Saturday morning cartoons got a little more grown-up with the debut of Hanna-Barbera’s Pirates of Dark Water in 1991. Blending sci-fi with swords and sorcery, the show had more in common with Japanese anime than it did with other Hanna-Barbera properties, including the similarly-themed Galtar and the Golden Lance.
Originally aired as the five-part miniseries Dark Water, the show began in the ravaged kingdom of Octopon on the planet Mer. A strapping young teen named Ren discovered a battered old man washed up on the shore near his lighthouse. The man turned out to be King Primus, former ruler of Octopon and Ren’s father. The entire planet was menaced by an evil liquid being known as Dark Water. In the past, Dark Water had been held prisoner by a ring of thirteen treasures, but somehow the entity managed to escape, and it sent its servants to scatter the treasures.