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  • Out of the thousands of cornball, stupid and just plain boring 'cartoons' this one stood out. Great characters with imaginative backgrounds and entertaining stories. Unfortunately, the show's main plot was never resolved because it was cancelled. Most likely because there weren't any toys sold for it. :S Fortunately I happen to have the complete series "film" on videotape... :D If you ever get the chance to watch this somewhere (hopefully Cartoon Network will rerun and better yet- CONTINUE this series) please do! Enjoy!
  • This was a great show!!

    On first glance, it may seem a bit dorky and juvenile.

    However, if one actually watches all the episodes in order, they have a good story to tell.

    If you can ignore the blatant morality imposed on all American cartoons [can never kill the bad guy, even if he just tried to kill you for the 10th time], then this is a REALLY good cartoon. Serialized and everything.

    The story continues from one episode to the next, yet abruptly stops without any conclusion. That is a real letdown and disappointment. Even Cartoon Network has commented on this in a humour commercial.
  • I rented this on VHS, then bought the toys, then collected the comics, it was so good. I never knew there was a TV show until after it was gone and unavailable. I'd buy it on DVD in a second.

    The concept was fairly unique, dark water taking over the world and the hero going on a quest for magical items to stop its progress. It was like a fantasy take on pirates of the Spanish Main. The ships had really neat concepts, like the hero's ship which could glide for short distances, gigantic waterfalls in the ocean, and some sort of gas gun that worked by stimulating a living creature to produce knockout gas. The main bad guy, Bloth, had a ship which was actually a gargantuan carcass of a long dead sea creature, so it looked cool as well.

    It had the same set of characters as a lot of fantasy films, close to Star Wars, but the characters were amazingly three dimensional for a cartoon. Niddler was likable, but you were never sure he would be on your side when the going got rough, and not in a typical cowardly save-his-own-skin type of way, but a maybe-he-really-is-evil type of way.
  • Just to clarify a few things...What became "The Pirates of Dark Water" originally aired as the mini-series "Dark Water". It lasted one week and ran in the after-school slot on Fox starting on a Monday and finishing on the following Friday. This was during what I like to call "the golden era" of Fox. (The Simpsons, In Living Color, etc.) Anyway, here on IMDb it credits Roddy McDowall as the voice of Niddler for all 21 episodes of the series. This isn't correct. He was actually the voice of Niddler for the original mini-series and NOT for the ensuing series. His voice, in my opinion, was way cooler than that contributed by Frank Welker. (Sorry Frank) Welker's whinier version of the Niddler voice was dubbed onto the five original episodes when it was released for Saturday morning television. A lot of people didn't come to know the series until its Saturday morning incarnation and, therefore, never had the pleasure of hearing McDowall's Niddler. I remember being extremely disappointed watching the series and hearing a different, less cultivated voice. It really changed the character completely. Unfortunately, none of the uploads that I've encountered on the internet are of the original mini-series. Also, as of January 2009, it seems that the great fan site piratesofdarkwater.net is now regrettably defunct.
  • Out of the thousands of cornball,stupid,and just plain boring cartoons that came out of the 1990's,the short-lived animated series "The Pirates of Dark Water" stood out from all the rest. This was a grand series that was part "Star Wars",part "Thundarr The Barbarian",and part of all of those Errol Flynn swashbuckling films that came out of the 1940's. "The Pirates of Dark Water" was unique in its own special way,and it basically stood out from all of the other cartoons that were all over the place during the 1990's. It's concept was fairly unique. It tells the story of a young man who was the son of a lighthouse keeper who rescues a stranger foundering in the rocks near his home,and finds out that the man he'd rescued,was an aide to his true father, a great king.

