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.

After more than ten years, Road Rovers was finally given a DVD release, as of February 11, 2015, much to the delight of longtime fans of the show during its' original run; like Hanna-Barbera's rough equivalent series, SWAT Kats (though that series predated Road Rovers by 4 years), it was released through Warner Home Video's "manufacture-on-demand" program, Warner Archive.


  • The Ace: Hunter
  • Action Girl: Colleen does a lot of fighting.
  • The Ahnold: Blitz, what with speaking in an Austrian accent and being physically fit and all.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: It somewhat resembles Hanna-Barbera's SWAT Kats, though there are obviously major differences; ironically, by the time Road Rovers premiered, Time Warner had merged with Turner Broadcasting and gained H-B.
  • Animal Superheroes: The Road Rovers are humanoid dogs that fight crime.
  • 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.
  • Big Bad: General Parvo is the series' main antagonist.
  • Big Good: The Master, since he created the Road Rovers and sends them out on their missions.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Exile is very jovial and powerful.
  • 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: Several.
    Blitz: [insert statement involving his desire to bite the rumps of his enemies]
    Exile: Don't be a weird boy.
    • More running gags involve Shag pointing weapons backwards. Subverted when he has it right to begin with and someone tells him to turn it around, which he blithely does.
    • And when they release their Ax-Crazy friend, Muzzle, on the bad guys with a shout of "Let's Muzzle 'em!" Cue Gory Discretion Shot.
    • Colleen pretending not to know Blitz's name and instead calling him other more amusing B names until the last episode.
      • B names were the least of his worries. "Lord Stuffington Fluffypants", anyone?
    • "Yet Another Unexpected Twist!... Bummer."
      • Hunter had a ton of catch phrases, the above is just one of them. Other's include "I would not have predicted this!" and "[X], Cool."
    • The show pretty much runs on running gags. Some more include Colleen saying completely random and nonsensical things when doing her martial arts, Exile completely butchering several idioms at once, and the Russian Exile complaining about people always "rushin'" him.
    • And then there's General Parvo...
      Parvo: [Coughing uncontrollably] Lozenge!
  • 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.
  • Designated Girl Fight: The only time Colleen and the Groomer fight each other is in "The Dog Who Knew Too Much".
  • Dirty Coward: Blitz, for laughs.
  • Dog Bites Man: Blitz's specialty.
  • 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.
  • The Dragon: The Groomer is Parvo's second-in-command.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Colleen. Highlighted in "Dawn of the Groomer", where Hunter fears for his life while Colleen is at the wheel.
  • 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
  • Freudian Excuse: "Dawn of the Groomer" has General Parvo shoot down the Groomer's idea to mutate cats, resulting in her leaving him. After the two villains reunite, it is revealed that Parvo himself is actually a mutated cat and he apparently didn't want other felines to suffer like he did.
  • Genius Bruiser: Exile is quite muscular AND skilled with mechanics.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Exile frequently says "bolshoi" in place of a certain swear word that sounds very similar.
    • "Storm from the Pacific"
      • Shag and Exile are at one point looking elatedly at a magazine fold-out, with Exile remarking "Look at those two". They turn out to be looking at a picture of two pine trees, but the scene is still played as if they were looking at porn.
      • This exchange.
    Exile: I'll have it fixed in a sheep's jiffy.
    Hunter: What's a jiffy?
    Colleen: Don't ask.
    • "Hunter's Heroes"
      • The flirtatious interaction between Parvo and the Groomer early in the episode is somewhat questionable.
      • Blitz at one point makes a remark about arriving to rescue Colleen's beautiful tushy.
    • "A Day in the Life"
      • It worked only once (and is said to be one of the factors behind the show's cancellation). While discussing Russian names, Blitz, Colleen, and Exile 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.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Thankfully used almost all the time. We say "thankfully" because it's heavily implied that most of the Road Rovers' enemies are killed in the most grisly ways possible, usually involving explosives or animal attacks.
  • Gratuitous German: Averted with Blitz, who most of the time just talks like The Ahnold, but the chancellor of Germany in "Take Me To Your Leader" ordered his men over the phone to "stop the Blitzkrieg!".
  • Groin Attack: In "Where Rovers Dare", Hunter kicks a goon between the legs.
  • Hairy Hammerspace: Shag is very hairy and often has stuff hidden inside his fur.
  • Handwave: At one point, The Master claims that his glowing white eyes are possible because of special effects.
