Cool Barbie is an Austenasian sci-fi fantasy television series directed and written by HIM Emperor Jonathan I and produced by Austenasian Television Productions (ATP). The series revolves around an eponymous Barbie doll in a world where toys are alive and have communities protected by humans, and her encounters with aliens and villains.
Cool Barbie meets Captain Scarlet in CB.II
|Genre||Sci-fi fantasy drama|
|Created by||HIM Emperor Jonathan I|
HIH Crown Princess Caroline
Lord Timothy, KOM, KPP
|Written by||HIM Emperor Jonathan I|
|Starring||HIM Emperor Jonathan I|
HIH Crown Princess Caroline
Lord Timothy, KOM, KPP
HIH Emperor Father Terry
|Country of origin||Austenasia|
|No. of episodes||15 full, 4 minisodes|
|Production company||Austenasian Television Productions|
|Released||11 December 2005 -|
1 September 2008
4 March 2009 -
25 December 2020
Three original episodes were privately made by Jonathan (together with his cousin and sister) before the foundation of Austenasia, between December 2005 and September 2008. After ATP was created in December 2008, it was decided to remake the three films, as well as to create sequels. A new series of fifteen episodes was therefore written, and published on YouTube between March 2009 and December 2018, including three "minisodes". A further one-off minisode was published as a holiday special two years after the end of the main series, on Christmas 2020.
Cool Barbie is set in an alternate universe where toys are alive and have communities protected by humans, where the existence of extraterrestrial life is well-known and accepted, and where magic and elves also exist. The series is mainly set in a house in Carshalton, known by its resident toys as "Xeaphon VII's Land of Plenty" (henceforth referred to as "the Land").
The universe in which Cool Barbie is set is based on a fictional world imagined by the now Jonathan I and his sister Crown Princess Caroline in childhood games played c. 2001-2006. In this world, Jonathan played the character of Xeaphon and Caroline played Moonita, Xeaphon's sister. Xeaphon and Moonita served as the Guardians of the toys' Land, bearing ultimate responsibility for its protection and good governance.
As well as being home to humans and dogs, several groups of toys live in the Land. They are ruled over by a monarch and the Doll Senate, with a form of constitutional monarchy. The toys living in the Land include Barbies, teddy bears, action figures (mostly Action Men), and dolls. There are several rooms in the Land. On the upper floor, there is a room where the Doll Senate convenes, a room used by the monarch as a Royal Hospital, a room home to numerous toys (the "Doll Box"), and another room which has not been featured in the series, connected by a landing. On the lower floor, there is a living room into two parts by a sofa, a kitchen, and a room adjoining the Garden (which is where Protectors of the Realm live in CB.IV and is used as a school for the toys in CB.IX). The Garden is used as a destination to exile toys as a criminal sentence, and underneath the Garden several powerful spiritual beings referred to as the "Titans" are imprisoned, having been defeated in 1290 by one of Xeaphon's ancestors. At the end of CB.VII, a independent Land of toys ruled by a King is established in the Garden, known as Crepundia, but it does not reappear in the series.
The monarch of the toys of the Land is appointed by Xeaphon, as stated in CB.VI. Prior to the events of CB.IV, the Land maintained three separate armies for its security, each lead by a Captain and all following orders from a Minister of Defence appointed by the Doll Senate. The First Army was the largest, equipped with modern equipment such as guns and grenades, and despite later switching sides and allowing Xeaphon and Moonita into the Land initially rebelled alongside Colin in CB.IV. The Golden Arrows were the smallest army (Colin states that they were much larger before a "Battle of the Prison") and had the most advanced technology, including cybernetics, robots, and what appeared to be laser guns; they were Colin's most faithful followers, and supported his coup in CB.IV. The Third Army was the second largest, equipped with medieval technology such as swords, shields, and bows and arrows; they are described as "devoted to Xeaphon", and Colin only considered it safe to begin his uprising in CB.IV after the majority of them had been locked outside in the Garden. The Golden Arrows were exiled along with Colin at the end of CB.IV, and the First and Third Armies continued to protect the Land, renamed to the People's Army and the Royal Army respectively (as first stated in episodes VII and VIII). The Land was also, before their deaths in 2014 and 2017 respectively, defended by Rose and Edd, who were referred to as the Protectors of the Realm in CB.IV.
