After looking at what I considered to be a pretty good cartoon yesterday, I’m feeling like I need to take-in some trash today. It’s to the late 90s we go and the Bohbot/DiC Street Sharks spin-off Extreme Dinosaurs! Ah yes, everything was extreme around this time. Surge was packing the soft drinks aisle in stores, the X-Games were coming to ESPN, and even the Ghostbusters were getting extreme, or should I say X-treme? And what could be trashier than a Street Sharks spin-off? That unapologetic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rip-off started as a toyline and migrated to television and was truly abysmal in almost every way. The characters were just piles of muscles with mouths full of sharp teeth with easy to market personalities. I didn’t even know there was a spin-off until I came across this show, and my expectations could not be lower.
It was a just few days ago we looked at Inspector Gadget, DiC’s first big hit from the 80s when its animation was actually pretty good. Come 1997 though, DiC was all done with good and was only interested in cheap. Extreme Dinosaurs is an ugly show with poor animation, simplistic writing, and adequate voice acting. It was supposed to sell toys, and it shows. The character designs are in-line with Street Sharks in that it’s just muscles upon muscles with a dinosaur head on top. The show produced 52 episodes which aired as part of the Bohbot Kids Network, a package of syndicated cartoons that at one point was featured in about 75% of the US. I have no idea what channel carried this block in my market, but I do remember coming across Extreme Ghostbusters so it must have aired around me.
The plot for Extreme Dinosaurs is some aliens created humanoid dinosaurs for nefarious purposes. They rebelled and became the heroic Extreme Dinosaurs on Earth. Opposing them are more mutated dinosaurs, these ones all velociraptors (again, this was the 90s and a post Jurassic Park world) that want to accelerate global warming and return Earth to a habitable environment for dinosaurs. The Extreme Dinosaurs live at a ranch/museum in the middle of no where with a kindly old man named Porcupine.
The 52nd and final episode of this dumpster fire was a Christmas episode. Titled “Holiday on Ice,” the evil raptors are taking their talents to the North Pole to set off a bomb of some kind that will melt the polar ice cap and flood the world. The Extreme Dinosaurs need to stop them for the obvious reason of not letting the world become flooded, and because Santa lives up there! Duh!
The episode begins in a cave with the bad guys. Haxx (Lee Tockar) is working on his letter to Santa. He is apparently the dim-witted portion of the bad guys as he doesn’t seem too bright and almost sounds a tad infantile. Bad Rap (Gary Chalk) enters to admonish him for his foolishness. He also explains their new plan to melt the polar ice caps using some device Spittor (Terry Klassen), the third Raptor of their little team, cooked up. When Haxx questions what this will do to Santa, Bad Rap predictably doesn’t care.
At the museum, Bullzeye (Jason Gray-Standford), a pteranodon, is trimming the Christmas tree when Spike (Cusse Mankuma), a blue triceratops, enters the room. He’s confused why Bullzeye would erect a tree in the house, and he goes on to explain it’s a Christmas tree. It would seem Porcupine’s nephew is coming to visit them and he figured the kid would want to see a Christmas tree. Not knowing what holiday the kid is into though, he’s also prepared by having a menorah on hand and even some Kwanzaa decorations!
Outside a car pulls up and some guy in a blue suit drops his kid off. The kid is Matt (couldn’t find a credit for him, but he sounds super familiar and it’s driving me nuts) and he’s not very happy about spending Christmas Eve at this place. His uncle Porcupine (Chalk) comes out to greet him followed by Spike and Bullzeye. The kid has basically no reaction to these dinosaur guys which is just insane! They look horrifying! Any reasonable human, kid or not, would flip out at the sight of these things.
They head inside and because the kid doesn’t seem to care I just assume his dad prepared him for them. Nope, as he ends up suggesting they take off their masks. The other members of the team, Stegz (Sam Vincent, you can probably guess what kind of dinosaur he is) and T-Bone (Scott McNeil), a T-Rex, introduce themselves, but also have some information. They received a distress signal from way up north and want to check it out. Matt wants to go too so he grabs his coat and hat and the gang heads out.
The dinos ride some flying contraptions to reach a research station in the North Pole. A bald guy with a white beard and lab coat greets them and he too is apparently not frightened by gigantic dinosaur creatures. Oh, and he’s obviously Santa Claus. He’s thankful the dinosaurs have arrived as he’s all alone for Christmas and noticed a disturbance. They head inside and check out the place, and Matt soon discovers the raptors up to no good when he checks some security terminal. It’s decided that Matt will stay with “Mr. Nicholas” while the Extreme Dinosaurs confront the raptors.
