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WordGirl, You Go Girl!
The plot of a pre-teen girl superhero (and a cute one at that) originating from the planet Lexicon fighting crime with her super strength, Mach flight speed, and of course, her enhanced vocabulary and superior intellect. Simply incredible!
As for the inspiration, it is very Superman: A being born on another planet, crash landing on Earth and adopted by a family, super strength and super speed abilities, trying to keep the hero identity secret, and suffering a weakness caused by a substance from the hero's home planet (in the case of WordGirl, Lexonite, as she is from the planet Lexicon, like Superman's weakness being kryptonite, him being from the planet Krypton).
As for the villainy department, the characters that really stand out for me are:
. Sophisticated evil boy genius Tobey McCallister III (in my opinion, a cartoonized offshoot of Norman Price from Fireman Sam, as they are both little boys who cause havoc and wear glasses), of whom has a slight crush on WordGirl (I don't blame him) and has a penchant for constructing giant, destructive robots.
. Dr. Two-Brains (voiced by Tom Kenny of Spongebob fame), an evil cheese pillaging scientist with two brains (hence the name).
. Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy, one of the more nicer (weird, isn't it?) villains, and of whom has a sandwich for a head.
Extremely well written, plenty of action combined with comedic elements, and a brilliant theme song. What more could you ask for?
In short, when it comes to superhero cartoons, WordGirl gets my vote as being the best one of them all. Watch out, villains! Here she comes!!!
Gadget and the Gadgetinis (2001)
Not better than the original but still worth watching
Okay, so Gadget and the Gadgetinis may lack some of the key elements that made the original series of Inspector Gadget (my favourite) such a hit, like Chief Quimby appearing with self-destructing messages or Brain lending his assistance (having been retired in this series), for example, but I think it has its plus points, too.
Fidget and Digit are pretty cute, Maurice LaMarche's take on Gadget is pretty darn close to Don Adams' take in the original series, Dr. Claw's voice too sounds almost like it does in the original cartoon (I think Brian Drummond did a superb job on that, as he is one of my favourite voice actors), the theme tune is okay, in spite of not being the one we're all familiar with and love, and Penny is as intelligent and protective of her uncle as she is in the original cartoon (and still cute, despite being slightly older), in spite of having less screen time and not being as patient as in the original, nor having her computer book. The animation is not too bad either, in my opinion.
Yes, so a lot of crazed Gadget fans might not like it as much as they do the original, but I, a crazed Gadget fan, personally think that it is pretty much okay. Especially when compared with the CGI reboot, in my opinion.
Postman Pat (1981)
A childhood hero
Among the shows I watched growing up, Postman Pat, along with Thomas the Tank Engine, Sooty and Co, Fireman Sam and Inspector Gadget, is a show I truly hold dear, and always will, no matter how old I am.
Postman Pat showcases the simple plot of a friendly and good-natured postman going round the beautiful village of Greendale, delivering letters and parcels to and fro, as well as helping out his friends during certain events that occur, like, for example, stopping an out-of-control robot postman from causing havoc (from the episode Postman Pat and the Robot, one of my favourites), or trying to stop a wild animal doing the same thing (from the episode Postman Pat and the Beast of Greendale).
The early series of Postman Pat, i.e: 1 and 2, are considered by some to be the most desirable, and I agree. Although later series after that aren't too bad either, as I watched those as well when I was a kid.
This review has been made in honour of Ken Barrie, the original voice of the world's most beloved postman, who sadly passed away last year (2016). R.I.P Ken. You did a great job, being the voice of our favourite postman, as well as other characters. You made my childhood and others too, and will never be forgotten.
Bounty Hamster (2003)
An animated, epic, comedic, sci-fi hunk of televised brilliance!
I only just discovered Bounty Hamster very recently, and already I love it! And when I say "discovered", I mean to say "rediscovered", as I used to watch and love this show when I was a kid, and haven't watched it since... until now. I had, or should I say "have", one of the best childhoods you could possibly imagine! This cartoon is just simply amazing!
The theme tune and music in general is epic and likely to give you goose bumps, the animation is brilliant and combines the best of both standard and CGI, the plots in each episode are amusing as well as action oriented, and both the main characters are cute.
"Don't call me CUTE!"
Oops. Uh, sorry about that, Marion. I was just expressing my opinions on the show.
Anyway, I also love how certain references throughout the show are made to popular TV shows, films, and other cartoon characters and popular figures, like Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote from Looney Tunes, and Groucho Marx, for example.
Another thing I love about this show, is C-3P0 of Star Wars fame making brief appearances in Cassie and Marion's ship, being one of the principal running gags throughout the show.
Bounty Hamster is, despite being underrated (although it has a higher IMDb rating than Inspector Gadget, i.e: 7.5 compared to 6.8), one of the best cartoons this century has produced, and hasn't aged a bit, and never will. A true modern classic and no mistake! The early 2000s certainly must have been a golden age for cartoons and animated shows, and movies, in general. And it is, as it says in the title, an animated, epic, comedic, sci-fi hunk of televised brilliance!
10/10 is good enough, but I'm going to raise the bar to 15/10!
Ah, memories! It sure is great to have them.
One of the most important episodes in Inspector Gadget history
In this episode, Gadget ends up being replaced by a new high-tech computer that, as Chief Quimby puts it, does things he can't. What they fail to realize, is that the computer happens to be under Dr. Claw's control, and Dr. Claw plans to use it to distract the police and, in true M.A.D fashion, get all the wealth and input they require.
