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Western Animation / Adventures in Odyssey

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Adventures in Odyssey is a set of videos spun off from the radio series of the same name. Like the radio series, the animated show details the adventures of the populace of Odyssey and the lessons that the people learn. It's known to be different from the radio series in several ways. It was often Denser and Wackier than the radio series and some characterizations differed slightly. Nonetheless, it's fondly (and sometimes not-so-fondly) remembered by Odyssey fans who grew up in the 90s.

The core cast is there, namely Whit, Eugene, and Connie (although she didn't appear in the series immediately), and the lead kid is Dylan Taylor, who often learns lesson alongside his sister Jessie, his friend Sal Montoya, and several other kids around town.

The initial run of the video series includes 13 installments release from 1991 to 1998, with four more episodes added between 2000 and 2003. Individual episodes are also covered on the Adventures in Odyssey Recap page.

This series contains examples of the following tropes:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The giant robot in "Star Quest" that was created by Whittaker for the Star Trek spoof of the same name gets Eugene's game disc installed by mistake and goes on a rampage with Dylan and Sal inside it, even after the disk is removed.
  • All Just a Dream: "Someone To Watch Over Me", as with the original radio episode. Additionally, the events of "A Twist in Time" turn out to be a simulation in the Room Of Consequences.
  • All There in the Manual: The tie-in PC game Adventures in Odyssey 3-D CD-ROM reveals that Doug Harding is a member of Rodney Rathbone's Bones of Wrath.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Dylan's friend Sal, who looks to be either Hispanic or Polynesian.
  • An Aesop: The characters learn a lesson about Once an Episode.
  • Animated Adaptation: Of the radio series. There is also one specifically of the radio episode "Someone To Watch Over Me", with Dylan replacing Jimmy Barclay. (Though there are a few changes. Dylan's head injury is caused by falling out of the Imagination Station rather than the Wonderworld Treehouse, for example.) "Escape From The Forbidden Matrix" is also inspired by the radio episode "Gloobers", and "The Race to Freedom" is a Compressed Adaptation of "The Underground Railroad".
  • Another Man's Terror: A variation; in "In Harm's Way", Whit, concerned about the way Dylan is treating a new boy, sends him on an Imagination Station adventure which is modeled after the life of Joseph Merrick, aka the Elephant Man. Dylan has to experience being used by others and have them being afraid of him, despite the fact that he's just a human being like them — which was the point of the exercise.
  • Art Shift: Many of the episodes look quite distinct from each other, either for the better for the...slightly less better. For example, "The Knight Travelers" is almost on par with a typical 90s Disney TV shownote , while "Flight to the Finish" is heavy on the squash-and-stretch and is a bit more Off-Model.
  • Bad Future: "A Twist In Time" featured Dylan and his friend Sal seemingly traveling to a future where they went missing and were never found. Whit's End has closed down and is a mess from lack of care, and everyone associated with it and the two boys are either penniless, in poor health, or dead. Thankfully, it was just a simulation produced by the Room Of Consequences.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Occurs in "Once Upon an Avalanche" with a literal Mama Bear. Fortunately, Jess is able to scare her away before she can do any real harm.
  • Big Eater: Eugene, oddly enough. He often is shown eating sandwiches and other foods in his spare time in this version of the series. This was actually lampshaded by the producers in one of the official guidebooks.
  • Blatant Lies: At the end of "Baby Daze", Eugene says some clothes he sent to the baby's parents were "just something off the rack", but the photo reveals that it's a miniature version of Eugene's outfit.
  • Book Ends: "The Knight Travellers", the very first episode of the series, introduces the original Imagination Station, which is stolen by Dr. Faustus and made into "the Manipulation Station". The last video, "Race to Freedom", has the same invention in its plot.
  • Brainy Baby: "Baby Daze" involves Eugene finding a genius baby and wanting to study him for an Artificial Intelligence he had been building. It turns out that the Big Bad also wants to study him.
  • Broad Strokes: The videos themselves are not considered canon by the Odyssey crew, (if the radio episode "I Slap Floor" is any indication) but the designs of Whit, Connie, and Eugene here eventually became their official designs (though tweaked somewhat) and continued to be so for years afterwards. Even after the designs changed via an Art Shift from album 51 on, they still have some elements of their animated appearances if you look closely. (Connie still often wears a bright green sweater, Whit's outfit, hair and mustache are still there in his official artwork, etc.)
  • The Bully: Holly Ferguson, Dylan's new neighbor in "Flight to the Finish", spends the entire episode tormenting him and Sherman with her cat Jasper. However, Dylan risks his life to save her from certain doom, and they soon become friends.
