Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
An online Radio series from Decoder Ring Theatre, homaging the "mystery man" programs of the 1930s.The Red Panda is "Canada's greatest Super Hero", a mostly non-powered adventurer with a slew of gadgets fighting crime and villainy on the streets of Toronto. His secret identity is "one of the city's wealthiest men", whose chauffeur, Kit Baxter, joins him on his adventures as The Flying Squirrel.The series can be both silly and serious by turns. It takes place during the Great Depression, and many episodes deal with the poverty of the time, whether it's crimes caused by it, the Red Panda's secret identity trying to use his money to help with it, or Kit's background on the streets growing up with it. It also plays with many Super Hero tropes, especially those of The Golden Age of Comic Books. More recent episodes have gotten generally darker, as the series' timeline moves into World War II.Several years before the modern Red Panda Adventures, a six-episode series was produced with a very different concept, featuring the Red Panda as a member of Canada's "Panda Squadron" during World War II. It was also much sillier, with characters like Baboon McSmoothie, Man of a Thousand Faces, and German von German's Nazi Ninjas. It can currently be found in the Decoder Ring Theater Vault.
Ascended Fanboy: Kit is one at the beginning of the series. Whether she still is up for debate.
Harry Kelly probably counts as well. As late as "All The King's Men", when he's been working for the Red Panda for years, he still practically squeals with excitement when the Flying Squirrel lets him set off a gas grenade.
Badass Grandpa: The Stranger. He's at least in his sixties, but you won't want to face him given the choice.
Badass in Distress: Red Panda in "Trial by Terror". He can't escape because the hostages would be killed, so instead he cracks jokes and prolongs the trial by applying to the judge's ego.
Berserk Button: Threaten one of the Terrific Twosome in front of the other one. It never ends well.
Beware the Superman: The reason given behind the Crimson Mask's orgin. But the character himself gave more grey reasons.
Big Bad: While The Red Panda Adventures has very few clear-cut Big Bads, and very rarely follows a seasonal formula, many villains have taken a perpetual spotlight for a long period of time.
In general, the most recurring and prominent antagonist in the entire series is the Nazi scientist Professor Friedrich von Schlitz, but some of his more recurring arch-enemies, such as Professor Zombie or The Electric Eel, may have fit the bill pre-WWII.
Season One: No Big Bad although Commander Varkin, leader of the Syndicate, makes his first villainous appearance in the eighth episode.
Season Two: No Big Bad although Professor Friedrich von Schlitz makes his first villainous appearance in the final episode.
Season Four: The Syndicate becomes a larger threat in this season, although Friedrich von Schlitz makes an appearance in one or two episodes.
Season Five: The Nazis become the main threat of the entire season, with Friedrich von Schlitz in lead.
Season Six: The Archangel, the Nazi's head of Fourth Column activities, becomes the primary antagonist for the season.
The first half seems to have Deadly Nightshade as the new Fourth Column leader, but the situation fizzles out in two episodes and the last four episodes are general situations of the week.
The second half goes back to good old Friedrich von Schlitz making Season Seven his last outing as the Big Bad so far.
Season Eight: The Nazis in general are the antagonists for almost every single episode in this season, though the Ubermensch Tevas is The Heavy, albeit only appearing in the final episode.
The first half of the season has a now-nihilistic Professor Zombie as the main antagonist, until her eventual and semi-tragic death at the Red Panda's hands.
Tales of the Red Panda Big Bads are, in this order: Professor Zombie and Kid Chaos in The Crime Cabal, previously only mentioned villain Ajay Shah in The Mind Master, and Marcus Bennett/The Viper/Captain Clockwork in The Android Assassins.
Red Panda: ...like a very slippery thing that escapes you at the moment?
Bullying a Dragon: On one hand, stealing Professor Von Schlitz's machine probably gave the Allied forces of a parallel universe a fighting chance against their Nazi foes. On the other hand...the good doctor swears to make the city pay...dearly...
Can Not Spit It Out: Pretty much sums up The Red Panda's relationship with The Flying Squirrel, until "The Field Trip".
Also, Kit completely failing to tell the Red Panda that she's pregnant, until "The Black Heart" after he recovers from amnesia and she's already given birth.
Catch Phrase: "...will answer to the Red Panda!" "The Red Panda swears it!"
