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The Only show that did it right.
We've all seen or at least heard of the atrocitys that were 'Baby Looney Toons' and Lunatics Unleashed'. Both were attemps by WB to either modernize or expand the Looney Toons audience.
Needless to say, they didn't work.
Duck Dodgers, however, is perfect. It strikes a perfect balance between New and Old, Creative and Familiar, Classic and Modern. The Sci-Fi fights scences exciting, the slapstick wonderfuly executed, the characters so Themselves that their is never any doubt these writers and animaters loved the original cartoons. References, lasers, explosions (Plus the black charring of characters), comedy, tension, this show has it all. Check it out! Its very under appreciated.
Well of course, they did have the concept already in place, so it isn't hard to translate the characters' fundamental personalities. It's certainly a great thing that they decided to make an entire series of those Duck Dodgers shorts.
I don't know. I admit I'm very biased towards the golden age toons. I checked out an episode, and although it had a good theme tune, competant voice acting and plenty of shoutouts to sci-fi and other toons, it didn't feel right for me. I don't think any modern interpretation could live up to the old masters like Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc.
They made a good attempt, but I felt there was too much time carrying the plot and not enough time joking around. As soon as an old Looney Toons cartoon establishes a situation, they pile on the jokes in sharp succession. I got the impression that there were more jokes in a typical 7 minute Looney Toon short than there was in an entire 20 minute episode of Duck Dodgers.
Duck Dodgers is one of the best and most honest attempts to revitalise the old Looney Toons I have seen in a long while, but plain not funny enough for me to keep watching it.
Part of that, though, is a sea change in what audiences expect from comedy in general these days. While still funny today, contemporary audiences just don't respond as well to completely anarchic slapstick as they used to (look at the responses to latter day Family Guy or the surfeit of dead baby gag comedy that's on the airwaves these days and compare to shows that tried for something more like Futurama). There's been a general trend over the years toward greater genre integration and less speciation. People like their comedy to have plot, their drama to have comedy, their action to have a bit of highbrow, their science fiction to be a bit more grounded in reality. I think, as such, Duck Dodgers did a masterful job straddling this fence. It's just too bad that it didn't get more exposure back when it was on the air. Now, if only they'd put this series on DVD...
But I think it's inarguable that this is, by far, the best attempt at a revival since the late 60's Dork Age.
^^ There were more plainly visible jokes in a Looney Tunes cartoon. Dodgers thrives less on jokes than on genre in-jokes, parodies, and references.
BonzotheFifth's comment absolutely hits the nail on the head, even after all these years. It's one of those times a mere comment provides more insight than the rest of the page it's on, although the review was interesting to read too.
(Except the DVD part needs an update... for two-thirds of the show. C'mon WB!)
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