Here is the pilot episode of Les Mondes Engloutis (Part 2)
, a French animated sci-fi/fantasy televison series from 1985. Here is its iconic theme song.
In English it translates into "The Sunken Worlds," but English-speakers know it better as Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea
. More information can be found on Tripod fansite The Lost Archives of Arkadia
It originally aired on French station Antenne 2, but its widest airing was probably on kids cable channel Nickelodeon in the early 90s. It has appeared more recently in other markets, often alternating with Mysterious Cities of Gold (previously
), with which it shares some thematic simularity. It concerns an ancient civilization at the center of the Earth, the death of its mysterious artificial sun, the Shagma
in the dub), and a journey through many underground worlds to save it.
It is a strange show. It has been remarked
that it's one of those things that doesn't rest in the mind, that people forget all about, until reminded of it years later where they suddenly exclaim, "Oh! I remember that! What the hell was that about?" This show never got really great exposure on Nickelodeon, who actually changed the theme for the second season to one created by Menudo
Thousands of years ago the city of Arkadia rested on the surface of the Earth, until a great cataclysm sent it far, far underground. They would have perished if it weren't for the creation of the awesome Shagma, a great artificial sun that provided them with heat and light, not to mention the show's most striking images.
The elders of the city decreed that, for its citizens to be happy, their past lives on the surface must be forgotten, sealed away in their Archives. As the ages passed, the people of Arkadia lived peaceful lives in the shelter of the Shagma, and forgot the secret of its creation. Until one day, their great sun began to die.
With no knowledge of how to fix, or cure, it, they were resigned to meet their end, except for their children, who broke into the Archives with the help of the ancient robot-creature ShagShag (Tehrig), where they discovered the existance of the surface world and the people living there. They created a messenger, who they named Arkana
, to the world above to find someone who could fix their sun. Sent off with ShagShag, and Bic and Bac, a kind of pair of techno-pangolins, using the power of the Shagma, they found two children from the surface world, Bob (Matt) and Rebecca, who had been spelunking. Arkana explained their plight and the offered what aid they could provide. They were soon joined by a mysterious nomad, Spartakus, who had grown up among the strata and new the ways. Together, aboard the ancient ship ShagShag, the group began the long and difficult journey back to ancient, lost Arkadia.
The show is only available on DVD in French. (Amazon France: Season 1
- Season 2
) No complete fan copies of the series in English, either dubbed or subtitled, appear to exist (I've looked), but poking around YouTube will turn some up.
Here is a YouTube playlist of available Season 1 episodes.
Season 2, Episode 1 Part 1
- Part 2
(In which the elders of Arkadia screw things up for everyone, English dub)