Another guarantor of the Land's security is Spectrum International Police, an organisation which functions as a form of security force for toys internationally. It is revealed in CB.IV that toy communities can allow whether or not to grant Spectrum jurisdiction over their lands, although the benefits of having trained agents ready to help in crises is evident in CB.II (in which Captain Scarlet arrives to help stop Bubbles) and CB.III and IV (in which Sergeant Grey arrives to help stop Bubbles and Colin respectively).
All of the ATP episodes of Cool Barbie were filmed using the video setting on a digital camera. The original two episodes were filmed on an analogue camcorder, and the original third episode was filmed on a digital camcorder. The first two original episodes were very crudely edited by transferring various clips from the camera onto a VHS cassette, and the third original episode was unable to be edited before being published on a DVD due to technical difficulties with the camera used. All ATP episodes were edited using Windows Movie Maker.
The majority of characters in the films are toys, with relatively few characters (mostly playing minor roles) played physically by humans. Two methods were used to film the toys "acting": the first method comprised of the character's lines being spoken by their voice actor behind the camera while the toy is recorded, whereas the second comprised of scenes being filmed with no dialogue, for background noises to be cut out and replaced with recorded audio of the characters' lines during editing. Whereas the series began with the first method being used for all characters other than Cool Barbie herself, the second method became increasingly common as the series went on, with all episodes after CB.IX having had their toy scenes filmed entirely in this way.
Despite ATP specifically attempting to film the modern episodes more competently than the originals, some mistakes have been made which were unable to be corrected during editing. This is most notable in CB.I, in which the then Crown Prince Jonathan's hand can be seen numerous times while moving Cool Barbie and Bubbles around the set; his thumb can also be seen holding Colin upright in a shot in CB.IV, and at the beginning of that episode the reflection of him filming can be seen in a window. Another similar incident is when the Dalek can be glimpsed on top of a small cupboard in CB.III, in the scene prior to that in which it is freed by Bubbles. In CB.VII, Moonita can be seen glancing down at a script when talking to Corporal Barbie, and a camera strap briefly falls into the shot later in the episode. Overall, however, this kind of "blooper" is rare. In CB.VIII, two mistakes of this kind - a door switching between being open and closed in different shots in a scene, and Xeaphon pointing a staff at Wisealise which is on the ground next to him in other shots - were addressed post-filming by changing the dialogue to explain that the staff holds reality-warping magical effects.
Lighting can also be an issue; this is especially noticeable in some shots of CB.V, in which some scenes which were set at night and on the Moon are so dark that it is difficult to understand what is happening, and the viewer may have to rely almost solely on dialogue and on subsequent events in the film.
The three original Cool Barbie episodes were filmed by Jonathan I, Crown Princess Caroline and Lord Timothy before Austenasia was founded. Regarded as very badly filmed, these episodes (especially the first two) were full of plot holes, continuity errors, and breaking of the fourth wall, deriving great comedic value from their sometimes intentionally poor quality. The script for a fourth was written, but filming had barely started by the time that the project was abandoned.
The first two films were recorded onto a VHS tape, and were converted into digital format by ATP in September 2014. The third was recorded directly onto a DVD by a digital camcorder, but was unable to be edited until software was acquired in March 2015 enabling it to be downloaded to a computer. The three original films have not been released publicly, but footage from the first is used in ATP's CB.I. Furthermore, with CB.IX made as somewhat of a tribute to ten years of Cool Barbie, audio clips from all three original episodes are used in CB.IX, a short clip from the original Cool Barbie film is seen on a television screen, and clips from all three original episodes are included in a tribute compilation after the credits. More clips from the original Cool Barbie film were included in a montage after the credits of the final ATP episode.
