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The original air dates controversy is a disagreement among the online Captain N fandom regarding the original air dates (and thus the original airing order) of certain episodes of Captain N: The Game Master.

BackgroundEdit

Fandom's Episode GuideEdit

Mark Moore of The Unofficial Captain N Home Page created an episode guide as part of his site. Since the site's debut on February 27, 1997, Moore had collected supposed original air dates for various episodes. This was done through reader contributions. Either a fan supplied an original air date outright, or (in the cases of Seasons 2 and 3) a fan supplied information as to which episode(s) of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 or The New Super Mario World aired with a particular Captain N episode, and then Moore checked an online Mario episode guide for the supposed original air date.

As of February 2, 2007 (25 days before the release of the first DVD set), the episode guide at The Unofficial Captain N Home Page looked like this:

Season 1Edit

01 Kevin In Videoland
Original air date: September 9, 1989

02 How's Bayou
Original air date of version 1: September 16, 1989
Original air date of version 2: ?

03 Mr. and Mrs. Mother Brain
Original air date: September 23, 1989

04 Videolympics
Original air date: September 30, 1989

05 Mega Trouble For Megaland
Original air date: October 7, 1989

06 The Most Dangerous Game Master
Original air date: October 14, 1989

07 Three Men and a Dragon
Original air date: October 21, 1989

08 Nightmare On Mother Brain's Street
Original air date: October 28, 1989

09 Simon the Ape-Man
Original air date: November 4, 1989

10 Metroid Sweet Metroid
Original air date: November 11, 1989

11 Wishful Thinking
Original air date: November 18, 1989

12 In Search of the King
Original air date: November 25, 1989

13 Happy Birthday, Megaman
Original air date: December 2, 1989

The above order and dates were a later contribution from a reader. They had replaced an earlier order and dates that had been submitted by another reader:

01 Kevin In Videoland
Original air date: September 9, 1989

02 How's Bayou
Original air date of version 1: September 16, 1989
Original air date of version 2: ?

03 The Most Dangerous Game Master
Original air date: September 23, 1989

04 Videolympics
Original air date: September 30, 1989

05 Mega Trouble For Megaland
Original air date: October 7, 1989

06 Wishful Thinking
Original air date: October 14, 1989

07 Three Men and a Dragon
Original air date: October 21, 1989

08 Mr. and Mrs. Mother Brain
Original air date: October 28, 1989

09 Nightmare On Mother Brain's Street
Original air date: November 4, 1989

10 Simon the Ape-Man
Original air date: November 11, 1989

11 In Search of the King
Original air date: November 18, 1989

12 Metroid Sweet Metroid
Original air date: November 25, 1989

13 Happy Birthday, Megaman
Original air date: December 2, 1989

This earlier order and dates exactly matched the order and dates in TV.com's episode guide (see below). Whether a reader submitted them to TV.com based on the information in The Unofficial Captain N Home Page's episode guide or vice-versa is not known. What is known is this is the order in which The Shout! Factory placed the episodes on the DVD set.

Season 2Edit

14 Gameboy
Original air date: September 8, 1990

?? Queen of the Apes
Original air date: September 22, 1990

?? Quest For the Potion of Power
Original air date: September 29, 1990

?? The Trouble With Tetris
Original air date: October 13, 1990

?? The Big Game
Original air date: October 20, 1990

?? The Lost City of Kongoland
Original air date: November 10, 1990

?? Once Upon a Time Machine
Original air date: November 17, 1990

?? The Feud of Faxanadu
Original air date: November 24, 1990

?? Having a Ball
Original air date: ?

?? The Trojan Dragon
Original air date: ?

?? I Wish I Was a Wombatman
Original air date: ?

?? The Invasion of the Paper Pedalers
Original air date: ?

?? Germ Wars
Original air date: ?

?? When Mother Brain Rules
Original air date of version 1: January 5, 1991
Original air date of version 2: ?

As evidenced by the above list, Moore was unable to determine original air dates for five episodes: "Having a Ball", "The Trojan Dragon", "I Wish I Was a Wombatman", "The Invasion of the Paper Pedalers", and "Germ Wars".

Furthermore, there are four Saturdays throughout the dated episodes on which Moore was unable to place episodes: September 15, October 6, October 27, and November 3.

