Storyboards and DVD commentary

Thanks again to everyone who entered the contest! There were some great and really inspiring answers. Ultimately it was a random drawing that decided it (I’d mentioned this in the original post but some folks may have overlooked it), but it’s really great to see that so many people are still so enthusiastic about this show. 🙂

There have been a couple of things that came up this week…

The coolest, by far, is that Floro Dery, who did concept and storyboard art on the show, has come back from a several-month hiatus and has been posting images from the PoDW storyboards to his comic/illustration art blog all week! (Ten points to you if you can name the episode.) His linework and shading is just so delightful and nuanced. I love it. 🙂 Keep checking in, as this series will continue for a while yet.

You should check out his blog regardless of the PoDW content, though. He’s extremely experienced in working for the animation industry and posts some very informative and insightful entries with regards to technique, theory, composition, and much more.

Another–not “cool” so much as “odd”–is an observation with regards to the DVD cover.

Pirates of Dark Water DVD cover

So this is it. Pretty standard–it’s the same image as the main poster that’s available on occasion on eBay, as well as the cover of The Saga Begins (the 90-minute edited movie version of episodes 1-5). The colors are awfully saturated, which is unfortunate.

But…wait, there’s something else…


Is that–is that a fist coming out of Niddler’s head? Holy bad Photoshop job, Batman! How on earth could they let that one slide? Maybe, after oversaturating the image so badly, it was so blinding that they just couldn’t stare at the cover long enough to notice it…

(Thanks to Shwiggie for noticing that!)

And while we’re talking about the DVDs, I may as well post my review, based on what I’ve seen of them so far (episodes 1-3 and 15). I would be remiss if I didn’t direct you all to the great reviews posted by Ericha, Just Some Guy, and Shwiggie a couple of posts down, too–they definitely cover pretty much everything, both good and bad.

But one pretty big and great thing I did notice: the cut scene at the end of episode 2 is included in this DVD release. Frank Welker does the voice throughout, though, which is jarring for me because Roddy McDowall did such an incredible job giving Niddler true depth in episodes 1-5. But if you have the DVD, you can see the scene for yourself!

Also, I am happy to report that according to, PoDW is currently one of their bestselling DVD sets! Awesome work, everyone–keep spreading the word about the DVD release, because it’s through these purchases that they will know how in-demand this show really is, and that will hopefully pave the way for WB to revisit the show in the future.

My review is behind the jump.

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CONTEST: Win a copy of the PoDW DVD set!

The contest is now closed. I will be contacting the winner shortly via e-mail. Thank you to everybody who entered!


Thanks to a kind offer from Warner Bros., I am happy to announce a contest for you all! The prize: a free copy of the PoDW DVD set.

It’s super-easy: either post a comment here or e-mail me (subject line: PoDW DVD contest) with the following pieces of information:

1. Your name (or a unique alias)
2. Your e-mail address
3. Your location
2. Why you like Pirates of Dark Water

There is no right or “best” answer, just as long as it’s genuine and relates to the show!

This is open to fans anywhere in the world. If you’re located outside the US, WB will mail me the DVD set, and I’ll mail it to you.

The contest is open until next Friday, the 17th of September, at 5:00 PM Eastern US time. At that point, comments will be closed on this thread. The winner will be chosen through a random drawing and contacted via e-mail. (Note that you will have to give me your real name and mailing address if you are selected.)

(PS: for those who weren’t aware: yes, I am female! 😉 )

Post your DVD reviews!

It figures that during the couple of weeks where there is actually REAL SUBSTANTIAL PIRATES OF DARK WATER NEWS, I have to keep going out of town. I’m studiously avoiding asking my roommates in Pittsburgh if the DVDs have come in. 😉

However, if you pre/ordered a DVD set on or before the 31st of August, you probably have received it by now! If you have, what did you think of it? How was the video quality and the DVD packaging/art? Did the show live up to how you remembered it? Post your reviews here. It’d be great to get the scoop from real fans!

PoDW official DVD release: links and discussion

The news is definitely making the rounds, and a lot of the major animation/SF/geek news outlets have picked it up. ToonZone, Geekosystem, Topless Robot, and Superheroes-R-Us all have mentioned the DVD release.

By the way, clarification on the price change from $19.95 to $29.95: told that it was an error on their part to post the price as $19.95, and they apologize for that. They’ll obviously honor the price for people who ordered the DVDs before it was updated, though.

I also have updated the FAQ, and removed the torrent and streaming links from the right-hand column, in light of this official release. For people not in the US…try Google. That’s all I’ll say. 😉 With any luck, there will be an international release in the near future!

A couple of bigger mentions that are cool to call out:

Yahoo! Kids actually has a trailer for the show (a.k.a. the last couple of minutes of episode 1).

Wired’s “Underwire”* blog has a contest to win two free copies of the DVD set if you can write a compelling post about the show. I actually was on the fence about entering (since anyone who’s looked around this site can guess that I can write a fair amount about the show and its background), but I took some time to ask around and my friends were unanimous in saying I should go for it. So…yeah. 🙂 (Three guesses which comment is mine, ha! By the way, my screen name is meant to be read as “Smitha KP”–my first name and middle/last initials–not “Smith AKP.”)