"Kit Baxter, behave yourself..." "Yes, boss." (As well as "Yes, boss" on its own. The Red Panda says it to Kit a lot these days.)
A case might also be made for "Do you think ____________?" "I really do."/"I really don't."
"Is it ________?" "It is, in fact, ________."
Early on it was "Never explain your powers to the bad guys!"
"Interesting, you think?"
"It's kind of what I do."
"An interesting point..." Borders on Verbal Tic for Greg Taylor's characters.
"This counts as a plan?" Upgraded to Once an Episode during the Parker's Rangers arc, much to Captain Parker's consternation.
Chekhov's Gun: Fenwick Industries and how Red Panda was able to convince them to help him out in "I Dream of Genies". Fenwick is his last name and he owns the company.
The File that Baboon McSmoothie bribed the Red Panda with in "The World Next Door" is used in "A Dish Best Served Cold".
The apparent throw-away gag of doctoring the Home Team personnel files so as to preserve the Terrific Twosome’s secret identities comes back to haunt the Flying Squirrel in “There Will Be Rain Tonight.”
Chekhov's Gunman: When Baboon McSmoothie appeared in the new series, the question of there being a Baboon McSmoothie in this universe is asked. In "Nightshade" we learn, due to a Mistaken for Spies moment, that there is a Brian McSweenie. It's only a matter of time before The Terrific Twosome meet him.
It finally happened in "Eyes of the Idol". Different name, same voice actor, same accent, same powers, definitely same attitude.
Fitzroy in "Sins of the Father" and Wentworth James in "I Dream of Genies"
The Red Panda Revenge Squad. First mentioned in "The World Next Door", they show up in "A Dish Best Served Cold"
Clear My Name: Red Panda has to worry about this in "Red Panda: Dead or Alive!" He later helps out Tom Tomorrow when he's framed in "Murder Wears A Mask"
Coat, Hat, Mask: The Red Panda's costume, homaging the many early non-powered heroes who used it. Although he breaks from tradition by wearing his oft-mentioned red gauntlets.
Colonel Badass: Colonel Fitzking (from the original universe), because it's gotta be hard to make it in the army in WWII as a large, genetically augmented, talking Golden Retriever. Also, his main-universe counterpart, Colonel Fitzroy, who is among other things the Red Panda's commanding officer, and is fully willing to shoot a nutjob in the head and call him a traitor and a saboteur later just to help the war effort.
Comic-Book Time: Averted/Inverted. The passage of historical events is actually faster than real time, especially in recent seasons. Example: In the eighteen real-world months between the premieres of the episodes “Nightshade” and “There Will Be Rain Tonight”, we have gone from the Hindenburg disaster (May 6, 1937) to the Dieppe raid (August 19, 1942).
The Commissioner Gordon: The Red Panda started off being viewed as a criminal by the police, with Chief O'Mally reluctantly accepting help from him when villains or other weirdness targets the city. By the newest season, O'Mally trusts him more than his own men. They even lampshaded the irony of it.
Composite Character: Inverted Some of the characters from the Earth 2 Panda Adventures seem to be combinations of the regular universe ones, or vice versa, e.g. Earth 2's Flying Squirrel = RPA's Flying Squirrel + Harry Kelly.
Continuity Snarl: If Harry Kelly is the only junior agent and he was introduced after Officer Parker, who wasn't made an agent until the events of the Crime Cabal novel, which takes place after season 1, then who is the ten year old watching Finger's place in "The Deadliest Game"?
Crossover: "The World Next Door", crossing over with the original universe. As well, the Decoder Ring Theater 2008 Christmas Special was set around a fictional crossover between Red Panda Adventures and Black Jack Justice, another Decoder Ring Theater series.
Crimefighting with Cash: The Flying Squirrel once pointed this out to The Red Panda and asked if he ever thought about the money he could make from it. He responded that compared to what he already has it doesn't seem worth it.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The Poet writes beautiful poems that are believed to be the most perfect form in the last hundred years. He uses them to taunt the Red Panda about his next caper.
Da Chief: Twisted around by the relationship between the Red Panda and Colonel Fitzroy. Unlike the typical Cowboy Cop, the Red Panda is gives the What the Hell, Hero? speech to his superior rather than the other way around. Likewise, Fitzroy is prone to claiming that I Did What I Had to Do when called on his morally ambiguous or outright reprehensible actions.
