Last updated: November 2010.
» Did they ever finish the series? Will they ever?
» Where can I can find copies of the episodes, on VHS or DVD?
» Is there a place where I can download the episodes online?
» What is Pirates of Dark Water?
» Is it "Dark Water" or "Darkwater?"
» What's this about a UOL guild and a band?
» How many episodes were produced?
» How can we contact Hanna-Barbera about the series/__ about __?
» Do you work for Hanna-Barbera/Warner Brothers/David Kirschner?
» Where can I find the action figures?/Why the hell wasn't there a Tula action figure?
» How do you have so much detailed information up?/Are you sure ___ is spelled like that?
» Your site rocks, man!
» Can I use ___ off your site in my RPG/website/etc.? Can I link to your site?
» Will you collaborate with me on a script/fanfic/etc.?
» Which character was Andorus?
» Who are you?
Q. Did they ever finish the series? Will they ever?
(This is the really juicy question that everybody's been asking for years.)
The story never reached its conclusion. Only 21 episodes were created and aired (though many TV stations only showed the first 5 or 13), and these only took us up to the 8th Treasure of Rule, out of 13 total. There are various reasons, stated and speculated, for the cancelation of the show:
- The show was extremely expensive for its time, employing more expensive animators, and was slated to be canceled after episode 13 because there wasn't enough of an audience to justify the high production costs. The last 8 were produced after David Kirschner and Cos Anzilotti, the creator and producer respectively, pushed to keep them from ending the series that early, so though ABC dropped it, Fox picked it up and had the final 8 produced for its Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera programming. (Confirmed.)
- Hanna-Barbera itself might be to blame, for failing to meet promised air dates on episodes past the first 5 episodes, thus leading to huge gaps of time in the initial airing of the episodes and, therefore, lower ratings. (Speculation?)
- The studio itself was undergoing management issues, with a disconnect between the creative concepts and how the production was handled, and the time when PoDW was produced was the start of some rocky times that ultimately led to the end of the studio when Warner Bros. took it over several years later. (Confirmed?)
This was a complicated situation. PoDW was already ahead of its time, as a serious and darker animated series that came out before Americans were used to animation being for older audiences. The timing was bad, with HB being taken over by Turner midway through the series, so mismanagement was an unfortunate inevitability. A lot of factors contributed to the premature ending of the show. It's important to keep in mind that no material was produced past episode 21, despite the numerous rumors to the contrary.
Many people remember the "Ask Cartoon Network" clip series, including a particularly infamous one where somebody wrote in asking about the ending of the show. CN "responded" saying that there were 15 episodes left, but the episodes were "accidentally" taped over with a cat lapping up milk. It was a fake segment, obviously, but sadly, it's the closest to a real answer that we've ever come.
As for whether or not the show will be continued/finished...the recent DVD release has given me some hope, but for no my answer is still a cautious "no". The series has been "dead" for over 15 years, with the last new merchandise coming out in 1994 or so. There was a mention in Wizard Magazine in 2003 that Wildstorm Comics is interested in doing a PoDW comic, but nothing has come of that. More recently, there have been rumors floating around for some time of a possible revival/continuation of the series, either animated or live-action, as well as the possibility that David Kirschner himself is looking into reacquiring the rights to the show in order to produce a conclusion, but there's nothing definitive. But David Kirschner is aware of this website and of the strong following the show still has, and that definitely can't hurt. :)
Somebody did very shrewdly point out that Titan A.E., an animated film which was executive-produced by Kirschner but did poorly at the box office, shares many striking similarities to PoDW, and it's been suggested that Titan is Kirschner's way of finishing the PoDW story. That's something to think about.
However, 80s/90s cartoons and pop culture, pirates, and animation in general are regaining the spotlight. The fans' collective demand for PoDW DVDs was a big factor in the set's release. If there is a chance of a remake or revisitation...we're ready and waiting.
Q. Where can I can find copies of the episodes, on VHS or DVD?
On August 24, 2010, the Warner Bros. Archive announced that they would be releasing a made-to-order 4-DVD set on August 31st. As of right now, the set includes episodes 1-21, not remastered, with Frank Welker as Niddler, and is only available in the US. This is the first and only official release of the show on DVD.
Historically, there have been a number of VHS releases: "The Saga Begins," a 90-minute VHS with episodes 1-5 edited down into a continuous movie (available in NTSC and PAL); as well as international (European?) releases of episodes 6-13 on VHS (in PAL format), and episodes 1-5 individually and as "The Saga Begins" in Japan (in NTSC format). There may have been other releases in other countries, too.
For Warner Bros. to release this is a true vindication of all the fan support for this show. Let's just hope that this DVD release is the first step to the show being recognized more widely--and possibly being revisited faithfully at some point in the future!
Q. Is there a place where I can download the episodes online?
For fans in the US, now that we have an official DVD release, I urge you to please show your monetary support for the show by purchasing the set! It has consistently ranked as one of WBshop.com's top-selling new DVDs, which is awesome--let's keep it going and show them how popular the show really is.
For fans outside the US and around the world, the best thing you can do is contact the Warner Bros. Archive directly to show them that you'd like an international release. You can contact them via their website (go to the "Contact Us" link at the bottom), Facebook, and Twitter.
In the meantime, I technically can't encourage downloads or bootlegs anymore, especially among fans in the US, now that there's an official release...however, they are still out there. Should you happen to come across any, via Google searches or other means...well, what you do is up to you. :)
Q. What is Pirates of Dark Water?
I'd assume you're asking because you've seen me mention it on another website somewhere, or know me from somewhere and have heard me talk about it before. In that case, hi! Here's a description.
