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Western Animation / Dino Squad

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After somehow becoming immortal and surviving the extinction of their species by hiding out in a cave for millions of years, two velociraptors emerge with the ability to turn into humans. One becomes Corrupt Corporate Executive Victor Veloci and schemes to use some kind of mutating formula to "genetically reconstruct all life forms and turn them back into what they rightfully should still be: dinosaurs!”

The other raptor mentors a group of five teens who've been given the ability to change into other dinosaurs at will, trying to help them save the world from Veloci's plans.

The show originally aired on CBS' KEWLopolis (really) block from September 2007 to September 2009, when Cookie Jar Entertainment (who acquired DiC a year earlier) decided to drop the show from the line-up due to the company wanting to de-emphasize the amount of DiC shows on the roster and re-naming the block Cookie Jar TV. However, in April 2010, the show returned to the airwaves as part of Cookie Jar's syndication packages.

Dino Squad provides examples of:

  • Animal Superheroes: Technically, they're humans with the ability to transform into archosaurs, but they still follow the mold pretty closely. Notably, this show premiered during the success of the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles revival.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Several. For example, one episode claims that cold-blooded animals can stay warm by being active and keeping their blood pumping. In reality, that is the defining characteristic of warm-blooded animals, their ability to generate their own body heat, in contrast to cold-blooded animals, which are defined by their internal temperature and metabolism being wholly controlled by the outside environment.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The episodes are usually set in actual cities and towns, probably to avoid Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe, but the travel times involved are usually awfully brief.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology:
    • For his first experiment, Victor Veloci uses his deevolution chemical, which reverts ordinary animals into dinosaurs, to "revert" a shark into a "Mutated Megalodon"—except that it's actually a mosasaur, an ocean-going lizard that sharks did not evolve from, and neither of these animals are dinosaurs anyway.
    • The show also stated that Spinosaurus' super power was Super-Speed. Given 2014 discoveries of Spinosaurus, its legs had high bone density, which was useful for buoyancy, but not much for speed.
    • The Styracosaurus in the show is depicted as having having two brow horns that are larger and longer than the nasal horn, when in reality, it should be reversed. The official website accurately states that the brow horns should be smaller—though the site made its own mistakes, such as stating that Tyrannosaurus dragged its tail along the ground like a kangaroo (which the show itself got right).
    • In one episode, Veloci attempts to infect the clouds with primordial ooze so it woud rain down on everything and revert them into dinosaurs—even plants, which are in a different kingdom entirely.
    • Max's T-rex form has three fingers whereas Tyrannosaurus had only two. Also, nowadays scientists believe T-rex had sparse feathering along it's dorsum.
    • Caruso's Stegosaurus form has five tail spikes, sharp teeth and no beak, unlike the real Stegosaurus which, of course, had a beak, flat teeth and four tail spikes.
  • Bespectacled Cutie: Terri wears glasses and is a smart, cute pre-teen girl.
  • Broken Aesop: "Howa Loa Can You Goa" has a Green Aesop that gets ignored at the end. The mutant worms that were the Monster of the Week are identified as being native to eastern North America, even though the heroes are in Hawaii for this episode and they just let the de-oozed worms go into an unfamiliar ecosystem.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Victor Veloci, though he more often fails than succeeds at his attempts to be badass.
  • Big Bad: Victor Veloci, a Velociraptor that somehow managed to survive the Cretaceous extinction and wants to revert Earth back into it look like during the Mesozoic period.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: "GO DINO!"
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Veloci's actually a lot more dangerous in human form because that's how he has an army of heavily-armed minions and fleet of tricked-out vehicles. When he changes into a raptor he's far less powerful than pretty much every other inhuman creature in the show, least of all the Dino Squad themselves.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: This is the usual result when Veloci changes to his raptor form to fight, since he's dwarfed in power by just about every other creature in the show. Examples include him being vaulted off the T. rex's nose, and being blown away when a giant gorilla roars at him.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Scents and Scents-Ability" is Caruso-focused, and his talents with yoga and hand-crafted lotions end up saving the rest of the team.