|Cool Barbie||Bubbles appears on Earth and attacks Cool Barbie. She is abducted onto his spaceship, which comes under attack by a single soldier who fires a gun at it for a long time (with some shots being repeated, including one in which "you haven't filmed that bit yet, have you?" can be heard shouted off-screen). A brief scene involving a newsreader follows, after which a judge rules that a nuclear missile should be launched at Bubble's spaceship after a court ruling at which Cool Barbie was somehow in attendance and for some reason used as a gavel. A missile is fired at the ship, which is destroyed. The episode ends with Jonathan and Timothy singing "We Are Family" in front of the camera.
The fourth wall is frequently broken, with discussion between the voice actors/cameramen heard at points throughout the film. Furthermore, the whole episode is randomly interspersed at various points with brief clips from another production inadvertantly mixed into the episode due to poor quality editing, including two instances of a shot of an Action Man saying "oh yes I am!" in a pantomime-like fashion.
|11 December 2005|
|Cool Barbie 2||Bubbles floats back down to Earth in an escape pod. Captain Scarlet visits Cool Barbie and informs her of this. The two travel to "base" and share the news with members of toy government. Bubbles attacks the toys, but leaves due to disliking the sound of screaming dolls. A battle breaks out between Bubbles and some soldiers led by Captain Scarlet, the latter of whom is badly wounded in an explosion. Captain Scarlet transforms into a giant snake and attacks Bubbles, who is knocked out and placed in a freezer. The episode ends with Cool Barbie and the Captain Scarlet Snake singing "We Are Family" in front of the camera.
Cool Barbie II was initially filmed by Jonathan and Timothy, with some of the episode then re-filmed by Jonathan alone the next day. Unlike the first and third episode, Caroline had no involvement. Parts of some scenes are missing, and others from the initial day of filming only survive due to having been filmed on the camera while later being shown on a television screen, much of the footage from the first day of filming having been taped over either by Jonathan's re-filming of some scenes or by other productions. Upon the transferral of the VHS tape into digital format in September 2014, ATP edited the different shots and scenes into - so far as was possible - one cohesive film.
|9–10 December 2006|
|Cool Barbie 3||Cool Barbie and her best friend Sophie go on holiday, not knowing that Bubbles has broken free from his prison. Sergeant Grey tries to take Cool Barbie and Sophie to safety, but the three are attacked by Bubbles and left for dead, Sergeant Grey being knocked unconscious. Bubbles frees a Dalek and returns to destroy the house, but the two aliens are defeated by Rose after a battle which unexplainedly switches rooms two times. The episode ends with Cool Barbie and Sergeant Grey singing "We Are Family" by Rose in front of the camera.
This was the only one of the original episodes with which the now Lord Timothy had no involvement, being made entirely by Jonathan and Caroline. It is the longest of the original three, and includes two minutes of post-credits "outtakes" most of which have no relevance to the film.
|1 September 2008|
|Cool Barbie 4||Colin attempts to take over the government of the land. Production of this film was abandoned before the founding of ATP, with the few pieces of recorded footage now lost. The script was used as a basis for ATP's CB.IV.||N/A|
After Austenasian Television Productions was founded in late December 2008, Crown Prince Jonathan decided that ATP would re-make the original Cool Barbie films, and create sequels, all the while improving the plotlines and removing continuity problems.
