In 1990, television producer Barbara Pyle co-created the animated series “Captain Planet and the Planeteers” with TBS media magnate Ted Turner. The show was intended to promote environmental awareness and encourage young viewers to be conscious of how their choices effected the world around them. The show ran for 2 years on TBS, was revived a while later for another 3 years, and lives today in syndication.
Starting in 2010, Pyle helped create the Planeteer Movement, a site where fans of the show – AKA “Planeteers” – could interact and network together to continue the mission of saving the environment. With the network growing each day, Pyle is now offering a special prize to the 500,000th “Planeteer” to join the Captain Planet Facebook page. (As of this writing, the page was less than 100 “likes” away from reaching the mark!)
While on tour promoting the Planeteer Movement, Barbara Pyle took time to answer questions about Captain Planet, the show’s legacy and who she would cast to star in a live-action Captain Planet motion picture:
Geek To Me: It’s been a while since Captain Planet has been on the air. Where has he been?
Barbara Pyle: He’s been waiting for the Planeteers to grow up and really combine their powers to save the planet!
Geek To Me: Did you ever imagine that Captain Planet would become the pop-culture phenomenon that he’s turned out to be?
Barbara Pyle: Yes, that’s sure what we’d hoped! I couldn’t imagine that it would be as big as it is, but the idea was to reach as many young people as possible. If you don’t understand the relationship between our species and the planet, you can’t save it. The goal was to create a generation of young adults that understood environmental issues intuitively, a generation that cared, and I’ve seen that we succeeded in that. But really, the rise of Captain Planet fandom is just beginning. Planeteers are standing up all the time, declaring the values they learned from the show. It’s not just pop-culture, it’s pop-culture with a mission.
Geek To Me: Environmental issues get a lot of attention these days. What role do you think Captain Planet may have played in that?
Barbara Pyle: I hear literally every day from fans how Captain Planet changed the course of their lives. How he impacted their decisions and what they want to do with their lives. I met about 25 just this past weekend. It’s unsolicited – the path that they’ve chosen relates directly to what they saw on Captain Planet. At the minimum degree, it impacts their basic life decisions, and at the most extreme end, they’ve chosen lives of service to make positive changes for the planet. So now, we’ve got a generation of Millennials rising into professional fields and applying Captain Planet’s lessons in their occupations.
Geek To Me: If you were to create the show for today’s audiences, what would you change, if anything?
Barbara Pyle: We wouldn’t have to change much! None of the global issues that we profiled have been solved, so the content of the episodes is all still valid. In many instances, the issues have gotten worse. I wish there was something we could change for the better about the show, but we have more extreme environmental problems today than we did at the time. This is why the Planeteers who were so impacted by the show are crucial in shaping the Earth’s future.
Geek To Me: What are lessons that Captain Planet taught you that you still follow today?
Barbara Pyle: Teamwork and collaboration. The power of strategic partnerships. Justice. Equality. Stewardship and sustainability. If you have those values, join us! We’re marching towards a million to save the planet – we’re just shy of 500,000 fans on Facebook at the moment! I’m actually giving away a bunch of goodies from my personal collection of Captain Planet memorabilia to whoever becomes the 500,000th fan.
Geek To Me: Cast the Captain Planet movie! Who plays the lead role?
Barbara Pyle: I would have no choice but to put my pal Ian Somerhalder in that position because of the values he has. He’s got a big heart – but that decision’s not up to me!
Geek To Me: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!
Visit the Captain Planet website by clicking HERE!
Visit and “Like” the Captain Planet Facebook Page! The 500,000th person to “like” the page will WIN an awesome Captain Planet Prize package including items from Barbara Pyle’s personal collection.
You can watch the first episode of Captain Planet by clicking HERE!