While it was Moore's theory that four of the undated episodes originally aired on those four empty Saturdays, leaving the fifth episode to originally air on December 1, he chose (in order to avoid confusion) to list the undated episodes after the dated episodes (see below for placement reasons) and to make extensive use of question marks, both in the numbering and in place of dates, to make it clear that this was an incomplete, undetermined list.

Season 3Edit

28 Misadventures in Robin Hood Woods
Original air date: September 14, 1991

29 Pursuit of the Magic Hoop
Original air date: September 21, 1991

30 Return to Castlevania
Original air date: September 28, 1991

31 Totally Tetrisized
Original air date: October 5, 1991

32 A Tale of Two Dogs
Original air date: October 12, 1991

33 Battle of the Baseball Know-It-Alls
Original air date: October 19, 1991

34 The Fractured Fantasy of Captain N
Original air date: October 26, 1991

The Invasion of the Paper Pedalers (short version)
Original air date: November 2, 1991

Quest For the Potion of Power (Part 1)
Original air date: November 9, 1991

Quest For the Potion of Power (Part 2)
Original air date: November 16, 1991

Three Men and a Dragon (short version)
Original air date: November 23, 1991

Nightmare On Mother Brain's Street (short version)
Original air date: November 30, 1991

Mr. and Mrs. Mother Brain (short version)
Original air date: December 7, 1991

Reasons for Placement of EpisodesEdit

As stated above, Moore was unable to determine original air dates for five episodes, so he placed them after the dated episodes in his episode guide. Here are his reasons for why he place each episode in the order that he did:

"Having a Ball" and "The Trojan Dragon" had Princess Zelda in them, so he listed them first due to his love of the character, and he placed them in order from greater to lesser Zelda content.

"I Wish I Was A Wombatman" and "The Invasion of the Paper Pedalers" were placed next, no reason to their order.

"Germ Wars" seemed, thematically, like a season finale (with the rest of the N Team saving Kevin's life), so he put that last.

The placement of these five episodes in his episode guide was entirely his idea.

TV.com's Episode GuideEdit

01 Kevin In Videoland
Original air date: September 9, 1989

02 How's Bayou
Original air date: September 16, 1989

03 The Most Dangerous Game Master
Original air date: September 23, 1989

04 Videolympics
Original air date: September 30, 1989

05 Mega Trouble For Megaland
Original air date: October 7, 1989

06 Wishful Thinking
Original air date: October 14, 1989

07 Three Men and a Dragon
Original air date: October 21, 1989

08 Mr. and Mrs. Mother Brain
Original air date: October 28, 1989

09 Nightmare On Mother Brain's Street
Original air date: November 4, 1989

10 Simon the Ape-Man
Original air date: November 11, 1989

11 In Search of the King
Original air date: November 18, 1989

12 Metroid Sweet Metroid
Original air date: November 25, 1989

13 Happy Birthday, Megaman
Original air date: December 2, 1989

14 Gameboy
Original air date: September 8, 1990

15 Queen of the Apes
Original air date: September 22, 1990

16 Quest For the Potion of Power
Original air date: September 29, 1990

17 The Trouble With Tetris
Original air date: October 13, 1990

18 The Big Game
Original air date: October 20, 1990

19 The Lost City of Kongoland
Original air date: November 10, 1990

20 Once Upon a Time Machine
Original air date: November 17, 1990

21 The Feud of Faxanadu
Original air date: November 24, 1990

22 Having a Ball
Original air date: December 1, 1990

23 The Trojan Dragon
Original air date: December 8, 1990

24 I Wish I Was A Wombatman
Original air date: December 15, 1990

25 The Invasion of the Paper Pedalers
Original air date: December 22, 1990

26 Germ Wars
Original air date: December 29, 1990

27 When Mother Brain Rules
Original air date: January 5, 1991

28 Misadventures in Robin Hood Woods
Original air date: September 14, 1991

29 Pursuit of the Magic Hoop
Original air date: September 21, 1991

30 Return to Castlevania
Original air date: September 28, 1991

31 Totally Tetrisized
Original air date: October 5, 1991

32 A Tale of Two Dogs
Original air date: October 12, 1991

33 Battle of the Baseball Know-It-Alls
Original air date: October 19, 1991

34 The Fractured Fantasy of Captain N
Original air date: October 26, 1991

As is readily apparent from this list, TV.com's order of Season 2 episodes matches Moore's list precisely - including the original air dates that he'd determined and his arbitrary placement of the five undated episodes after the dated episodes, which here have "original air dates" spaced one week apart from each other.