Dating Catwoman: It's been hinted that the Red Panda and Professor Zombie had this kind of relationship before the start of the series.
Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Red Panda to Mrs. Mynack in The Sweet Tooth. Pretty foolish considering the villain is basically a near-immortal vampire magician with the ability to hypnotize young women wih chemicals.
Functional Magic: In a sense, this exists in-universe, but it's justified in that in the Red Panda universe, most magic is simply a large and scientifically unexplored set of waves and energy frequencies with reality-altering effects.
Hidden Depths: In "The Third Wave" we learn that Kit is a skilled writer.
Which leads to her having a job at The Chronicle since sometime before "A Nose For News"
Historical In-Joke: According to "Nightshade", the Hindenburg crash was caused by a jetpack.
Humiliation Conga: In "The Dream Factory", they steal the conmen's equipment, withdraw their money from their account so their checks bounce, steal the real money from their safe, blowup their car, beat them up, and then leave them handcuffed to a safe filled with funny money.
I Work Alone: The Red Panda doesn't like other superheroes in his city. However, he does work with a sidekick:
"I don't play well with others."
"What about her?"
"She's not 'others'."
The Stranger is the only other Superhero that the Red Panda allows to work in his city.
Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Besides her driving skills this is The Flying Squirrel's biggest asset to the pair. Red Panda has done it a few times, "Deadliest Game" being the best example, but Kit is by far the one that uses this trope the most.
Jerkass Has a Point: Von Schlitz claimed that the Red Panda and the Red Ensign wouldn't be able to defeat Tevas on their own. And he was absolutely right.
Legacy Character: The Red Squirrel, a hero from the future, shows up in "The Red Squirrel". As well, the original series made mention of a legacy of Red Pandas stretching back to the colonization of Canada; this was parodied in "The World Next Door", when the "main universe" Red Panda complains that it's not even a Canadian animal.
Let's You and Him Fight: Villains try to set this up from time to time between Red Panda and the Flying Squirrel, either with mind control or trying to make Kit a zombie.
Mad Scientist: Many recurring villains, including Professor Zombie, the Genie, and Dr. Von Schlitz, but Dr. Chronopolis is a good guy version, and Doc Rocket is at least a Mad Inventor.
Magitek: A recurring theme of the series is what happens when modern (well, 1930s) science gets a chance to study the forces that most of the world knows as "magic". The good Dr. Chronopolis and the evil Dr. von Schlitz both specialize in this.
The biggest result so far is the anti-magic alloy Dr. C created. It's woven into our heroes' costumes, making them invisible to magical senses. In "The Gathering Storm", it's revealed that they've been making weapons out of it, including brass knuckles and bullets, which they use to fight off a dimensional incursion of snakemen.
Mistaken for Spies: In "Nightshade", though it's really more like Mistaken for Different Spies.
My Greatest Failure: The World War II Red Panda had the death of his sidekick as this. When Baboon McSmoothie meets our Red Panda, the information on how this happened — and how to prevent it from happening to Kit — are what convince him to help.
Noodle Incident: Most episodes have references to cases that happen between episodes, seasons, or before the start of the series.
The biggest one might be Tom Tomorrow's sacrifice before the events of "A Nose For News"
Another one is when Kit mentioned The Red Panda traveled back in time with a group of other heroes to stop Kid Chaos (who doesn't even show up in the show until somewhere around fourteen episodes later) from rewriting history.
Gregg Taylor is working on a novel called "The Pyramid of Peril" as his next RPA novel. Considering the fact that the Red Panda went to Ancient Egypt...
Or the case that Red Panda was on when Kit revealed to him that she knew who he was. All we know right now is that he was tied to a chair and Kit had to drive the limo through a wall.
Also Fitzroy's second-in-command, who is only referred to as the Captain. Until she's promoted following Fitzroy's death and becomes the Major.
Oblivious to Love: For a master detective, the Red Panda couldn't pick up on any of Kit's hints of romance.
Only Known by Their Nickname: At no point does anyone refer to the Red Panda by his real name. His secret identity's rich acquaintances tend towards "old friend" and "dear boy", Kit only calls him "Boss", and (before The Reveal noted below) the narration simply referred to him as "one of the city's wealthiest men". This may be tied in with his Secret Identity Identity, below.
