Teen Titans Season 1 Review

  • Series Title: Teen Titans
  • Season: 1
  • Date:  2003
  • Episodes: 13
  • Discs: 2
  • Cast: Scott Menville, Hynden Walch, Greg Cipes, Khary Payton, Tara Strong, Ron Perlman
  • Original Network:  Cartoon Network
  • Production Network:  Warner Brothers Animation

Teen Titans is based on the DC Comics book of the same name. This animated version features the characters of Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy, with the season-long villain of Slade (aka Deathstroke, although that name is not used in the season). The five teen-aged superheroes are based in Titans Tower, where they do what superheroes do – they solve crimes and stop super villains. The first few episodes of season 1 are focused on team-building, as well as introducing Slade as the villain for the season. Then there are a series of episodes that focus on individual characters. Starfire’s episode introduces her older, cooler sister, Blackfire – though Blackfire also turns out to be a thief. Cyborg’s episode focuses on his custom-built car which is immediately stolen and destroyed. Raven’s episode, “Nevermore”, is perhaps the most interesting, as Starfire ends-up in Raven’s subconscious during her meditation. In Raven’s subconscious we meet Raven’s emotional spectrum selves and her demonic father, Trigon. The season concludes with the two-parter, “Apprentice”, in which the team goes after Slade, only for the entire thing to be an elaborate trick by Slade to get his hands on Robin. Slade then exposes the other Titans to destructive nano-bots – and threatens to kill them if Robin doesn’t do everything he says, including being his apprentice and stealing for Slade. Slade also forbids Robin from even talking to the Titans. However, at the conclusion of their fight on the top of the Wayne Enterprises building, the other Titans realize that Robin is being controlled. They go after Slade to rescue Robin. Robin exposes himself to the same dangerous substance as the other Titans, knowing it will stop Slade from hurting or killing his friends. The Titans win out, but no doubt Slade is still obsessed with Robin.

Teen Titans has a Japanese Anime styled theme tune (which is performed in either English or Japanese depending on the episode). The animation style is also closer to anime than other DC Animated Universe series (which have a traditional American animation look). The series also, at times, uses animation to express the characters emotions – when one character gets extremely angry at the rest of the Titans and yells at them – the rest of the Titans are drawn to be very small and frightened-looking. If a character is surprised or shocked his or her eyes pop-out of their heads. However, this isn’t distracting but rather emphasizes the characters’ emotions.

Watching Teen Titans, I couldn’t help but compare it to Young Justice, a show that I dearly love from the same team. The characters in Young Justice seem slightly older than the ones in Teen Titans – although both shows revolve around teen-aged superheroes. Young Justice is much more serious, and that show is a master at the “last few minutes reveal”. Titans, by contrast, tends to be lighter, though episodes like, “Nevermore” and “Apprentice” are a bit more serious. Also, in Teen Titans the characters always appear in their costumes, and thus are always called by their superhero monikers, rather than their real names. I missed having any sort of connection to these characters other identities. Certainly, as they are living in Titans Tower, the characters would kick back and relax occasionally. We see them playing video games, watching movies, and eating pizza, but always as Robin, Raven, Starfire, Cyborg, and Beast Boy – never as their alter egos. I wasn’t even sure which Robin this is. I’m going to assume it’s Dick Grayson until proven otherwise, though the behind-the-scenes interviews also mentioned Tim Drake but didn’t specifically state this was Tim Drake’s Robin (Tim would eventually take the name, “Red Robin”, and was more of a computer/electronics expert and hacker than a fighter, though like all the Robins he could certainly take care of himself.) I thought it was a missed opportunity to not include more about the characters’ civilian backgrounds.

Still Season 1 of Teen Titans is Recommended and I have ordered Season 2.

