The New DuckTales

Watching the Disney Afternoon is one of my fondest childhood memories. My grandmother took care of me for several years as a child, and I spent most of my afternoons with her. Our daily ritual consisted of her cooking dinner with me sitting on the floor Indian style enjoying Batman The Animated Series and the Disney Afternoon. I fell in love with DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers, and Talespin. I accompanied all these crazy characters on their wacky adventures every day, and they all earned a special spot in my heart that I never truly let go. Life was difficult during that time, but those shows were there to keep me both entertained and distracted and I’ve never forgotten that.

For years now, I’ve done my best to support any sort of releases that came from those shows. I bought the comics, video games, and DVD releases. For years it has felt like Disney has turned its back on its own creations and all I wanted to see was a little respect given to those shows. They haven’t even released all the episodes on DVD nor have they added them to any streaming platform which is really frustrating.

I’ve only attempted once to go back and watch the shows. I decided to start with DuckTales, since it was my favorite. I watched the first episode (not realizing the original first episode was actually a series of episodes tied together like a movie) and well… I was a little harsh on it. I wasn’t in the right mood and I quickly dismissed the show as something that is better left alone in the past. So, I didn’t watch anymore episodes of the Disney Afternoon shows.

Then came the announcement of the rebooted DuckTales. I was excited. I couldn’t wait. A modern take on DuckTales sounded wonderful and I counted down the days until the show was finally released. Thanks to a very successful YouTube video, Disney quickly realized that the nostalgia for DuckTales was high and there were a lot of people excited for the new show. They ended up releasing the first episode for free on YouTube which as of this writing has over 5.8 million views.

People went nuts. DuckTales nostalgia came back full force and it seemed like everyone that I spoke to loved the new show. I, however, was a little dismayed. It was hard to stomach the art and the voice cast. The ADD Boys were all over the place and I felt like the show was going to give me a headache. I watched half of it (it was two episodes edited into one) and I turned it off. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t what I was expecting and I figured I’d finish it up later.

As time went on, I found better things to watch. I gave up on DuckTales and just went about my life grateful that the series will live on for another generation.

One afternoon I got package in the mail from my friend Alex. He ships me Memphis BBQ sauce a few times a year so I can enjoy a taste of home from time-to-time. In this box was the first issue of the new DuckTales comic, written and drawn in the style of the new cartoon. Along with the sauce and comic was a note talking about how much he loved the new show. He even emailed me to discuss the show some and I had to admit I hadn’t watched much of it. As the first eight episodes slowly came to an end, Alex was overcome with fandom regarding the show and I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Alex has turned me onto so many fantastic shows over the past fifteen years and I couldn’t dismiss his opinion anymore. I had to finish at least the first episode.

I made it through the first episode and I still didn’t find myself over the moon with the show. I quickly reminded myself that this was not the 80’s DuckTales. This was a new iteration and I need to stop judging it and comparing it. I hate when people bash remakes and reboots all the time, so I needed to take my own advice and judge this on its own. And so with new eyes I sat down to watch the second episode, and then the third, and fourth all in one sitting. I found myself laughing and enjoying the characters. I found an appreciation for Donald Duck I never had before. The next thing I know, its way past the time for me to go to sleep but I was having such a great time I didn’t want to stop. I did the adult thing and decided to save the rest of the episodes for the next day, but I did come to a new opinion on DuckTales- it’s fantastic.

Some of the Things I Like

-I love the artwork. It looks like an old comic book and I think that is fantastic. It’s so much better than a 3D animated cartoon, which this easily could have been. The 2D gives the characters depth that I feel 3D sometimes lacks, and I’m thankful for that. I hated it at first, I’ll be honest, but it slowly grew on me and now I love it. It really does look like a comic book that came to life.

-The voice work is great all around and it should be considering the caliber of the talent. The only issue I really had was with The Boys on the first episode, but once I realized that they were not going to talk just like the original series, I settled down and enjoyed the new take. I’ve had a difficult time understanding Donald, and it may be because of the source I’ve been watching it on, but I decided to stop trying so hard to interpret what he’s saying and just watch his animation. I can tell everything I need to know from that and it makes the character that much funnier.

-Speaking of Donald, I’ve never been a Donald fan. In fact, I’m not much of a Disney fan. I’ve always been a Warner Brothers guy. But this show does a great job of making Donald relatable, pathetic, and funny. He’s actually one of my favorite parts of the show. I think the most I’ve laughed at the show was in the second show when Donald decides to try and run generators to power his boat and all hell breaks loose. That almost made me cry I was laughing so hard.

-Webby grew on me. My first reaction to her was pretty negative. I found her obnoxious and I just didn’t think I could watch a series where she played an intricate part. But the second episode explains why she is the way that she is, and I became sympathetic. I wanted to see Webby fit in and I found the underdog worth rooting for in her.

-Mrs. Beakley is fantastic. She was my favorite part of the pilot and I enjoy her character in every episode. Her dry humor and sarcastic wit is great.

Some Things I Don’t Like

-After watching several episodes, I’m still in belief that the pilot was a little weak. I think they spent so much time rolling out the story that they never got a chance to make the show feel like DuckTales. The shorter episodes work much better.

-I could be wrong, but I felt like Scrooge played a bigger part in the original series. In this version, Scrooge is almost a background character at times, while the Webby and The Boys go out on adventures. I’d like to see Scrooge implemented a little more in the plot.

Conclusion

I don’t think I would have recommended DuckTales for anyone not under the age of ten until after watching the first episode. I didn’t think the creators left much for us older fans to enjoy. But now I realize it was me who was standing in my own way of enjoying DuckTales.

The 2017 version of DuckTales is not the 1987 version and nor should it be. It’s a new version of the same great characters, settings, and adventures that we all love and enjoy. The showrunners have made it their own and I respect and appreciate that. In all honesty, I’m glad the show is different and I really hope it continues to be a hit with old and more importantly new fans. So, if you love the original DuckTales, I highly suggest you check out the new show. Be patient with the pilot, or better yet, just skip it. Once the actual shows get rolling, things get good.

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