  • Hermit Guru: The Road Rovers consult one on how to cure werewolves in "A Hair of the Dog That Bit You".
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath:
    • Muzzle is completely crazy and will not be very merciful towards the dogs' enemies when he has a chance to attack them.
    • Also Hunter and Colleen in "Still a Few Bugs in the System".
      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)
  • Heroic Dog: Well, obviously yeah.
  • Husky Russkie: Exile, a husky.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: In "Storm from the Pacific", Shag cooks food for the rest of the Road Rovers. After asking him about his secret, Hunter informs the other dogs that Shag cooks his food with toilet water, grossing them out.
  • 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: Exile interprets Shag as saying this when the Road Rovers speculate that aliens could be after their food in "Take Me To Your Leader".
  • 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 isn't the bravest, but he's still a decent guy.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Eugene Atwater, who had the insane belief that humanity is better off being like bugs. Thankfully, he doesn't go any further than mutating three of his insect test subjects.
  • Magic Pants: Used in "A Hair of the Dog That Bit You" when Colleen becomes a werewolf. When we first see her transform onscreen, she tears through her uniform, yet she somehow still wears it when she returns to normal after being cured.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Colleen frequently trolls Blitz by deliberately getting his name wrong.
  • 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: Happens in "Where Rovers Dare". 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.
  • 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, since he's the only dog to not be given a humanoid form.
  • 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 normally 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.
  • Please Keep Your Hat On: It is revealed in "Dawn of the Groomer" that General Parvo's metallic helmet hides a pair of cat ears.
  • Prophecies Rhyme All the Time: In "A Hair of the Dog That Bit You", the instructions given on curing werewolves are said in rhyme.
  • 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 vs. Cynicism.
  • Right-Hand Hottie: The Groomer is Parvo's right-hand and very attractive.
  • Ruritania: The fictional nations Eisneria and Katzenstok in "Where Rovers Dare".
  • 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 is the only female of the group.
  • Stable Time Loop: In "Reigning Cats and Dogs", it turns out that the events of the series were started by General Parvo, the Groomer, and the Road Rovers going back in time. In particular, it's revealed that the only reason Professor Shepherd survived Parvo's attempt at his life to become The Master and create the Road Rovers was because Shag sent him a letter warning him of Parvo's betrayal.
  • The Starscream: Blitz is a non-villainous example in that he frequently challenges Hunter's position as the Road Rovers' leader and believes that he'd be a better choice.
  • Stock British Phrases: Colleen, far too frequently.
  • Stock Superpowers:
  • Take Our Word for It: Whenever the Road Rovers sic Muzzle on the bad guys, we always cut to the rest of the team witnessing the carnage and making remarks about how grisly things are getting.
  • Take That: In "Dawn of the Groomer", Hunter fires a bazooka at the Groomer and ends up hitting a billboard advertising Cats by mistake. He and Colleen simply smile and make a remark about how they like it when things work out.
  • Theme Tune Roll Call: The theme song rapidly introduces and describes every member of the team.
  • Time Skip: A one-year time skip occurs in "Dawn of the Groomer" and "Still a Few Bugs in the System".
  • Token Minority: Oso's South American owner in "Gold and Retriever". He was also blind, which was probably to make him even more endearing and helpless.
  • Uplifted Animal: The main characters are dogs who have been given humanoid forms.
  • War for Fun and Profit: The conflict of "Where Rovers Dare" was revealed to be because of the villain planning to profit from the war between Eisneria and Katzenstok.
  • Who's on First?: Hunter and Blitz do a funny bit in "Where Rovers Dare" when Blitz sees enemies approaching and Hunter offers him a doggy treat:
    Hunter: Hey Blitz, you want a biscuit?
    Blitz: Tanks.
    Hunter: You're welcome.
    Blitz: No, tanks.
    Hunter: Are you sure? It's tasty. Try it.
    Blitz: Tanks!
    Hunter: You're welcome.
    Blitz: No, tanks!
    Hunter: What's with you? Do you want it or not?
    Blitz: TANKS!
    Hunter: You're welcome!
    Blitz: NO, TANKS!
    (The enemy tanks bust in at that moment)
    Hunter: (Giggles) Oh, tanks. Now I get it. Funny.
  • Witch with a Capital B: In "The Dog Who Knew Too Much", hostage Olivia Peru calls the Groomer a witch.