US animated TV series (2017-current). Disney Television Animation. Developed by Francisco Angones and Matt Youngberg. Executive Producer: Matt Youngberg. Writers include Francisco Angones, Madison Bateman, Colleen Evanson, Christian Magalhaes, Robert Snow and Matt Youngberg. Directors include Dana Terrace, John Aoshima and Tom Owens. Voice cast include Tony Anselmo, Kimiko Glenn, Kate Micucci, Bobby Moynihan, Toks Olagundoye, Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz, Catherine Tate and David Tennant. 29 22-minute (except for double-length premiere) episodes to date, plus 27 shorts. Colour.
This is a reboot of the Disney animation series of the same name, created by Jymn Magon, which ran for 100 episodes 1987-1990, with the additional spinoff DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990).
Setting up the series, the first episode has Donald Duck (Anselmo) leaving his three grandsons – Huey (Pudi), Dewey (Schwartz) and Louie (Moynihan) – in the care of his uncle Scrooge McDuck (ex-Doctor Who Tennant) whilst he attends a job interview; he does so reluctantly, as he and his uncle have not spoken for ten years. Whilst exploring Scrooge McDuck's mansion Huey, Dewey and Louie meet and befriend Webby (Micucci), the granddaughter of the mansion's maid, Mrs. Beakley (Olagundoye), whose skill set exceeds that usually required for such a post. Scrooge McDuck, whose life has drifted into an insular tedium, is revitalized by his nephews and Webby into returning to his former life of adventure.
The original series was much loved, but there were weaknesses addressed by the reboot: for example, Huey, Dewey and Louie now have distinct personalities (previously their main distinguishing feature had been the colour of their clothing), while Webby – apart from being promoted to the front bench – has changed from being a wet blanket into a socially insecure autodidact with a reckless adventurous streak. When being held over a pit of snakes: "I never thought I'd die in a pit of snakes ... I mean: I always hoped."
The adventures cover both fantasy and science fiction tropes, the latter including Atlantis, Robots, Lost Races Underground, Spaceships, being shipwrecked on the Moon and various Inventions (many of which are inclined to turn evil). Though many episodes are enjoyable standalones, in others the series' overarching plotlines are introduced – in particular, what happened to the triplets' mother? and where do Webby's new pal Lena's (Glenn) loyalties lie: with her friend or her aunt Magica (ex-Doctor Who companion Tate), who is clearly up to no good?
Though children are clearly the show's target audience, there is much to enjoy for older viewers: the Humour is strong and the animation and voice cast impress. The standout character is Webby, continuing Disney's recent run of creating lively girl characters (such as Gravity Falls' Mabel Pines and Star Butterfly of Star vs the Forces of Evil); but also pleasing is the increased presence of Donald Duck, who was underused in the original series. Though still in its early days, the rebooted DuckTales looks to be one of the most entertaining children's comedy shows of the next few years. [SP]
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