Thursday, February 28, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Danger Mouse - Seasons 1 and 2

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Some very punny moments
Cons: Overall a little dry
The Bottom Line:
Some pun and some fun
But not as I remembered
Lots of slower parts

"Wherever There is Danger, He'll Be There"

Danger Mouse is a television cartoon from the 1980's. Created in England, it was made famous on this side of the pond by Nickelodeon in its early years on the air. A low budget series with only passable animation, it features the adventures of the world's greatest secret agent, Danger Mouse. Assisted by Penfold (a hamster), they must continually save the world from the plots of Baron Silas Greenback (a toad) and his henchman Stilletto (a crow).

This set contains the cartoon from the first two seasons of the show. Season one had 11 episodes. Each episode is about seven and a half to eight minutes each. As such, the stories are a bit weak and decidedly short. Still, Danger Mouse faces a planet of machines, a dream cloud tuned to Penfold's worries, missing bagpipes, attack robots, elephants turning into sugar cubes, and some deadly laughing gas.

Season two changes the format significantly. There are only six storylines this time, but each episode is 25 minutes in length. Originally, these episodes were broken down into five-minute segments with cliffhangers and their own intros and closing credits. These breaks are preserved on this DVD, but fortunately, chapter breaks make skipping past the repetitive credits and intros easy. Season two finds Danger Mouse facing Greenback in a duel for the fate of the world, dealing with a lot of bad luck, and fighting washing machines programmed to kill him.

I never watched Danger Mouse much when it was on TV, but I remember liking what I had seen. Unfortunately, this set didn't live up to my memories. While I still enjoyed the bad puns and corny jokes, I found them to be too far between. Furthermore, the plots are just a little too silly for my taste, frequently finding Danger Mouse in space for no real reason. I realize that this is a tongue in cheek spoof of James Bond and Dr. Who, among others, but this show just seems to fall a little flat. More then anything it's probably because I have never completely gotten British humor.

Those who do remember the show with fondness from their childhood will like this set. The picture, while showing a few spots of dust and grain, is very good for being a low budget show from the 80's. Extras are limited to character descriptions and the unaired pilot episode. Basically, this is a longer version of the "Who Stole the Bagpipes?" episode from season 1. What I found most interesting was that the voices for some of the characters changed slightly when the show actually started production.

Danger Mouse is one part of my childhood that I didn't need to revisit. Others, with a bigger fondness for the show, just might enjoy it as an adult as well.

Season 1 Episodes:
Rogue Robots
Who Stole the Bagpipes?
Trouble with Ghosts
Chicken Run
The Martian Misfit
The Dream Machine
Lord of the Bungle
Die Laughing
The World of Machines
Ice Station Camel
A Plague of Pyramids

Season 2 Episodes:
Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind
The Duel
The Day of the Suds
The Bad Luck Eye of the Little Yellow God
The Four Tasks of Danger Mouse

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