Western Animation: The Modifyers

Agent Xero as herself (left) and Lacey Shadows (right).

The Modifyers is a rejected pilot for Nickelodeon produced by Chris Reccardi and Lynne Naylor.

The pilot revolves around Agent Xero, a special agent for a spy organization known as the Modifyers. Using her Master of Disguise abilities and a shapeshifting robotic sidekick Mole, she has been infiltrating the gang of the villainous Baron Vain in the guise of Perky Goth thief Lacey Shadows. After a clash over a stolen artifact, the All-Seeing Eye, with Vain's long suffering henchman Rat, she returns to base, but overlooks that she has been followed. She has to beat Rat to Vain's base first to try and protect her cover and manage to slip the Eye past both the villains. The pilot ends ominously as Xero loses her communication ring while making her way out of the base, which falls into the hands of Vain and Rat, her cover now exposed to the villains.

"Modifyed Tropes":

  • Awesome but Impractical: You'd hink that having a ring that creates holographic disguises would be useful - which it would be... IF it didn't keep falling off, due to being two sizes too big for her finger. Plus, it buzzes loudly whenever Katz calls her; making it far from ideal for undercover operations.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Rat.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Baron Vain, was the show's equivalent of Dr. Draken (i.e. a comically inept villain with big aspirations - with Lacey as his "Shego").
  • Boyish Short Hair: Xero's hair shortens and becomes multi-colored as "Lacey".
  • Brick Joke: Used when Lacey runs into Rat after he's successfully swiped the All-Seeing Eye:
    Lacey: "Whatcha got there, Rat? Another piece of junk?"
    • Which gets echoed by Vain, when Rat tries to present him with the Eye, not knowing that Lacey had switched it with a piece of marble:
    Rat: (proudly) "And I'll proves it to you with... the All Seeing— (sees that it's not) "uhh..."
    Vain: (finishes sentence for him) "...piece of junk?"
  • Butt Monkey: If anything bad can happen, Rat is usually the victim. He has to play second fiddle to Lacey, who jerks him around and Vain just walks all over him. Peroid.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Xero's ring keeps dropping off. In the end this leads to her exposure.
  • Cliffhanger: The pilot ends with Baron Vain finding Xero's ring, right as Katz is trying to call her, likely as a bid to entice the networks to pick it up.
    • Left Hanging: Except we'll never know whether Vain figures out Lacey's true identity, since the show was dropped.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Much of the show's humor comes from the way Rat suffers, given the way Lacey treats him and how Vain treats him.
  • Companion Cube: Mole is Xero's sidekick and tries to keep her focused on the mission.
  • Deranged Animation: Since its a pilot.
  • Do-Anything Robot: Mole is designed to change shape to suit Xero's needs.
  • Double Agent: The crux of the series was going to hinge on Xero trying to maintain her cover identity as Baron Vain's right-hand, Lacey Shadows.
  • Fake Britinvoked: Whenever Xero switches to her Lacey Shadows persona, she adopts a British accent.
  • Failed a Spot Check: If Xero just did a simple check, she would've known that Rat had latched onto the underside of her airship.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Worn by Lacey Shadows.
  • Friends with Benefits: In the porn parody, the final scene reveals that Xero and Mole have an arrangement going, when she tries talking him into a quickie. Mole doesn't fall for it, being well aware of her insatiable libido, presumably, from prior experience. But she gets what she wants anyway, during the epilogue.
  • Hair Colors: Lacey's hair is green with streaks of purple and blue.
  • Hyper Competent Sidekick: Without Lacey, the Baron would be mostly harmless. Which is the reason he relies on her to get things done.
  • Leitmotif
  • Looks Like Orlok: Vain could be considered a caricature of Orlok (i.e. bald, blueskinned, etc.), complete with having a rat for a henchman —named "Rat". However, he was hardly menacing, nor did he prey on young virgins, or drink blood.
  • Master of Disguise: The intro shows several of Xero's other disguises (or would've been, had the show not been dropped), which could be activated using her ring.
  • Mole in Charge: Lacey Shadows is suggested to be very high up in Baron Vain's organization (she mentioned she was Rat's Captain) and Vain even openly admits that she is his favorite henchperson.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If Xero had simply let Mole transport the All-Seeing Eye, instead of fooling around with it, the pilot's entire plot could've been avoided.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Done by Xero near the end of the short.
  • One-Episode Wonder: Cartoon Network picked it up after Nickelodeon rejected it. Then dropped it after airing only the first part of the pilot.
  • Perky Goth: Xero's personality doesn't change when she switches to her Lacey Shadows persona, so she's just as upbeat and playful as usual.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Baron Vain becomes irritated whenever Rat interrupts him, since only he's allowed to do that. But he becomes giddy with excitement when it comes to Lacey, who's clearly his favorite between his henchmen.
  • Rapunzel Hair: As seen in the page image, Xero's hair is long enough to almost reach her feet.
  • Right-Hand Hottie: Lacey is one hot goth, as can be attested by all the fan art of her. She's Baron Vain's "favorite henchman", which was taken to it's logical extreme in the paody.
  • Rosehaired Girl: Xero's own hair is pink with orange and brown highlights.
  • Rule 34: Despite being only a one-shot hardly anyone knew existed, Zonenote  made a 7min. pornographic parody of it that became more popular and more widely known than the actual cartoon itself.
  • Shout-Out: To Edgar Allan Poe. There is a grave with a raven sitting on it that says "Never More".
    • Possibly unintentional, but the part about Rat throwing a big toothed creature to eat Xero's pursuing vehicle highly resembles a scene from the Soviet cartoon Blue Puppy (most famous for its Up to Eleven case of Have a Gay Old Time).
  • Steam Punk: It's set in an unnamed Victorian-esque city featuring scads of clockwork gadgetry and steampowered transports —including zepplins and other Magnificent Flying Machines.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Xero fills both roles by herself. She usually looks and dresses femininely, but becomes almost the exact opposite as "Lacey".
  • Totem Pole Trench: Lacey disguises herself as a cop that way and beats up Rat (except that it's not another person at the bottom, but some weird unicycle/stilts combination)
  • The Unfavorite: See the What Measure Is a Mook? entry.
  • Urban Fantasy: The series is about a teen spy and her shapeshifting robot sidekick, going undercover to foil an Orlok look-alike's operations and his talking rat henchman. All set in Victorian-esque city that has a prevalent steampunk aesthetic.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Either Vain has another henchman somewhere (besides Lacey, that is), or he figures he can find a new one, 'cuz he doesn't care what happens to Rat and freely abuses him for shits 'n giggles — and was even going to feed him to his pet fish!
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz
  • You Have Failed Me: Vain nearly feeds Rat to his pet (a giant mutated fish) for interrupting him, on top of failing to bring him the All-Seeing Eye.