Western Animation: The Foxbusters

The Foxbusters is a British animation series, very loosely based on the Dick King-Smith book The Fox Busters. It was made by Cosgrove Hall and consists of two 13-episode series, each episode running 11 minutes, made between 1999 and 2000. The show was co-written by the animation partnership of David Max Freedman and Alan Gilbey, and occasionally with Joel Jessup as a third writer. It was directed by Jon Doyle.

The show is primarily set on Foxearth Farm, a fictional farm based in the English countryside, which is dominated by a variety of animals, particularly the chickens. The Foxbusters are three chickens, Ransome, Sims and Jeffries, who have the unlikely ability to fly. Each has a different personality; Ransome is the best flyer, Sims is the smartest and Jeffries is the comic relief. The Foxbusters also have the ability to spit grit like machine guns, and drop hard-boiled eggs as if they were bombs—and these are used to effect among other methods to keep the hungry pack of foxes in Foxearth Forest at bay.

The arguments and conversations among the chickens makes an effective comedy. The foxes' attempts to get the better of the chickens are often unsuccessful, but they add a lot of humour to the show. The show itself is laden with gags and action, and is of a quality which led to its receiving two major awards in 2000. One was a BAFTA for 'Best Animated Series' and the other was from the British Animation Awards for 'Best Children's Series'.

Despite being a critical success, the show did not enjoy the same level of commercial success as some of its competitors and ended in 2000 after just two series. Despite this, the series is still fondly remembered by fans.

Tropes include:

  • Action Girl: The Foxbusters themselves.
  • Adorkable: Todd and Jeffries.
  • Affably Evil: Most of the foxes are really not as mean and nasty as the Foxbusters believe them to be, and are sometimes shown to be quite friendly amongst each other. Rotter the otter is also a villain, but is incredibly polite about it.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of The Dam Busters. The episodes "Ackluckalypse Now" and "The Not-so Great Escape" also count.
  • Amusing Injuries
  • Animal Talk
  • Attack Of The50ft Whatever: The episode "Big Trouble".
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Voracious, Attila, Evita, Todd and Jeffries all suffer from being bitten by Voracious' son Ghengis at some point during "Three Hens And A Baby" when they babysit him.
  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn: Jeffries is the beauty, Sims is the brains, and Ransome is the brawn.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Jeffries does all kinds of things that wouldn't be possible to do. Even Sims points this out in one episode.
  • Big Bad: King Voracious
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Todd of the foxes.
  • Big Eater: Jeffries has been referred to by the foxes as "The Fat One" at least once, and athough she takes offence to this even she refers to herself as this at one point.
  • Black Sheep: Todd, who is the only fox who doesn't actually posess any malicious intent towards the chickens.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Jeffries does this a lot, and on occasion Todd.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: The antagonists, duh.
  • Dark Chick: Evita
  • Doomsday Device: Sims' growth gun in "Big Trouble".
  • The Dragon: Attila.
  • Eats Babies: At the beginning of one episode a fox is seen trying to eat a chick (the chick is saved by the Foxbusters moments later). On the other hand, in "In The Beak-ginning", a duckling actually does get eaten by one of the foxes off screen.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Ransome calls her brother Icky a "Dumb Cluck!" in one episode, for example. Some of the things Farmer Farmer says also count.
  • Humans Are Morons: Farmer Farmer, amongst several others.
  • Jerkass: Ransome and King Voracious.
  • Killer Rabbit: Ghengis. He might look cute and cuddly but he will sadistically bite anything and anyone!
  • Knight Templar: Though they claim to be fighting for the good side, the Foxbusters are guilty of this themselves - they even go as far as to destroy an innocent beaver's dam just so they can thwart another one of the foxes' schemes!
  • Landslide Election: In "See the Dog, See the Dog Run", Dog the dog wins the farmyard leadership election with almost every single vote (Sims' and Ransom's only votes were from themselves). Dog however won by making promises he clearly could not deliver. It dramatically backfires on him later on.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Rotter the otter.
  • Meaningful Name: Voracious, Voracity and Rotter.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: A beaver appears briefly in a couple of episodes; although beavers are indiginous in Scotland, they are not found in England where the show is clearly set.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Jeffries assisted Dog the dog winning the farmyard election in "See the Dog, See the Dog Run", and it goes straight to Dog's head.
    Jeffries: Is it just me or have I created a monster?
    Ransome: Worse - it's a politician!
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: In the pilot trailer all of the Foxbusters had these, which were removed from the final designs.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In "Follow My Leader" Voracious disguises himself as a ram by wearing a wooly coat and a pair of handlebars. In "Passing The Buck" the foxes paint themselves pink to disguise themselves as "Pink Patagonian Tree Rats" and the chickens actually fall for it.
  • Poirot Speak: Maurice the mole is French, despite living in the English countryside.
  • Power Trio: Sims, Ransome and Jeffries.
  • Quarter Hour Short
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Sims in "Hen Night", though that is not what she had in mind to begin with.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: One fox mentions this when he is unwittingly fed frog spawn by Todd.
  • Terrible Trio: Attila, Evita and Todd.
  • The Ditz: Jeffries and Todd.
  • They Called Me Mad!: Sims right at the beginning of "Big Trouble".
  • Too Clever by Half: Both the Foxbusters and the foxes suffer from this from time to time.
  • Toothy Bird
  • Trojan Horse: "The Trojan Chicken".
  • Unexplained Accent: Ransome.
  • Weather Control Machine: Lampshaded in "Big Trouble".
  • We Need a Distraction: Played on Farmer Farmer in some episodes.
  • When I Was Your Age: The Foxbusters' dad and Volpone the fox respectively.
  • Villain Protagonist: Todd is the central character in "Winging It", and the plot revolves around Voracious in several other episodes.