Daria Morgendorffer was initially a minor character in Beavis and Butthead. Around the time Mike Judge was leaving MTV/Viacom to make Beavis & Butthead Do America and King of The Hill for Fox, MTV decided to commission more animated shows. Some of the MTV employees who had worked on B&B proposed the show which became Daria. On the strength of a black and white pilot version (with early versions of the characters) a partially-animated show series was made.

To date, there have been five series of the show which maintains a high standard of writing and has a large international fanbase. There have also been "special features" such as a "Daria Day" on US MTV, and a feature-length episode is imminent. The heavily stylised artwork is like a cross between Archie comics and Roy Lichenstein paintings. Characters are drawn in different styles which reflect their personalities. (Such as the "corny" parents, the barbie-doll Fashion Club, and the deranged Mr. Dimartino)

All the animation is handled digitally. The majority of shots feature only facial animation, which is superimposed cheaply using CG in post-production. There are usually a lot of establishing shots with music (there are usually over a dozen snippets of pop songs throughout the show). In fact, music plays an integral part in the show, and the fictional band Mystik Spyral have recorded a bunch of songs, and even had the excellent and Spinal Tap-like "Crop Circles" covered by other bands.

The official Daria website (www.mtv.com/daria) also deserves a mention, as it is maintained by the creators of the show, and contains a wealth of additional information, behind the scenes stuff and audio. There is even a weekly column written by Daria. The show makes a valiant attempt at merging the bubblegum MTV aesthetic with subtle, cynical humour, and for the most part succeeds.

If by some strange twist of fate you can't get MTV, Channel 5 or Paramount, you may be able to track down streaming versions of the show on the web, which MTV seem to be cool about.

MTV have announced that there will be no more series of Daria in future. Apparently the writers' desire to allow their characters to age meant that all the scenarios pertinent to the characters as teenagers were exhausted. So they quit while they were ahead.

Other writeups here seem to cover the basic background information, so rather than repeat them:

Daria is one of my favourite programmes.

It just has that 'watchable' factor. I find it very funny even though there are no 'laugh out loud' moments.

It makes excellent use of MTV's archive of songs available. The inter-scene music may only play for 5 seconds but it helps the atmosphere of the show. Fun for all the 'name that tune' geeks.

Thanks to the dreadful treatment of the show by channels in the UK (and everywhere else if you listen to the fans abroad) I only got into it in 2000. But hey - I have that huge backlog of shows to see.

(By 'see' I mean 'download', you scum at MTV and Channel 5..)

You can find a load of episodes on the Gnutella network.

Here is a complete list of all episodes:


Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Movies

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