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 need to be environmentally responsible.
Each kid is given a magic ring harnessing the power of Earth, wind, water, fire and heart.
When the threat they face is too big, 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 came 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 that turned people into rats – but the central message of protecting the Earth was always the same.
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 surrounding those who have it.