Synopsis by Rovi
In the tradition of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, the adult animated series Sealab 2021 lifted footage from an old, obscure Hanna-Barbera kiddie cartoon show, reedited the material, and composited the images over newly drawn backgrounds. In this case, the "original" series was Sealab 2020, which was first seen on NBC during the 1972-1973 season. One of several "serious" H-B efforts of the era, the first Sealab took place in the early 21st century and was set in a domed experimental city several miles beneath the sea. Boasting a population of 250, Sealab was commandeered by oceanographer Dr. Paul Williams with the assistance of Captain Mike Murphy, Murphy's niece, Sallie, and nephew, Bobby, and the three Sealab aquanauts who had rescued Murphy et al. from a watery doom: Hal, Ed, and Gail. And, oh yes, there was a comedy-relief dolphin named Tubby. Developed by Adam Reed and Matt Thompson and first aired as a trio of pilot films on the Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" anthology in 2000, Sealab 2021 was a wickedly satirical sendup on the earlier series, top-heavy with sexual references and scatological humor. The premise: The earth's ecological system had totally broken down, forcing the Sealab crew to remain underwater indefinitely. After being cooped up for a full year (hence the series' title), the crew had broken down as well, at least in terms of morale and inhibitions. Foul-mouthed, ill-mannered Captain Murphy--now known as "Hazel" to certain intimates--had no control over his randy subordinates, who in addition to becoming insatiably hedonistic were also terminally indolent and careless, causing one apocalyptic disaster after another. The series was a cornucopia of "inside" jokes for cartoon buffs and TV fans alike, especially in its choice of voice talent, which included TV-series icons Brett Butler and Erik Estrada. The irreverence spilled over into the closing credits in which the name of series producer Mike Lazzo was invariably misspelled. Also featured were cool, crazy excerpts from contemporary and "classic" rock albums. The weekly 15-minute series version of Sealab 2021 first aired on September 2, 2001.