Sonic the Hedgehog first appeared on the SEGA Genesis over 20 years ago and has remained one of the most popular video game characters and franchises. His popularity has waned in recent years, but for all intents and purposes he’s still right up there next to Super Mario. Some franchises are lucky enough to get a TV show, and ultra lucky to get more than one. Sonic may have the most. There’s the classic show and Adventures, plus the rather strange Underground. Sonic X is arguably the most popular, because it adapted most of the games. While obviously lacking in many areas, the latter was still a decent show many people have fond memories of. (If only they had gotten rid of Chris.)
Upon its unveiling, SONIC BOOM received a very mixed response. On one hand it was going to be awesome to see the hedgehog on the small screen once again after so many years. On the other hand, the new designs were pretty awful and it was said the show would be a comedy and episodic. So, now that it’s aired, do we have a solid installment or another Pac Man and the Ghostly Adventures? The review will be divided into two parts since there are two segments in the 30 minute slot.
Going in, it’s a conflict when watching this for the viewer who has grown up with the games from the Adventure era. “It is what it is” is basically the frame of mind the show wants us to have. It’s episodic, and the plots are silly. The first segment has Sonic “fire” Tails from being his sidekick (apparently it’s a job) and his mission to look for another one. The writing isn’t Pac Man-bad to the point where an older viewer will be turned off. It’s not great however; there are very few instances I found myself chuckling. Sonic allowing Eggman to try out to be his sidekick might be funny for the kids, but to people like me it’s jarring. And then of course a reader might give me, “Well it is a show aimed at kids!” That is true, but the greatest “kids show” has writing even older viewers can enjoy. (My Little Pony, Transformers Prime, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc.)
That’s not to say the episode didn’t have its moments. The opening was exciting and showed off some very impressive animation. If it’s one thing to write home about on Boom, it’s the animation. It looks like a high quality video game cutscene, which is fantastic. There’s a nice mini-race scene that could be a homage Sonic Riders, which definitely could have been a bit longer. The Burnbot was an impressive creation by Dr. Eggman, hopefully future robots will be as good. The portrayals of the characters are what you get when you grab their Adventure selves, and aim them squarely at a younger crowd. Knuckles’ role is pretty mediocre, which is surprising since he’s been displayed in pretty much all the marketing. While the designs definitely look better in motion, his is still pretty bad. Thankfully there was virtually no crude humor in this episode.
The first segment could be called decent. Unfortunately, everything that was “decent” about it is thrown out the window here in the second. This time Eggman moves in with Sonic and Tails since his base is apparently unlivable…and they actually let him. This episode is the epitome of what future episodes will probably look like. The writing is very, very awful. None of the jokes are funny and sadly while there was basically no crude humor in the previous episode, there’s some here. (“It’s a got a trap door in the back!”) Also, the new character called “Sticks” made her debut. She was given some hype in marketing, yet doesn’t really get too much of an important role. Maybe she’ll have that in the video game, but still she should have been given a proper introduction.
Once again, the animation deserves praise. The brief scene where Sonic was running inside Eggman’s base was fantastic. (It’s a shame so soon after it was derailed by the former being tired, the running gag of the final part of the story which quickly got annoying.) Amy’s role is a bit ambiguous. Is she some kind of therapist? How about Knuckles, is he the Master Emerald’s guardian? There’s just too little backstory. This episode I’m sad to say is enough to turn away any longtime fan for good.
So what’s the verdict on Boom? It can be mildly entertaining sometimes, but the writing overall is just mediocre. It’s bad enough there’s no ongoing story, but that’s not to say an episodic thing couldn’t have been good. The Looney Tunes Show did it right, but the thing about Boom is that it pretends to be an action cartoon, when it’s not. If you thought Eggman was a joke before, this show is that times eleven. There’s some great potential which sadly the show probably won’t explore. The animation is fantastic, but it’s wasted on mediocre writing and awful jokes. Sonic deserves better.