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Captain Planet

1 9 9 0 – 1 9 9 6 (USA)
112 x 30 minute episodes

Seeing the Earth in profound environmental peril, Gaia, goddess of the Earth (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg), awakes from a century-long slumber and summons five kids from around the world to become the Planeteers, a force to fight back and educate others in the need to be environmentally responsible.

To accomplish that task, each kid is given a magic ring that each has a power of earth, wind, water, fire and heart.

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When the threat they face is too big for them to face, they can combine and amplify their powers to create Captain Planet (voiced by David Coburn), who has the power to stop catastrophic environmental disasters himself, while the Planeteers contribute with the things anyone can and should do to help.

With crystal blue skin, a green mullet, fiery red clothes and a yellow globe burning bright like the sun on his chest, Captain Planet symbolised a healthy, vibrant Earth.

The five Planeteers were drawn from all parts of the globe: Ghana, the US, Brazil, the Soviet Union and Asia. The antagonists, including Verminous Skumm and Dr Blight – called themselves Eco-Villains.

Each episode featured an environmentally friendly message, finding time during the action to explain problems facing nature and the environment, such as how burning coal leads to acid rain or how elephants are being hunted for ivory.

Not every episode was grounded in reality – one plot saw the Eco-Villains spreading a disease which turned people into rats – but the central message of protecting the Earth was always the same.

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Captain Planet occasionally veered away from environmental issues into more adult territory, especially for a children’s cartoon. One episode focussed on drug addiction while another addressed the AIDS pandemic and the stigma that surrounds those who have it.

Captain Planet
David Coburn
Kwame (Earth)
LeVar Burton
Wheeler (Fire)
Joey Dedio
Gi (Water)
Janice Kawaye
Ma-Ti (Heart)
Scott Menville
Linka (Wind)
Kath Soucie
Gaia
Whoopi Goldberg

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