Hanna-Barbera’s Sealab 2020 was a short-lived action-adventure cartoon series. It was a classic cartoon created to be entertaining and educational for young viewers in the 1970s. But did you know it was recreated into a cartoon with dark humor to appeal to older viewers?
Adam Reed, the creator of Sealab 2021, got his inspiration from the original Hanna-Barbera cartoon. When he left Cartoon Network, he stole the master tapes of Sealab 2020 and created the pilot for Sealab 2021, which Adult Swim picked up.
Who is Adam Reed?
Adam Brooks Reed was born on January 8, 1970, in Asheville, North Carolina. He attended Asheville High School then studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earning his degree in English. Upon graduating, Reed had gone to live in France. (Source: Info for Famous People)
He soon went home when he ran out of money. His sister, who was working for Turner Broadcasting in the early nineties, got him a job in the company. When he was an intern, one of his first jobs was watching 164 VHS tapes of all the Flintstones episodes and noting which episodes had the fewest dinosaurs. (Source: Daily Hive)
Since he became familiar with the cartoon, he was hired to help in writing new Flintstones cartoons. Reed eventually landed a job in Cartoon Network. Together with Matt Thompson, they then created their first collaboration show, High Noon Toons, in 1994. High Noon Toons was a 3-hour programming block of cartoons hosted by cowboy hand puppets. It was reported that Reed and Thompson were frequently drunk while filming. (Source: Celebs Age Wiki)
The following year, Reed and Thompson founded an animation production house, 70/30 Productions. The production house was created when the two men left Cartoon Network after disagreements while working on a morning cartoon show.
Through 70/30 Productions, Reed and Thompson created, wrote, directed, produced, and even voice acted the animated shows Sealab 2021 in 2000 and Frisky Dingo in 2006. The two men soon founded another production house, Floyd County Productions, in 2008, and a year later, they closed down 70/30 Productions. Floyd County Productions is the current production house for Archer. (Source: Archer Fandom)
The Creation of Sealab 2021
When Reed and Thompson left Cartoon Network, they stole the master tapes of the 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon called Sealab 2020. The cartoon focused on the underwater research based on the Challenger Seamount, a fictional underwater mountain. The main plot of the series was the exploration of the deep seas and facing challenges of fighting off underwater attacks and potential environmental disasters. (Source: Cartoon Network)
Reed and Thompson used the tapes and created Sealab 2021. The cartoon series used the stock animation of the original Sealab 2020, but the two men wrote entirely different dialogues which were to appeal to a more mature audience. The show soon became part of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, which included cartoons like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Brak Show, and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.
Reed and Thompson’s version of the Sealab depicts the crew’s professionalism and morals have slowly degraded, causing the team to spend most of the time-wasting time and not doing any work. (Source: Sealab)