|Cool Barbie I - Fallen from the Sky||Set in October 2004. Bubbles crash-lands on Earth, and abducts Cool Barbie as a specimen while attempting to repair his ship. He comes under attack by Earth military and releases Cool Barbie, but after repairing his ship he is shot down by NATO while attempting to escape the planet.||4 March 2009||Premiere. First appearance of Cool Barbie, Bubbles, and the Supreme Allied Commander. Included a brief clip from the original Cool Barbie I for when Bubble's ship came under attack from soldiers (acquired by having the camera record a television screen playing the original episode), the only ATP Cool Barbie episode to date to have directly incorporated footage from the original three episodes (although CB.IX included audio from all three, and showed a brief clip of the first playing on a television screen).|
|Cool Barbie II - Return of the Champion||Set in July 2005. Bubbles returns to Earth in an escape pod. Captain Scarlet arrives to warn Cool Barbie and the Doll Senate, which are attacked by Bubbles. A battle breaks out at a roadblock set up to contain Bubbles, in which Captain Scarlet is mortally wounded. He transforms into a giant spider which defeats Bubbles before dying. Bubbles is imprisoned in the Cryogenic Research Prison.||15 March 2009||First appearance of Colin, the Chancellor, and Spectrum International Police.|
|Cool Barbie III - Prisoners Freed||Set in August 2008. Bubbles escapes from the Cryogenic Research Prison and frees an imprisoned Dalek, and the two proceed to attack Cool Barbie, Sergeant Grey, and some soldiers. The villains are defeated by Edd, the Dalek being killed and Bubbles re-imprisoned.||15 April 2009||First appearance of Sergeant Grey and King Ken II.|
|Cool Barbie IV - The Uprising: Part 1||Set in June 2009 (introduction in February 2007). Colin and his fellow conspirators enact a plan to take over the kingdom. The Chancellor summons Sergeant Grey, but they are too late to prevent the regicide of King Ken.||6 September 2009||First appearance of Xeaphon, Ken the Elder, and the Trolls. The only episode to be split into two halves due to its length.|
|Cool Barbie IV - The Uprising: Part 2||Colin's uprising gets fully underway, with the First Army and Golden Arrows taking control of the house. Sergeant Grey is badly injured by one of Colin's soldiers, but the Chancellor and Cool Barbie call together an Emergency Senate, which appeals to Spectrum for help. Colin sends for a "giant" to help fight off Spectrum, which results in the First Army abandoning Colin - the giant sees off Spectrum's reinforcements, but is no match for Xeaphon himself when he and Moonita arrive to quash the uprising. Colin and the Golden Arrows are exiled into the Garden.||7 September 2009||Immediately continues on from the last episode. First appearance of Moonita.|
|Cool Barbie V - Stepping towards the Sky||Set in 2010 (with the introduction being a month earlier). Cool Barbie becomes a member of Spectrum International Police, and is sent with Sergeant Grey to the Moon to investigate a mysterious base. They discover it is Uranian, capturing its occupant and teleporting back to Earth. The Uranian escapes their custody and goes on the rampage, but is soon killed by Sergeant Grey.||30 November 2010||First episode which had not been planned for the original series.|
|Cool Barbie VI - Revenge of the Uprisor||Set in the summer of 2011. Corporal Barbie discovers that the recent death of Queen Lucy was an assassination orchestrated by Colin from his exile. Investigating, she realises it was a trap to draw her out into the Garden where she can be killed. Colin explains that he is planning another attempt to seize power, and that he doesn't want her in the way; Corporal Barbie escapes, however, and Colin and his supporters teleport away when confronted by a Spectrum rescue mission.||14 July 2011||Runtime: 06:52|
|Cool Barbie VII - Secession||Corporal Barbie is asked by Moonita to supervise the unveiling of a new "superweapon", built by the toys' government to defend the land against the upcoming attack by Colin which he threatened the previous episode. However, a group of toys are opposed to the building of new weapons as they do not believe that Colin will attack; when it is discovered that the superweapon is the reverse-engineered shell of the Dalek, there is a riot which results in the protesters founding a new land in the garden, Crepundia. Meanwhile, some of Colin's followers and a mysterious figure celebrate the summoning of "the fleet"...||9 June 2012||Produced almost entirely as a means of giving a fictional backstory to the Austenasian-Juclandian joint cultural project of Crepundia.|
|Cool Barbie VIII - Plan of the Scourge||Uranus invades Earth to give Colin a chance to free Bubbles for them, which he does so with the help of Wisealise, an old enemy of Xeaphon. Wisealise and Colin take over the Land, freeing Bubbles, who leaves Earth along with the Uranians. Wisealise attempts to free the Titans and drain their power to become invincible, but is stopped by Corporal Barbie and Moonita; the resultant magical explosion makes the latter two switch bodies and kills Wisealise, but not before he reveals he is of a species called the Scourge, whom he threatens will avenge him. Colin and his followers teleport away after Wisealise's defeat.||1 September 2014||The longest single episode published to date (CB.IV is longer in its totality, but was published in two parts). First appearance of the Scourge.|
|Cool Barbie Minisodes||Moonita - Now in the body of Corporal Barbie, Moonita is crowned Queen of the toys to replace Emily II, who was killed by the Troll Leader during Wisealise's takeover of the Land. However, Xeaphon promises that he will find a way to restore her to her human body.
