Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Let's talk about chicks, man -- Jem (and to a lesser extent the Holograms)


Once a popular animated TV series that ran for three seasons from 1985-1988 is still considered a staple in 80's cartoons. Probably the most interesting thing about Jem is that it was created by a woman (not surprising, but there's a twist), Christy Marx who had worked on Transformers, and GI JOE, two of the most manly, boy-driven shows in existence. Jem was actually a collaboration of Marvel Comics, Hasbro and Sunbow Productions (studio of the other aforementioned manly shows, as well as the Pryde of the X-Men pilot).

The plot was a little more complicated than I had thought. Then again, as a boy growing up in the 80's, Jem was put on the shelf compared to the Super Powers Team and Thundercats.

From Wikipedia:

The central "secret" of the series is that Jem is in fact the alter ego of Jerrica Benton, owner/manager of Starlight Music, who adopts this persona with the help of Synergy, a holographic computer designed to be the ultimate visual entertainment synthesizer (built by her father, Emmett Benton, who left it to her on his death), to acquire more money to not only support Jerrica's own company, Starlight Music, but to also support the Starlight Foundation for Girls, a foster program founded by Jacque Benton, the mother of Jerrica and Kimber Benton.

If there are two things I remember about the show though, they would be the intro song and the fashion sense. Interesting note about the famous theme song though, it's not the song used in the first episode. Yeah, I'm glad they changed that. But just watch that first part of the episode. We are introduced to the arch-nemesis band in the most hilarious way and Eric Raymond is so over the top, calling him a threat would be laughable. And how Jerrica is introduced to Synergy is borderline creepy.

I remember Jem being the alternative to Barbie...or maybe that should be alternative Barbie. Have you seen the dolls? Between the Holograms, Rainbow Brite and some of She-Ra's gal pals, everything looked like they were going to or coming from a rave.

There have been talks about a revival of sorts. Hasbro has shown some legal activity in maintaining their trademarks and intellectual property, leading some fans to believe they may be reviving the line via the trademark renewal for "Dolls, doll clothing and doll accessories; board games and jigsaw puzzles," "publications, namely coloring books, activity books, comic books, paperback and hard cover story books, story books and pre-recorded books on tape all sold as a unit, and magazines in the field of dolls and animated characters," as well as entertainment vehicles like TV shows.

Creator Christy Marx has long expressed a desire to make a modern day revival of the animated series, but stated in a 2004 interview that there are a great deal of complications concerning the rights to the Jem properties.

"I would like to see that happen. I don't want to go into a lot of detail, but the whole rights situation for Jem is very, very complicated. Believe me, if there were a simple straightforward way to do it, it would be done. But there are some very big complications that are in the way at the moment."

A while back, has reported that Hasbro has recently re-acquired distribution rights to the Sunbow library of Hasbro Classics, which includes Jem. This has led to speculation that Jem may be re-released on DVD in the future. Possibly on blu-ray?

Also, you have to think about with the success of GI JOE and Transformers, there could be room for a JEM movie or at least a new cartoon. They could tour with Dethklok.

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