The Extreme Dinosaurs head out and at this point I feel the need to point out that these guys are likely cold-blooded and they’re running around the polar ice cap in short sleeves. I know they’re “extreme” and all, but come on! Bad Rap, Haxx, and Spittor are up to something, and it would appear they’re drilling into the ice. They’ve also at least put on some clothing to better prep them for the cold. Bad Rap looks quite nice in his baby blue vest and stocking cap.
To emphasize their extremeness, the Extreme Dinosaurs descend upon the raptors via snowboards. T-Bone and Bad Rap square-off with each other, as I assume they probably often do as leaders of their respective factions, which results in Bad Rap getting tossed into a snowbank. Declaring it’s too cold for this stuff, he activates some device and a bunch of robot dinosaurs attack. They make the stock “dragon” sound you’ve probably heard in many shows and cartoons (think the Dragonzord from Power Rangers, and the dragon unit from Warcraft II) and quickly surround the good guys.
With the cyber raptors occupying the Extreme Dinosaurs, the raptors slip away to resume their operation. The good guys take a bit of a pounding at first, but once they get extreme and hop back on those snowboards the tide of battle turns. They even find one of Spittor’s devices and Bullzeye is tasked with taking it back to Santa before returning to deal with the raptors.
At the research station, Santa (they keep calling him Claus or Mr. Nicholas, but I’m just going to call him Santa because he’s obviously Santa) brings Matt some hot cider while he busies himself at the computer keeping an eye on things. Bullzeye drops by with the device and takes off. Matt shows concern for the dinos since it’s getting really cold out. Santa confirms it’s probably getting too cold, but if anyone can handle it, it’s the Extreme Dinosaurs! Yes, they actually refer to themselves as the Extreme Dinosaurs.
Santa’s husky enters the room and Matt thinks it’s a wolf at first, but warms to the dog quickly. He mentions how he wants a dog, and Santa replies, “No shit you want a dog. Don’t you think I already know that – I’m fucking Santa Claus!” Ok, not really, but he gets a lecture on doing his chores and showing his father he’s responsible and all of that crap so he can get a dog. And we now know how this episode is going to conclude. An alarm goes off to interrupt their conversation. Apparently now it’s too cold for the dinosaurs, but all they can do is watch a monitor.
The Extreme Dinosaurs then come upon the raptors who are finishing up with their operation. The snow is really coming down though and everyone sounds cold. Spittor shows off why he has that name, and what all of the hoses and stuff are for on his body, as he blasts the good guys with water. Normally, this would just be annoying, but since it’s well below freezing the Extreme Dinosaurs ice-up. Bullzeye arrives and narrowly avoids the same fate. Even though they have the Extreme Dinosaurs practically dead to rights, the raptors retreat as it’s just too cold. Stegz is then the first to succumb to the cold as he falls on the ground declaring he can’t stay awake. Santa and Matt watch this all unfold and by now the kid is pretty worried.
Santa tells Matt he has to have faith in the Extreme Dinosaurs in order for them to prevail. Matt thinks this is a load of bull, but decides it can’t hurt. Miraculously, the storm stops and the sun emerges. He accuses Santa of being responsible, and he in turn accuses Matt as the frost on the window starts to melt.
Bullzeye emerges from a pile of snow and looks around for his comrades. He finds them frozen solid, but with the sun now out he’s hopeful. He apologizes in advance for what he’s about to do, and lets out a mighty scream to shatter the ice prison each of his buddies is in. They emerge, seemingly no worse for ware, and Spike passes around a thermos of hot sauce to really get them going. With the temperature a balmy 50 below, the Extreme Dinosaurs set out to find the raptors.
The raptors are prepping the last of Spittor’s disrupters when the Extreme Dinosaurs come upon them. Before the detonator can be activated, it’s knocked from Spittor’s hands and the Extreme Dinosaurs take hold of it. Inside the research station, Santa informs Matt he’s figured out the frequency of Spittor’s device and announced he can jam it. A crash outside alerts the two of the rumble taking place, and Matt excitedly races outside to see the Extreme Dinosaurs in action.
This proves to be a bad move, as Bad Rap gets a hold of him almost immediately. With a hostage in hand, T-Bone hands over the detonator and Spittor is happy to activate it and plunge the world into a new reality. Unfortunately for him, Santa is ready and activates his own device which cancels it out. When nothing happens, Matt happily informs the evil dinos that Santa messed things up for them. Defeated, they race to their personal flying devices taking Matt with them and toss their last remaining disruptor behind them. They detonate it burying the Extreme Dinosaurs in snow. As they fly away, Matt actually asks Bad Rap if they’ll be okay and he shoots back, “I certainly hope not!”
The Extreme Dinosaurs emerge from the snow to find Santa. Bullzeye is especially upset that the raptors got Matt, as he just wanted to help the kid be less jaded, as he puts it. Santa assures him that Matt has come a long way and has learned to believe in others. The dinosaurs are skeptical, but Santa leads them back inside assuring them that Matt will be back in an hour.