    The stranger gives the young man(whose name is Ren)a magical compass crystal that will guided him to a dragon who will showed him that to claim his heritage is to find the Thirteen Treasures of Rule. Trouble ensues when a pirate ship captained by the evil Bloth is also aware of the treasure and will go to the ends of the earth,relentlessly pursing Ren for it and to claim the treasures for himself. With the help of his companions to aide him on his quest included Ioz,Tula,and Niddler(a monkeybird),Ren and his crew will stop at nothing to find the thirteen treasures,and to stay one step ahead of Bloth and his evil crew. The quest becomes more urgent with Ren learns that the Dark Water,which is carnivorous form of water that consumes anything it snares which is know to envelope and destroy his world. Only the treasures that Ren seeks can stop it,and any costs before it causes complete chaos throughout.

    About this show...the series first premiered as a five-part mini series titled "Dark Water",that aired on the FOX Kids Network from February 25,1991 through March 1, 1991. In the mini-series,which was the first five episodes of the regular series,and most notably during its first season,the original mini-series featured the voice of Roddy McDowell as Niddler,whereas the revised version the character was voiced by Hanna-Barbera regular Frank Welker(for all 21 episodes)which was dubbed onto the original five episodes that later ended up on ABC's Saturday Morning schedule. Originally shown first on FOX,"The Pirates of Dark Water" mini-series ran in the after school time slot on a Monday and ended the following Friday. The series was part of the FOX Kids grand lineup of some of the greatest animated shows ever;right up there with "Batman:The Animated Series","Animaniacs!",and "Peter Pan and the Pirates" that were put of FOX Kids' schedule during the 1990's.

    Only season 1 of the series contained the original five episodes,that were also part of ABC's Saturday Morning schedule(that ran during part of the 1991-1992 season,and again in repeats),while Season 2(which ended up in syndication) had 13 episodes that aired from October 12,1991 until December 7, 1991. Its third and final season(which was also shown in first-run syndication) finished with 8 episodes from November 8, 1992 until May 23, 1993. A total of 21 episodes were made during the production. The last telecast ended on May 23,1993. The episodes of the series were aired in the continuation from one segment to another(most of them ended with a cliffhanger until next week)as we join the antics and high adventure escapades of Ren,Tula,and Ioz as they go up against Bloth and his band of evil men in search for the lost treasures each week with great stories and brilliant animation. Simply amazing.

