An all-new Spider-Man series debuted in late 1999 on Fox, the same network that had helped make Spider-Man: The Animated Series into a long-running hit. Spider-Man Unlimited borrowed a concept from the short-lived comic book Spider-Man 2099, which sent your friendly neighborhood webslinger into a very different New York City (courtesy of Marvel Comics' tried-and-true "alternate universe" concept).
The first episode began with our hero still fighting crime here on our earth. Spider-Man (a.k.a. Peter Parker) was battling regular baddies Venom and Carnage when the two villains stowed away in astronaut John Jameson's spacecraft. Spider-Man followed, and thanks to a mix-up, the group ended up on a bizarre Counter-Earth. The new planet was similar to the old one, but with a few important changes. A race of half-human, half-animal overlords called The Bestials were the planet's rulers, and regular humans were society's outcasts.
Peter Parker's old associates—Mary Jane, J. Jonah Jameson, and the rest—were still around, but in this universe, their lives hadn't followed the same paths. Now an unknown with no friends or family, Peter found an apartment with landlady Nakao Yamada-Jones and her young son, Shayne. Peter just wanted to get back home, but if life had taught him one thing, it was this: "With great power comes great responsibility." Thus, when John Jameson asked for his help in leading a human rebellion against The Bestials, Spider-Man knew what he had to do.
Spider-Man Unlimited was a sizeable hit in its October 1999 debut, but it had the unfortunate luck of airing at the peak of Pokémon-mania. Fox decided the show would be better served by keeping it under wraps until later, so after only three episodes, Spider-Man Unlimited went on hiatus. The show eventually returned towards the end of 2000, giving the webslinger a second shot at the future.
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