 

Psych Season 8 Review

  • Series Title: Psych
  • Season: Season 8
  • Episodes: 10 Episodes, Plus Psych: The Musical
  • Discs: 3
  • Network: USA (Universal)
  • Cast: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Corbin Bernsen
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

Season 8 of Psych is a bit of a hodge-podge, a smorgasbord, bits and pieces that almost seem like left over ideas from previous seasons – though the series ends on an unexpectedly happy note. But the mish-mash of episodes make it difficult to discuss the season as a whole.

The opening episode, only features Gus and Shawn. We see Lassiter briefly, in what seems to be little more than a cameo, on the more expensive trans-Atlantic cell phone call ever.  Shawn is invited by Interpol to the UK, because he resembles the getaway driver of a group of thieves. Once there, Shawn and Gus run into Pierre Deveraux (Cary Elwes) who claims to be a deep-cover Interpol agent, not an infamous thief. Pierre Deveraux isn’t even his real name. He asks Shawn to substitute for a getaway driver so Interpol can catch an infamous thief who uses a new crew for every job. It’s basically Psych does Oceans 11, or any other caper film. The episode suffers from not having the regular cast, but Elwes, who has been in several episodes of Psych over the years, is a delight.

The next episode brings the entire cast back, as well as the show’s normal setting of Santa Barbara. With the police station still under the thumb of Interim Chief Trout (Anthony Michael Hall), things are almost on track. Trout is horrible at policing – he’s arrogant, rude, sexist, racist and dumb. Lassiter saves his life when someone takes a shot at him, and Trout’s so arrogant, he blames Lassie for messing up his suit. Shawn and the gang have to solve the case – which expands to three dead guys; the only link being, as Shawn puts it, “someone’s killing a-holes” (including the pot shots at Trout).

The next episode is set in 2006, the first year of the show, and it feels like a script that didn’t make the cut for filming. But because of the setting, Shawn is pining for Juliet who won’t really give him the time of day. It also gives the audience a last chance to see Shawn as his wackiest in terms of the physical comedy that was gradually reduced over the years of how Shawn indicates he’s having a “vision”. The episode involved a woman accused of murder that Shawn and Gus believe is innocent.

In the next episode, an ex-con takes Woody hostage, when the coroner interrupts the ex-criminal as he tries to steal a corpse. As it turns out, the guy claims to be innocent of the murder – but thinks no one will believe him since he’s an ex-con and he had argued with the victim previously. Not only do Shawn and Gus have to solve the murder, and prove the guy innocent, but Lassiter and Juliet have to rescue Woody before Trout puts his “kill everyone including the hostage in a hail of bullets” plan in action. At the end of the episode, Trout fires Juliet and Lassiter – but it’s proved moot as Trout is fired for being an ass.

In the next episode, someone with an eerie resemblance to Gus, with the same type of life, is murdered. This forces Gus to re-think his life, and he quits his job as a pharmaceutical rep.

The next story has Lassiter trying to solve a cold case from 1967, so he will be appointed Chief of Police by the new mayor. The costumes and music are awesome – the plot, well, it’s been done. Karen Vick returns briefly – but only to say that during her 6-month suspension she found a new job, as Chief of Police in San Francisco. At the end of the episode, Lassiter gets the job of Chief. Although he had planned to have Juliet as his Head Detective – the mayor had made it a condition of employment to hire his choice for that position. Juliet accepts Vick’s offer to be her head detective in San Francisco, leaving her relationship with Shawn in limbo. However, they plan to stay in a long-distance relationship.

There’s a couple of filler episodes. In one, Lassiter’s wife, Marlowe, gives birth to their daughter, Lily. And Henry sells his house, Shawn’s childhood home. Then there’s the last of Psych’s annual Halloween episodes, filled with zombies and other horror references, and guest-starring Bruce Campbell as a dream therapist who’s treating Gus. The episode is a series of the horror vignettes (which get weird because they always end-up being Gus’s dreams), with a focus on Gus’s relationship with Shawn, rather than Shawn’s relationship with Gus.