    This series was produced by Hanna-Barbera,who were known for their work with "Yogi Bear","The Flintstones",and "Scooby-Doo",just to name a few. The reason why "The Pirates of Dark Water" didn't last very long. For one it was a expensive show to produce,and due to production costs,and failing to meet the airdates,the series was never completed due to low ratings,which still had a great premise. The series ended abruptly after 21 episodes with only eight of the thirteen treasures collected. The led to the end of a great television show that became one of the best cartoons to ever come out of the 1990's. One of the reasons why "Pirates of Dark Water" became successful during its run came from its creator and producer David Kirschner along with Mark Young,Glenn Leopold,and Paul Sabella,who served as executive producer for this series along with a lot of Hanna Barbera shows that came around during the 1990's and early 2000's. Responsible for not this series,but were the producers behind "Swat Kats:The Radical Squadron","The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest", and "Dexter's Laboratory" to name a few.
  • "The Pirates of Dark Water" has to be one of the most overlooked animated shows ever. It is so much fun, unique and very original. Sadly, the show got axed before the story had resolved fully, so it was a real shame that something so good ended feeling incomplete. That said, I liked the idea of the plot, and the episode ideas revolving around it. Dark water threatening to take over the world, and a hero seeking to retrieve the magical items used to prevent it, that is quite an intriguing concept. The music is wonderful and the episodes are full of adventure, humour and even swashbuckling. The scripts were surprisingly mature and has some good morals. The animation is amazingly detailed, very vibrant in colour and detailed in character features and backgrounds. And the characters are great, Ren is a very likable hero very like Luke SkyWalker, and Bloth is a great adversary, quite a complex character if you really think about it. And Tula is beautiful. These characters were brought to life by a terrific voice cast, especially Brock Peters as Bloth who shows a good deal of menace, but also from Jodi Benson, George Newbern, Frank Welker, Hector Elizondo, Jim Cummings and Tim Curry. In conclusion, this is a truly great show, that I feel was unfairly treated. It is better than a vast majority of the animated shows airing now. 10/10 Bethany Cox
  • LionelHutz198520 September 2003
    I forgot all about this show untilll I saw it on Boomerang. Then I remembered the greatness. THe show was about this guy named Ren, and his two friends who are trying to find 6 treasures that will let them stop these evil stop called darkwater (kinda like intellegent oil). It had morals, and all that. Shame it was never resolved. A revival would be awesome... But if you want to see an ending, track down one of the copies of POD the video game, for either SNES, or Sega Genesis. I would say the Genesis one is better.
  • This show was fantastic!!! I watched when I was five, and it is the best animated show in cartoon history. I think the reason that the cartoon was so good is because it was the first animated series that show a form of plot that continued throughout the episodes. The characters were very well developed and the story line was outstanding, then again, I love almost all fantasy stories. The story was original, and it was sooooo good. Even thought the show was amazing, the series was never finished, there are only 21 episodes in all. Also it is not aired anymore, except on Boomerang and Australian Cartoon Network, so not every one can watch it. I wish the series would be finished, and released on DVD. If you search the web, using Pirates of Dark Water, then many fan bases will pop up, and you can find a link on some of the sites to petition for PoDW's release commercially!!!! Again, this is the best cartoon I have ever seen, and it is the only one that my mom would actually watch with me!
  • This was a wonderfully imaginative cartoon. The camaraderie between the three main characters was reminiscent of Luke, Han and Leia in Star Wars. Bloth was a great villain, part Captain Hook, part Jabba the Hutt.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Pirates Of Dark Water should not be confused with the Pirates Of The Caribbean movie. Rather this was a brilliant cartoon that was well animated with excellently designed characters and an interesting plot. Ren is a young man in search of the 13 treasures of Rule, with the help of a magical crystal in the form of a compass and his fellow companions, Loz, Tula and Niddler, a monkeybird. However, they also have to contend with a one-eyed pirate named Sloth and his henchmen: they of whom are also after the thirteen treasures.

    It has a very 'exotic'/ eastern look and feel to it, the concept is original and imaginative and the story lines are intriguing. Pirates of Dark water was a combination of swashbuckling, high- sea action adventure with a bit of fantasy and sci-fi thrown in the mix as well. And from an animation company famous for producing cutesy cartoon shows such as Hucklebery Hound, Yogi Bear and The Flintstones to name but many, this is impressive stuff.

    The episodes are aired in the form of a continuation from one segment to another, as we join along and follow the antics of Ren, Loz, Tula and Nibbler in their quest for the treasures, and to prevent the dark water from getting to them and thus cause further havoc and destruction. Sadly however, we never got to see the completion of the attainment of the 13 treasures of Rule because the show was eventually cancelled in the end. This is very disappointing and thus, this particular issue and theme which was running throughout the series, was never resolved. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic cartoon full of intrigue, mystery and shall I add culture all mixed in and of which really worked well. Pirates of Dark Water was great fun, not to mention it was one of the best 90s cartoons around at the time. Great job Hanna Barberra I'd say!
  • No doubts, the adventures, the friendship, the fights and the noble purpoise are the basic virtues of this special, from drawings to stories, serie, reminding the emotions of childhood in admirable manner, being dark and hopefull and real well crafted. The end, yes, unfortunatelly it is missing. But the memories about heroes are real great.
  • This was one of my favorites and I was very young when I started watching this. I am disappointed to have seen all of the GOOD and DECENT cartoons discontinue. It is extremely upsetting to see the cartoons on TV now because the only one that is worth watching is Tom and Jerry (when you have NOTHING else to do) or Family Guy. Everything else just sucks and it's just does not compare to the old cartoons at all. I agree with another users' comment, I would buy this series if it came on DVD. I LOVED THIS SHOW and I would love to watch the WHOLE thing in order. I would also love to see it on boomerang. I think we have had enough of Flintstones, there are a ton of other cartoons just as good or even better. (personally, Flintstones was just not that funny. but that's just me)
  • This show was such a good fantasy action/adventure with great effort put into both its animation and its world-building and had an all-star cast as well.

