The Zeta Project

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Michael’s Character:
Dr. Winhelm

The Zeta Project DVD Cover art

In this spin-off from Batman Beyond, Zeta is an experimental infiltration robot equipped with weaponry and a holographic self-projector that allows it to assume any identity. Unfortunately, his programming also evolves to the point where he acquires both sentience and a conscience. He flees the U.S. government, who believe he has been re-programmed by a foreign power.

On the run, Zeta encounters Rosalie “Ro” Rowan, a street orphan who is wanted by the law herself. Initially fascinated by Zeta’s criminal skills and the unlimited-cash untraceable credit card he has, she attaches herself to him. The two quickly form a real friendship, and set out across America to find both Roe’s parents, and Zeta’s creator who can prove that Zeta is acting of his own free will. The NSA, led by Agent Bennett, are in hot pursuit.

Featured Episodes

Absolute Zero (Season 2, Episode 13 / 03.23.2002)
Zee and Ro track Dr. Selig to a cryonics lab, but their own intrusion causes an accident which leaves Selig cryonically frozen. Zee must keep Selig alive long enough for help to arrive.

Synopsis / Episode Review

Zeta finds his creator Dr. Selig–and almost winds up killing him.

In the first season finale Zeta and Ro sneak into a cryogenics conference which Dr. Selig–Zeta’s creator and the only person who can prove he’s not a threat–is attending. Zeta impersonates a doctor who is also attending and meets up with Selig, right when the doctor he is mimicking shows up. After a shoot-out with security Selig is accidentally locked in a cryogenic chamber and frozen and Zeta and Ro are locked in the lab with him. Zeta musts keep Selig’s condition stable s until help arrives–which would almost certainly mean his capture.

Meanwhile Agent Bennett gets a tip that Zeta might be after Selig– and is quickly told to drop it by his superior. Undaunted he determines to go after Zeta anyways–much to Agent Lee’s chagrin. Back at the lab the cryogenic tank is malfunctioning and Zeta decides he’ll have to risk bringing Selig out of cryogenic suspension by keeping his temperature stable with his heating generators. The risky gambit works and just as Selig is revived security breaks in. Zeta and Ro then escape the lab.

Bennett arrives to capture Zeta–as does his superior who chews him out for not following orders after a tip from Lee. Bennett then confronts Lee and tells her her orders are to follow him which causes Lee to turn in her badge. At the end Zeta tells Ro that if they found Selig once they can find him again.

Easily the best episode of the first season; the storyline came to a head from where it had been going all year and we finally got some questions answered. I also enjoyed George Segal’s performance as Selig. He gave off a fatherly vibe which considering his relationship to Zeta was completely appropriate. A lot of cool action scenes too; the writing is definitely improving at this point in the series, although I wasn’t exactly sure how realistic it was for Ro to escape the deadly fumes by them dissipating in an unventilated room. Oh well.

The animation in this episode wasn’t that great but that’s to be expected by the first season’s standards. There were no glaring errors even if it was typically bland.

Best line goes to Ro to Zeta: “Did you forget you can’t fly again?” I was also pleased that we got a Gotham reference.

So far, the best episode of the series and a stepping stone for great things to come in the second season.