The creators said that there was only one situation in which his name would be revealed, and in "Operation: Cold Feet", it happened. As he and Kit get married, his name is revealed as August Fenwick.
Pass the Popcorn: Red Panda and the Flying Squirrel do this in "The Callaghan Mob".
Pregnant Badass: She might be dealing with crippling Morning Sickness, but the Flying Squirrel still manages to garotte a man while suspended from the ceiling.
Reed Richards Is Useless: Subverted with von Schlitz and the Nazis (where superscience has led to such innovations as dinosaur cavalry, magically augmented shock troops, alien dimension warping tech, and magitek ray guns. The Allies, on the other hand, seem to be on about the same technology level that they actually were during WWII. The James Rocket Pack doesn't seem to have made it into the hands of the common soldier, and Fenwick Industries seems to be the only company actually preparing for having to fight superscience. Their President and CEO being a superhero might have something to do with that. That being said, with all the Red Panda and Dr. Chronopolis' inventions (not to mention the aforementioned gear of Doc Rocket), Canada isn't getting much benefit from its gadgeteer heroes.
Scratch that, Season Seven has a Allied Helicarrier punch through occupied Netherlands airspace.
Retired Badass: The Stranger, though he has been more active lately (offscreen).
Secret Identity Identity: The Red Panda is scornful of the man he once was, a playboy who was so bored he picked up superheroing for a lark... and realized how empty his life had been.
Secret Keeper: The Red Panda's first chauffeur tried to blackmail his way into being one. He forgot that his boss was a master hypnotist.
There's hints that the Fenwicks' butler, Weston, might know more than he lets on; at the very least, he's noted his employers' interest in certain headlines as of "Murder Wears a Mask". This is confirmed in "City of the Dead." He finds Kit Baxter passed out in the mansion, still wearing her Flying Squirrel costume. Oops.
And of course Fenwick's commanding officer: Fitzroy.
"Shut Up" Kiss: The Red Panda does this to Kit in "The Field Trip"; she quickly returns the favor.
Andy Parker does this to his soon to be girlfriend/now wife in "The Boy in Blue."
Andy: Ellen, it's hard for me to kiss you when your mouth won't stop moving.
Soldiers at the Rear: The Red Panda's millionaire playboy alter ego was officially given one of these jobs when he enlisted, to cover for the Red Panda's real mission: fighting Nazi agents on Canadian soil.
Something Only They Would Say: When another hypnotist convinces the Squirrel that the Red Panda is the bad guy, the Panda uses the phrase "Kit Baxter, behave yourself!" to prove his identity.
Stable Time Loop/You Already Changed The Past: In "The Honoured Dead", the Red Panda and Flying Squirrel are supposed to recover an artifact that disappeared ten years ago. They decide to go back in time and steal it, on the assumption that this was how it went missing in the first place.
Steven Ulysses Perhero: Antonia Zombanistro aka Professor Zombie is a villain version of this. Also Arthur Maestro aka The Maestro.
Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Almost everything in the original series. In the new one, Dr. von Schlitz, of so-far-pre-WWII Nazi Germany, creates inventions that are fusions of science and magic. As well, the Stranger and his magical colleagues often speak of the occult forces stirring in Europe...
That Man Is Dead: The Electric Eel believes this about his alter ego in "Trial By Terror" He was wrong.
In season nine, Professor Zombie says that the old her is dead, which is subverted in that she is quite literally dead- Canadian special ops made her inhale her own formula, turning her into a nihilistic, self-aware super-zombie and buried her, thinking that was that.
Wedding Smashers: Kid Chaos and a Mook try this at Kit and The Red Panda's wedding, in "Operation: Cold Feet"
Wham Episode: The Sixth Season closer "There Will Be Rain Tonight", big time. It begins with the Red Panda being informed that most of his former operatives have vanished behind enemy lines and are either dead or captured. No sooner has our hero flown off with Doc Rocket on a recon/rescue mission than Colonel Fitzroy and almost every other Home Team superhero are assassinated. We have just enough time to recover from that before the plane RP and Doc are on blows up in midair in a cliffhanger that won’t be resolved for another five flipping months! Damn you for being so good, Gregg Taylor!
What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The Mad Monkey, with the power to command baboons. Eventually, however, he discovers that his power is actually a form of mind control that can be used against humans as well.
It also gives him immunity to the Red Panda's hypnotic powers.