5.6/10
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7 user 2 critic

Wacky Races 

A reboot of the 1968 Hanna-Barbera Classic "Wacky Races (1968)" that updates the formula for the new generation, while still retaining the classic feel of the original.
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2   1  
2019   2018   2017   Unknown  
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Diedrich Bader ...  Peter Perfect 17 episodes, 2017-2018
Nicole Parker ...  Penelope Pitstop / ... 16 episodes, 2017-2018
Billy West ...  Muttley / ... 16 episodes, 2017-2018
Peter Woodward ...  Dick Dastardly / ... 16 episodes, 2017-2018
Tom Kenny ...  Bella / ... 15 episodes, 2017-2018
Christopher Judge ...  Brick Crashman / ... 14 episodes, 2017-2018
Jill Talley ...  I.Q. Ickly / ... 13 episodes, 2017-2018
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A reboot of the 1968 Hanna-Barbera Classic "Wacky Races (1968)" that updates the formula for the new generation, while still retaining the classic feel of the original.

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Certificate:

TV-Y7
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Trivia

A reboot of the 1968 Hanna-Barbera Classic "Autorennen Total (1968)" that updates the formula for the new generation, while still retaining the classic feel of the original. See more »

Connections

Follows Wacky Races (1968) See more »

User Reviews

 
Cruel and Unusual remake
5 September 2020 | by zyrconaSee all my reviews

What's good about this? The Mean Machine and the Turbo Terrific are faithful to their original models, and it's really fun to see them animated in this style and driving around. The episodes that follow the original format in which there is a race and Dick Dastardly and Muttley cheat and end up losing because of it are often enjoyable, and sometimes they even win, although it tends to be a pyrrhic victory. The design of the original characters in most respects is OK and they're recognisable.

What's bad about it is that most of the characters from the original have been left out (in the case of the redneck driving a car made from his kitchen furniture and the German WW1 pilot in a Fokker, that might be understandable, but not for the others). New characters that don't match the style of the originals and are either irrelevant or annoying have been added, such as an irritating self-proclaimed 'genius' child/midget riding around in a flying robot nanny car that gets far too much air time, a man and woman who stand around talking at the start of the programme wasting time that could have been used to show Dastardly plotting something, and pirates in a novelty car that are drawn in such a simplistic and bland style they look to have been borrowed from a preschool cartoon. The main three characters of Dastardly/Muttley, Pitstop, and Perfect have been changed from what they originally represented and it's not an improvement, and the Gruesome Twosome (the only other team from the original to make it in) aren't that interesting and their vehicle doesn't resemble and has none of the charm of the original. The episodes that aren't about racing are frequently so bad as to be completely unwatchable.

Dick Dastardly in the original Wacky Races worked really well as a classy camp villain protagonist because the joke was that he was reasonably competent, drove a great car, and would probably have won had he not spent every episode generating a huge headstart and then squandering it by trying to cheat. Although he and Muttley did not treat each other well, they were shown as having a real camaraderie, and even though they were sympathetic and you wanted them to win, when Dick lost or humiliated himself, it was always because of his own actions. You didn't resent the other well-meaning competitors who also occasionally cheated but for the most part helped out each other and often the villains too. Penelope Pitstop was ditzy and in some ways a bit of a sexist stereotype, but she was shown to be competent as a driver and mechanically, and a strong autonomous character. Peter Perfect was a kindhearted and chivalrous competitor who never cheated, but he wasn't very competent and the running joke was that his car would fall to pieces.

Unfortunately in this series, Dastardly gets recast as either an antihero who is sort-of friends with the other racers or an Arnold Rimmer-type psychological trainwreck (the flanderised version from the later series and not the more three-dimensional Rimmer from the earlier and better-written series). Often bad stuff happens to him that isn't his fault, or he tries to do something good and bad stuff happens anyway, and the other characters don't care and ridicule or ignore him, or even deliberately cause the bad things happening to him. At best this comes across as him being an underdog excluded for his lack of competence or just who he is, and at worst it comes across as the other characters bullying him, and it actually makes his bad behaviour seem justifiable. Dick Dastardly in this incarnation is too sympathetic and you feel really sorry for him and end up disliking the other characters because of how they treat him. Pitstop and Perfect have been recast as an obnoxious Mary Sue heroine and a dim jock hero respectively and come across more as antagonists to Dastardly. Some of the design choices are questionable -- making Dastardly's costume purple instead of its original colours and replacing his functional white goggles enormous misshapen pink ones with sequins.

When Dastardly unintentionally causes an accident and begrudgingly helps the others while resolving it, they decide to 'work together as a team' while leaving him and Muttley behind to sort themselves out, and then at the end, Penelope Pitstop says something about teamwork being great and then in his earshot says something unkind about him having BO, which is a really terrible moral. In probably the worst episode (because I found it so disturbing I couldn't watch any more after this point) Dastardly is dressed as a clown and is hosting a children's television programme, and it's explained he's being forced to do this for no other reason than he is unpopular with the audience. He then gets strung up on a rope and beaten with sticks until he's visibly badly injured. This was vile and undeserved, and suggests whoever came up with it had some sort of disturbing perversion. It's particularly bad because a complaint frequently levelled at classic cartoons and given as the reason why they have to remake them is against violence that was generally karmic and benign, such as Dastardly being run over because he stood in the road and getting up unharmed with a tyre track on him, or putting a bomb in his pocket that explodes leaving him merely looking dazed and dirty with dishevelled clothing. This version is considerably more violent and in more inappropriate ways than the original, and it's a spiteful and nasty sort of violence that doesn't respect the meaning of the original.

The other thing that I really don't feel is appropriate for a programme for kids made in 2017 is that Dastardly or sometimes Perfect are frequently depicted wearing drag badly or ridiculous costumes in a demeaning way. The Two Ronnies was a long time ago and it just isn't funny or right to do this when a lot of young people, boys especially, feel under pressure to be macho and are insecure about being perceived as flamboyant. I don't think it would be a bad idea to reimagine Dick Dastardly as being a flamboyant Liberace-like antihero, or to have a modern drag artist in a cartoon, but if they're going to do that he needs to have allies who are more accepting and supportive of him. Or they need to just stick to the original idea of him being the sole cause of his own misfortune.

All this is a shame because there is potential that might have been better met if they'd just included a couple of characters like Rufus Ruffcut to be a macho hero and Prof. Pat Pending as a woman character to even out the ratio (benefits of a unisex name) that would have allowed the characters to have kept more of their nuance and fun, and stuck to the original ideas of the characters. Unfortunately this means it'll probably be another 50 years before anyone will think of making another Wacky Races that might do the original justice.


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Official Sites:

Boomerang

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 August 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wacky Races See more »

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