Cyberchase: The Poddleville Case (partially found pilot of PBS Kids animated educational series; 1999)

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This article has been tagged as Needing work due to its informal writing.



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Matt, Jackie, and Inez in the pilot's portal sequence.

Status: Partially Found

Plot

"When 3 kids get sucked into the cyberworld, they have to save Poddleville's power from the evil clutches of Hacker. Things go awry when the kids are blamed for the theft of the citizen's eggs. Will the three kids claim their innocence, and save Poddleville, or will it be TOO late?"

The pilot of the 2002 Nelvana animated program Cyberchase was originally a 1999 pilot made by Curious Pictures. Titled as the Poddleville Case, it was initially distributed privately in schools around May 23rd, 1999.[1] then airing discreetly in August 1999 through September 1999 on KTCA,[2] then airing Nationally on March 24th, 2000 (3:30PM), leading to WNet to win an Emmy.[3] The pilot was digitally edited, completely redubbed, rescripted, and reused as 7th episode of the Final 2002 series.

History

For a long while, most information of content was just speculation, most of it based on how different the animation style for Season 1 Episode 7's, "The Poddleville Case" was compared to the rest of the series. As well as the use of a different live-action Actor, Kareem Blackwell, compared to the rest of the series using Matt Wilson and Bianca DeGroat. Some recall Hacker not being voiced by Christopher Lloyd, while others think the pilot initially was called the Poddleville Caper.[4] The latter being proven false.

On May 20th, 2018, one of the pilot's storyboard cleanup artists, Gino Patti, posted on his Instagram several screenshots of the pilot, including the end credits and VHS video track length.[5] Notably the credits feature far more developers from Curious Pictures, and a completely different cast of voice actors.

In particular, voice actors Joanna Rhinehart and Thom Christopher both have confirmed their roles indirectly, with Joanna voicing Jackie in the pilot as noted on her portfolio.[6] Along with Thom coincidentally voicing Hacker again in the PC Cyberchase games [7].

As for the live-action segment, User SonikkuAorDatH has personally contacted Gino Patti about the origin of the live-action footage. His response was he did not recall any live-action scenes. Indicating that possibly the live-action scenes were shot later.

The pilot notably has the track length of 24:15. With the finished episode only being 22:30 for the animation, and over 3 and a half minutes for the live-action segment, bringing it to a full 26 minutes, the VHS tape screenshot's time didn't match.

On January 21, 2019, Wnet's official Cyberchase Facebook account released the original 3 minute promo used for the pilot back in 1999.[8] Several users have noted differences for scenes. Such as a redone script, and completely redone voice-overs compared to the Season 1 episode "Poddleville Case" that reused some footage.

Contents

Despite the pilot being recycled for episode 7, there are several differences.

Script

For the Mayor panicking over the missing Pods/Eggs, several of his lines were changed. All references to eggs were changed to Pods, the "Five-sie" Poddle's line is sound mixed a little later, and the kids have added exclamations when chased by the Poddle Crowd in final.

Version Transcript
Pilot Mayor: No! Not Again! Hurry! We must do the official Poddleville Egg count, before we lose all our Cyber power!

Pod1: One, Two, Three, Four, all eggs accounted for

Pod2: One, Two...*gasp* Ah! no! They got our darling Three! Three has been stolen!

Pod3: Five-sie! Our fives gone!

(they see Jackie with one of the Eggs)

Jackie: Oh no!

Pod4: She took them, she has our eggs!

Jackie: No no, it's not what you think-

Mayor: Aliens. ALIENS have landed!

Pod background noise: (Angry crowd)

Final Mayor: No Not Again! There's an alien in our midst! Find him before we lose power, and then get TWISTED into oblivion!

Pod1: One, Two, Three, Four all Pods accounted for

Pod2: One, Two...*gasp* Oh! no! They got our darling Three! Three has been stolen!

Pod3: Five-sie! Our fives gone!

(they see Jackie with one of the Pods)

Jackie: Oh no!

Pod4: She took them, she has our Pods!

Jackie: No no, it's not what you think-

Mayor: Aliens. ALIENS have landed!

Pod background singular: Catch the Pod Poochers!

In addition, Hacker's lines when walking off the chair were changed.

Version Transcript
Pilot Hacker: Now where was I? Oh yes!....Being wonderfully.. Evil....
Final Hacker: Now where was I? *Gasp* YES, Hahaha!....Being wonderfully awful

Visuals

Despite all vocals being redubbed, there were also many scenes that were visually edited; either digitally masked, completely reanimated, or incorrectly transferred with artifacts.

Interestingly the promo used the Ice Age font a couple years before the Blue Sky movie.

A comparison of the logos from the 3 minute promo and episode 7. Note that the pilot's logo uses the same font as the current series, just differently styled.

Two scenes from the pilot had the hue tweaked. This leads to inconsistencies of later reused scenes featuring orange colored objects.


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Hacker scenes specifically in final have an added spotlight filter.


The masking artifacts on Jackie

Some scenes use the original animation, but digital remove then restitch the characters on altered backgrounds, or other digitally masked effects. Here it was to add shadows.


This causes us to not see the full frame in final.

Before the characters get to their last frame of animation for the scene in final, it starts to rotate and zoom in for added effect.

A lot more 3D CG elements in final.
The characters look different in artstyle compared to the pilot once exiting the portal.

The portal sequence in the Pilot used 2D animated shapes, with the outside portal looking more like a vortex. Final used CG shapes, no color cast, and the outside is a flat disc like other episodes. One thing to note is that final's sequence is roughly twice as long.

The Street view showing the scenery.

In the edited episode, Jackie was made shorter than Inez, and both the shading and perspective for the background was decreased heavily.

Brighter set.

As noted, Hacker's scene is cut short in the finished episode, and also reanimated to keep the camera pan still. As in the pilot it moves to reveal Buzz and Delete, this would have ruined continuity for the later changed script and sequences of the final.

Glass crash inversion.

Besides being reanimated in a different angle, there is an invert effect for right when the villains crash through the glass. Potentially this was due to censorship, or just a way to make the crash more dramatic.

Audience the scene before.
The Audience in the next with comparison.
The egg was recolored.

The crowd cheering has a discrepancy. Right before that scene, unaltered footage from the pilot of the audience features them in correct colors. In the pilot the colors are consistent, but in the Final they are all recolored despite the scene before. There are also numerous coloring errors for the eyes and some of the Poddles' hands in final. The flags went from green, red, and blue to just blue. Due to this scene not being meant to be zoomed in the pilot, the main character's low detail is more apparent in final.

For the next scene, unlike the pilot where the kids blink at regular intervals, Matt and Inez are permanently stuck in a half lidded expression. The Podling's pupil also got bigger, the egg it is holding onto also got recolored, and the background is digitally redone.

Availability

As of writing (Dec 4 2020), the Pilot is partially found from Wnet's 3 min promo, and Gino Patti's Instagram Post. Some more information of the pilot's plot can be found in the National Science Foundation's PDF (See references)

Might change in a week...

External Links

References