You may recall me writing about Darkwing Duck about a year ago, and how it was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid. Second to that were all the other Disney afternoon shows, most of all Ducktales. The very adventure of the show and mystery behind some of the characters (Magica, I’m looking at you, who the heck are you?) made it a perfect program for both children and pre-teens. Thankfully, in the recent tradition of 90s reboots, Disney has rebooted Ducktales. I have been waiting for this since nearly six months ago when casting was announced and confirmed that David Tennant would voice Scrooge McDuck, the billionaire adventurer who takes in his great-nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
Ducktales originally premiered in 1987 with a five-part serial movie. Here we learned that the boys’ Uncle Donald (Scrooge’s nephew) is being shipped off with the Navy and leaving them with his rich, cheapskate uncle. Upon exploring McDuck manor, they learn that Scrooge is a collector of ancient art and artifacts, including a model ship containing a treasure map. A treasure so good the Beagle Boys attempt to steal it for their new skeevy crime-lord boss. With the help of Scrooge’s personal pilot, Launchpad McQuack, the group travels around the world to find the treasure of the golden suns. This premise continued for 4 seasons and a movie, pitting the family up against Gods, dinosaurs, criminals, monsters, and even a few gun-toting varmints.
In 2017 some things have changed. Donald has retired from the Navy, raising his nephews on a houseboat at Duckburg Harbor. Having disowned his uncle ages ago, he resorts to asking Scrooge to watch the boys while he goes to an interview. Lucky for Donald he gets a job. Unlucky for Scrooge, the job is working for his archenemy. Even more, they are both looking for the lost treasure of Atlantis
Despite the odd choices in artistry (and failed attention to detail – Donald can’t afford to keep the houseboat and his car is falling apart yet still has an expensive in-dash GPS?), the new voice actors bring the characters to life and help a new generation quickly understand who they are. Each triplet (Danny Pudi, Bobby Moynihan, Ben Schwartz) has their own unique personality, and Webigail’s (Kate Micucci) new hobby of investigation and researching family history blends history of Disney stories together.
Meanwhile, as mentioned on Geek Watch One, it appears another Disney Afternoon character might make an appearance on the show at some point. Mentioned within seconds of the pilot, St. Canard has had to forgo on loans for a period of time. With this mention, the show acknowledges that, in this new series, Darkwing Duck is part of the universe, despite contentions from show creators that he was not part of the previous universe.
Unfortunately, these changes are not all great. One of my favorite characters on the show, Launchpad, is portrayed as an imbecile leaving behind his father-like attitude for a buffoon willing to follow anybody. Hopefully characters will grow enough over the first season that this portrayal will change, but for now I worry about how these characters are shown.
Nevertheless, while only 2 episodes have been shown (the first season official premieres September 23 on Disney XD), I believe Disney may have another hit cartoon, sitting alongside Star Wars: Rebels, Tangled, and Star vs. the Forces of Evil. The only question remaining is, are we getting a Duck version of Doctor Who?