Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Where's Waldo? (2019)

Go To
Ready, Set, Wander!note 

Take a trip all around the world,
Catch a ride to the moon! (Yodel-ya, yodel-ya!)
Ride the wave at the beach,
Jump in, discover something new!
Anywhere you go, I'll find you.
Where do you go? (x2)
Where's Waldo?!
— Excerpt from the Theme Song.

DreamWorks Animation's Where's Waldo? is an educational Continuity Reboot of the classic Where's Wally? franchise originally created by British illustrator Martin Hanford.

The series introduces the WorldWide Wanderer Society, an international organization comprising of magical travelers. A younger Waldo (voiced by Joshua Rush) is a Wanderer-in-training under the tutelage of the eccentric mentor Wizard Whitebeard. Working closely with his junior-level partner Wenda (voiced by Haley Tju), the two inquisitive kids solve various missions across the world in an effort to earn their Wanderer stripes and gather Magic Keys in the process.

Originally slated for May 23, the series made its formal debut on July 20, 2019, on Universal Kids. Prior to that, the pilot episode ("Costa Rica...In Color!") aired as a sneak peek showing on July 6th on the channel, free to view online on the channel's website and YouTube page. The series is planned to last for at least 40 episodes.

Not to be confused with the similarly named older adaptation Where’s Waldo?: The Animated Series.

