These days most television viewers are familiar with the concept of shows with a plot arc running over an entire season or series, but in the early 1990s, this was rarely done–and almost never done in animation. Just as Babylon 5 preceded the trend to longer, more complex story lines in live action drama, a little known series called Exo-Squad emerged as an ambitious science fiction cartoon with a plot more challenging than your average Saturday morning fare.
Exo-Squad premiered in September of 1993, just edging ahead of Disney’s Gargoyles a year later, and broke the norm of cartoons that “reset” at the end of a 22-minute episode. Following the Able Squad, a team of Terrans armed with exoskeletons fighting in a war against the genetically engineered Neosapiens, the show featured a continuing storyline and complex character development, and tackled a variety of issues and themes in ways only science fiction can. Touted as the “American anime” in a time where access to Japanese animation was somewhat limited, this was simply one of the best cartoons on television–so it’s no surprise that it was canceled after only two seasons.
Now, through the magic of Hulu, you can experience (most of) the first season of this nearly influential animated series for yourself.