Xeaphon - Now an officer in NETDOF (an independent organisation set up to defend the world against alien attack), Xeaphon discovers that Wisealise's staff was not the Staff of Forest Elves as he claimed. The Forest Elves give Xeaphon the genuine staff to help him guard the prisons of the Titans.
Colin - On the run, Colin and his followers teleport to a far away planet, narrowly avoiding Spectrum agents on their trail, but once there come under attack.
|1 January 2015;
25 April 2015;
1 September 2015
|Three mini-episodes published over 2015 to mark the tenth anniversary of the franchise, showing Moonita, Xeaphon, and Colin in the aftermath of the events of CB.VIII.|
|Cool Barbie IX - Last of the Mysterons||Xeaphon intercepts a Mysteron fleeing the Uranian conquest of Mars, and takes it to NETDOF HQ. Meanwhile, one of Colin's Golden Arrows teleports to the Land and takes Moonita hostage, claiming he has a message for Xeaphon. They go to NETDOF, and the Mysteron and Golden Arrow kill each other, but with his dying words the latter warns that the Scourge are coming. Suddenly, an alarm goes off...||11 December 2015||Released on the tenth anniversary of the first of the original episodes: contained audio from all three original episodes, as well as footage from the first briefly shown on a television screen; furthermore, the only voice actors in the film were the three creators of the original episodes. A tribute to ten years of Cool Barbie was included after the credits, featuring clips from every other episode (including the originals) to date. The first episode in a four-part story arc.|
|Cool Barbie X - War in the Sky||Continues on immediately from the end of CB.IX. Bubbles arrives at NETDOF, warning them that the Scourge are about to invade the Solar System and asking for help from Earth to defend Uranus. Corporal Barbie goes to the Elven Emperor for help, and he destroys the Scourge armada with magic.||1 February 2016||The only full episode to date in which the Cool Barbie doll was not featured, as well as the full episode with the least number of actors (two) and characters (five) to date. The second episode in a four-part story arc.|
|Cool Barbie XI - Infiltration||After Corporal Barbie and Moonita return to their respective bodies, the Land comes under attack from a Scourge as a diversion while Colin modifies the laser cannon. Planning to use it to destroy major cities and take over the world, he teleports away when it is revealed that the Scourge technology will actually destroy the planet. The Elven Emperor informs Corporal Barbie in a vision that he has prevented the explosion, but the others are left mystified as to what saved the world.||20 December 2016||The third episode in a four-part story arc.|
|Cool Barbie XII - A Last Chance||Corporal Barbie has been having dreams sent by the Elven Emperor, telling her that she will have to kill someone to prevent catastrophe. Colin returns to the Land and frees Kronos, one of the Titans, in an attempt to conquer the world. Though reeling from the news that Moonita has passed away, Xeaphon re-imprisons Kronos using the Thunder Stone, before having Colin and his followers imprisoned in the Cryogenic Research Prison despite Corporal Barbie's argument that he should be executed.||10 August 2017||The last episode of a four-part story arc. First appearance of Kronos.|
|Cool Barbie XIII - The Assassin||Xeaphon informs King Yellow Bear that a creature has broken into the Land, killing some border guards. The Doll Senate and the leaders of the military are murdered, forcing Yellow Bear into hiding and hampering efforts to mobilise soldiers to find the creature. As the King reaches shelter, he escapes attack by the assassin, which reveals itself to be a toy spider working for the Eagle, the latter of which is poised to attack the Land with an army of toy animals.||30 August 2017||The first episode in a three-part finale.|