  • Dumb Dinos: Played with. While the main characters are humans who can change into dinosaurs (and one pterosaur) at will, and both their mentor and archenemy are hyperintelligent Velociraptors (who inexplicably gained the ability to change into people), the animals exposed to the villain's chemicals and "reverted" usually become extremely aggressive and mindlessly violent — regardless of the animal's previous disposition. However, only the main characters (in their transformed states) and the Velociraptors are considered "perfect dinosaurs".
  • Does This Remind You of Anything??: In one episode, Fiona comes out to her family as a spinosaurus, who accept her, after everything, Ms. Moynihan comments on how Fiona is so lucky to have such an accepting family. Complete with a, "Mom, Dad, I'm-"
  • Edutainment Show: It qualifies as this thanks to the social, moral, and environmental Aesops that are included in every episode.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Caruso prefers not to go by "Irwin".
  • Expository Theme Tune: The theme song basically describes what happened to the team as they earned their transformations.
  • Eye Recall: The team’s transformations manifest these.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Victor Veloci wants to turn regular animals into prehistoric creatures and return Earth to the rule of the dinosaurs.
  • Faceless Goons: The Raptor Dyne troopers all wear identical face-concealing helmets with red visors.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Buzz is huge animal lover, and especially shows affection for small animals traditionally considered "gross", such as rats, snakes, cockroaches, and spiders.
  • G.I.R.L.: Veloci pretends to be a teenage girl while gaming online, as seen in "The Lost World Wide Web."
  • Green Aesop: Lots, but mixed in with all the regular ones.
  • Halloween Episode: "Never Judge a Dinosaur by its Cover" takes place during Halloween, where Fiona and Terri deal with their neighbor.
  • Hidden Depths: Few episodes show that Fiona's is quite a excellent swimmer. This probably relates to her dinosaur form.
  • Hollywood Autism: Max's classmate, Liam, in the season 2 opener. He'd frequently dispense tons of facts and was able to give the squad information on stopping mutant bees. He speaks with a robotic monotone when talking, doesn’t make eye contact, and has unusual physical mannerisms. Liam also told Max that he has Asperger’s syndrome when Max asked about his aforementioned mannerisms.
  • Hollywood Hacking: The squad does this to get the upper hand in every 2 out of 3 episodes, from hacking his communications to simply making his blimp tilt slightly.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Terri feels this way in the episode "Wannabe".
  • Infinite Supplies: Despite the good raptor telling the kids that as a school teacher she can't afford the same kind of equipment the villains have, she can afford the fancy guns the kids use to turns monsters back to normal, toyetic motorcycles and a hydrofoil built to look like dinosaur faces, a radar system that can detect anything with prehistoric DNA as well as a force field around the lighthouse where she lives to keep anything with prehistoric DNA from being detected, computers that can effortlessly override those of the villains, supplies to seed clouds, to take the kids on a field trip to Hawaii when there's monsters out there...
  • Informed Species:
    • Rodger's Styracosaurus form isn't readily recognizable as such thanks to its three horns, which make it look more like a Triceratops.
    • In one episode, a creature is described as a "mutant Megalodon" but looks just like a mosasaur.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: When they first get their powers, the squad gets uncontrollable Partial Transformations at inconvenient times. This problem goes away when Ms. Moynihan teaches them to shapeshift properly.
  • Fantastic Racism: Victor Veloci, a velociraptor who somehow gained human form, hates humans with a passion, believing them inferior to dinosaurs. His reason? Because dinosaurs have been around for millions of years, and humans for only a few thousand.
  • Fiery Redhead: Fiona has orange hair and is thrill-seeking tomboy.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Buzz is the youngest team member, likes things like bugs and video games, has a dinosaur form that flies instead of having Super-Strength, and is the dispenser of "it's okay to be different" Aesops.
  • Killer Rabbit: In the final episode, Veloci attacks the Dino Squad with mutated puppies, which succeed in taking them down temporarily.
  • The Load: Caruso's vain, fame-obsessed personality makes him an easy target for Veloci's machinations a lot of the time.
  • Lovecraft Country: It takes place in Maine, and has ancient creatures that rise to attack.
  • Master Race: Veloci is obsessed with the idea that dinosaurs are superior to humans.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: "Wannabe" had the Squad dealing with mutated wild hedgehogs in North America.
