Double Dragon stormed the TV screens in '93, spawning over 26 episodes before it was deemed too silly to continue it any further. It featured both the Lee brothers and Marian, along with Abobo who lasted a whooping one and a half episodes before he was dispossed of and never heard of again. Also, in here the Lee bros. not only are martial artists, but also keep a couple of swords which they use to fight against the Shadow Master, a guy with white hair who likes his spandex extra dark and tight. Marian herself was a no-nonsense police woman who would only show up to tell them what the law was supposed to be. The cartoon also spawned a fighting game dubiously dubbed Double Dragon V The Shadow Falls and probably also encited the movie, but I am not sure which came out first at this point to be honest.
The setting of the series take place in a dystopian future where the skies are always dark with pollution while completely clear whenever daytime hits within Metro City*. it opens up one day when a dude looking like Billy Lee plus a bandanna drops a baby basket in front of the dragon dojo. An old man accepts to take care of the baby no questions asked.
Years pass and Billy Lee grows up to be a fine young man, always living by the code of the Dragon. Meanwhile Abobo and Willy, the same Willy as the last guy in the original videogames, storm a bank truck to steal some moneys. Billy gets informed of this and goes off to be a hero. In the meantime, Metro City's sole police offiver Marian appears at the scene, and she takes no shit from no one, preferably not getting a punch in the gut that's for sure.
When things get rough for the rowdy officer, Billy jumps in to lend a hand in dealing with the Shadow Warriors. Willy and Abobo then take the money in all the confusion. Marian yells at Billy but then he states "its just money." By the time Billy heads back he finds out the old man master is gone and questions his existence. Marion appears and asks him for his help on dealing with the criminals as a proposal. Meanwhile the shadow boss goes on spanking Willy and Abobo for getting the money but losing 5 of his minions in the process. He gets informed of Billy and that gets him an idea.
Later on Billy gets an unexpected visit at the dojo, his twin brother Jimmy, who asks for sanctuary. Before Billy gets to celebrate the finding of his new brp, the Shadow Warriors attack. During the skirmish, Billy gets hurt and as so it happens, Jimmy also gets pain on the same spot that Billy got hit on. That sure would make a hell of a mess if this were to be translated to the gaming versions of the series methinks. After dealing with the Shadow Warriors, Jimmy then tells the sad story to Billy, who totally buys it.
The entire thing cuts into a martial arts competition where Billy is goaded into fighting. Marion gets a call from the precint and Jimmy tags along, leaving the tournament. They both get kidnapped by Willy and Abobo, who played a prank on Marion when she was called. They get kidnapped and Billy then laments not being able to rescue them then. Billy conjures up the double dragon crest on his chest to help him find both Jimmy and Marion.
Billy finds the lair and is shortly confronted by the Shadow Master, who gets scared away with a lightshow from his sword. Inside he confronts both Wily and Abobo, which do a poor job in handling him. Once he rescues Marion, he gets to fight the Shadow Master who is in fact, (surprise!) Jimmy Lee. After defeating him Jimmy escapes laughing like no one's business.
Later on the series both Lee bros get to fight the Shadow Boss donning masks and whatnot, and would you believe that the Shadow Boss doesn't even recognize them when on this get up, even though they pretty much are wearing the same outfits and weapons. Whatever. Each episode would end with a PSA moral message which was as bland as most episodes airing during that time. It was also a fact that Tradewest got a hand in the creation of this cartoon, the same company who distributed the first NES Double Dragon game and later on, Super Double Dragon for the SNES. This well may be the reason as to why there was Double Dragon V in the first place, and of course, a toyline. However Double Dragon didn't do that well in that department, my guess being that the series themselves were more of an 80s thing that should have been kept in arcade cabinets than anything else.
As it is, the cartoon wasn't *horrible,* but the source material was so radically changed that I would take this as an alternate reality regardless of being an actual sequel made for consoles on said series. The first episodes also echoes elements from the NES adaptations, such as having Jimmy Lee as a shadow boss then introducing the entire line of Shadow Boss' minions in the second episode. Nice shoutout on that. Other than this, the cartoon was just another entry into the vast 90s cartoons line-up which swam around the airwaves until it was taken off the air. It was cheesy, campy, but not TMNT campy for me to care for it that much. I did enjoy watching every other episode it was featured however, just seeing the name onscreen being something I would enjoy watching in saturday mornings. The movie came out shortly after, and boy I would state that between the two, I would prefer the cartoon version by a mile.
It ran from September 1993 to December 1994 right about X-Mas, so you could get all those Double Dragon toys.
Double Dragon on Hardcore Gaming 101
Double Dragon the series Wiki
Double Dragon the series on TV Tropes