    • But then there’s Doug Harding in the episodes "Electric Christmas" and "In Harm's Way". In the latter, he tries to get a deaf kid named Elliot killed.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Whit, Connie, and Eugene (and Bernard Walton when he appeared in "The Last Days Of Eugene Meltsner") are the only characters who appear both here and the radio series. Everyone else originated here, but only a single episode of the radio series, the episode "Dobson Comes To Town" (an episode that heavily leaned on the fourth wall anyway), features or name-drops characters and events from the video series, with no other radio episodes beyond that one suggesting that the video series is anything more than a non-canon Alternate Continuity.
    • Non-character example: The Strata-Flyer is an invention of Whit's that only appears in this adaptation, and plays a larger role than any of Whit's other inventions throughout it. The only time it gets mentioned in the radio series is in a Biting-the-Hand Humor moment.
  • Canon Welding: The Licensed Game Adventures in Odyssey 3-D CD-ROM, incidentally the first of the series, combines elements from the radio show and this adaptation. The two major things that are carried from the cartoon are the inclusion of the Strata-Flyer and all of the child characters having originated from this particular iteration. In addition, Evelyn Harcourt, a major supporting character in "A Fine Feathered Frenzy", also gets screentime during part of it. In terms of where it borrows from the radio show though, one trivia question specifically asks about episode names from it, two characters that never made any appearances in the cartoon get featured (Tom Riley and Harlow Doyle), Bernard Walton also makes an appearance when he still had yet to make his single appearance here in "The Last Days of Eugene Meltsner" two years later, and several rooms of Whit's End that never made it into the cartoon like the Little Theater and the basement get shown. Doug also is explicitly stated to be a member of the Bones of Wrath as well (though Rodney nor any of the other members appear), which was never alluded to in the cartoon.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The video series may be considerably Denser and Wackier than the radio series it's based on, but that doesn't make it exempt from considerably more dramatic episodes. The first episode alone involves the Imagination Station being stolen and changed into the "Manipulation Station", some sort of mind control device. After this, we get an episode about a soapbox car race.
  • Chase Scene: In "A Stranger Among Us", Eugene chases the supposed bad guy's car on a skateboard.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In "Electric Christmas", Dylan points out to Doug that the competition is about which house captures the "spirit of Christmas" the best, not how many lights their display has. He ends up being correct; when both of their work ends up in ruins because of Dylan and Doug taking things too far, Dylan's family's nativity scene, despite its simplicity, wins the competition due to capturing the (biblical) spirit of Christmas better than either of theirs.
  • Christmas Episode: "Electric Christmas"
  • Clear My Name: "Shadow of a Doubt" has one of these plots; Whit is falsely accused of being a cat burglar who has been in the news recently because the burglar leaves false evidence to get people caught.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Chris, the host of the radio show, makes no appearances in this adaptation, but did show up to announce a few of the trailers included in the openings of some of the original VHS releases.
  • Cowboy Episode: "Go West, Young Man", courtesy of the Imagination Station.
  • Cutesy Name Town: The town is called "Odyssey."
  • Darker and Edgier: "A Twist in Time". It's no "Mortal Coil", but, with its astonishingly bleak though thankfully not real Bad Future for Whit's End, it's still easily the darkest episode in the video series.
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: Inverted with Holly. Dylan failing to beat her in the soapbox car race of episode 2 because he had to save her when her car went off course wins her friendship.
  • Demoted to Extra: Oddly, a number of central characters from the original radio series only made sporadic appearances in the animated series, if any. Connie didn't even start appearing until "A Stranger Among Us", the 12th episode! (Though she did stay a major character for the rest of the series.) Bernard Walton only appeared as a major character in "The Last Days Of Eugene Meltsner".
  • Denser and Wackier: Some of the episodes have some rather goofy goings-on. "Flight To The Finish" is chock-full of Amusing Injuries (that even Whit is unable to escape from) and "Electric Christmas" features hilarity ensuing as Dylan tries decorate his house better than a rival's for a Christmas Decoration Contest.
  • The Diaper Change: Eugene freaks out when he realizes the baby he's watching needs a diaper change and finally caves to Dylan's constant questions as to whether he should "go get Connie."
  • Doorstop Baby: In "Baby Daze", Eugene finds a baby on the door. He was put there by a cohort of the Big Bad after she started having pangs of conscience.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Early on in the video series, the Imagination Station was a phone booth-shaped, TARDIS-like device before it was quietly switched to the now-current spaceship-esque design. Later justified in "Race to Freedom" when Dylan and Carter run across this version of the station and clarify it was an earlier version of it.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Abe Beerbaum's car explodes in "A Stranger Among Us" after falling off a cliff and being run over by a train.