Brian Ward's ClaimsEdit

On March 8, 2006, initially going by the name Informant and later Insider, Brian Ward, the producer of the first DVD set for The Shout! Factory, contacted the Captain N fandom to announce the upcoming DVD release.

From January 20 to 22, 2007, Mark Moore and Brian Ward got into a discussion regarding the original air dates. Moore pointed out the inaccuracy of TV.com's list. Here are Ward's responses:

"The episode air dates came from two sources: DiC and TV.com for verification, however, I can't remember EXACTLY if we went with the airdates as the order of the episodes. It's possible that we went in production order, due to there being no real continuity from episode to episode, except the obvious inclusion of Gameboy in the second season's first episode."

"As I mentioned earlier, the original air dates that were going to appear in the booklet were given by DiC and confirmed by TV.com. I can only assure you that what TV.com has was the exact same as what was provided by DiC. So if it's the airdates you're looking for, TV.com is the place to go."

"I can tell you with GREAT certainty, that VERY FEW cartoons went through seasons without re-runs somewhere in the middle. Like any television series, there is often a hiatus while new episodes are being made. So to assume that season one or season two went straight through without repeats is probably a bad assumption."

"As for where DiC got their information... I pulled it DIRECTLY from boxes that have been in storage for years. The idea that they got them from the internet is BEYOND highly unlikely."

"If I can find my original notes, I'll provide those dates for you. But, this may be a case where you just have to let go and know that the episode order is correct, while the official dates may never really be known to the general public. Not every detail must be studied so closely."

RebuttalsEdit

There are a number of problems with Brian Ward's claims.

Big CoincidenceEdit

As previously established, the placement of five of the episodes of Season 2 was Mark Moore's arbitrary decision, and TV.com's episode guide simply retained that order and added "original air dates" to them, spacing them one week apart from each other.

Therefore, for Brian Ward's claim (that they matched information that had been in storage at DiC for years) to be true, it would have to be the biggest coincidence in the history of ever.

Examples of Straight-Through AiringsEdit

Brian Ward claimed "I can tell you with GREAT certainty, that VERY FEW cartoons went through seasons without re-runs somewhere in the middle. Like any television series, there is often a hiatus while new episodes are being made. So to assume that season one or season two went straight through without repeats is probably a bad assumption."

Since Brian Ward himself says TV.com is "the place to go" for original air dates, it shall be used to compile a list here of seasons of television series that did go through seasons without reruns:

  • Captain N: The Game Master, Season 1
  • The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 (and therefore, logically, Season 2 of Captain N)

Ironic, is it not?

ConclusionsEdit

While the original air dates (and thus original airing order) of Captain N episodes may never be fully known for certain, the following are some helpful guidelines:

For Season 1, it is best to use writer Jeffrey Scott's original written order:

  1. Kevin In Videoland
  2. Mr. and Mrs. Mother Brain
  3. How's Bayou
  4. Videolympics
  5. Mega Trouble For Megaland
  6. Nightmare On Mother Brain's Street
  7. Three Men and a Dragon
  8. Simon the Ape-Man
  9. Wishful Thinking
  10. The Most Dangerous Game Master
  11. Metroid Sweet Metroid
  12. In Search of the King
  13. Happy Birthday, Megaman

This solves a continuity problem, since "Mr. and Mrs. Mother Brain" is obviously Kevin's first trip to Castlevania, judging by his reaction to the castle.

For Season 2, the viewing order doesn't matter as much, and "Germ Wars" does indeed feel, thematically, like a season finale, so the positioning of that episode at the end of the DVD set actually helps, whether it's historically accurate or not.

For Season 3, "A Tale of Two Dogs" and "Battle of the Baseball Know-It-Alls" are swapped on the second DVD set (as compared to Brian Ward's praised TV.com listing; granted, Brian Ward didn't produce the second DVD set) for an unknown reason. However, "Battle of the Baseball Know-It-Alls" could be viewed as the "war against Mother Brain" series finale, and "The Fractured Fantasy of Captain N" could be viewed as a thematic series finale (with Kevin "happy just being Captain N").

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