waynepygram.com: DuckTales Reviewed: The First 10 Episodes Wrap-Up

waynepygram.com: DuckTales Reviewed: The First 10 Episodes Wrap-Up

Grappling Hook!

What is it? Half-hour animated adventure comedy
Where did it air? Disney XD
Who stars in it? Probably by far the most recognizable and the one who's been stealing all the casting highlight headlines from this show is none other than David Tenant as Scrooge himself; a bunch of others I'm too lazy to look up now, but there've been some pretty recognizable names even just for bit roles (more on that later).
Why are we reviewing this? Woo-oo! (hah, the most obvious choice for quote gets put here!)

Spoiler alert: I friggin' love this show. Yes it lives up to the hype, maybe even thensome. But first....

...as far as I'm concerned, the big elephant in the room is WTF Disney XD what are you thinking? when it comes to how the episodes are even friggin' aired. As I mentioned before, it got so bad just from word-of-mouth (even the creators themselves) that I on principle just refused to even watch the show until I had all the episode recorded on my DVR so I can view them in the proper order - and indeed I did have to wait until all of them aired because the final of the 10 that did air so far was originally intended to be the third episode (if you count the first two episodes as just one). The creators have said that this was delayed until December because...it mentions Christmas in passing and because it has snow in it (because they go off venturing into the mountains so of course it's going to have snow no matter what time of year the episode takes place). So yeah maybe *one* episode was out of order. Except the actual intended 10th episode was the sixth. But then again it did have a monster theme so it was saved for Monstober. ...except the mummy-themed episode aired in like September or November or something. My point is the airing order was all kinds of screwed up. They just about only got the first two right, it turns out.

So yeah, as far as I'm concerned I made the right call.

Does the viewing order make a difference? Based on feedback from other people and my own experience...you bet your sweet bippy it does. Yeah, Disney XD really screwed the pooch on this one. No wonder their viewership is about at the same level as, I dunno, that thing on ABC on Saturday mornings where Jack Hannah pretends to be Animal Ryan Seacrest and does his countdown of the top ten best moments of out-of-context/no-context animal encounters that last all of about 20 seconds per clip.

Anyway, it's hard to talk about this show without the context of the original 90s series or the comic strip that predates that way, way back (or even the animated Disney adaptation of A Christmas Carol which I thought was the whole origin story of Scrooge - Scrooge McDuck, Ebenezer Scrooge, you can see how I can make that connection right?) The original cartoon has always had a reputation for being more subdued and toned-down than the strip, but I think this new series takes the zany and edgy-ish-for-kids nature of the strip to a notch or two above that, even. Even that aside, the writing is very sharp, the pacing is on point, the characters are amazingly fluid and natural especially for animation period, let alone for being cartoon anthropomorphic ducks and...speaking of fluid, the animation comes off as absolutely top-notch. 

Actually, when they first announced this, I was expecting it to borrow the animation style of the Mickey Mouse shorts since at that point in my mind the success of those shorts was the whole impetus for relaunching DuckTales in the first place. And while the Mickey Mouse shorts clearly do borrow from and are inspired by sources like the original Walt Disney theater shorts and the Carl Barks DuckTales comics in the first place (with some heavy contemporary influences, natch), DuckTales takes even that a notch further. Really, everything they could throw at this production-wise, they threw, and then scrounged around some more for that "even then some." And it pays off, it's one of the most polished things either network's ever had.

And yeah, it heavily homages the original series, and even flat-out reinvents/remakes whole episodes, but it's not afraid to go heavy on that reinvention angle. And unlike a lot of other efforts, it works. It's a fresh take for old-ass Millennials who loved the original series, and just a really high-quality, super-enjoyable series for much younger fans (or even fans not so much younger) who've never seen a single second of the original series.

Of course, it also feels like DuckTales-themed Gravity Falls in a lot of ways (which isn't surprising because despite Alex Hirsh's uninvolvement with this one, a lot of the staff nonetheless carries over) but...given how much I loved Gravity Falls (and believe me I'm far from the only one) that's not necessarily a bad thing. You can definitely see character parallels - Weeby is Duck-Mabel (down to Grappling Hook!), the triplets are Duck-Dipper and two of his paper copier clones who I guess managed to stay unwet, Launchpad is Duck-Soos, Scrooge is Duck-Grunkle Stan, I could go on. Hell, Gyro is Duck-Old Man McGurkin and Glumgold is Duck-Gideon as a really old-ass Scottish billionaire (ok, that one might be stretching it). Yeah, the Gravity Falls influence is everywhere, but still, that's not a bad thing, and the Gravity Falls influence and parallels fit so seamlessly into the DuckTales mythos even if it all ends up being strictly coincidental. Really, I'm more convinced now that the success of Gravity Falls has more to do with inspiring Disney to reboot the series than the success of the Mickey Mouse shorts.

So, is this better than the original series? I honestly think...hell yeah it is! The original series...I think suffers from a lot of nostalgia boost. I've seen it not that long ago and my adult-ass eyes see it as...a very soft 90s cartoon appropriate for kids the age I was when I was first watching it. This new series really shows just how much the craft of storytelling has really improved over those 20-30 years (damn I'm old) and how much more credit networks and showrunners are giving to their audience, even younger ones.

Series So Far Grade: I think this is an incredibly easy call: an A+. Yes, this means on average every single episode is practically perfect, something I'm not even sure Gravity Falls could claim for this blog (unless I also gave that series an A+, which implies the same thing - I honestly don't remember and I'm too lazy to look up my own damn blog). Yes, in a lot of ways it's just DuckTales-themed Gravity Falls. But I think that's exactly why people were so hyped up for it in the first place. Hell, that's why I was so hyped up on it, whether I even realized it or not.  And again, if you're going to steal, steal from the finest. This might be one of the greatest things ever in the entire history of DXD, and across all the Disney-branded networks. I mean it when I say it lives up to the hype, an incredibly tall order that may be.
Series So Far MVP: I'm gonna give it to Margo Martindale just because she's exactly who I would've cast as Ma Beagle - and they did it! They actually friggin' did exactly that! Just the fact that they went out to get Margo Martindale as Ma Beagle, in my mind, shows how much they care and how much thought they put into this series, how well they know their audience (especially Millennials who grew up with the original show and likely have been exposed to at least some of Martindale's other well-known roles) and how much they care about not leaving out new viewers.

Extra Thoughts

 - Just to emphasize, yes, I really do feel watching these episodes in the "proper" order does help the series get to that A+ status, although I don't think the show over-focuses on the kids as much as some fans think, or at the very least I think these fans over-estimate how interesting Scrooge and especially Donald are, with Donald easily being my least favorite/who I find to be the least-interesting character. Donald never was a big part of the original cartoon, being absent for pretty much the entire run from what I can remember, and I think his inclusion into the series is a large influence from the Mickey Mouse shorts. That said, The Tower of Luck Whatever, I Forgot The Episode Name Already! made fantastic use out of him. But I definitely don't feel like his presence is missed in the episodes he's absent from (or even the episodes Scrooge was absent from, particularly The Terror of the Terra-Firmans!)

 - I was originally going to write every sentence with an exclamation mark, just like the episode titles! But clearly I forgot about that! Which is probably just as well anyway! Since that gimmick would get really old! Really fast!

 - If you're curious, and I bet you are! The correct airing order of the episodes can be found on Reddit! You can just Google search Reddit Ducktales to find the thread!

 - I bothered to go back and re-read the archive of my own blog after all! And yeah, it does turns out! That I did give Gravity Falls an overall series grade of A+! After all!
Baca Juga
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