Spidey on TV has always suffered from being intended for children, and blatant cases of cheesiness, and that was a part of the appeal of it. Recently however, they've come out with a new Spider formula: more mature, having characters die on screen, insanity, and dealing with a broad range of new subject matter like sex, violence, drug abuse, and murder. This show is Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (or MTV Spider-Man).
Being done in full cell shading animation, it loosely follows up on the events of the first Spider-Man movie, following Peter Parkers life as he tries to deal with college, women, life, and his responsibility of being Spider-Man. The 13 eps. series flows in a somewhat sequestered format, with each eps being cut off from the others, aside from a few exceptions (a new love interest being introduced halfway through, and the 2-part series finale), which takes away from the feel that you're watching Pete's life go on, since his actions in one eps don't necessarily reflect in any of the others. But overall it works to establish the villains which show up in every eps.
As said, there is a villain appearance in each eps, ranging from a college girl obsessed with Spider-Man, to Russian terrorists, to telepathic twins. Of course some of your old favorites make an appearance such as Kingpin, The Lizard, and Electro to name a few, though not all of them are handled appropriately. For example, Kingpin, who's basically the nexus with which all crime in New York revolves around, comes off as no more dangerous than a somewhat successful crime boss. While others, such as Electro and The Lizard, are almost epic in their presentation. Both of which will tempt a tear to be released if not making you cry openly.
The voice acting is decent, with Spidey sounding appropriate and having a good hint of silly sarcasm to his voice, but the problem is he doesn't really change it. In some serious scenes, it just doesn't sound much different than when he's taunting a villain, only in a slightly lower tone. The real shining voicework comes from the one-shot villains. Particularly from Rob Zombie as Dr. Kurt Conners and Kathy Griffin as Roxanne (a telepathic twin). Both giving amazing performances and convey their characters marvelously. Especially Kathy Griffin, who doesn't seem like she would be the type to play a psychotic killer at all, but her voice fits amazingly well. One special note I'd like to make is about Ethan Embry who plays Max Dillon/Electro. While his performance isn't really anything special in the first half of his eps, once he becomes Electro his quality skyrockets. With 2 lines being given by him that are the 2 most memorable, and emotionally stirring in the entire series:
- No one is innocent!! NO ONE!! - Spidey: I know.. what it's like!! Electro: No.. you.. don't!!
It's not the lines themselves, but the way that they are said that just rips your heart out. The second line never fails to make me close my eyes and turn away slightly at his pain no matter how many times I see it. It's just that well delivered. You need to listen to it in order to understand what I mean, words can't explain it.
Overall, this is a well made Spider-man series with a more mature twist than what we're expecting to see from a spidey series. Though not without it's flaws (reuse of 3-4 people designs as extras continuously, repetition of Spidey's catch phrase "seriously.. ow!", etc.) it's definitely a worthy addition to the Spidey franchise, and is definitely worth a look if you're at all interested in your Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man.