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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 Stock Dinosaurs at will, trying to help them save the world from Veloci's incredibly ill-conceived plans.

Not to be confused with Street Sharks, Extreme Dinosaurs, Dinosaucers, Dino-Riders, or Kung Fu Dino Posse.

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:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The Toyetic CG vehicles stand out a lot from the low-brow traditional animation of the rest of the show.
  • Abnormal Ammo: The kids defeat mutants with a pair of guns, the blue one, the Chiller, which super-cools a monster and causes the mutant DNA to squirm out of the mutant's body in search of warmth. That accomplished they unleash the orange gun, the Spiller, which does the exact opposite of spilling by sucking up the mutant DNA.
  • An Aesop: One per episode, as well as a recycling one played over the end credits. Some episodes, like "Fire and Ice." went for more than one.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Caruso's actions in his quest for frame have threaten to expose the team on at least three separate occasions.
  • Alliterative Name: Victor Veloci.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Caruso and Veloci.
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  • Animal Superheroes: Technically, they're transformed humans, but they still follow the mold pretty closely. Notably, this show premiered in the wake of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles revival.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Several. Particularly one episode which had a baby gorilla with a tail. Another claimed that cold-blooded animals can stay warm by keeping active and keeping their blood pumping.
  • 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: Suffice to say, everything. In general the show's research on dinosaurs seems to have consisted of watching other dinosaur cartoons.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • "Howa Loa Can You Goa" has a really blatant Green Aesop, which gets promptly ignored at the end when the mutant worms that were the Monster of the Week are identified as being native to eastern North America. The heroes are in Hawaii for this episode, and they just let the de-oozed worms go. So apparently introducing exotic species is A-OK, even if you're teaching about saving the environment!
    • In the episode "Tangled Web" the group call Caruso out for lying to them. Unless they've told their parents about how they can transform into dinosaurs and secretly fighting against evil villain, they have no moral high ground.
  • 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.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything??: In one episode, Fiona comes out to her family as a spinosaurus (you read that right), 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. The science? Not so much.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Caruso prefers not to go by "Irwin".
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs
  • 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.
  • Faceless Goons: The Raptor Dyne troopers all wear identical face-concealing helmets with red visors.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Humongous Mecha: In "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: All over the place. In addition to the expected issue of the scaly, oversized Velociraptors, there's also Rodger's Styracosaurus form, which isn't readily recognizable as such thanks to its three horns, which make it look more like a Triceratops. There was also a "mutant Megalodon" that was clearly supposed to be a mosasaur, and a baby gorilla that looked more like a monkey, complete with a tail.
  • 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.
  • 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: Veloci's final mutants in the last episode, that succeeded in taking down the Dino Squad temporarily? PUPPIES.
  • 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. It qualifies in concept, if nothing else.
  • 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.
  • Megalodon: The monster in the first episode. It looks more like a mosasaur than a megalodon though.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ptero Soarer: Buzz's Pteranodon morph.
  • 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.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Caruso. He truly wishes his name was bigger than it is.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Fiona being the sole female of the squad.
  • Spinosaurus Versus T. rex: Averted, which is surprising given that the show otherwise shamelessly uses every dinosaur cliche imaginable. Max, who turns into a T. rex, and Fiona, who turns into a Spinosaurus, are good friends.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: T. rex, Stegosaurus, Velociraptor, etc. Downplayed by Roger, who turns into a Styracosaurus instead of the typical Triceratops (although his dinosaur form has three horns, which makes it look more like a Triceratops anyway).
  • Straw Character: Caruso gets this big time.
  • Team Mom: Miss Moynihan. Her CB handle is even "Mothersaurus."
  • 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!"
  • Totally Radical: Buzz is a "Neo Punker" who speaks this way.
  • Transformation Sequence: Often shown both into and back from super-powered form. Although when the latter is shown, it's just the same footage run in reverse...
  • Two Decades Behind: The whole show. It would have fit right in with early-90's action cartoons like Street Sharks and Biker Mice from Mars, with its cheesy theme song, overused transformation sequences, heavy-handed Aesops and Buzz's neon mohawk. Yet it came out in 2007, long after such shows had become widely considered passé. The Halloween episode even has a reference to the Funky Chicken dance. Whether or not this is because of the creators trying too hard to bring that type of cartoon to a new generation or the show being in development in the 90's is anyone's guess.
  • 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.