One thing, though–labeling the series as “mostly unknown” is erroneous. I know I’m biased, obviously, and that it has nothing on, say, The Flintstones or Hanna-Barbera’s other shows. But it played on ABC, it played on Fox, it played in countries around the world–the 30,000 visits this site receives annually from 80+ countries definitely point to it being far from unknown. Still, it’s not like we truly have a solid fan base or “fandom” (if the latter is the mark of a popular show), but there are fans everywhere.

* really? I can’t be the only one to see that and think of a bra. Ladies? Anyone?

In other news, a couple of things…

– I’ve seen a couple of rather indignant comments over this DVD release, saying that people should boycott the DVDs because they’re so hastily made with no remastering or special care. Some people have even said that the money spent on developing the DVD should have gone to develop a continuation of the series instead. What do you all think about that? How do you feel about this DVD release?

– I just stumbled across this TVGuide article from 1991 about the Dark Water miniseries…and it changes some of my notions of how the end of the show was to play out. David Kirschner had originally only planned for 13 extra episodes after the miniseries. From that, it seems like they would have found a new treasure in each episode. Obviously the actual show did not play out in such a pat way. I do like that it didn’t just wrap up so quickly and it gave the characters a chance to grow and be fleshed out. But knowing more about the production side of things, the decision-making and negotiations that dictated how the show played out…that would be incredibly insightful and valuable to know.

PoDW official DVD release: more information!

This is courtesy of (and the ever-vigilant Nathan).

If you’d like to cut to the chase and pre-order, go right ahead!

A few basic points:

1. This is the Frank Welker PoDW version, not the original Dark Water episodes with Roddy McDowall voicing Niddler.
2. This includes episodes 1-21. There are no extras on these discs.
3. On the Warner Shop website is this note: “This film has been manufactured from the best-quality video master currently available and has not been remastered or restored specifically for this DVD and Digital Download release.”
4. You can check out the DVD cover art on the TVshowsonDVD link as well.
5. In the US, the DVD set with basic shipping and sales tax is $26.40. That’s just over $1/episode–a real steal! Very odd…the price is now at $29.95. Not sure if it was a mistake before or if they’re taking advantage of fan demand…

Here’s the scoop:

You’ve heard the chatter here and there on the net for a few weeks now, but this morning TVShowsOnDVD is pleased to confirm that Warner Brothers is relasing Pirates of Darkwater – The Complete Series on DVD next Tuesday, August 31st. Cost is $19.95 for a 4-disc set, which runs 462 minutes long for all 21 episodes of the show’s run in the early ’90s.

Fans might remember that the first five episodes of the program originated as a five-part mini-series, and that Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes, Tales of the Gold Monkey) played the voice of “Niddler” in that version. When the program made the move to a regular series, however, those five installments were reconstructed with the voice of Niddler now being provided by Frank Welker (“Megatron” of the original Transformers, “Freddy” and “Scooby” on the various Scooby-Doo programs). One of our readers, Nate, asked us if we could find out which version of those episodes would be included on the DVD set. We did ask, and Warner tells us that the Frank Welker version of Niddler will be found on this release.

Pirates of Darkwater – The Complete Series will not be available in local stores, but instead is found exclusively at Warner’s online outlet, The WB Shop (, and is available to pre-order right now (when you land at the site, just use the “search” field in the upper right and start typing in “Pirates”; it will auto-fill in with the title for you to click on). You can pre-order your copy this minute, and it will ship out beginning next Tuesday. Note that this is a manufacture-on-demand (MOD) title, and as such it’s not able to ship outside of the USA. At the bottom of this report you’ll find a high- resolution 3D picture of the package art, provided to us exclusively by the studio. We’re grateful that they’ve also provided us with an exclusive online clip from the show, which you’ll see if you scroll down a little bit.

What a weekend for me to be out of town…I’m not sure how else to spread the word about this beyond Facebook, Twitter, and this site, so PLEASE, SPREAD THE WORD! Let fans everywhere hear about this!

NEWS: PoDW DVD release via Warner Archive Collection – 8/31/2010!


The Warner Bros. Archive Twitter account–which reports on DVD releases of movies, TV shows, and short films–has posted the following:

@ryangallagher We got TV animation: Pirates of Dark Water 8/31 + Thundarr the Barbarian + Josie & the Pussycats in Outer Space in late sept


Ryan’s original tweet was requesting more WB animated films from the archive.

More updates to come, hopefully!


[Edit #1, 6:45 AM] @warnerarchive has confirmed it: the series is coming out on DVD on August 31st.

@samosamancer Argh! 8/31/10 – The Pirates of Dark Water – the series, will be released on the Warner Archive.

(The “Argh!” is in response to my own tweet, which reads, “AAAAHH! Thousands of fans have been asking for a Pirates of Dark Water DVD release for almost a decade, and I think it’s actually happening!”)

There is no news about it anywhere else online, though, not even on their own website (yet?). I’m obviously getting excited about this–it’s a very concrete lead, the most concrete we’ve had since the mid-90s–but we should wait till we have some other confirmation as well.


[Edit #2, 6:00 PM] The DVDs will consist of episodes 1-21, with no extras. Pre-ordering will begin later this week.