Western Animation: Road Rovers
"Let's hit the road, Rovers!"Road Rovers
(1996-1997) was a short-lived Kids' WB!
animated series (1 season, 13 episodes), which told the story of "The Road Rovers". They were (stop us if you think that you've heard this one before
) a group of ordinary animals who become anthropomorphic superheroes
and use their special abilities and gadgets to fight crime
Specifically, the Rovers were a group of stray dogs who are temporarily turned humanlike
by a mysterious scientist known as "The Master
". They save the world from villains including General Parvo, who was trying to take over the world by turning dogs and other animals into monsters, while in their free time acting as the beloved pets of world leaders (such as Queen Elizabeth II and President Bill Clinton). The fact that the dogs were all pets of world dignitaries at least added an interesting twist, as they sometimes had to work in their 'civilian' identities to convince their owners not to go to war.
- Accidental Misnaming: Colleen to Blitz.
- The Ace: Hunter
- Action Girl: Colleen.
- Animal Superheroes
- Androcles' Lion: Save one wolf, get a army of them as a Deus ex Machina.
- Aside Glance: Colleen, so often that she borders on a Fourth Wall Observer.
- Hunter does it too, usually when delivering one of his catch phrases.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Never make the Rovers mad. Especially not Hunter, Colleen, or Shag.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Exile
- Brainy Brunette: Colleen has her moments of this.
- The Cameo: "Take Me To Your Leader" ends with Captain Zachary Storm sent away to an insane asylum for megalomaniacs. The Brain's voice is heard coming from a cell, followed by a closing shot identical to the one at the end of every Pinky and the Brain episode, complete with Leitmotif.
- Catch Phrase / Running Gag:
Blitz: [insert statement involving his desire to bite the rumps of his enemies]
Exile: Don't be a weird boy.
- Cats Are Mean: The Groomer's uplifted cats are pretty nasty. General Parvo is also an uplifted cat.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Many characters qualify for this, but Hunter and Colleen specifically stand out in this area.
- Competitive Balance
- Dirty Coward: Blitz, for laughs.
- Dog Bites Man: Blitz's speciality.
- Dog Stereotype
- Dogs Are Dumb is averted though, if anything it's more like "Dogs are little weird."
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The theme song is sung by the main cast.
- Drives Like Crazy: Colleen.
- Elaborate Underground Base
- Expository Theme Tune: Tells us how the dogs all got here, tells us what all their names are, what their super powers are, where they are from, and their personality all at INCREDIBLY rapid speed. Seen here.
- Family-Friendly Firearms: Extremely obvious in the second episode, where two attack helicopters are fitted with rocket pods. Guess what they shoot? Lasers. Mildly subverted in episode 6 when three F/A-18/Su-25 lookalikes open fire on our heroes with regular machine guns. They're about as realistic as a potato in a root beer factory, but they're there.
- Five-Man Band: Enforced
- Gratuitous German: Averted with Blitz, who most of the time just talks like The Ahnold, but the chancellor of Germany in one episode ordered his men, over the phone, to "stop the Blitzkrieg!".
- Genius Bruiser: Exile is quite muscular AND skilled with mechanics.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: It worked only once (and is said to be one of the factors behind the show's cancellation). While discussing Russian names they used the example of "Sonov". Add that to the patronymic suffix "-ovich" and you'll see why that song got cut for later airings. See the video here. To be fair, the dogs probably wouldn't see this as much of an insult, as they all are.
- Colleen is interrogated by the enemy at one point, in an attempt to learn The Master's secrets, and instead all they get from her is a personal history, including an offhand remark of how she "flunked paper training, so watch your step", which could be considered a literal attempt at getting "crap" past the radar.
- Some of the more adult-oriented parts of the series' fandom have interpreted her comment during this same scene that she had a fondness for "squeaky-toys shaped like bananas" as being a radar-dodging moment as well.
- Hairy Hammerspace: Shag.
- Hermit Guru
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Muzzle.
- Also Hunter and Colleen in at least one episode.
Hunter: Let's Muzzle 'em!
Colleen: Why, that would be mean, sadistic, and cruel!
Hunter: Is that a problem?
Colleen: Nope. Works for me! (Hunter proceeds to release Muzzle on the enemy)
- Husky Russkie: Exile, a husky.
- Inside Joke: In "Where Rovers Dare," it's not obvious until the map is shown in full at the end of the episode that the three countries are named after three Disney bigwigs and the three countries together form Mickey Mouse's head.
- Intelligible Unintelligible: Shag. Everyone can understand him except the viewer.