Q. Is it "Dark Water" or "Darkwater?"
As far as I know, it's personal preference. I use "Dark Water" because that's how it looks on the logo, the characters almost always pronounce it as if it's two words, and this way is more grammatically correct. ;P The original miniseries was named "Dark Water" (two words), and when it was renamed with the release of the next episodes, different TV stations referred to it as either "Pirates of Dark Water" or "Pirates of Darkwater." It seems like it's interchangeable.
Q. What's this about a band?
There's an indie band out of Austin, Texas called The Pirates of Darkwater. They used to own piratesofdarkwater.com, which is why this site is at a .net address (but thanks to the kindness of Steven, there are now two domains, piratesofdarkwater.com, and thepiratesofdarkwater.com, that redirect to this site). The band has no affiliation with the show, outside of being inspired enough to use the name. ;)
Q. How many episodes were produced?
Only 21. The first 5 were released in 1991, with two subsequent releases of 8 episodes each (you could consider them "seasons") released in 1992 and 1993. Despite rumors alleging that further episodes were under production or even completed after episode 21, that is not the case. Production was halted after episode 21.
Q. How can we contact Hanna-Barbera about the series/__ about __?
Firstly, Hanna-Barbera doesn't exist anymore. A few years after PoDW's untimely end, the studio itself was absorbed into Warner Brothers, and now exists as Cartoon Network Studios, part of AOL Time Warner. Additionally, both William Hanna and Joseph Barbera have passed away (2001 and 2007, respectively), so the name is simply a legendary relic.
Secondly...to be honest, I've never really tried to contact them, though others have. (My main "priority" all these years has just been tracking down information on the series--I haven't been much of an activist in finding a way to continue the show or really rallying fans together to get something done.) Several major names from the production side of the show have web presences, so contacting them about their time on the show would be your best bet.
The "__ about __" part is in regards to other e-mails I've gotten recently, asking who to get in touch with about the action figure line and other things. I really don't know where to start with those--my first guess would be with the companies that produced the products you're inquiring about.
Q. Do you work for Hanna-Barbera/Warner Bros./David Kirschner?
Nope. This is simply a fan site.
Q. Where can I find the action figures?/Why the hell wasn't there a Tula action figure
There are almost always action figures for sale on eBay, either via auctions or eBay Stores. Search for "pirates of dark water" or "pirates of darkwater." Other websites offer them if you search for them, and someone even found a whole set at a flea market once, but eBay's by far the easiest way to acquire them.
There are only 8 action figures in existence, of major and minor characters--Joat was supposed to be a recurring character (the way Zoolie was) who kept pursuing Ren and company to try to get the Wraith back, but ultimately he only had a brief cameo in a couple of early episodes before his major appearance in episode 20. And yes, Tula is indeed conspicuously absent. The only 8 action figures that exist are Ren, Ioz, Niddler, Bloth, Konk, Zoolie, Mantus, and Joat--either major characters, or minor-but-(intended-to-be-)recurring characters. There was slated to be a second series of action figures, in which Tula would have been included, if the show had continued. There are images available online of prototypes of never-produced PoDW figures, so this is definitely more than just a rumor.
Q. How do you have so much detailed information up?/Are you sure ___ is spelled like that?
The content on this site is by no means completely mine. Over the years, people have mailed me to clarify content on the site that may be wrong or unclear, and to give me information I didn't have--a lot of the information I have up is what I was able to find from networking and digging a bit, and getting lucky with who I managed to talk to. I've also almost always had access to the episodes, especially in recent years thanks to the availability of the show via BitTorrent and streaming media (and now the DVDs, too!).
I should mention, though, that the spellings, for the most part, are not set in stone: while I've tried my hardest to get the "real" spellings of as many terms as possible from products, close-captioning, and so forth, many terms (especially the more obscure ones) are just spelled the way I think they are spelled. Don't necessarily take everything on this site as sheer canon, and if you're really unsure or think I'm wrong, just tell me about it. :)
Q. Your site rocks, man!
Thank you! But I'm female. ;)
Q. Can I use ___ off your site in my RPG/website/etc.? Can I link to your site?
Sure! You don't have to ask before linking or borrowing, but if you're borrowing content, please just cite the website URL. And if you want, there's a page of banners and buttons if you'd like to use one when linking to this site. (Or create your own, because I'll readily acknowledge that mine are not the greatest...)
Q. Would you be interested in collaborating with me on a script/fanfic/written PoDW piece I'm working on?
I actually have been getting this one a lot lately, and it's really heartening to see how many people are working on their own continuations/completions of the storyline, especially since many want to pitch these scripts to different production groups! I'm totally there with you in spirit, but I unfortunately don't have the time to assist actively as a co-writer. You're of course welcome to anything on this site as long as you just cite the source, and feel free to run questions or ideas by me, but that's all I can do. I'm sorry! Good luck!
Q. Which character was Andorus?
Andorus actually isn't a character--it's the island that Tula is from, and it's home to the ecomancers. I always thought it was an awesome name, and have been fascinated by the ecomancers, and adopted it almost 15 years ago (yikes...) when I wrote Tula into a Sailor Moon crossover character named Sailor Andorus (yeah...pretty embarrassing in retrospect), and from there, it's just evolved. Now I use the name for a character in my original work, and as my online handle/screen name. (Pretty much all my friends associate the name with me now--I've been using it since ~1996, so for better or worse, it's here to stay.)
Q. Who are you?
This ought to answer that for you, though it's unfortunately outdated--"about me" pages are by far the hardest to design and the quickest to change.