    But I guess that was what ended up prematurely ending our adventure with prince Ren and his loyal crew of misfits in the search of the thirteen treasures of Rule and the fight against the villainous pirate Bloth and the overall baddie of dark water. Only twenty-one episodes were aired, and what we got was excellent but now unfinished.

    The Pirates of Dark Water remains one of the saddest cancellations of a TV-show, because every minute of the show was dedicated to building this imaginative world with its own creatures, clothing, language, culture and we could've got so much more of that and fulfill the quest.
  • hellraiser716 December 2018
    This is another one of my favorite animated shows of all time, it's also another show that sadly has sailed under the radar. This show wasn't really overlooked it was a hit but as time went on it it's became another forgotten gem.

    I really like the plotline, it feels like the kind for another "Legend of Zelda" game, just as Link has to find pieces of the Triforce, the heroes race against time and rival factions to find 13 treasures which can produce a power to save Mur from a mysterious lethal substance called Dark Water which is covering the entire world. You could say it's a bit of a save the environment type of plotline, but I like that, it's something different over the cliché take over the world, well ok they sort of have that with the main villain's plight but it's not the central plot. Saving the environment is important because we do need water to live, once it's gone, we go with it.

    But mainly I love the fact that this is a fantasy that takes place in the high seas which I don't get to see much of in the genre in the visual medium except in Harryhausen films like "Jason and the Argonauts" and three "Sinbad" films. As well as the film "Pirates of the Carrabian". The ocean I feel is a rich area for fantasy because the ocean is vast, you never really know what your going to run into and find, which to creates a vast amount of possibilities.

    The animation is great, I love both the character and the environmental animation. The character both human and non-human are unique and well structured. I how in the designs there is a bit of a sense of diversity which was also in the animated show "Conan the Adventurer" another underrated gem; this was unique at the time and I like that there not there for any PC (Politically Correct) bullcrap but there there because their actual characters. Action is very good; the swordfights are well choregraphed.

    But I really love the world of Rule and its wonders, much like with the movie "The Dark Crystal" it all takes place in an alien world. I really love how richly conceived it is, as there are familiar and some that are strange and unfamiliar, yet beautiful, the background settings alone are worthy of the fantasy paintings of Boris Vajio. From the strange alien forest, creatures that occupy both the land and the sea, and plenty of other wonders that you just have to see for yourself which is part of the joy of this show, it really gives you the feeling of being a stranger in another world, this in a way is part of the true essence of the fantasy genre as part of its about exploring what is unfamiliar to the normal settings your accustomed to.

    One of my favorite things are those ships where are awesome looking as their unique in design. From the bad guys show which is made of the bones of some sort of monster making the boat cool but sinister, down to the good guys ship which is unique in design as it looks a little like some of the sail boats from the ancient times long gone but there are certain things in the design that make it alien, which makes it all the more cool.

    One of the things unique about it was it has a ensemble of characters voiced by a very good voice cast whom have a good amount of depth, each of them just like their journey develop a little more, there is even some mystery to them as we learn more about them which really added to the ongoing adventure and mystery of the show. Let along the plot of the show is ongoing and does develop. This was wasn't something at the time done much in animated shows let alone live action, though now is common place in shows like "Game of Thrones", "Stranger Things" etc.