I then watched “Psych: The Musical” which is on the special features section of the third disc. the episode breaks back Ally Sheedy as the Yang killer, but as a consultant. The case focuses on the Ripper Theater murder, which I think was from an earlier season. I enjoyed “Psych: The Musical” a lot. Tim Omundson has a wonderful deep bass voice. We know James Roday and Dulé Hill can sing, since they do it all the time. Even Kristen Nelson gets a song. Maggie Lawson tries, and although not the strongest voice – she makes up for it in enthusiasm. Besides, it is extremely fun to watch Omundson, Nelson, and Lawson doing traditional dance steps we’ve seen so many times before — in the business suits those characters wear normally. The story itself actually wasn’t bad (a typical red herring, red herring, red herring, catch the real killer 10 minutes before the end of the story plot) but it’s just put together well with the music and the dancing, and even more theatrical costumes at times since much of the plot involves a re-make of a play at a theatre.

The final episode is called, “The Break Up”, and I was expecting something negative and awful and everyone going their own ways. But it wasn’t – and the start of the story, Shawn calls Juliet and tells her he wants to move up to San Francisco permanently to be with her. The rest of the story, between the typical murder plot that’s common on this show, is Shawn trying to figure out how to tell Gus he’s leaving. In the end, Shawn sends DVDs to all the regulars – telling him both what they have meant to him and his decision. It’s a bit eerie. But the last scene has Shawn showing up in San Francisco to see Jules, we see Karen again in her new role, surprised to see Shawn, Gus comes up to see Shawn and to tell him he quit his new job because it was too much like his old job, and most importantly – Shawn proposes to Jules – who accepts him, though someone comes out of nowhere to steal the engagement ring before he can slip it on Jules’ finger. Shawn and Gus give chase in the most ridiculous car ever.

So the last season does wrap up all the threads from the previous season. We see very little of Chief Vick – the actress was probably unavailable (the series was supposed to wrap with Season 7, but USA’s replacement for it bombed big time, prompting one more season of the established show). Who’s in an episode of the regular cast also goes up and down – we always have Shawn and Gus, but Juliet leaves halfway through. We see little of Henry. Lassie’s there and more competent than ever, and with that – Shawn’s “gifts” have less use to the plots. Shawn and Gus’s friendship is a theme, especially in the horror episode. Yet the series wraps in a satisfactory way – most of our characters are in a new location, but together. Lassiter has the job he’s always wanted and a new head detective who’s just like him in many ways – plus he’s now married, has a daughter, and even bought Henry’s house. Henry, it’s implied, will enjoy his retirement. Shawn and Jules are together. Everything falls into place. And that is a happy conclusion to this happy, fun, and highly 1980s-like series.

There will be a Psych reunion special this year (2017) and that should be enjoyable.

Psych Season 7 Review

  • Series Title: Psych
  • Season: Season 7
  • Episodes: 14 Episodes
  • Discs: 3
  • Network: USA (Universal)
  • Cast: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Corbin Bernsen
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

Season 6 of Psych was the season of big name guest stars. Season 7 sees a return to an emphasis on the Psych characters and their relationships. If anything, the theme of this season is relationships – romantic ones. Lassiter’s incarcerated girlfriend, Marlowe, is released on parole, and due to plot reasons, Lassiter proposes to her immediately. The two successfully marry, but we never see Marlowe again, which is a shame, as she’s particularly fun. Carlton, meanwhile, seems happier, now that he is married again.

Gus meets a woman on a case and the two start dating. Even meeting Rachel’s 8-10 year-old son from her previous marriage doesn’t throw much of a wrench in the works. However, Rachel’s visa status does, and at the end of the season, she returns to the UK for six months. I liked Rachel, and it was good to see Gus with a steady girlfriend.