  • Monster of the Week: Although done differently from most such shows in that the villain simply creates the monsters to gather scientific data in order to complete his main plan to create a dinosaur-populated planet. He doesn't actually control them and usually doesn't specifically use them as part of some kind of evil plan. This leads to some episodes where the Dino Squad defeats the monster halfway through and then has to contend with Veloci, who's showed up to collect his specimen, in the final act.
  • Morphic Resonance: The colors of the dino-forms are the same color as the clothes worn by those who came into contact with the primordial ooze. For example: Fiona wears yellow pants, brown leather jacket with brown bare-knuckle gloves and has orange hair. Her spinosaurus form has yellow scales, brown sail and orange crest.
  • Mutagenic Goo: The primordial ooze. It turns regular animals into prehistoric mutants and when the titular group of kids are exposed, they gain power to turn into dinosaurs.
  • Network Red-Headed Stepchild: Was this when it aired on CBS' KEWLopolis block, being a male-targeted show on a block predominantly aimed at girls.
  • Powers in the First Episode: The team receives their transformations in the series premiere and go on their first mission.
  • Pre Cap: Episodes start with a 10-second teaser showing what is going to happen in the episode, complete with the phrase "Today on Dino Squad" to begin such.
  • Raptor Attack: Victor Veloci and Ms. Moynihan. Ms. Moynihan's raptor form has a purple tuft of what might be feathers on her head, but otherwise is just as scaly as Veloci.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: You can understand why the villain who wants to overthrow the human race doesn't share the miracles of science he's produced, but one gets the feeling the kids could do more good offering their services to the government than running around zapping mutant puppies. In one episode they make a solar-powered car feasible to win a road race, and in another Rodger whips up a bunch of gadgets straight out of The Jetsons, like a hat that gives you a haircut with an array of miniature lasers, for no greater purpose than pulling pranks on his teammates.
  • Savage Spinosaurs: Averted with Fiona who turns into a Spinosaurus but is still one of the good guys.
  • Scaled Up: The titular team get powers to transform into dinosaurs (and one pterosaur) while their teacher and enemy are dinosaurs able to transform into humans.
  • Ship Tease: Max and Fiona are paired with each other during various episodes.
  • Sixth Ranger: Terri, Fiona's younger sister becomes honorary member of the squad (despite not having any powers of her own).
  • Spinosaurus Versus Trex: Inverted - Max, who turns into a T. rex, is good friends with Fiona, who turns into a Spinosaurus, and they often fight together alongside the rest of the Dino Squad against other prehistoric creatures. This somewhat becomes ironic if you look at the above mentioned Ship Tease that these two share with each other.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Caruso. He truly wishes his name was bigger than it is.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Fiona is the sole female member of the squad. If we take Terri into consideration it becomes two girls at the team.
  • Straw Character: Caruso gets this big time.
  • Team Mom: Miss Moynihan. Her CB handle is even "Mothersaurus."
  • Team Normal: Terri. She however doesn't enjoy it.
  • Thememobile: Hero and villain alike have a dinosaur theme to every vehicle they own. Veloci seems to have a different one in every episode, even up to including dirigibles, monster trucks and submarines.
  • Time Abyss: Ms. Moynihan and Victor Veloci have been around since the extinction of the dinosaurs, making them around 65 million years old.
  • Title Theme Tune: "I'm in, I'm in, I'm in, in the Dino Squad!"
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: Terri wears her hair in ponytail. And while she isn't as tomboyish as her sister, she isn't Girly Girl either.
  • Totally Radical: Buzz is a "Neo Punker" who speaks this way.
  • Tough Armored Dinosaur: Caruso's dino form is Stegosaurus and with his big ego and status as the load, he somewhat invokes the trope of stegosaurs being antisocial creatures.
  • Transformation Sequence: Often shown both into and back from super-powered form.
  • Unstable Genetic Code: The squad can turn into dinosaurs because Veloci's experiments gave them dinosaur DNA. Their changes are involuntary at first until Ms. Moynihan teaches them to control their shapeshifting.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Victor Veloci is seen by the public as a great servant to the community. He is, in reality, an evil shapeshifting velociraptor bent on returning the world to the Mesozoic era. Seriously, who would even suspect that to be the case?
  • Whateversaurus: The show has many examples. Most of the mutated creatures created by Victor Veloci are mutated mixes of modern day and ancient creatures. Only the Dino Squad are considered by him the perfect dinosaurs.