Balto: The Series is an American animated series, based off the 1995 film Balto and its two sequels Wolf Quest and Wings of Change. It originally aired on Boomerang from June 17, 2006 to March 24, 2007. From November 8, 2008 to October 22, 2011, reruns aired on Cartoon Network in Latin America, Canada and India. The series also aired on Toonami in the UK and Ireland between October 7, 2006 and January 6, 2007. Reruns also aired on Kix and CITV between March 28, 2009 and January 7, 2012. In Australia, the series aired reruns on Network Ten from November 14, 2009 and April 7, 2012.
The series takes place after Wings of Change. Balto and his friends and family feature prominently in the series, which chronicles the adventures they embark on.
Balto (voiced by Maurice LaMarche, Tara Strong as a puppy, and Crawford Wilson as a teenager)-The titular wolf-dog. After saving an injured pilot, he is now living a happy life, with an adventure or two along the way.
Steele (voiced by Clancy Brown, E.G. Daily as a puppy and Mitchell Musso as a teenager)-A once famed sled dog and Balto's enemy. He makes five appearances in the series. In the last of these, he reforms and sacrifices himself to save Balto from a vicious outcast wolf. It is also revealed he and Balto were once friends.
Ilanaq (voiced by Dylan McDermott)-A vicious wolf and-possibly-the descendant of Inuksuk. Having been banished from his own wolf pack, he took over another and killed its leader. He later tried to kill Balto and Kodi but he was stopped. His name is Inuit for friend, ironic considering that, like his ancestor, he is extremely violent.
Rook (voiced by Steven Curtis Chapman)-Steele's father and a champion race dog, who trained his son to be a champion like him. He isn't evil, but he does have a rather short temper. When Balto and Steele are attacked by bears, Rook reforms fights the beasts off to save the two dogs, but ends up dying in the process.
Peter Kurman (voiced by Liam Neeson)-A vicious big-game hunter. He wants to hunt down and kill Balto after mistaking him for a wolf that took his eye out, but Boris manages to save the wolf-dog from his clutches.
Amaruq (voiced by John Schneider)-A stubborn, headstrong wolf who leads a wolf pack. He has something of a social Darwinist attitude, leaving older and sick wolves to die. He is later killed when he drowns in icy water when fighting a rogue polar bear. His nephew then takes over and leads the pack in a more peaceful manner. His name means "grey wolf" in Inuit.
Pakak (voiced by Michael Madsen)-Amaruq's friend. When he and Amaruq take over a wolf pack, they begin treating its other members harshly. After his friend is killed, he is later banished by the pack and later-possibly-dies.
Amaqjuaq (voiced by Jason Marsden)-An orphaned wolf whose parents died in a raid by a rival pack and was subsequently raised by his grandfather, who he then takes over. His name means "strong one" in Inuit, which is fitting, as the tragedies that occurred in his life helped to strengthen him.
Spirit Wolf (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland)-A spirit of the forest who is capable of controlling life and death. He regresses Balto and Steele into pups and also uses his powers to control the aging of other characters (i.e. aging Kodi into an elderly dog and Jenna into a teenager) before returning everything to normal.
Spirit Eagle (voiced by Cate Blanchett)-A spirit of the mountains who is capable of looking into the future. She predicts that Balto and Aleu will be reunited when the land bridge forms to Alaska and that Steele will reform and eventually die saving Balto and his friends.
Murphy (voiced by Peter Falk)-An elderly dog who Balto and his family visit in a Christmas special episode. He is lonely during the holidays following the death of his youngest son. Balto cheers him up by having Murphy's family visit him.
List of episodes
Season 1 (2006)
1. A New Dawn (June 17, 06)
some time after Wings of Change, Balto is now friends with Duke. When a neighboring town is attacked by bears, Balto and his son Kodi set out to stop them. Meanwhile, Boris and Stella are getting married.
2. The Return of Steele (July 15, 06)
After many years away, a familiar face turns up in Nome,and it appears he's ready to make trouble for Balto again. He must beat Steele in a race from Nome to Juneau to stop himself becoming a pariah in Nome again.