|Cool Barbie XIV - The Invasion of the Eagle||The Eagle invades the Land with his army of toy animals, and after trapping Xeaphon and Corporal Barbie frees Colin, intending to drain the power of the latter. However, Colin drains the Eagle's power instead, and goes on to free, defeat, and then possess Kronos, giving himself the new name of "Dominus" and announcing that he will conquer the planet with his amalgamation of magical power.||9 September 2017||The second episode in a three-part finale.|
|Cool Barbie XV - The Final Battle||After defeating the Elven Emperor, Dominus rules over planet Earth. As Dominus attempts to negotiate with the Scourge, Xeaphon and Cool Barbie collect magical crystals of the same class of the Thunder Stone. Teleporting to Dominus' palace, they use the Staff of High Elves and the stones they have collected to destroy the Scourge command ship threatening the Earth, and then to kill Dominus.||24 December 2018||The final episode, concluding both the series and the three-part finale.|
|Christmas Minisode||King Yellow Bear announces the death of Dominus, scaring away the followers of the latter. Jubilant teddies celebrate Christmas in response, despite one of their number querying whether it is the correct time of year.||25 December 2020||A one-off Christmas special published in response to popular demand, two years after the end of the main series.|
Captain Scarlet references
In Cool Barbie 2 (2006) and its remake CB.II (2009), and in Cool Barbie 3 (2008) and its remake CB.III (2009), Captain Scarlet himself and Sergeant Grey respectively arrive to help combat Bubbles, with both named as agents of Spectrum, a futuristic security organisation in Captain Scarlet which in Cool Barbie functions as a sort of international toy police.
Spectrum continues to be referenced in nearly every other episode in the series:
- In CB.IV (2009), Lieutenant Green (an appropriation of a character from Captain Scarlet itself) arrives in a helicopter in an attempt to put down Colin's military takeover of the Land.
- In CB.V (2010), Cool Barbie herself joins Spectrum (becoming known as Corporal Barbie), which then leads a mission to the Moon at the behest of NATO. Her jeep is seen to be emblazoned with the Spectrum logo which is also used in Captain Scarlet (seen again in CB.VIII).
- In CB.VI (2011), Agent Holly of Spectrum rescues Corporal Barbie and confronts Colin when the latter attempts to kill Corporal Barbie.
- In CB.VII (2012), Moonita enlists Corporal Barbie to oversee the unveiling of the Queen's superweapon, stating that "there won't be any violence with a Spectrum agent in attendance."
- In CB.VIII (2014), Corporal Barbie is warned of the Uranian invasion of Earth by Spectrum leader General White; in Captain Scarlet, the leader of Spectrum is Colonel White. When Corporal Barbie attacks Bubbles, he calls Spectrum "fools" for thinking that "technology built to kill Martians" (a reference to the Mysterons) would work against Uranians. Later, Wisealise worries that Spectrum may force him to leave his new Land if he does not have the Uranians' protection.
- In the Colin minisode (2015), Sergeant Grey leads Spectrum forces in pursuit of Colin and his followers, who are on the run.
- In CB.XI (2016), Sergeant Grey attempts at the start of the episode to get Corporal Barbie to their base in order to run some tests examining the effects of her recent body-swap.
- In CB.XIII (2017), Corporal Barbie and Agent Holly are both enlisted in their capacity as Spectrum agents to track down the assassin.
- In CB.XV (2018), Sergeant Grey uses the Spectrum archives to help Cool Barbie - who has left Spectrum due to its takeover by Dominus - aid Xeaphon in locating one of the elemental crystals they are seeking.