- It's Personal
- Kick Chick: Colleen usually specialized in kicking her opponents.
- Lampshade Hanging: Used liberally; arguably Better Than a Bare Bulb.
- Leaving Audience: "Still a Few Bugs in the System": The wacko of the week talks about how bugs have lived for millions of years, and people leave as he talks about humans becoming bugs to allow for longer life.
- Let's Split Up, Gang: Hunter always sticks with Colleen and makes Blitz go with Exile...possibly to get rid of him.
- Lovable Coward: Shag.
- Mad Scientist
- Mandatory Twist Ending: Expect Hunter to call out "Yet another unexpected twist! Bummer!" or "I would not have predicted this!" every single time there is a plot twist.
- Meaningful Name: A rather disturbing one, too: General Parvo's name comes from Parvovirus, a serious disease that infects dogs and puppies.
- Miles Gloriosus: Blitz.
- Military Mashup Machine
- Mistaken Declaration of Love: The Rover's plane is about to crash, and Blitz grabs the hand next to him and declares his love for Colleen. The hand was Exile's. His response?
Exile: Please seek therapy.
- The Mole: Sport, but only because his master was held hostage by Parvo.
- Most Common Card Game
- Multinational Team: The Rovers came from the US (Hunter), the UK (Colleen), Germany (Blitz), Switzerland (Shag), and Russia (Exile). The Space Rovers (who are Exactly What It Says on the Tin) had a member who may have been from Sweden. Fanfic writers saw characters added to the team from Egypt and Japan by various writers. The latter character is still occasionally featured in artwork on FurAffinity, an anthropomorphic website which showcases art rated G-XXX.
- No Fourth Wall: Hunter especially, but everyone gets in on the act — most frequently to complain about a running gag.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Muzzle, sort of.
- Oblivious to Love: Hunter, it is hinted at throughout the series, but in the last episode it is made quite obvious that Colleen has a crush on Hunter. She asks him if he would like to go for walk on beach to which he responds with an enthusiastic "You bet!" Cut to Hunter as a regular dog with Colleen holding his leash.
Colleen: Not exactly what I had in mind.
- In the episode The Dog That Knew Too Much, Hunter points out that flirting while on missions is against the rules. He reciprocates somewhat toward the end of the episode, when Colleen is riding on his hover bike with him.
- He also invites her to chase/chew on tennis balls with him at the end of Hair of the Dog.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Well, for one, even humanoid canines can become werewolves (if that sounded like it didn't make any sense, don't think too much on it).
- Considering that lycanthropy can typically act normally upon both humans and wolves, and that dogs are just mutant wolves, it's not much of a stretch that it could work normaly on mutant dogs.
- The Rovers, themselves could also be considered a type of lycanthrope.
- Should perhaps be more noted for the fact that it made Colleen a better pilot.
- Prophecies Rhyme All the Time
- Recycled IN SPACE!: The short-lived toy line (and dropped TV show) K9 Corps, and BBC's ongoing Pet Squad, took the show's premise and shoved it all the way to either side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism.
- Relax-o-Vision: Thankfully used almost all the time. We say "thankfully" because it's heavily implied that most of the Road Rover's enemies are killed in the most grisly ways possible, usually involving explosives or animal attacks.
- Right-Hand Hottie: The Groomer.
- Russian Naming Convention: Explained and parodied in the "Russian Names" song.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Blitz.
- Shipped in Shackles: Muzzle, pretty much 24/7, except when he was needed.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Blitz.
- The Smurfette Principle: Colleen.
- Stable Time Loop
- The Starscream: Blitz to Hunter.
- Stock British Phrases: Colleen, far too frequently.
- Stock Superpowers
- Theme Tune Roll Call
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- Token Minority: The small Latin-American boy. He was also blind, which was probably to make him even more endearing and helpless.
- And the dogs themselves: Each from a different nation.
- Uplifted Animal: The main characters
- War for Fun and Profit
- Who's on First?: Hunter and Blitz do a funny bit in an episode when Blitz sees enemies approaching and Hunter offers him a doggy treat:
Hunter: Hey Blitz, you want a biscuit?
Hunter: You're welcome.
Blitz: No, tanks.
Hunter: Are you sure? It's tasty. Try it.
Hunter: You're welcome.
Blitz: No, tanks!
Hunter: What's with you? Do you want it or not?
Hunter: You're welcome!
Blitz: NO, TANKS!
Hunter: WELL MAKE UP YOUR MIND!
(The enemy tanks bust in at that moment)
Hunter: (Giggles) Oh, tanks. Now I get it. Funny.