But it’s the Shawn and Juliet relationship that takes a forefront of this season. The two are boyfriend and girlfriend at the beginning of the season, and even move in together. But at Carlton’s wedding, Juliet figures out that Shawn isn’t really psychic – and with her con man father and trust issues, she can’t handle it and breaks up with him. Shawn, though, is undaunted. He continuously tries to win her back, but in a much more serious way than the character would have earlier in the series. Shawn tells Juliet he never once lied about his feelings towards her, that falling in love wasn’t part of the plan, he even tells her that he had to come up with something or he would have been in big trouble – and if you think about the pilot, Shawn’s whole “psychic detective” thing started because he solved a case from what he saw on the news – and he would have been arrested as the murderer for knowing too much. Juliet stands her ground, and tells Shawn he must come clean to Chief Vick. And Shawn does. He marches into the chief’s office in the same episode to tell her everything. Juliet realizes this and rushes in to stop him, even falling on the sword for him, saying that she entered a suspect’s house without a warrant and searched the suspect’s computer (in reality it was Shawn who had done that). Vick gives her a stern talking to. Shawn, impressed, talks to Juliet and again professes his feelings, even talking about engagement in a detached fashion. Juliet says she’s not ready for that step, but the two get back together and start dating again.

In the final episode, city hall sends an efficiency expert to the precinct to investigate our main characters. The efficiency expert, played brilliantly by Anthony Michael Hall, is a right ***terd. He’s sexist, racist, borish, arrogant, rude, and stupid. However, he also doesn’t buy Shawn’s “psychic” abilities. In the end, though Lassiter and Juliet are briefly suspended and Buzz is fired – it’s Chief Vick who takes this sword, being suspended for six months, with Hall’s character taking her position.

I suspect Hall’s character won’t be on the show for more than an episode or two next season. But it’s interesting watching him for a couple of reasons. First, Anthony Michael Hall was in one of USA Network’s first original series: The Dead Zone, where he plays a psychic. Second, his character is absolutely horrible – he’s a terrible person. For an actor known for his “Brat Pack” teen movies, and sympathetic characters – seeing him as a polar opposite shows just how good an actor Hall actually is.

Overall, the season is good. It’s Psych: light, fun, adventurous, enjoyable. Even when Juliet and Shawn broke up, the audience suspects they will get back to together – because shows like this tend to end up happily. Season 7 was originally going to be the last season of Psych, but when USA Network’s replacement for it flopped (Common Law – a parody of 70s cop shows) the series was granted one more season. Also, this year (2017) the show is doing a reunion movie to air in December.

Psych Season 6 Review

  • Series Title: Psych
  • Season: Season 6
  • Episodes: 16 Episodes
  • Discs: 4
  • Network: USA (Universal)
  • Cast: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Corbin Bernsen
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

Psych is a fun show. Psych, along with shows such as Monk, Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, and White Collar were part of USA Network’s character-centric set of series. All these shows emphasized characters, and had less emphasis on plot, which gave them a very 1980s-feel. I was a fan of Psych when it started, and only lost track of it during the last few seasons because my family switched satellite TV providers and I lost several episodes with the DVR then lost track of where USA Network was on the new system. Throw in USA Network’s unconventional scheduling and the show disappeared off the radar for me. But I always liked it.

I finally decided to sit down and watch Psych, in part because I was in the mood for exactly what this show offered – something light and fun, and character-driven. And Psych delivers – this show is fun, just plain fun. If you’ve never seen it, Shawn Spencer was raised by his divorced father, a cop for the Santa Barbara police department. His father, Henry Spencer, was tough but fair, and taught his son to be incredibly observant – as well as to be analytical. Shawn puts his skills to good work, well, sort of – no one would believe he was simply “observant”, so on his first case he tells the police he’s a psychic. This, six seasons in, Shawn’s psychic visions are accepted by the Santa Barbara police department – namely Police Chief Karen Vick, and the two detectives Shawn helps: Carlton Lassiter and Juliet O’Hara. As season six opens, Shawn and Juliet are now openly dating. Gus (Burton Guster) is Shawn’s best friend, since childhood. Shawn and Gus also operate a “Psychic Detective Agency” called “Psych”. Shawn’s father, Henry, still working as a detective for the SBPD rounds out the cast. The show also uses flashbacks to Shawn’s childhood. This season features one episode with flashbacks to Juliet’s childhood, as it brings in Juliet’s father played by William Shatner.

