the contrary, I hold X-men, in every medium, to the highest standard. An atrocity like X-men: The Last Stand doesn’t get a by simply because it bares the X-men name. I can actually feel vomit forming in the back of my throat just having thought about that abomination. So let’s move on.
Not many movies or TV shows can withstand the test of time. I know this is a cliché but X-men has most certainly aged like a fine wine. Nostalgia, unintentional comedy and one-liners galore are the recipe that keeps X-men goddamn entertaining nearly 2 decades later. Now X-men the animated series is certainly not without its flaws. That said, it’s ironically its imperfections which make it so perfect! (Paradox much?) The show is full of so many logical inconsistencies, which as a 10 year old you’d never realized, but as a man in your late 20s it’ll leave you asking, yeahbuwhat? Now obviously one must suspend disbelief when watching a show about super powered mutants but I’m not even referring to that. Case in point, in the very first episode the X-men essentially commit an act of terrorism on a private institution and face no repercussions. Save for Beast who was left behind and caught. (Sorry, I forgot to put *spoiler alert*.) There’s no warrant for their arrest, they aren’t even added to the most wanted list, nothing. They’re even allowed to attend Beast’s parole hearing. That’s like having an accomplice come to the trial for same crime he was a part of and the police forgetting that they should probably arrest him too. I suppose I could just be reading a little too much into a children’s cartoon show. But I’ll leave that for you to decide.
Another aspect of the show that never set off any red flags as child but makes me roll on the floor laughing now, is how the X-men are so quick tempered and ready to fight each other without a moments hesitation. Now I understand that Wolverine wouldn’t sustain any serious or lasting injuries but a quick flip of the wrist and he could easily filet Cyclops or Gambit. And they can’t help but try to get a taste of his animantium claws. On the other hand it’s rather fitting because the X-men also seem to have a serious death wish. Cyclops was nearly seconds away from destroying a nuclear warhead just to save some measly humans. And moments later Storm was on the verge of doing the same. I understand the need to make a command decision but self preservation is obviously not a pre-requisite to becoming an X-men.
Alas, all good things come to an end. After 5 seasons consisting of 76 episodes, the series faced cancellation in 1997. As a child I never knew why. I simply remember waking up one morning and turning on the TV and there were no X-men to be found. I don’t remember exactly how that day progressed; I simply recall a feeling of emptiness. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned of the reason why. And that reason is easily the dumbest fucking reason I’ve ever heard of for a show being cancelled. It wasn’t because the ratings were bad or anything that would resemble a sound decision. No, nothing like that, apparently Fox was upset that their most popular show was controlled by Marvel Studios. That’s right because they didn’t control the X-men they decided to cancel it. Oh the ironing. I was initially going to make an analogy about the irony of a show about a group of people who were sought to be wiped out because they were feared for being different being terminated by some pencil dick executives simply because it was something that they couldn’t control. But it’s not even deserving of that treatment, it’s not even worth the words. And no, Fox was not content with simply robbing me of my childhood love. No, those fucking bastards continued the pillaging of my soul into my adult life. That’s right; Fox Studios produces the X-men movies and thus are responsible for the after mentioned X-men: The Last Stand. Goddamn you Fox, goddamn your black and twisted soul!
Alas, I want to end this on a positive note since X-men has brought me so much joy over the years. The animated series is undoubtedly one of the greatest cartoon series ever created. I consider myself blessed to have been able to enjoy it as a child and get that much more enjoyment out of it as an adult. Thankfully, I was also recently able to finally watch an X-men movie I could fully enjoy, X-men: First Class. I was skeptical that it would be anything more than a total disappointment but I was pleasantly surprised. Oh X-men: First Class, the first step in a long road for Fox to pay penance for the crimes they have committed against both man and mutantkind.