Reviews: Atomic Puppet

One of the Best from Teletoon, but Takes a Bit to Get Really Good

I recently did a lot of work on Atomic Puppet's trope page a while back because I watched the whole series twice some time ago and loved it. After seeing somebody say they rated it 4.5/10 and simply say “it could be worse", it spurred me to finally get around and write about this cartoon.

As the title indicates, I feel it is one of the best original series to have been made by Teletoon (the Canadian equivalent of Cartoon Network), but it doesn't achieve true greatness until later on. There are some consistently good things in the show, such as the animation (from by the folks behind Star vs. the Forces of Evil), the characters (especially Pauline, who is probably the best), the music (the intro tune is awesome), and the Silver Age of Comics aesthetic (similar to fellow Canadian cartoon League of Super Evil in that regard), but it's the writing that improves and propels it from decent to great.

As the show is an action-comedy, the writing is usually non-serious. However, this was also its main weakness in the early episodes, as I’m assuming the writers hadn’t quite figured out what to do with the show’s odd premise quite yet. Some of the early episodes feel like they could belong in a typically meh Canadian cartoon like “Sick Day” and “Atomic Detention” with jokes that fall flat, dumb or generic plots, too much grossout, and/or a disappointing amount of action. The good still outweighs the bad, but the good never reaches “great” most of the time. Thankfully, this really changes as the show progresses.

The first truly great episode of the show is “Sword Sisters”, but I still feel the show really starts to Grow the Beard with "Erlenmeyer’s Revenge" with the introduction of such a menacing villain as well as taking on a more action-oriented approach. Afterwards, we still get a few weak episodes (“Tick’d Off” being the worst), but the show also starts to produce more great episodes like “Worm Boy” and “Pinched Nerves”, while never forgetting that it’s still a pretty silly show. We also get a bit of character development from the main duo, as AP starts to treat Joey as more of a partner than a sidekick and Joey in turn bonds with his dad and becomes the more sensible of the two. Best of all, it finally pays off in the finale "The Big Shift", which I won’t spoil, but it is absolutely crazy to see a cartoon with such a clumsy start pull off an awesome finale and leave you craving for a Season 2.

I really hope Atomic Puppet gets a second season and the love it deserves. I also hope it will keep up what it’s done, perhaps resulting in a wee bit of Cerebus Syndrome in Season 2. Atomic Puppet may seem like “it could be worse” by the first handful of episodes, but trust me, if you watch the whole first season, you won’t regret it.