  • Evil Counterpart: The villain of "Baby Daze" is essentially a version of Eugene without his morality. Both of them are "men of science" and initially want to study the baby (who happens to be a genius) to make advances in their scientific projects. But Eugene ultimately realizes that it's more important that the baby be safe and happy than that he finishes his robot, while the villain never gets this.
  • Expy: Dylan and his friend Sal are fans of a show that very much resembles Star Trek: The Original Series.
  • For the Evulz: The cat burglar in "A Shadow of Doubt" seems to go around stealing things not because it makes him rich, but because he enjoys framing undeserving people and seeing them suffer.
  • Good Is Old-Fashioned: In "Baby Daze", the Big Bad calls Eugene's morals "outdated" — because kidnapping a baby to experiment on him For Science! is so advanced.
  • Hair-Trigger Avalanche: Occurs numerous times in "Once Upon an Avalanche".
  • Hollywood Law: Pretty much everything about the court case in "Shadow of a Doubt." The prosecutor badgers every witness on the stand, including witnesses for the prosecution, no cross-examinations are shown, Whit's lawyer does not call for objections when he should've, and Whit himself gives the closing statement instead of his lawyer. Also the trial seems to have taken place over the span of a few hours at most, when a case like this would probably span over several days. Even the jury deliberation only takes about half an hour or so, which is exceedingly unlikely, even in "slam-dunk" cases.
  • Humongous Mecha: The giant robot in "Star Quest".
  • Irony: At the very end of "A Flight to the Finish" during the hospital scene, Eugene accidentally backs into a wheelchair and falls down the stairs screaming in agony, all the while the camera backs out of the building to reveal a sign that says "QUIET: HOSPITAL".
  • I Will Find You: In "A Twist in Time", Sal and Dylan use a machine that Whit told them not to use. They seemingly find themselves in a future where they never returned and Whit exhausted himself looking for them.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: There are... multiple characters with huge, pronounced chins if they're meant to be intimidating. Inspector Stark in "Shadow of a Doubt" comes close to playing the whole deal straight, but is more comically inept than anything.
  • Latex Perfection: The cat burglar in "Shadow of a Doubt" frames Whit for robbery by wearing a rubber mask modeled after his face. In fact, when the mask lands on Sherman's face, he blinks with the mask's eyelids!
  • Loud Gulp: One of the neighborhood kids, Doug Harding, who pushed new kid Elliot into going down a steep slope on a bike with decayed brakes is laughing about it. Dylan snaps at him for laughing about something that almost got Elliot (and himself) killed, to which Doug simply brings up one of Dylan's earlier semi-nasty comments about Elliot to shift the blame. Eventually, he walks off, but stops in his tracks and gulps loudly when Whit sternly says that they'll see how funny his mother thinks it is.
  • Mistaken for Dying: In "The Last Days of Eugene Meltsner", Eugene mistakenly assumes he's contracted a fatal disease. This happens due to a mix-up when Dylan is seen playing with his new invention earlier in the episode; it turns out the disease he's "contracted" is only fatal to insects, and Eugene will be just fine.
  • Mood Whiplash: Happens at the end of "The Last Days of Eugene Meltsner", where Eugene gives an emotional speech about cherishing every moment of life since you never know when it all could disappear...and then pulls out his ukulele to sing.
    Bernard: Aww, don't wreck it with a song!
  • No Equal-Opportunity Time Travel: Occurs in "Race to Freedom" when Dylan and his black friend Carter take an Imagination Station trip to slavery-era America. Naturally, Dylan gets treated with the highest class while Carter is stuck in a life on the plantation, leading the two on a pursuit down the Underground Railroad.
  • Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying Over You: In "A Stranger Among Us". Eugene, believing that Connie is dead, collapses in tears. Even after Dylan and Connie walk up to him to comfort him, it takes a few moments for the meaning to sink in.
    Eugene (crying): Can't you see? It's all my fault! All — my — fault!
    Connie: Actually, it's mostly my fault, Eugene.
    Eugene: No, it's not, Connie, it's — huh? (He sees her, stands up, smiles from ear to ear, and faints.)
  • Not What It Looks Like: Eugene and Dylan see one guest standing over the bed of another, who appears to be dead. It turns out he was slipping into a diabetic coma, and the other man was trying to wake him up.
