Hounded is a BBC children's sitcom that premiered on CBBC on 11th June 2010 and ran for one series.
It centres around hapless presenter Rufus Hound, who is on his way to present a new cooking show, only to be transported into an Alternate Universe by his Future Self. There, the evil Dr Muhahahaha, the ruler of that particular realm, is hatching a plan to rule the Earth.
Dr Muhahahaha also has a literal Reset Button, and so the series takes place in an endless "Groundhog Day" Loop. Once an Episode, Rufus wakes up, explains his predicament to the audience, gets transported to the Alternate Universe, uncovers Dr Muhahahaha's scheme and foils it, only for Dr Muhahahaha to hit the button and send Rufus back to the start of the day again.
This series provides examples of:
- Alternate Universe: Rufus gets unwittingly transported to a different universe, no thanks to his meddling future self.
- Bait-and-Switch Credits: A minor example. When Future Rufus is shown in the intro, he has the number "3" written on his forehead, making it seem like it's a permanent physical feature of his. In fact, he only has it in the pilot episode, where It Makes Sense in Context. In every other episode, his forehead is blank.
- Big "NO!": Rufus lets one out Once an Episode, just as Dr. Mu (or occasionally Steve) presses the Reset Button.
- Big Red Button: Dr. Mu's Reset Button takes the form of one.
- Brown Note: The pilot episode features a darkly hilarious one in the form of "Never Gonna Give You Up" being played at deafening volume until the poor person's head explodes.
- Couch Gag: During Rufus' Introdump at the start of each episode, he passes a billboard that's different each time, and usually gives a hint as to what Dr. Mu's latest evil scheme is.
- Deadpan Snarker: Dr Mu's assistant Steve, who is extremely critical toward her master for always failing to achieve his plans despite having absolute power over time itself and therefore having God knows how much time to do so.
- Evil Plan: Dr. Mu has a different one every episode, ranging from stealing intergalactic wool to creating an Evil Twin of Rufus.
- Failure Is the Only Option: A mutual example. Dr Mu invariably fails in his plans to Take Over the World, and Rufus invariably fails in any attempt he makes to stop Dr Mu from hitting the Reset Button.
- Gender-Blender Name: Dr Mu's assistant Steve, who is a woman.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: Dr. Mu has himself and Rufus trapped in one, courtesy of his Reset Button. Every episode therefore takes place on the same day.
- Help Yourself in the Future:
- Rufus's Future self always gives Rufus a supposedly useless item that, in the end, helps him to defeat whatever crazy plan that Dr Mu was carrying out.
- Done more obliquely in the pilot episode, where Future Rufus inexplicably has the number 3 written on his forehead. At the episode's climax, Rufus is forced into a sadistic version of Deal or No Deal in which one of the numbered boxes will win the game when opened, and the rest will horribly kill whoever opens them. After Rufus makes several wrong guesses, Future Rufus arrives, very annoyed that Rufus missed the very obvious hint about which box to open...
- Here We Go Again!: Each episode ends by repeating the opening shot of Rufus waking up, ready to go through the "Groundhog Day" Loop all over again and hoping that this time, he can defeat Dr. Mu for good and break out of the loop.
- Hope Spot: On at least one occasion, Rufus actually manages to dismantle Dr. Mu's Reset Button, complete with triumphant score. Steve simply snatches it back out of his hands, puts it back, and presses it.
- Introdump: Each episode opens with Rufus walking to his new job while explaining the show's premise to the audience and introducing the various characters, including Dr Mu, Steve, and his future self. It takes him about two minutes.
- It Only Works Once: Averted with Dr. Mu's Reset Button, which Rufus is helpless to stop him from pressing, but played straight with his actual villainous schemes; he tries a completely different one each episode, forcing Rufus to figure out what he's up to all over again and then figure out a new way to stop him.
- It's Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Once per Episode, during his introductory exposition, Rufus refers to Dr Mu as "Dr Moo-ha-ha", at which point Dr Mu chimes in with "It's pronounced... [evil laugh]".
- Reset Button: Dr Muhahahaha has a literal one, which he inevitably presses at the end of each episode to send Rufus back to the beginning of the "Groundhog Day" Loop. On a few occasions, Rufus actively tries to stop this from happening, to no avail; more often than not, though, he only has enough time for an Oh, Crap! look and a Big "NO!" before it gets pressed.
- Reset Button Ending: As noted above, every episode ends this way, courtesy of Dr. Mu and his literal Reset Button.
- Rewind Gag: At the end of every episode, once the Reset Button is pressed, the episode rewinds itself all the way back to the beginning, with Rufus waking up to start the "Groundhog Day" Loop all over again.
- Shout-Out: Several of Dr Mu's plans involve one.
- The pilot episode, as mentioned elsewhere on this page, includes a Deadly Game version of Deal or No Deal.
- Another episode has Dr Mu selling an entertainment device called the Mu-Box, an obvious parody of the Xbox, right down to its ads featuring a seductive female voice whispering "Mu-Box".
- Take Over the World: Dr Mu's goal. He's actually succeeded on countless other planets, but the constant meddling of Rufus and his future self is enough to prevent him from doing the same to Earth.
- Verbed Title: Overlaps with Pun-Based Title, as it's a play on Rufus Hound's surname.
- Your Head Asplode: In the pilot episode, one of the deadly Deal or No Deal boxes causes this by way of Rick Astley of all things.