Shiny Entertainment’s Earthworm Jim games were a big part of our 1990s childhood. And the 1995 TV series adaptation was weirdly brilliant.
Earthworm Jim the TV Series
Right, so a brief history lesson. The first game launched in 1994 on the SNES and Mega Drive. It was a sensation.
Its blend of surreal humour and intense platforming won over gamers and the press. Then Earthworm Jim 2 followed in 1995—it was even better!
American developer Shiny Entertainment capitalised on that with a TV show. But instead of being a shameless cash in, it ended up being really good.
Over two seasons and 23 mental episodes, it’s strange this excellent TV series isn’t lauded quite a bit more.
You know. It’s a good video game adaptation. Still something that’s not happened with a film.
Upon revisiting it on YouTube back in 2010 after a nostalgic yearning, we found it every bit as enjoyable as back in 1995.
The first clip we watched opened on the proptagonist Jim, and his sidekick Peter Puppy, dangling off something on the Planet of Unusually Tall Things.
That sort of specific planet was pretty common in the EJ world of things. Such as with the below, with the precious SNOWFLAKES and their planet.
Add into this the voice of Jim—Dan Castellaneta. That’s the man behind Homer Simpson, if you were wondering. A huge name in the voice acting world.
The show’s take on the character is that Jim is a bit dumb and eccentric, but has superhero abilities that mean he can save the day.
So, yes, the above is Homer Simpson in action. Always good to know who’s behind the voice, eh? We had no idea for years.
The show also featured some interesting intro music we remember obsessing over. For no reason (other than being dumb 10 year olds).
William Kevin Anderson handled that lot. Oscar worthy stuff, sir!
What seemed to be missing at the time were action figures. We weren’t really action figure kids, although we had Military Muscle Men.
And our beloved SNES—with Earthworm Jim. And now a TV show! It was the best of times. And the best of times in 1995/1996.
We loved the show a lot and remember taping it onto cassette by sticking the recorder next to our TV in the old bedroom.
Yeah… why did we grew up to be such pedantic geeks? Huge surprise, eh? But it was to get such moments as this!
We actually found out about the show one morning around 1995. Sister Wapojif burst into the room to inform us there was an Earthworm Jim cartoon!
We were, like… WTF!? With no internet and only Teletext and Digitiser to rely on back then (other than monthly gaming magazines) you could miss stuff easily.
And to our delight, the show was clever and funny. The main aspect of that is it treated its audience with respect.
We got how daft and surreal the games were around the time. And the show went all out for it, improving the formula.
Even the marketing material back then was able to nail it. Satire!
It ran for two seasons and ended in December of 1996. Crap bags, the Nintendo 64 wasn’t even out here by then. We do feel older.
On and off, it’s readily available on YouTube. But shows regularly get removed due to copyright infringement.
VHS tapes hit the UK in three volumes in the 1990s. And in 2011, there was a five disc DVD set released in Australia and New Zealand.
Australasia loves a bit of surreal humour, it would seem! G’day, earthworm!! [owls hooting and tumbleweed tumbling]
Yeah, but there’s no DVD release! 2012 saw that in the US, but it’s not available in Europe or the UK. This is just… disaster!
An overreaction, perhaps, but we would like to watch it all again in full. For the nostalgic kick. The games are there on GOG (and imprinted in our memories).
But it was a fun show. And although it’s now lost to history (except for dorks like us), this is the type of humour we think kids shows should aim for.
Not that we know anything about modern kids TV shows. Er… Teletubbies!?