Sealab 2020

Sealab 2020
Directed by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voices of John Stephenson
Ross Martin
Josh Albee
Pamelyn Ferdin
William Callaway
Jerry Dexter
Ann Jillian
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 15 (2 unaired)
Producer(s) William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Running time 20 minutes
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera Productions
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network NBC
Original release September 9 – December 2, 1972
Related shows Sealab 2021

Sealab 2020 was a 30-minute Saturday morning animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and broadcast on NBC from September 9, 1972 to December 2, 1972. A total of 13 episodes were aired, with three episodes remaining unaired. As with most Hanna-Barbera series, the show was in occasional rotation on Boomerang, the TV channel that owns the Hanna-Barbera archives. From 2001 to 2005, the series had a second life when it was parodied as Sealab 2021 on Cartoon Network.

Opening narration

The opening title narration for each episode consists of the following:

This is the year 2020. The place is the Challenger Sea Mount – the top of an underwater mountain, a complex beneath the sea. Two hundred and fifty men, women and children live here, each of them a scientist pioneer. For this is our last frontier – a hostile environment which may hold the key to tomorrow. Each day, these oceanauts meet new challenges as they build their city beneath the sea ... This is Sealab 2020.


The series took place at Sealab, an underwater research base based on the Challenger Seamount (an underwater mountain), in the year 2020 (48 years in the future at the time of broadcast). Commanded by Captain Michael Murphy, Sealab was home to 250 people, and was dedicated to the exploration of the seas and the protection of marine life.

Among other things, the crew of Sealab faced such challenges as attacks from sharks and giant squids, potential environmental disasters, and threats to Sealab and marine life from shipping.


Note: While never explicitly stated, Ed and Mrs. Thomas are first implied to be married in the episode "Backfire."


No.TitleOriginal air date
1"Deep Threat"September 9, 1972
Radiation is released into the water by some leaking barrels. Meanwhile, the captain's grandson and his friend Sally get lost while diving.
2"Lost"September 16, 1972
A red tide engulfs Sealab, cutting down its oxygen supply. Meanwhile, Gail becomes attached to a lost, young dolphin she has found and tries to train it to rescue divers.
3"Green Fever"September 23, 1972
An anchor hits the Sealab, causing one of the compartments to flood.
4"The Singing Whale"September 30, 1972
A whale expert and his wheelchair-bound son visit Sealab just as a blue whale and the obsessed hunter chasing it come to the seamount.
5"The Shark Lover"October 7, 1972
When the level of shark activity skyrockets around Sealab, they call in a shark expert to try to learn the cause and ensure safety for the oceanauts.
6"The Basking Shark"October 14, 1972
A probe sent to study the planet Neptune's atmosphere returns to earth after 12 years but on reentry the parachute fails and it crash-lands in the ocean near Sealab. Mr. Mills from the Aerospace Bureau enlists the help of Sealab to help recover the probe within 48 hours. An anomalous malfunction with the sonar system and perceived sudden disappearance of the probe lead Aerospace to suspect Sealab sonagrapher Henry Lucas of espionage. The probe turns up in an unusual place and is retrieved in an even more unusual way.
7"Where Dangers Are Many"October 21, 1972
Sealab crew investigates a disturbance to find an automatic bottom-dredging mining operation in their area. The captain of the operation Samuel Carlson gets trapped under his dredge and is rescued by Sealab. While decompressing after having received medical attention at Sealab the crew manage to convince Carlson to allow them 24 hours to demonstrate how to mine less destructively.
8"Backfire"October 28, 1972
Sealab members are out trying to capture an electric manta ray when they see some strange figures whom they determine to be drilling for oil, with Sealab's permission but without the crew's knowledge. They try to get the men to relocate the oil drilling to another field miles away from Sealab but the drillers refuse. Then a tsunami hits and their oil drilling operation is destroyed. The episode is called Backfire because if they had moved the drilling operation they would have averted disaster.
9"The Deepest Dive"November 4, 1972
The crew of Sealab are testing a new submersible vehicle called the "Crystal Ball", which is made out of mostly glass and is supposed to be better than conventional submersibles and dive deeper. They are given a mission to place a seismograph unit at the bottom of a deep part of the sea, but for some reason the unit stops functioning. They go back out with a second replacement seismograph unit and realize that a giant squid had taken the first unit and used it for material for its rock home. The squid catches the Crystal Ball and the crew is stuck trying to escape from its grasp. They eventually get free and the new seismograph unit works.
10"The Challenge"November 11, 1972
The Sealab team meet Alex, an archaeologist who has dedicated the last 7 years to finding the sunken ship Viking, which sank over 100 years ago. It is rumored that the ship was carrying some Aztec treasures. Alex's brother Chuck is very excited by the discovery, and his excitement is getting in the way. Sealab follows rules and guidelines that guarantee safety, but prevent Chuck from finding the treasure faster. Alex is willing to cut his losses if lives could be lost, but Chuck will not let the last 7 years of his brother's life be for nothing.
11"Collision of the Aquarius"November 18, 1972

A malfunctioning cargo submarine crashes into the side of the Seamount and its damaged nuclear reactor threatens Sealab, forcing an evacuation. The oceanauts race against time to prevent the submarine's reactor from melting down, but complicating the situation is its commander, who has an acrimonious history with Captain Murphy.

This episode was remade in 2002 with the voice actors of the comedy series Sealab 2021, and retitled as "7211."
12"The Capture"November 25, 1972
The Sealab crew reluctantly assists biologist Mr. Harlem in collecting animal species living on the Challenger Seamount. Two of the children are upset by this and secretly release the captive animals. Whilst trying to release animals from their cage the children become trapped in the cage and get dragged over the edge of the seamount.
13"The Arctic Story"December 2, 1972
Members of the crew use the submarine Dolphin in a desperate search for a two-man Arctic research station which is underneath a capsized ice floe.
14"S.O.S.: Sealab Ocean Signal"Unaired
15"Utopia of Cassidy"Unaired
The Sealab crew discovers an island of paradise. Or did they?


Sealab 2020 was parodied by the Cartoon Network show Sealab 2021 from 2001 to 2005.

Home release

On May 22, 2012, Warner Archive released Sealab 2020: The Complete Series on DVD in region 1 as part of their Hanna–Barbera Classics Collection. This is a manufacture-on-demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Warner's online store and[1]

The pilot episode "Deep Threat" is included in the Warner Bros. Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1970s Vol. 2 DVD set.[2]


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