    Ren voiced by George Newborn whom is well known for voicing Superman in "Justice League" is solid, he's the typical young eager do gooder adventurer architype much like Luke Skywalker and Sinbad, yeah not a new trope but works all the same. I really like the depth on him, his origins are uncannily similar toward DC superhero "Aquaman" as Ren is the son of a lighthouse keeper much as Arthur/Aquaman is. And just as Arthur is the rightful prince/king of the sea, Ren is the rightful prince/king of a lost kingdom. Though the two good guys that stand out for me are Tula and Io whom to me are the most interesting both have solid character arcs.

    Tula voiced by Jodie Benson whom is well known for voicing "Ariel" from "The Little Mermaid" (yeah, I like that film) she was very good. Tula is another one of my favorite animated female protagonists as she's hot with the persona to boot. She is not just a skilled agile warrior but also she has some mystical powers, I like how her character throughout that part of the show has a bit of adjustment blues as she struggles to adjust and come to peace with this fact since she didn't ask to have them, which is understandable it's not a very comforting feeling when unasked for changes intrude upon what's familiar. This I feel also give the character a slightly vulnerable and human aspect showing despite how tough and powerful she may be, she's still human.

    Ioz is my favorite character voiced by Hector Alonzo, really like the design of him as he's sort of a Mongolian version of Han Solo. Just like Han he a Merc that is more for himself, as he doesn't totally care about the cause or even the clients, he's escorting he just cares about the reward in the end. But after a while he warms up to his company and does slowly but surely begin to care for them and the cause, realizing that there really are things worth more than money.

    Bloth voiced by Brock Peters, he's an honorable mention of favorite animated villains. Really like the design of him as he's true to his name in every sense. He's a villain you love to hate as he's menacing, ruthlessly determined and a little intimidating, I'll admit as a kid, I was a little nervous seeing him as he's the kind of guy you're not sure you could win in a fight with , as he's not just big in stature but has that really big sword that is bigger than Jason Vorhees machete. But what I really like about him is he's blackly funny, he has some memorable and funny lines.

    The only bad thing was the voyage was cut short, which really sucks because there was so much more that could have been covered as not all the 13 treasures were found. We could have uncovered more about the character's past and how it correlates more with the plot. More character development and maybe even have some new characters join the crew of both parties. But also, the reason for the existence of Dark Water which we never know about.

    Sadly, the only way this quest will be fulfilled is in the realm of Fanfic or if DC Comics decides to do a comic book continuation since they have the rights to Hanna Barbara, all the same it's a shame. Though I wouldn't mind a revival either in animated form or better yet live action, but make sure it's on a premium channel, and with the revival we could get a little darker, get more depth into the characters and the world they occupy. And put a reason for the Dark Water maybe a bit of a Lovecraftian spin where the water is part of the sign of one of the ancient evil gods awakening. These are at least thoughts to consider anyway.

    Pirates of Dark Water is a hidden treasure worth uncovering.

    Rating: 4 stars
  • I heard of this show when it first came out, but regrettably I never had the chance to actually see it. Looking at it now, it stands tall today among other silly toons kids see these days. Nicely animated for a kids show and some good imaginative writing makes it a cut above, if only it was ever completed. Too bad production costs were high to make each episode, had it got more press and fans, this show would have gotten the attention,respect, and justice it so rightfully deserves. I love the characters of this show as they're all so memorable and the protagonists grow and mature in the short time of the series. Ren's a cool character with all his naiveté, charm, bravado, and swagger. Tula's my second favorite since she's got those nifty Ecomancer powers and hot outfit! Then of course there's Ioz, the charming rogue joining the brotherhood of the brave, and finally Niddler the monkeybird you just wish was real. The bad guys of course steal the show since three of them are voiced by well respected actors. The big bad Bloth is voiced by Brock Peters, who sounds like he's having a lot of fun in the part. Konk is played by the veteran Tim Curry and finally Mantus played by Peter Cullen of Transformers fame. But the real surprise is Jodi Benson as Tula, the same woman who played Ariel the Mermaid. The world of Mer is bursting with imagination and danger. Should you find the DVD don't hesitate to grab it!