The Secret Saturdays
THE SECRET SATURDAYS follows the adventures of Zak Saturday, and his parents, Doc and Drew, a family of cryptozoologists working to keep the existence of mysterious creatures (called 'cryptids') a secret in order to protect both mankind and the creatures themselves. Living in a hidden base, they are part of a network of 'secret scientists' who guard humanity from all the hidden and terrifying things in this world. To the Saturdays, ordinary folktales aren't just legends -- they are actual mysteries that the Saturday family must solve. Traveling all over the world, from the hot Gobi Desert to the icy Marianas Trench, they explore ancient temples and bottomless caves and tangle with twisted villains like the masked madman V.V. Argost (who hides his evil plans behind his popular TV show Weirdworld), the half-human/half cryptid monster, Munya, and rival cryptozoologist, Van Rook. The Saturdays and their exotic cryptid pets are a loving bunch, trying to work through everyday family matters and squabbles in-between their adventures. These other exotic members of the Saturday Family include Fiskerton, an 11-foot-tall 'gorilla-cat' (who is very nearly human in his behavior, and is like a brother to Zak), the gruff mutant monitor lizard, Komodo, and the living-fossil pterosaur, Zon. The first 26 episodes comprise a story-arc surrounding the mystery of an ancient, powerful cryptid called 'Kur' by the Sumerians. The Saturdays race their enemy Argost around the world in an attempt to stop him from uncovering the location of this beast, which is said to grant unlimited power to whoever controls it.
This Cartoon Network comedy/action series debuted on October 3, 2008 in the United States, and shortly afterwards began airing on CN affiliates around the world. The series also airs on Teletoon in Canada. Mattel launched the Saturdays toy line in 2009, and a line of Del Rey and Random House books and a console game for Playstation, Nintendo DS, and Wii soon followed. In July 2008, Cartoon Network started a viral campaign for the show. Several commercials for a website called CryptidsAreReal.com aired on Cartoon Network. Looking very much like an independent website about cryptozoology in general, the site contained 'real' videos featuring the main cryptids from the Saturday family, Komodo, Fiskerton, and Zon. During San Diego Comic-Con in 2008, booklets about a show called Weirdworld (the show-within-a-show hosted by V.V. Argost) were given out, which promoted the Weirdworld website. Later, commercials for Weirdworld aired on Cartoon Network for a few weeks before a commercial for The Secret Saturdays itself was aired on August 14, 2008. The Saturdays first appeared in the Cartoon Network Action Pack comic book #26 in the summer of 2008. The first three comic stories appeared before the animated series launched, so are written as official Prequels, where Zak doesn't have his 'Claw' yet, and Zon isn't a member of the Saturdays, as these were both introduced in the pilot episode.
Originally conceived in 2002 as a comedy series called Cryptids featuring a crack team of globe-trotting cryptozoologists that were uniquely qualified for the job because they were once cryptids themselves, the idea went through a few alterations while being pitched to potential Networks. Komodo is the only character from the original concept to survive the transition to the small screen. The Secret Saturdays is influenced by the style of 60s-era Hanna-Barbara action series (such as Jonny Quest and the Herculoids), and is combined with Jay Stephens' own personal interest in cryptozoology. Jay recalls winning a public speaking award in Grade 5 for his report on the possible existence of Bigfoot. During development at Cartoon Network, Jay was able to put together a master list of possible cryptids to use in the series, culled from his collection of books and magazines on the subject. This database of 500 mysterious creatures from across the world, designated by region, environment (aerial, aquatic, etc.) and whether the cryptid was a modern sighting or folkloric in nature, led to the idea of the Cryptipedia, a device used by the Saturdays in the series.
More info and episode guide at Wikipedia.