3. Faces From The Past (July 29, 06)
Balto has visions of his parents and his childhood when he was adopted by Boris. When he and Kodi are in the wilderness, they encounter a wolf pack whose leader is the descendant of a dangerous wolf who killed Balto's father.
4. Rising Star (August 12, 06)
An episode, told in narrative form, to Balto's grandchildren (Kodi and Dusty's Children) about how he became successful from the medicine run to how he saved an injured pilot.
5. Young and Free (August 26, 06)
After an encounter with a Spirit Wolf, Balto feels himself slowly regressing until he is now a pup aged about 8 weeks. Later Steele is transformed into a pup as well. Soon Jenna follows, as a teenager and Kodi, who ages forward into an elderly dog. They will have to work together to get back to normal or will remain like this forever.
6. Winner Takes It All (September 16, 06)
Steele is being plagued by a new boastful rival, Charlie, who is bragging about his success and how Steele became the laughing stock of Nome. He and Balto must now set aside their differences and beat Charlie together.
7. Survival of the Fittest (September 30, 06)
Balto and Kodi encounter a teenage wolf who's been banished from his pack by his vicious uncle. They fight to stop him from destroying the pack he has usurped.
8.Freedom (October 7, 06)
A Russian mobster has arrived in Nome and captured Kodi to sell to a dogfight. Can Balto, Dusty and his friends save his son?
9. Family Affair (October 21, 06)
Boris' cousin Sergei comes to visit from Russia. Meanwhile, Balto meets Steele's father, Rook, a former champion race dog who shows great disdain for him.
10. Flying Without Wings (November 4, 06)
Duke and Balto meet Joseph Edwards, a champion British pilot, and his dog Whitby. At first he isn't trusted, but when Joseph's plane becomes stranded in the forest, Balto and Duke must set out to save him from certain death.
11. The Thrill of The Hunt (November 25, 06)
A big-game hunter comes to Nome and captures Balto, mistakenly thinking him to be a wolf after he lost his eye to one and only Boris can save our hero.
12. A Balto Christmas Carol (December 23, 06)
Balto visits an elderly dog whose youngest son has died and, unexpectedly, both learn the meaning of family when Kodi and Dusty had an argument.
Season 2 (2007)
1. The Vision (January 13, 07)
Balto encounters an Eagle Spirit who foresees that Aleu will return to him with her wolf pack and a friend will die saving him, which is later revealed to be Steele.
2. The Night Thief (January 27, 07)
A malevolent lynx spirit has been stealing from a village and only Balto can stop him.
3. The Visitors (February 3, 07)
Balto and his family encounter a teenage wolf and his pack who have been forced from their homeland by a rival clan and Balto must defeat them.
4. Disarray (February 24, 07)
After encountering a Spirit Bear, Balto and Kodi end up swapping bodies. With the help of elderly wolf Nava, they must swap themselves back to normal.
5. Lost Bear (March 3, 07)
Balto and his family encounter a grizzly bear cub who has been separated from his family. They must bring him home to stop his mother from attacking the town.
6. New Beginnings (March 17, 07)
Stella and Boris reveal that they are to become parents, much to everyone's delight. Meanwhile, Balto encounters the Spirit of Steele who has arrived to tell him that his daughter Aleu is in danger from an old threat: Niju, a former member of the wolf pack.
7. Fly on the Wings of Love (March 24, 07)
In the series finale, Balto and his friends encounter Nava who is close to death. They then have to save Aleu and her wolf pack from a tribe of invading wolves. Meanwhile, Stella and Boris' eggs are coming close to hatching. At the end, the eggs hatch and the family of geese fly away while Balto and his family run below them, victorious.
The series was generally positively received throughout its run, although the second season was criticized for being too short. It was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, but didn't win.
Home media release
The first season of the series was released on DVD in Australia, the UK, Canada and India between July 3, 2006 and January 1, 2007. In the Netherlands, Latin America, Japan, France, Germany and Turkey, the second series was released between May 7, 2007 and October 6, 2008. These DVDs are currently out of print and can be found on Amazon and eBay. The series became available on iTunes on January 4, 2010. It was also available on Netflix between February 7, 2011 and April 1, 2013.