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I especially enjoy cartoons pre-1993. (It was around this time that I personally feel that cartoons began declining in originality and overall quality.) I love quality television from almost any decade.
MAD Dreams Are Made of This
Ah, "MAD Dreams Are Made of This"--I remember when INSPECTOR GADGET returned with new episodes in 1985, this was the first new episode that I saw, and it's been one of my favorites ever since. Notice too my choice for the title's episode; this episode is often credited as "Bad Dreams Are Made of This," but I have an episode on tape that lists it as "MAD Dreams Are Made of This." (I prefer "MAD" over "Bad," but both make sense, honestly.) Dr. Spectrum begins his three-episode story arc with his nightmare machine that makes the citizens of Metro City too tired to function in the morning by inflicting bad dreams waves all over the city; with everyone sleeping during the day, MAD has full reign over the city. Of course, it's up to Gadget to stop MAD's plot.
This episode has it all--great music, animation, writing, and directing with a fun cameo of Hector and Wordsworth of the Catillac Cats. Penny and Brain are actively involved in the episode (which happens in all the best episodes), and Brain has some humorous disguises.
The voice acting is fun with added enjoyment of Louis Nye as MAD agent Dr. Spectrum. Townsend Coleman makes his animation debut in this episode as pitchman (and MAD agent) Sweetley--(to Dr. Claw) "Yes yes yes yes! More bad dreams for them, more profits for MAD! I just love the way you think!" I just watched this episode a few weeks ago, and I find it to be just as funny and exciting as it was in 1985. Personally, I enjoy the 1985 episodes of INSPECTOR GADGET. For the record too, GADGET wasn't "cancelled" because of low ratings of the 1985 season. I have read several times that DiC Animation felt they had more than enough episodes with the additional 21 episodes--bringing the total count of episodes to 86--so they felt they would move on to other projects, and they did. (DiC used the same maneuver when making its 86 episodes of HEATHCLIFF AND THE CATILLAC CATS in its two seasons.) In fact, if you'll notice, most animation companies did not make over 65 episodes unless a network agreed to pick it up for additional episodes (such as THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS).
For those who are unsure about the second season, I recommend watching this episode, "Gadget and Old Lace," and "Gadget Meets the Clan" as some of this season's best episodes. The second season of GADGET is still better than anything else GADGET to follow (with the exception of INSPECTOR GADGET SAVES Christmas, which is worth a watch).
Let's hope DiC will release a volume 2 of GADGET episodes soon. Otherwise, it will be a long time before great episodes like this see the light of day.
Even Penny and Brain Couldn't Save Uncle Gadget This Time
Inspector Gadget was probably my all-time favorite 80's cartoon. I enjoyed both the first and second seasons of the series as well as 1992's Christmas special "Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas". Some Gadget fans are quick to criticize the second season (1985) of the show, but they need to compare it to DiC's 2002 release of "Inspector Gadget's Last Case: Claw's Revenge" for then, they will find the second season to be absolute gold.
Being a Gadget fan, I couldn't resist the opportunity to see the animated Inspector Gadget in something that wasn't Gadget Boy-related. I purchased the film, and I swore to myself that I'd be objective; I knew that sometimes artistic liberties would be taken from the original series. I was not even prepared for what I was about to watch.
There was barely a shred of the original show still intact.
Here is a short list of just some of the cons for this movie: *The humor is non-existent from the original series.
*Penny and Brain (originally having a nearly equal part in the series as Gadget) are missing from the action for fifteen to twenty minute intervals.
*The original music by Saban & Levy is not there, and the score that exists is sub-par. (Understood that Saban has his own production company now, but at least "Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas" had good music, even without Saban.) *Don't expect to see any of Gadget's gadgets which made the show so endearing, such as gadget-copter, gadget-brella, gadget-mallet,gadget-coat (which actually was used but it was not even called the same thing), as well as his standard other hat and hand gadgets. In this movie, his gadget legs were telescopic instead of springs. That kind of stuff annoys true fans of the show, and simply aren't necessary to change.
*The gadgetmobile from the original series is now a fast-talking, supposedly "hip" convertible. All the fans from the original series enjoyed the gadgetmobile transforming into the gadget van and vice versa.
*Chief Quimby is now very short-tempered and even mean to Gadget. He was always grumpy in the original series, but this pushes the situation a bit much.
*Penny no longer has a computer book.
Are there any positives to this movie? OK, here goes...
*Maurice LaMarche does a good job of taking over for the great Don Adams as Inspector Gadget.
*In one scene, Chief Quimby alludes to an actual villain from the cartoon series: the Great Wambini (classic "Gadget" villain from the second season, voiced by Louis Nye).
Looking for more redeeming factors for this movie? Well, you're out of luck. Life is about making choices and living by those choices. Most situations in life have a purpose even if it is to teach a lesson. The lesson learned here: keep to the original formula! "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." True Gadget fans should steer clear from this movie; you will surely be disappointed.
Hopefully, DiC and Shout! Factory will continue to release more of the original series after the 2006 release of "Inspector Gadget: The Original Series, Volume 1," containing the first 22 episodes of the series. As a true Gadget fan, lover of 80's animation and many of DiC's programs, I urge you the viewer to purchase "Inspector Gadget: The Original Series, Volume 1" and "Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas" DVD's which are excellent and sure to bring back good memories.