Last updated: August 2023.
About the show/series
- Did they ever finish the series? Will they ever?
- How many episodes were produced?
- How can we contact Hanna-Barbera about the series/[someone] about [something related to the show]?
- Which character was Andorus?
Obtaining the series and merchandise
- How/where can I watch the show?
- Is there a place where I can download the episodes online?
- Where can I find the action figures?/Why the hell wasn’t there a Tula action figure?
Clarifying info from the show
- Is it “Dark Water” or “Darkwater?”
- How do you have so much detailed information up?/Are you sure ___ is spelled like that?
About me, the site, and other stuff
- Do you work for Hanna-Barbera/Warner Brothers/David Kirschner?
- 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.?
- What’s this about a band and a webseries?
“Did they ever finish the series? Will they ever?”
This is, by far, the most popular topic, for obvious reasons. Let’s break it out into 2 topics:
Did they ever finish the series?
No, 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 cancellation of the show:
- Cost: 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.)
- Unfulfilled commitments: 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?)
- Studio management: 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 not a surprise. A lot of factors contributed to the premature ending of the show.
Some level of pre-production had happened, though! Tim Lawrence, who had written several episodes, auctioned a script on eBay from an unproduced episode titled, “The Chameleon Stone,” or “The Shrine of the Northern Rim.” (Sadly, I did not win it. Whoever did, PLEASE CONTACT ME.)
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.
Will the series ever be completed?
As for whether or not the show will be continued/finished…currently, the answer is no. People in the animation industry have confirmed that the rights to the show are tied up in a situation that’s not clear to me – but they are claimed, and not being relinquished or used.
However, David Kirschner himself has expressed interest in producing a conclusion. And he 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.
“How/where can I can watch the show?”
The show is available for purchase on streaming services – as full seasons or individual episodes – like AppleTV, Vudu, and Prime Video. They currently are not available on subscription streaming services like Netflix or Hulu.
In August 2010, the Warner Bros. Archive released a made-to-order, no-frills 4-DVD set of all 21 episodes, with Frank Welker as Niddler. It appears to no longer be available on wbshop.com, but it’s for sale on sites like Barnes and Noble, FYE, and Walmart (and Amazon, if that’s your thing). I’m not sure if versions beyond Region 1 are/were available?
Historically, there were various VHS releases in the US and abroad, of individual episodes and “The Saga Begins” (a 90-minute VHS with episodes 1-5 edited down into a continuous movie), available in NTSC and PAL (for old folks who remember that being a thing)! You can find these occasionally on eBay and other auction sites.
“Is it ‘Dark Water’ or ‘Darkwater?”
It seems to have shown up as both. The show’s logo separates “Dark Water” across 2 lines, and that was the title of the original 5-episode miniseries, but some behind-the-scenes materials say “Darkwater.” It isn’t consistent. And with hashtags that format it all as one word (#PiratesOfDarkWater or #PiratesOfDarkwater), it doesn’t really make a difference. 🙂
“What’s this about a band and a webseries?”
A very long time ago, there used to be an indie band out of Austin, Texas called The Pirates of Darkwater (no affiliation with the show). They used to own piratesofdarkwater.com, which is why this URL ends in .net. And, also a long time ago, someone created an animated web series called The Digital Pirates of Dark Water, which also has no relation to the show.
For a while, a fan very kindly owned piratesofdarkwater.com and thepiratesofdarkwater.com and redirected them here, but someone else has snagged both domains and redirects them to his IMDb site.
“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.
“How can we contact Hanna-Barbera about the series/[someone] about [something about the show]?”
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 archival, e.g., 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.
“Do you work for Hanna-Barbera/Warner Bros./David Kirschner?”
Nope. This is simply a fan site.
“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. Search for “pirates of dark water” or “pirates of darkwater.” (They have gotten steadily more expensive over the years/decades, as all merch from the show has increased in value.) Other websites offer them if you search for them, and someone even found a whole set at a flea market once, but eBay and online marketplaces are 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.
“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 contacted me to clarify errors or unclear content on the site, and to give me information I didn’t have. A lot of the information here 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 for the entirety of my time running this site, except maybe a few years in the ’00s after it went off the air. 🙂
One caveat: the spellings, for the most part, are not set in stone. I’ve tried hard to get the “real” spellings of as many terms as possible from products, close-captioning, etc., but many terms (especially the more obscure ones) are just spelled the way I think they are spelled. I’ll try to post which ones are confirmed vs. speculation – and do contact me if you think I’ve gotten something wrong!
“Hey, man, your site rocks!”
Cheers! But FYI, I’m female. 😀
And, seriously, thank you so much for visiting–after all these years I’m just so glad people still love the show enough to make this site relevant.
“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, citing/linking to this site would be greatly appreciated.
“Would you be interested in collaborating with me on a script/fanfic/written PoDW piece I’m working on?”
I’ve gotten this one a lot, 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!
“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 loved the name, and I was fascinated by the ecomancers. So I adopted it in high school when I worked Tula into a Sailor Moon crossover fanfic as Sailor Andorus (I’m cringing just reading that now…), and it’s just evolved from there. I used it as my online screen name for many years, though that’s dropped off recently – in part because a bunch of other people now use it, too! (Not because of PoDW, but probably because it’s similar to how you’d write the name “Andrew” in Japanese.)