Angela Anaconda (1999-2001)
Cartoon Network was a channel that introduced me to a lot of unusual shows, and this is another one that I remember caught my attention when I was doing some channel hopping at a rather ridiculous time one day. While this show wasn’t necessarily my favourite cartoon from this era, it is notable because it had a distinctive style that definitely made it stand out.
Angela Anaconda was a cartoon about the adventures of an eight-year-old girl who lived in the town of Tapwater Springs. As we will discover, Angela had something of a rather wild and wonderful imagination. We meet her family, including her parents (her dad liked to call Angela “angelfish”) and her twin older brothers. We also see Angela at school, her circle of friends are Johnny Abatti, Gina Lash and Gordy Rhinehart.
Also featuring is the schoolteacher Mrs Brinks, and Angela’s enemy is Nanette Manoir, a beret-wearing blonde who is rather spoilt and thinks of herself as terrific, and Angela always has fantasies about ways to outsmart her. Nanette’s circle of friends (more hangers-on really) are January and Karlene. Most of the other characters at the school were the usual mix of nerds, bullies and so on.
The first notable thing about the show is the animation style, it really caught my eye. It consisted of photographs of black-and-white faces that changed with their expressions which looked good. All of the colours such as their hairstyles, clothes, and Angela’s distinctive orange freckles were all added in after. Whether this look seemed to help the show or not seems to have divided viewers, but it definitely made me take notice of it.
Another thing I remember about the show that I thought was rather quirky was the way that the characters usually referred to each other by their full name, so for example when Angela spoke to Gina she would always call her “Gina Lash”. And as the episodes went by, there were plenty of strange characters to meet, and Angela got up to lots of things including the excitement of when the dog ate her homework.
There were 65 episodes of Angela Anaconda in three series. Every episode featured two individual stories, so that makes 130 altogether. I don’t think that it was ever shown on CBBC or CITV, but it seems that along with being shown regularly on Cartoon Network, some episodes turned up on Channel 4 on weekend mornings in the early-2000s. I don’t recall there being any VHS or DVD releases in this country though.