  • Over The Top Christmas Decorations: "Electric Christmas" revolves around Dylan and Doug competing to win a Christmas decoration contest and get the grand prize of a brand new bike, and both boys' attempts to one-up the other's display get increasingly over-the-top with thousands of Christmas lights, towering plastic snowmen, and giant snow T. Rexes and Elvis Presleys. Eventually, the boys' rivalry results in their respective displays getting destroyed spectacularly, and the only thing left standing after the dust settles is Jessie's modest Nativity scene (which ends up winning the contest).
  • Papa Wolf: Eugene becomes protective of his charge during "Baby Daze" and ends up fighting to protect him from an unscrupulous scientist.
  • Police Are Useless: "Shadow of a Doubt" has some heavily incompetent police, who immediately buy all the evidence against Mr. Whittaker even though it could just as easily have been an attempt to frame him considering his reputation. He hardly gets a chance to defend himself as well; see Hollywood Law.
  • Punk in the Trunk: In "A Stranger Among Us", Eugene and Dylan think that one of the guests kidnapped Connie and stuck her in the trunk of his car, leading Eugene to chase him on a skateboard.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Episode 2 features Holly, Dylan's annoying new neighbor, crossing the finish line of the soapbox car race the kids were competing in first and is immediately celebrated as the winner...until an ambulance pulls up to take Dylan and Sherman, who risked their lives to save Holly and her cat, to the hospital. Holly and said cat are both immediately completely sober.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Eugene yells "no" several times in succession (combining this with Big "NO!") when he believes Connie has been killed.
  • Reading Lips: During the climax of "In Harm's Way", Whit is able to get vital information to Dylan and Elliot on a runaway train because Elliot can read lips.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Big Bad in "The Knight Travelers" has this times two; a python and an alligator. The former constantly tries to have his lackeys for lunch when he's not looking, and the latter tries to eat Dylan, but is foiled by an anchor to the head.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: In Star Quest the aliens from the titular show have duck-beaks but are otherwise humanoid.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Eugene tends to speak in big words as part of his intellectual persona.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: In "Go West, Young Man", the locals quickly come to think that Eugene is sweet on the mayor's daughter. Eugene keeps protesting that he isn't to no avail. The fact that she is sweet on him doesn't really help the case.
  • Sibling Rivalry: "Once Upon an Avalanche" centers on this.
  • Straying Baby: The baby crawls off while Eugene is watching him, nearly falling off a staircase.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Doug, The Bully from "In Harm's Way" and "Electric Christmas", for Rodney Rathbone (and effectively the rest of the Bones of Rath) from the radio series.
    • Dr. Fred J. Faustus from "The Knight Travelers" and "The Caves of Qumran" is extremely similar to Dr. Regis Blackgaard, only differing in appearance from the latter in official album artwork. Both act as nemeses to Whit, both have quiet, low-pitched menacing voices, and both fall under the "evil genius" umbrella.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • In "Baby Daze", Eugene responds to Connie's warnings that he'd better take his responsibility to the infant he found on the doorstep seriously with "What could be the least bit hard about babysitting?"...and soon he has to deal with the baby crying, spattering him with food, and other things he is not expecting.
    • Near the end of "A Stranger Among Us", Eugene sees the car he believes Connie is locked inside plunge off a cliff onto railroad tracks. He says uncertainly, "Maybe she's okay"...and then a train runs over the car, causing it to burst into flames.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers included on the original VHS releases of "Star Quest" and "Once Upon an Avalanche" both had pretty lengthy spoilers for the endings of "A Flight to the Finish" (where Holly hands over the trophy she won in the race to Dylan after he's been hospitalized) and "A Fine Feathered Frenzy" (where Mrs. Harcourt expresses her satisfaction with Dylan's job after a Bait-and-Switch Comment).
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: Eugene has to use a skateboard to chase a guy in a car who he believes kidnapped Connie. Unlike one might expect, it's not really that much slower than the vehicle it's chasing (although Dylan did say that "it's downhill all the way").
  • Unflinching Walk: After Eugene's robot PLATO is unleashed on the bad guys, he walks away, paying no attention to the maze collapsing behind him.
  • Villain Ball: The cat burglar in "Shadow of a Doubt" may be one of the single worst examples of this trope. Considering his entire purpose is to not get caught, it's pretty insane that he goes so far to trap Dylan and spell out his entire Evil Plan right in his face. And his reasoning? To destroy Dylan's footage, which had no reasonable proof of him being the cat burglar to begin with. Had he just kept his quiet and moved along when he bumped into Dylan in the park, his plot would never have been foiled.
  • X Must Not Win: In "Electric Christmas", Dylan spends more time trying to make sure Doug doesn't win the competition by outdoing him rather than trying to win it on his own merit. The prize of the competition is an XR-7 bike that Dylan nearly went greedy for at the beginning of the episode, which is what Doug also was competing for.