Psych is highly episodic – you coud dip in at any point and not really be confused. I started with this season, having not seen the show for a few years, and I really wasn’t confused at all. Season 6 is also the Season of Guest stars, with a number of well-known actors showing up. However, the series seems better in episodes without famous guest stars, when it focuses on our core characters. This season also takes Shawn, Gus, Juliet, and Lassiter to a number of different settings or movie-related themes: a triple-A baseball park, a murder committed in front of a murder mystery bookstore, Shawn going undercover in a psychiatric hospital to discover if a suspect found “not guilty by reason of insanity” is faking or not (answer: it’s complicated), a vampire case (not really), references to Indiana Jones, references to The Shining, and the final episode, Santabarbaratown, among others. Lassiter meets a woman on a case and falls for her – despite having to arrest her as an accomplice to burglary and manslaughter.

The final episode, Santabarbaratown, feels like a New-Noir story, involving one of Henry’s old cold cases. It gets into Henry’s past as a cop, his former partners, and other cops. And it ends with not-going-to-spoil-it cliffhanger last scene for the season. Needless to say, it’s brilliant.

Overall, Psych is always fun to watch, and this season is no different. Bringing in lots of well-known guest stars feels like a bit of a cheat – a way to bring in new audiences, but the show is still enjoyable. As I said at the beginning of this review, the USA Network character shows feel like a show from the 1980s – episodic, fun to watch, character-driven; but unlike the shows from the 1980s – USA Network’s shows have at least some diversity with women and minorities in the casts; maybe not as much diversity as on the CW, or as we would like, but it’s better than the all-male casts of the shows I grew up watching, like The A-Team, Magnum, PI, and Riptide. Season 6 of Psych is Recommended.

Glee Season 1 Review

  • Series Title: Glee
  • Season: Season 1
  • Episodes: 22 Episodes
  • Discs: 4 (Blu-ray)
  • Network: Fox
  • Cast: Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, Chris Colfer, Lea Michele, Kevin McHale, Amber Riley, Jenna Ushkowitz
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

Glee was an extremely popular series that I somehow managed to miss. Unfortunately, the first season is extremely disappointing and at times even painful to watch. The series follows the adventures and misadventures of a group of misfit kids who manage to grow and learn by becoming members of the Glee Club at a small town Ohio high school. It’s an interesting premise at least. Musicals are one of my guilty pleasures, so I really should have enjoyed this show.

Unfortunately, Glee has some of the worst writing I have ever seen. The characters aren’t characters – they are stereotypes: the gay kid, the fat Black girl, the kid in a wheel chair, the dumb cheerleader, the spoiled Jewish brat. The stereotypes are offensive – and represent short cuts in writing. Rather than let us know what it’s like to be in a wheelchair, or overweight, or be raised by two gay Dads, or to be a gay high school boy – this show instead merely gives us stereotypes, especially in the first half of the season. The kid in a wheelchair doesn’t even get a name until ten episodes in. Sue, the cheerleading coach even calls Artie, “cripple”. Now, Sue is the series “bad guy”, but the principal uses the same extremely offensive word to describe Artie, as well as using “budget” as an excuse to deny him basics like handicap-accessible school transportation, a handicap-accessible entrance to the school (other than through the loading dock), and one has to wonder about bathrooms. This is a clear example of Title IX violations (and violations of the ADA) and would get the school sued. But Artie isn’t the only kid treated in deplorable fashion by the writers of this show. Rachel constantly mentions her two gay dads, but we never, ever see them, even when Rachel gets suddenly curious about her birth mother (a surrogate). The show could have shown us Rachel asking her fathers some pointed questions, and gotten real drama and emotion out of the issues of adoption and surrogacy. But instead, her dads are always absent and it’s Rachel who finds her mother, a showbiz diva and show choir coach of the rival high school glee club, Vocal Adrenaline.