Inside the research station, the dinosaurs can be seen pacing about while Santa sits contently at a computer. Spike informs him the hour is up, but Santa informs him there’s still five minutes to go. T-Bone expresses his displeasure at this course of action, but a knock at the door gets their attention. It’s Haxx, and before the Extreme Dinosaurs can “fossilize” him, Matt runs in waving them off. Haxx has apparently brought him back in exchange for something, and Matt promised him he’d be able to leave unharmed.
After Haxx departs, T-Bone reminds the others (and us) that it’s Christmas Eve. They need to get the kid home as Spike invites Matt to ride with him. Before he boards Spike’s personal transportation thing, he informs him he has one last thing to do. He runs over to Santa and gives him a hug and thanks him for his lesson on believing. He also hands Santa a note, and I think we can figure out what the deal between Haxx and Matt was. Santa gives him a wink and a chime sound effect is even played when he does it which always means magic. Matt and the dinosaurs then head home. Except for Bullzeye who stays behind to request a favor of Santa that we’re not privy to just yet.
Back at the ranch, Matt is excited to tell his uncle what happened, but also upset that Bullzeye is apparently going to miss his first Christmas Eve. Spike tells him not to worry, and gets him some cider. Later, Matt is passed out on the couch beside a now shirtless Spike (this is kind of weird) who is watching TV. A Santa report pops onto the news and we see that Santa has apparently traded in his eight reindeer for one pteranodon. Matt wakes up to recognize that it’s Bullzeye pulling the sleigh, and Spike reminds him he better get to bed before Santa arrives.
The next morning, Matt steps out onto the porch to get the paper. There he finds a little dog with a ribbon tied around him. He’s pretty excited and knows this is the work of Santa Claus. His uncle is there to suggest that maybe the dog is a stray as people apparently often leave them here (probably for the dinosaurs to feast upon), but Matt knows better. His dad arrives to pick him up, and he’s surprisingly not pissed about the whole dog thing. He tells Matt he can keep him, and everything is wrapped up in a neat, little, package.
After Matt leaves, the Extreme Dinosaurs are able to reflect on their first Christmas a bit. Spike is actually disappointed they have to wait a whole year to do it again, but Bullzeye informs him that Kwanzaa starts tomorrow!
Elsewhere, Haxx finds a little tarantula under his makeshift tree. Apparently this is what he asked Santa for and he’s delighted that Matt gave Santa his list. Spittor walks in to throw cold water on his moment saying the bug probably just wandered in. Bad Rap also enters to suggest the whole Santa thing is nonsense since he didn’t get what he wanted: a boiling, hot, warming, trend. Haxx informs him that he probably didn’t get what he wanted because he’s on Santa’s naughty list, and Bad Rap responds by throwing one of those disrupter things at him. Only he misses and hits the wall of their cave causing a bunch of lava to come flowing in. As the three take shelter, Haxx explains to Bad Rap that he got what he wanted after all and he reasons he must not have been a bad, little, raptor after all. Bad Rap responds by saying if he wasn’t bad, he’s going to start being bad right now and chases Haxx. And that’s apparently the joke the series decided to end on.
Well, I went looking for a trash cartoon and I mostly found one. This episode of Extreme Dinosaurs hits on a lot of the Christmas special tropes we’ve come to know (and love?). We get a bratty kid who doesn’t believe in Santa who ends up learning to not only believe in Santa, but in everything, apparently. The kid is so bratty that towards the end Spike even tells Porcupine he thought his nephew sucked, which actually made me laugh out loud. And in order to reach that end we get to watch a pair of warring factions of mutated dinosaurs do battle and out scheme one another. The animation sucks and so do the character designs. I could see how these creatures could make for interesting toys, but as cartoons they mostly look awful. T-Bone looks like an oversized Poppler from Futurama. I will say the bad dinosaurs looked better than the heroes, but not by much.
As far as Christmas goes, for an episode that takes place at the North Pole there’s very little Christmas to be found. We basically just get the beginning and end which features some decorated interiors and that’s it. We don’t even get to see Santa fly in front of the moon with his snazzy dinosaur ally! It’s fine though, and I did appreciate the winter clothing worn by the bad guys.
I had a little fun laughing at this one, but I’m not going to tell you that Extreme Dinosaurs is a good show. Or that it’s even worth watching. If you want a dose of 90s extreme then go for it, I suppose. No one is protective of it, so just punch the episode title into your search engine of choice. This is sometimes just labeled episode 52, and if you actually want to relive the Extreme Dinosaurs experience in its full then worry not as this episode was only the final episode in broadcast order. Production wise, it’s in the middle and feels like it’s pretty stand-alone at that. I don’t think Matt ever returns, which is probably why I can’t confirm a voice credit on the role, and it’s the only Christmas episode the show did. What a pity.