We tell stories for a living. A major challenge when writing television stories is the question, “Does it travel well?” To our bosses, who are risking the millions needed to make a show, this means: Will the series stories and characters have appeal for audiences all over the world (and therefore generate enough income), or will they be appreciated only within our culture? Many things don’t travel well. Comedy is said to be toughest, especially the type built on word play or that makes fun of local events or people. Physical humor seems to travel: Charlie Chaplin was the world’s first global movie star. But there’s not a lot of slapstick in X-MEN:TAS.
Somehow, X-MEN:TAS “traveled” spectacularly. People from every corner of every continent seem to have found a way to enjoy it. I have had many such people tell me that they learned English watching it in their home country. This success is humbling and gratifying, but I’m not sure I understand how it happened. How did we connect in ways that few other series did? Heroism? Personal dramas? Fun powers? The creation of a caring family for society’s misfits?
However it happened, today, 25 years later, we all benefit from this globally shared experience. Most recently, it meant I was able to meet a nice businesswoman from Japan (Yui Kanan) for whom Jubilee was special (see below). With luck, our series will “age” as well as it has traveled, and more generations will continue to enjoy it.