This show provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: In one shot of "Big in Japan", the Go-Hero Bot is fully in CGI.
  • Abled in the Adaptation: Wenda doesn't wear glasses, unlike in the books.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Waldo's dog Woof is absent, having been replaced with Arf.
      • Woof returns in season 2 in his role as Waldo's dog.
    • Odlaw also does not appear, with a Distaff Counterpart named Odlulu taking his place.
  • Aesop Amnesia: No matter how many times Waldo and Wenda warn Odlulu about messing around with the Magic Keys, and her realizing her actions can (and often do) have far-reaching consequences, she continues to do so.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Downplayed a bit, but Wenda doesn't believe in the Loch Ness Monster despite being friends with several wizards and regularly coming into contact with magical keys.
    • When both Waldo and Wenda hear about trolls causing chaos in Reykjavík, Iceland, their first assumption is that they have to be dealing with pranksters in costumes since "trolls are only fun legends." It takes them a while to realise that the trolls in question are the real deal.
  • Artistic License – Art: In the episode "Once Upon a Time in Denmark," the iconic Copenhagen statue of The Little Mermaid looks nothing like the original, which is strange for an educational show. A possible explanation of the change may be because the actual statue has nude breasts and is overall far removed from how children imagine mermaids.
  • Behemoth Battle: One happens between kaiju Fritz and a Mega Mega Monster Key-enlarged ramen noodle in "Big in Japan."
  • Big Bad: Odlulu, although (as mentioned down below) she's more selfish and a little spoiled than genuinely malicious.
  • Big Eater: Fritz, no matter what country they're in, always wants to sample the local cuisine. But usually never gets a chance to chow down due to Odlulu dragging him to her schemes.
  • Brains and Brawn: Waldo has a knack for inventing, while Wenda is highly athletic.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: The Title Sequence's final seconds demonstrate a massive crowd of unique extras, recurring, and main characters at Whitebeard's headquarters, featured in the series. Every one of them reflects a unique visual trait related to their culture, profession, or hobby. A very modern take on the similarly classic page spread format of the books, wrapping up with Waldo revealing himself.
  • Character in the Logo: A variation of the show's logo has Waldo's mug right in the middle of the circling "Where's Waldo?" travel stamp.
  • Christmas Episode: "A Wanderer Christmas."
  • Continuity Reboot: The original book series had thinly veiled stories and lore droppings, at best, to explain why Waldo would go places, as the major draw were the impressive wide-shot illustrations and locating Waldo (and other things). This reboot opts to take some of the books' and 1991 series' elements, mix them together, and bring out a fairly recognizable but well-defined version of the material.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Odlaw does not appear and is instead replaced by a female counterpart, Odlulu.
  • Edutainment Show:
    • This iteration puts the globetrotting adventures through a teaching lens. Waldo and Friends strictly visit real-world locations, like Costa Rica, to introduce preschool audiences to various factoids about culture, language, wildlife, and other geography-based skills.
    • Keeping in the franchise's spirit, the series also emphasizes honing in observation skills through Waldo himself. Throughout a typical episode, Waldo will wander off from the cast while Wenda (and the viewers) try to relocate him through visually dense environments. The difficulty's very forgiving compared to the franchise norm.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: "Evil" is a stretch, but it's quite clear Odlulu cares deeply about her pet ferret Fritz, best shown in "Australian Blunder Down Under," where she teams up with Waldo and Wenda to help track Fritz down after a female kangaroo accidentally hops off with him.
  • Fake Interactivity: How the "Where's Waldo?" segments in the narrative work. Unlike most examples, Wenda and company (or Waldo, for that matter) don't acknowledge the viewers participating in the hunt, given 10 seconds (or more in certain episodes) to find Waldo. When the 10 second time limit has expired, Waldo says "Over here, Wenda!", revealing his location.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: "Where's Woof?" dispenses with the usual "Odlulu causes trouble with a magic key" formula, as Woof goes missing. This leads to Waldo and Wenda getting help from their fellow Wanderers (as well as Odlulu, who isn't up to any mischief for a change) while they're looking for him.
  • Frames of Reference: Sweet and sometimes lovable Waldo has round glasses, while the scheming, selfish Odlulu has triangular glasses.
  • Friendly Enemy: Odlulu's goals often lead to conflict with the Wanderers, but she's pretty reasonable after she is foiled and even willing to hang out with them.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The Magic Keys.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Waldo's famed skill of being able to blend into any scenery, despite having a very distinct color palette.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All of the episodes are often a Pun-Based Title and feature the name of whatever country is visited.
  • It's All About Me: Odlulu isn't all that bad a person, but she clearly believes just about everything is secondary to whatever she wants.
  • Kaiju: Fritz becomes one thanks to Odlulu zapping him with the Mega Mega Monster Key in "Big in Japan."
  • "King Kong" Climb: Giant Fritz does this with Odlulu in "Big in Japan."
  • Logo Joke: Much like other DreamWorks Animation works, this series has its own variation of the crescent logo: Waldo, popping out from behind the moon, retrieves his hat from the moon's tip. Using pulling out one of the magic keys from his hat, he sprays his red and white color scheme on "DreamWorks Animation Television," before hammocking on the moon and affecting that as well.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Fritz is generally much more interested in things like food than actually helping Odlulu with whatever scheme she has cooking.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Fritz (a ferret) for Odlulu and, to a lesser extent, Arf (a dog) for the main trio.
  • Pirate Booty: Featured in "Bahama Drama," and Odlulu wants some in order to be a fearsome pirate.
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: Wizard Doubloon, to an extent, in "Bahama Drama." Odlulu tries to be one.
  • Race Lift: Wenda was Caucasian in the books and original series. Here, her skin is quite tanned, making her look vaguely Hispanic. Presumably, this was done to help further differentiate her from the original Wenda, who was basically Waldo's Distaff Counterpart.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Both Arf and Fritz.
  • Same Language Dub: Naturally, this series received a UK dub in 2020, using local talent and Waldo's original name, "Wally," for the title and dialogue.
  • Shout-Out: Thanks to taking place during a comic book and kaiju festival in Tokyo, "Big in Japan" is one to Super Sentai, Sailor Moon, Power Rangers, and Humongous Mecha series in general. Even the Punny Title is one to the song of the same name by Alphaville.
  • Signature Headgear: Waldo's red and white bobble hat. It seems to act as a Bag of Holding as apparently, he can stuff anything into it, from a bunch of spices to the suitcase that teleports him and Wenda everywhere.
  • Stock Ness Monster: Nessie briefly appears twice in the "Strength of Scotland" episode.
  • Strictly Formula: Most episodes follow the same basic pattern: Waldo and Wenda are hanging out in Wanderer HQ when they receive a letter/postcard from a fellow Wanderer; they're informed of some kind of problem (usually Odlulu- and/or Magic Key-related), they travel to said Wanderer's location with a magic suitcase (saying "Ready, set, wander!" while doing so), befriend/meet up with them, stop whatever bad thing Odlulu's doing while learning about that location's culture/history, retrieve any Magic Keys, and then head back home.
  • Thing-O-Matic: All of Waldo's makeshift inventions end with -inator. Doofenshmirtz would be proud.
  • Wizard Beard: Wizard Whitebeard and several of his fellow Wizards.
  • Wizard Classic: Wizard Whitebeard again, as well as most other Wizards seen on the show.
  • Younger and Hipper: Most of the cast has been de-aged from their middle-age appearances in the books. The only exception is Wizard Whitebeard, who's vaguely just as old as his main counterpart.

Alternative Title(s): Wheres Wally 2019