The adults in this show are even worse than the kids. At least the kids are likable, especially as we learn more about them (yes, this is one of those ensemble shows that eventually focuses an episode or two on each main character). We have Will Schuester, the Glee Club coach (and Spanish teacher), who is the perfect teacher and perfect guy. He’s married to Terri, his high school sweetheart, a materialistic woman who is more focused on keeping up with the Jones than being happy or letting Will be happy. She even fakes a pregnancy when she fears Will wants to leave her. He eventually figures this out and they divorce. Good riddance, Terri.

Sue Sylvester is the cheerleading coach, she hates Will with a passion, and hates the Glee club. We are given absolutely no reason for this whatsoever. Sue is rude, cruel, mean-spirited, and dumb. She’s conniving as well. The only reason we are given for her hatred of Glee is that they are “taking her budget”, but considering Sue’s champion cheerleaders have apparently the world’s largest budget, she shouldn’t even care about the pennies going to Glee. Sue is also just as terrible to her own cheerleaders as she is to every one else – making fun of the girl’s bodies, firing her team captain when it becomes obvious she’s pregnant, forcing two girls to join Glee as her spies, etc. Sue even gets a commentary spot on the local news where “Sue Sees It” encourages littering and other such drivel. Sue might be interesting if we ever learned why she hates Will (I mean, What did he do – ignore her in high school? Tell her she couldn’t sing and kick her out of the glee club?), but since we don’t – she becomes a cardboard villain. The only hint we get is Sue is jealous of Will – which makes no sense at all. Late in the season, Will finally takes their rivalry to her and gives Sue a well-deserved dose of her own medicine.

Other characters include Emma, the OCD guidance counselor who is not so secretly in love with Will. Or “has a crush” might be more accurate, because when they finally start dating, she pulls way back. Emma is likable, but written as weak and a bit dumb because of her OCD (which has her constantly cleaning the teacher’s lounge, and using wet wipes on her grapes before eating them), so she becomes a caricature rather than a character. The gym coach loves Emma, and even convinces her to marry him as a “second choice” since Will is unavailable. Needless to say, the marriage falls through and we never see the gym coach again. The principal rounds out the characters – he’s relatively fair, though he ends up under Sue’s thumb when she drugs him and takes sexual blackmail pictures of the two in bed.

The only thing Glee has going for it are the musical numbers. The singing and dancing are fantastic, as is the Broadway Musical Film style choreography. I was continuously impressed by the singing, dancing, and song craft in this show. At times, it is obvious (at least on Blu-ray) that the characters are lip syncing, but it’s a minor issue. I’m used to musicals with bad (or no) plots and good dancing, but it’s a lot harder to overlook bad plots, weak characterization, and extremely bad writing for 22 hours rather than two or three. Even though I know some of the actors from The Flash and Supergirl were eventually on Glee, I will not be buying more of this series. I was very disappointed, and that’s sad, because I really wanted to like it.

The Librarians Season 2 Review

  • Series Title: The Librarians
  • Season: Season 2
  • Episodes: 10
  • Discs: 3
  • Network: TNT
  • Cast: Noah Wyle, John Larroquette, Rebecca Romijn, Christian Kane, Lindy Booth, John Harlan Kim, David S. Lee, Richard Cox
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

The second season of TNT’s The Librarians brings back Noah Wyle for the first two episodes and the last two episodes. The series is a sequel to the Librarian movies, and the first two episodes play like one of the movies, as the Librarians are reunited with Eve and Flynn for four separate quests at a museum only to have to face down Moriarty, a Fictional, and Prospero – Shakespeare’s magician. Prosero is determined to change his fate and not follow the story as written by Shakespeare.

