|With the enormously successful feature film still playing in some theaters, Men in Black: The Series debuted in the fall of 1997 on the Kids’ WB. In the cartoon version, Agent Kay (the Tommy Lee Jones character in the film) was back as a member of MiB, still partnered with Agent Jay (the Will Smith character).
A little background: In 1961, the INS discovered that the planet earth had become a hot vacation destination for alien species. The earthlings negotiated an agreement with the Intergalactic Travel Commision (ITC), with four key points: First, the aliens gave the humans advanced technology. Second, no criminals would be allowed to travel to earth. Third, while on earth, all aliens must disguise themselves as human beings, animals, or other native creatures or objects. Fourth, the ITC would commission a team of agents to enforce these regulations and put down all alien threats. These agents became known as the Men in Black.
Led by Agent Zed, the MiB were distinguished by their dark suits and sunglasses. They had to leave behind their former lives and even their names, taking a single letter of the alphabet as an agent name. In addition to hard-nosed Kay, cocky young Jay, and crusty old Zed, the show gave a bigger role to agent Elle (officially enrolled at the end of the movie), an ambitious female operative who worked as chief field scientist. Also hanging out at MiB headquarters were a few more carryovers from the film-The Fellas (little alien gossips who hung out at the coffee machine) and The Twins (Bob and the one with the unpronounceable name). Out in the field, the MiB relied on informants like Frank the Pug and Jeebs, the disguised alien pawnshop owner.
In the series, the MiB’s chief nemesis was Alpha, the original head of MiB who had since gone evil. Other threats to the planet included the tiny, mean-tempered Fmecks, dual-mouthed Auduzi, evil alien plants The Nrak, and the burly, revenge-minded Drekk, who commanded a cadre of Yeti Thugs. Not all aliens were evil, however. Aside from The Fellas and The Twins, the MiB were friendly with blobbish Troy the Symbiote and the Arquillans, the tiny aliens from the film who operated “human suits” from inside the suit’s head. Somewhere in between good and evil were the Astro Tots, the oh-so cute hosts of a preschool-age Saturday morning cartoon show (people just assumed they were big puppets).
Men in Black: The Animated Series continued the success of its feature film predecessor, becoming one of the most popular shows in the WB’s Saturday morning lineup. The series is still going strong on the Kids WB, bringing "New Episodes, New Aliens, New Agents!"