Saturday mornings were great for kids growing up in the 80’s, 90’s, and early 00’s. We had so many great cartoons and animation was at an all time high. For movie lovers, chances were that if the film was popular, you’d soon have a cartoon building off of the initial brand. Sometime early to mid 2000’s the trend of “animated series” seemed to go away with cartoons based off of The Mummy and Evolution being one of the last of the memorable shows to air. Given the nature of Universal Monsters Universe and our theme month being “March of Mummies”, it seemed like it would be fun to revisit the Kids WB The Mummy: The Animated Series!
I grew up watching The Mummy: The Animated Series and I made sure to catch every original episode and re-run live and on VHS. That was part of my Saturday morning routine and immediately afterwards, my parents and I would then be able to begin our day in proper. I was a huge fan of The Mummy and The Mummy Returns and so to have an animated series based off of the popular Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz movies was massively rewarding.
The Mummy: The Animated Series first aired on September 29, 2001, ran for two seasons, and lasted 26 episodes until it was cancelled on June 7, 2003. Airing on the Kids WB block of Saturday morning shows, The Mummy was based off of The Mummy Returns but incorporated elements from the 1999 original, as well. Like most animated series based off of movies, The Mummy played fast and loose with the film cannon while maintaining its relevance.
Written by Tom Pugsley & Greg Klein
Directed by Eddy Houchins
The pilot episode of The Mummy: The Animated Series seemingly picks up sometime after the events of 1999’s The Mummy and is quite vague in terms of where it fits in with 2001’s The Mummy Returns. The episode opens with Rick O’ Connell, Evy, and their son Alex in a castle in Scotland. Alex accidentally opens a door unleashing a swarm of bats; he knocks into a pillar and creates a domino effect that brings the castle down. It plays exactly like the sight gag found in both Mummy movies.
Later on, Evy is promoted to Chief Archaeologist by The Museum of Antiquities based on all of her findings, including the Book of the Dead. This angers Colin Weasler, a bookish worm looking character, who plays off like an animated version of 1999’s Beni Gabor.
The O’ Connell’s head off to Egypt to dig at The Temple of Hamunaptra. While there, Alex discovers the Manacle of Osiris. Much like the Bracelet of Anubis from The Mummy Returns, the manacle locks onto Alex’s wrist. According to myth, the manacle was created by Osiris, the god of the underworld, to vanquish his foes on earth. Among many of its powers, it was said that it could resurrect the dead.
While at The Temple of Hamunaptra, Colin Weasler resurrects Imhotep by reading from The Book of the Dead. “Looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the sarcophagus.” Weasler then becomes a Renfield/Beni to Imhotep and they set out to find the Manacle of Osiris and cause general trouble for The O’ Connell’s.
“The Summoning” plays with some of the ideas presented in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns while presenting new mythology to the series. Ardeth Bey shows up and tells the O’ Connell’s about the Lost Scroll of Thebes and of how that is the only thing that could remove the Manacle from Alex’s wrist and save his life. This naturally sets the theme of The Mummy: The Animated Series and the majority of the show concerns itself with The O’ Connell’s traversing the globe to find the Lost Scroll of Thebes before Imhotep.
The Mummy: The Animated Series took place in an interesting time where hand drawn animation was still a major part of how animated programs were done. While some of the techniques feel a little old, the show (in particular “The Summoning”) holds up as a fun, family friendly addition to the Stephen Sommers’ Mummy films. If you enjoyed the movies, you’ll like the cartoon.
Death is only the beginning and The Mummy: The Animated Series has only now been summoned. Stay tuned for more UMU coverage of the animated series!
(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)