On the Saturday morning cartoon show, Dungeons and Dragons, wasn't there a "last" episode in which the kids got home?
Not really...and as the person who developed the show for television, you'd be amazed how often I am asked this.
The show, just to remind you, was about a band of kids who were stranded in a mystical land, forced to battle dragons and stay out of
dungeons, and to elude the insidious master villain, Venger. I wrote the pilot and one other episode, then went on to other things. Some
fine writers grabbed the baton and made the show into a modest hit, and one that still has many fans.
The show was in production for three seasons. As you probably know, it takes a long lead time to do animation. When we were
producing shows for Saturday morning, the rough schedule was to write the entire season from February through about June...then those episodes would
begin airing in September. So the last episode of each season was put into production months before the first episode of that season
aired. A few months later, the network would look at the ratings and decide whether or not to order another season.
When the last episode of the third (final) season was produced, no one had any idea if there would be a fourth season, so they didn't
do a story that wrapped things up. And of course, once the decision was made not to make any more episodes, there was no way to "end" the
Before it came to that, there was one episode produced in which the kids dreamed they were back on Earth...but it was only a
dream. A lot of people seem to recall that episode as the "last" episode. But no ending was ever produced.
Soon after the show was cancelled, the animation studio (Marvel Productions) decided to get a script written that tied things up.
I'm not entirely certain who they thought would put up the money to produce one more episode or why they might have considered spending their
own...but they did hire one of the show's writers to whip one up. My friend Michael Reaves, who wrote several of the best episodes, was engaged
for that purpose and he wrote this script which was never
animated and which he has posted to his website.
This is not how I would have ended the series but I wouldn't suggest he's wrong. It's just the approach of a different
writer. You can decide for yourself if you want to consider it "the ending" or not.
Incidentally: The Dungeons and Dragons series was cancelled due to declining ratings. I keep reading stories about it
getting yanked off the air because it was too "violent" or because protest groups thought it was Satanic or something of the sort. As far as I
know, the protests were minimal and had no impact. The show simply began losing its audience, as all shows eventually do.
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