Taking a look at The Zeta Project

What ever happened to The ZETA Project?

“My name is Zeta. I was built as a weapon to destroy, but I will not destroy anymore.”~ZETA

The Zeta Project was a spin-off series from the WB Animated world of DC Comics’ – Batman Beyond. The show was about a rouge robot that’s fleeing government agents who don’t believe that he doesn’t want to destroy like he was originally programmed to do.

While there’s a lot of comparable aspects from ZETA to other robot related properties, there’s a certain innocent quality that this show has which others don’t. I never understood why this show didn’t last. Perhaps it just didn’t have the same appeal that Batman Beyond had.

Maybe it was the change in tone from a dark and gritty future Gotham to a more lighthearted tone which viewers weren’t interested in at the time. This show had only two seasons. One season less than My Life as a Teenage Robot. It’s a shame that it’s now such an obscure thing.

And worse off, there were never any comics made for it during its run or after, so there’s no way for fans to enjoy the series after the series’ has been ended other than to buy both seasons on DVD.

The series ran for only 26 episodes and two Batman Beyond Episodes airing from January 2001-March 2002. Though, IMDB shows it ran till 2003.

I personally just got through watching season one again and I’m shocked at how intense it was.

All images are copyright- DC Comics / WB Animation

All images are copyright- DC Comics / WB Animation

There were moments I genuinely worried for these characters. Perhaps a little too much, but regardless it wasn’t a little kid show. Despite the art of the characters not always sitting well with the lighting of the background, almost projecting a lighter feel in atmosphere apposed to Gotham City of the future.

People who have seen this show claim to be biased to it because they love stories such as this one where they become invested and care what happens to the characters.

Zeta’s own lack of human understanding and struggle to fit in while also wishing to not hurt anyone is such an innocent concept, one we’re intentionally adapting into our own comic Club S.O.T.A. And that is because it is a universal understanding between fictitious robot people and real life human beings, fitting in is a struggle, no one does it well, no one can do it right and sometimes its best to be yourself and not do it at all. This show forces Zeta to blend in as best as possible because he and his accomplice Ro Rowan (The Friend he makes in the first episode to balance out his robotic nature) are always on the run, avoiding capture and lives they don’t desire to live anymore.

That right there is a beautiful story to focus on. Their rebellion is to a world that sets them into this category of runaway. One, the machine, deadly killer and her, the orphan who always chooses the wrong thing. And they’re working together to try and clear their names. To find a life that doesn’t keep them in these roles. And who knows, if the series had kept going past two seasons, we might’ve seen ZETA become something more than a heroic good-guy runner, to working with other heroes more often than fleeing the Government.

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Ultimately the plot turned to both of them trying to find their home(s) in the world, their past and families. Ro’s family and *spoiler alert* brother she didn’t know she had. And Zeta’s creator/father Dr. Selig. With only two seasons available, I can assure you they sadly never did. Even so, watch this series. It is fantastic. Both seasons are available through Amazon. I encourage you to check it out for yourself as it is a fascinating, sweet and adventurous experience.

ZETA was voiced by Diedrich Bader, who would later voice Batman in The Brave and the Bold series. As well as a host of other characters in animation history.

Ro was voiced by Julie Nathanson who to my surprise has voiced in several shows I follow as well as videogames.

So what happened to this fantastic series? Most likely it fell into obscurity because people didn’t give it much attention with bigger names being promoted like Batman and Justice League. Most people probably don’t actually remember it. Everyone I ask about it usually doesn’t, but those who do understand how incredible it was and they too wish it could come back. Besides the series, there also was no merchandise ever released for the series.

Such a shame we may never see a continuation or conclusion to this fantastic series which combined the heart of Astro Boy with a story like the runaway A-Team.

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