Unfortunately, we really don’t see Prospero or Moriarty until the last two episodes of the season, which also bring back Noah Wyle as Flynn, the Librarian. The opening and closing two-parters are great, and could even be viewed together, without watching the intervening episodes. The stand-alone stories, featuring the younger Librarians are hit-or-miss. John Larroquette is wonderful as Jenkins, caretaker of the Annex, and with the library back – now the Library as well. The first episode without Noah Wyle gives us background on Stone and his issues with his father (a real piece of work). “The Cost of Education” could have been a fun HP Lovecraft-type story – instead it’s full of stereotypes about college life. Not only that, but the young, gifted, highly intelligent woman – very like Cassandra, is talked into leaving university and pursuing magic – without even being a librarian. It was an annoying episode. The episode, “And the Hollow Men” brings back Flynn, but has a strange quality to it. As you can tell from the title, “And the Infernal Contract” is a tale of Faust or the Devil and Daniel Webster set during a mayoral race in a small New England town. “The Image of the Image” is a fun version of the story of Dorian Gray, though, like the previous episode, it was painfully obvious where it was going from the beginning. “And the Point of Salvation” was extremely fun – from Jenkins actually casting a spell to call and bind the fairy Puck (fitting in nicely with the Shakespearean theme of the season) to Jones and Stone binding over figuring out the video game they are stuck in – it’s much more unique than many of the other stand-alone episodes of the season. I also loved the growth in Jones’ character, though they punched the reset button on that at the end of the episode.

The final two episodes bring back Moriarty and Prospero – not to mention a trip through time, and Shakespeare. It’s the type of fun the show is known for and was so prevalent in Season 1. Eve and Flynn also have great chemistry in the episode. And I loved the cameo of the TARDIS and the Back to the Future DeLorean in the time machine room.

Overall, though I enjoyed season 2, Prospero was such a great villain I wish we’d seen more of him. And Moriarty was written and played brilliant as not the epitome of evil, but a complicated man trapped by his circumstances. I’d still recommend the series though.

Danger Mouse – Mission: Improbable Review

  • Series Title: Danger Mouse
  • Season: Mission: Improbable
  • Episodes: 7
  • Discs: 1
  • Network: CBBC
  • Cast: Alexander Armstrong, Kevin Eldon, Dave Lamb, Stephen Fry, Shauna MacDonald
  • Format: Color, Animation, Widescreen, PAL, R2

Danger Mouse was a much-loved British cartoon from the 1980s. Featuring a white mouse (Danger Mouse) with a black eye patch, his hamster assistant Penfold, and his boss, Colonel K, the series was fun, clever, and full of puns, cultural references, and silliness. This new series keeps the same characters, including the villainous Baron Silas Greenback and his assistants Nero and Stiletto. The new series also introduces Professor Squawkencluck, a female scientist who develops Danger Mouse’s incredible gadgets and acts as the scientific brain for the group’s missions. She’s basically DM’s Q – and she’s a chicken. No, she isn’t afraid of everything – she’s literally an animated chicken with a Scottish accent. Meanwhile, Colonel K also has a hologram copy of himself.

The new Danger Mouse has some very funny moments in these first seven episodes. However, poor DM is not a very clever mouse – and he’s pretty incompetent with technology – which irritates Squawkencluck, Penfold is the same old Penfold, sensibly scared by the situations he and DM find themselves in. However, Penfold gets to shine in two episodes, and his friendship with Danger Mouse is particularly strong in this updated version.

As one would expect in an updated modern version of a classic from the 1980s, the animation is better and more modern. DM’s science and tech is also more advanced. Yet, the show keeps the characters, including the villains from the original show. The episodes without Greenback are better (and that is the majority of the episodes on this collection). I also really liked Pandamonium – a giant panda who’s basically a big dummy, but lovable. He’s used by Baron Greenback in the first episode, then appears again on his own.

The episodes on the Mission: Improbable are:

  • Danger Mouse Begins Again
  • Planet of the Toilets
  • Danger at C-Level
  • The Other Day the Earth Stood Still
  • Welcome to Danger World!
  • Big Head Awakens
  • Greenfinger

Overall, though some of the episodes were very funny, I missed the puns and cultural references of the original series. This show was fun, but more aimed at children than the all-ages original series. It’s not awful, but it’s not as cleverly-written as it could be. A solid 3 out of 5 stars.