Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / The Modifyers

Go To
Agent Xero as herself (left) and Lacey Shadows (right).

The Modifyers is a rejected pilot for Nickelodeon produced by Chris Reccardi and Lynne Naylor.

The pilot revolves around Agent Xero, a special agent for a spy organization known as the Modifyers. Using her Master of Disguise abilities and a shapeshifting robotic sidekick Mole, she has been infiltrating the gang of the villainous Baron Vain in the guise of Perky Goth thief Lacey Shadows. After a clash over a stolen artifact, the All-Seeing Eye, with Vain's long suffering henchman Rat, she returns to base, but overlooks that she has been followed. She has to beat Rat to Vain's base first to try and protect her cover and manage to slip the Eye past both the villains. The pilot ends ominously as Xero loses her communication ring while making her way out of the base. It's found by Vain and Rat just as Katz is attempting to contact her, potentially blowing her cover.

"Modified Tropes":

  • A Dog Named "Dog": Rat is a, well, rat.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: You'd think that having a ring that creates holographic disguises would be useful - which it would be... IF it didn't keep falling off, due to being two sizes too big for her finger. Plus, it buzzes loudly whenever Katz calls her; making it far from ideal for undercover operations.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Baron Vain, was the show's equivalent of Dr. Drakken (i.e. a comically inept villain with big aspirations - with Lacey as his "Shego").
  • Boyish Short Hair: Xero's hair shortens and becomes multi-colored as "Lacey".
  • Brick Joke:
    • Used when Lacey runs into Rat after he's successfully swiped the All-Seeing Eye:
      Lacey: "Whatcha got there, Rat? Another piece of junk?"
    • Which gets echoed by Vain, when Rat tries to present him with the Eye, not knowing that Lacey had switched it with a piece of marble:
      Rat: (proudly) "And I'll proves it to you with... the All Seeing— (sees that it's not) "uhh..."
      Vain: (finishes sentence for him) "...piece of junk?"
  • Butt-Monkey: If anything bad can happen, Rat is usually the victim. He has to play second fiddle to Lacey, who jerks him around and Vain just walks all over him. Period.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Xero's ring keeps dropping off. In the end, it jeopardizes her secret identity.
  • Cliffhanger: The pilot ends with Baron Vain finding Xero's ring, right as Katz is trying to call her, likely as a bid to entice the networks to pick it up.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Much of the show's humor comes from the way Rat suffers, given the way Lacey treats him and how Vain treats him.
  • Companion Cube: Mole is Xero's sidekick and tries to keep her focused on the mission.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Xero's ring makes a ring (pun unintended) sound that matches the theme tune.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Xero's boss, Katz. Yes, give your secret agent a spy ring that can fall off at any time, 'cuz it's too big for her finger. While you're at it, make it noisy. All of which put Xero's cover identity at risk of being blown, at the end.
  • Do-Anything Robot: Mole is designed to change shape to suit Xero's needs.
  • Double Agent: The crux of the series was going to hinge on Xero trying to maintain her cover identity as Baron Vain's right-hand, Lacey Shadows.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Agent Xero pretends to be a henchman of Baron Vain named Lacey Shadows.
  • Failed a Spot Check: If Xero just did a simple check, she would've known that Rat had latched onto the underside of her airship.
  • Fauxreigner: Whenever Xero switches to her Lacey Shadows persona, she adopts a British accent.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Without Lacey, the Baron would be mostly harmless. Which is the reason he relies on her to get things done.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Rat gets put through so much shit and is so sniveling and slow-witted that you can't help but feel sorry for him.
  • Left Hanging: We'll never know whether Vain learns Lacey's true identity since the show was dropped by both networks it aired on (Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network).
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: As seen in the page image, Xero's hair is long enough to almost reach her feet.

  • Looks Like Orlok: Vain could be considered a caricature of Orlok (i.e. bald, blueskinned, etc.), complete with having a rat for a henchman —named "Rat". However, he was hardly menacing, nor did he prey on young virgins, or drink blood.
  • Master of Disguise: The intro shows several of Xero's other disguises (or would've been, had the show not been dropped), which could be activated using her ring.
  • Missing Mom: Implied, as Xero asks the All-Seeing Eye "Where are my-" before being interrupted by swelling pipes (It Makes Sense in Context).
  • Mole in Charge: Lacey Shadows is suggested to be very high up in Baron Vain's organization (she mentioned she was Rat's Captain) and Vain even openly admits that she is his favorite henchperson.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: While Xero is rather impulsive and is more interested in the All Seeing Eye for her own purposes, she's nonetheless a very nice person who does take her job seriously.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If Xero had simply let Mole transport the All-Seeing Eye, instead of fooling around with it, the pilot's entire plot could've been avoided.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Done by Xero near the end of the short.
  • Perky Goth: Xero's personality doesn't change when she switches to her Lacey Shadows persona, so she's just as upbeat and playful as usual.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Baron Vain becomes irritated whenever Rat interrupts him, since only he's allowed to do that. But he becomes giddy with excitement when it comes to Lacey, who's clearly his favorite between his henchmen.
  • Punny Name: The Modifyers is a play on modify, meaning to change, as well as the mod subculture that was popular in London in the late 1950s to mid-1960s.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Scooter-Riding Mod: Agent Xero's regular outfit consists of a white mod minidress and knee-high go-go boots.
  • Steampunk: It's set in an unnamed Victorian-esque city featuring scads of clockwork gadgetry and steam-powered transports —including zeppelins and other flying machines.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Agent Xero and Mole.
  • To Be Continued: Ends on this note when Vain and Rat finding Xero's ring just as the HQ tries to call her. Alas since the series was never picked up, along with one of the co-creators dying years after it's release, it's unlikely the story will ever continue.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Xero fills both roles by herself. She usually looks and dresses femininely, but becomes almost the exact opposite as "Lacey".
  • Totem Pole Trench: Lacey disguises herself as a cop that way and beats up Rat (except that it's not another person at the bottom, but some weird unicycle/stilts combination)
  • Urban Fantasy: The series is about a teen spy and her shape-shifting robot sidekick, going undercover to foil an Orlok look-alike's operations and his talking rat henchman. All set in Victorian-esque city that has a prevalent steampunk aesthetic.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Either Vain has another henchman somewhere (besides Lacey, that is), or he figures he can find a new one, 'cuz he doesn't care what happens to Rat and freely abuses him for shits 'n giggles — and was even going to feed him to his pet fish!
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The show's title as well as Agent Xero.
  • You Have Failed Me: Vain nearly feeds Rat to his pet (a giant mutated fish) for interrupting him.