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Unexpected Changes
Review And Media by Stu

Episode #1 - Unexpected Changes
Original Airdate November 4th, 2000

Mystique hopes to use Toad as a spy in Xavier's Institute. Meanwhile, The X-Men are introduced to a new member, Nightcrawler!

Story By: Rick Ungar, Avi Arad
Written By: Bob Forward
Directed By: Frank Paur
Music Composed By: William Anderson
Guest Starring: Kirby Morrow as Cyclops/Scott Summers, Scott McNeil as Wolverine/Logan, Venus Terzo as Jean Grey, David Kaye as Professor Charles Xavier, Brad Swaile as Nightcrawler/Kurt Wagner, Noel Fisher as Toad/Todd Tolensky and Colleen Wheeler as Mystique/Raven Darkholme.

Review: With a new X-Men movie released just a few months earlier, Marvel saw fit to cross promote the movie with an all new X-Men cartoon, set to air in the Fall of 2000 on Kids! WB. Unlike the previous show, this new cartoon would feature younger X-Men who went to a normal school, with the world completely unaware that mutants existed. It was certainly different from the X-Men that came before it, but would it be better?

If this first season was anything to go by, then the answer to the above question is clearly a resounding ďHell noĒ. The majority of the seasonís stories were thing stuff, with most of the characters either annoying or worse, lacking any single amount of spark to them. Thereís the odd exception, but this is a genuine below mediocre season. The quality of even the worse second, third and fourth episodes were still so much better than this season.

This particular episode is a great example of the season. The story is practically non-existent and moves at an incredibly slow pace, but features some great visuals. I remember being thoroughly impressed with the beginning sequence underneath the seating area. There were some great shots of Cyclops draped in shadows, but surprisingly, the animation was a lot weaker than I was expecting, given how great the designs were. Thankfully, the animation quality improved exponentially as the series continued, as did my overall enjoyment of the show.

By far the most infuriating thing of the entire series was Nightcralwer. I know heís sometimes a goofy guy in the comics but it was beyond annoying here. This was accompanied by some of the most horrendous voice acting Iíve ever heard. Iím not sure why Kurt sounded castrated, but it got really annoying, really quickly. His instant turn from the ugly freak in the trench coat to an annoying little blue elf was done far too quickly to not be considered absurd. The sad tact is, it only got worse as the series went on. I know this Nightcralwer has a pretty big fan base, but Iím not in it.

As a pilot, it kept me interested to watch further episodes, particularly as Wolverine returned, the school Principal was revealed to be Mystique, Sabertooth made a cool cameo and Magnetoís presence was unveiled in the closing seconds, revealing him to be the big bad of the show.

Essentially, this episode is a below average start to a series that went on to do great things.