Depressed, Gadget tries out different jobs. First, he tries his hand at a shoe store, but has little success with his first customer, and immediately gets thrown out and fired. Second, he tries working at a restaurant, only to end up getting thrown out after over-stacking some clean dishes and making a mess of the kitchen. And lastly, he tries his hand at window cleaning, but only ends up getting fired yet again. Gadget walks away, feeling jobless and hopeless.
Meanwhile, Dr. Claw's goons arrive at Chief Quimby's headquarters, and put the crime computer under M.A.D's control. Penny soon finds out about their scheme, only to end up getting kidnapped as usual.
Brain somehow manages to lead Gadget to his old job, although Gadget, unbeknownst of M.A.D's doing, quickly pops in to say hi to the chief, but he is not there. While in the office, Gadget tries to "fix" the computer, only to make it go haywire.
Meanwhile, Quimby scolds his officers for responding to false alarms. However, after being told by one of his officers that it was the computer that gave out the orders, Quimby quickly realizes there is something wrong.
Back at headquarters, Gadget, while trying to "help" two repairmen, who happen to be M.A.D agents, unintentionally destroys the computer. Infuriated by Gadget's heroics, Dr. Claw flies off, cursing Gadget in the usual manner.
Quimby and Penny congratulate Gadget for foiling M.A.D's scheme and Quimby arrests the two agents for destroying the computer, even though it was really Gadget that did it. Gadget, back in the saddle, handshakes the chief, only to give him an electric shock.
This truly is one of the most important episodes in the history of Inspector Gadget, because it gives viewers a big insight just to how clumsy and inept Gadget really is, no matter what he does. Also, it's sad at first that Gadget loses his job, but, of course, gets it back in the end. This is - and you can take this as official - a must watch episode.
Classic, timeless, and way ahead of it's time
Another TV show from a golden age of television, Thunderbirds is by far and away one of the best written, most exciting, dramatic, and most well put together shows you could possibly watch.
It has it all: Fabulous soundtrack composed by the late, great Barry Gray, extravagant looking vehicles, aircraft (particularly FAB 1 and Thunderbird 2), and other kinds of extraordinary machinery, action, adventure, explosions, destructive happenings, and many more.
Also, the villain in this iconic series, The Hood, is one of my absolute favourite villains in the history of television, having the ability to render people unconscious with his hypnotic powers, clever enough to fool people with his wide array of disguises, hence his name, and will stop at nothing to expose the secrecies of International Rescue.
And of course, there's the charming Lady Penelope. Vastly wealthy, tomboyish, and cool-playing, Lady Penelope, voiced by the late Sylvia Anderson, is one of the most important characters in the show. She has all her special requirements:
. FAB 1 - essentially a pink, six wheeled Rolls Royce equipped with all the weaponry and gadgets needed to tackle villainy and other kinds of things
. Parker - Penelope's loyal butler and assistant, whom actually had an adventurous life of his own once
And last but not least, there's Thunderbird 2, quite possibly the most iconic Thunderbird craft of them all. Piloted by Virgil Tracy, Thunderbird 2 is International Rescue's heavy-duty transporter, carrying the right type of vehicle required for a particular rescue.
The most notorious being:
. The Mole - a giant tunnelling vehicle used to drill giant holes in the ground to gain access to underground areas
. Thunderbird 4 - a submersible used for underwater missions, piloted by Gordon Tracy
. Firefly - a dual-purpose vehicle capable of clearing debris and putting out fires
To conclude, Thunderbirds is an epic show not to be missed. A timeless classic, set in the near future, and is bound to get people like me excited and thrilled.
Absolutely loved it when I was younger, still do today!
Like I always say: You can't beat the classics!
RIP Sylvia Anderson (1927-2016)
Full of edge-of-your-seat, pedal to the metal, rubber-burning excitement and adventure, this movie does not disappoint
I've always loved Hot Wheels ever since I was a wee lad, and Highway 35 World Race is by far the best Hot Wheels movie ever. The animation is superb, the storyline is superb, the cars are superb, just about everything in the movie is superb. And I do have a favourite team: Street Breed. Here are the reasons why:
1. The theme tune. Oh, the theme tune!
2. The cars, particularly Sling Shot and Road Rocket
3. In my opinion, the smartest dressed of all the teams
4. Also in my opinion, the most sophisticated team
Not only do I love the movie, but also the video game, of which I am a lucky owner of, on PlayStation2. And it's fantastic, in spite of some of the cars from the movie, such as Taro's 1970 Plymouth Road Runner, for example, having been replaced by Hot Wheels original designs, most likely due to licensing issues. Still, it doesn't matter, as it is and always will be my favourite PS2 game.
For those who are Hot Wheels fanatics like myself and haven't seen this movie, watch it now. You will not be disappointed. I highly guarantee it.
What a way to celebrate 35 years of arguably Mattel's most iconic brand of toy!
The Mr. Men Show (2008)
A modern classic
I'm not normally a fan of modern cartoons, as I feel they lack the same type of humour and charm that cartoons of past behold. The Mr. Men Show is an exception. It is, in my opinion, one of the only truly decent modern cartoons. The character designs are cute, particularly Little Miss Sunshine, Miss Daredevil, Miss Naughty, and Miss Calamity, the plot line is simple, the UK voices in particular are spot on, and the animation is brilliant. If only there were more decent modern cartoons like The Mr. Men Show.
Get Smart (1965)
The 1960s equivalent of Inspector Gadget
Made in a golden decade of television, Get Smart was, in my opinion, the true predecessor series to my favourite 1980s cartoon Inspector Gadget.
I mean Get Smart and Inspector Gadget have a quite a lot in common: A series plot involving a bungling, dim-witted agent going up against the evil forces of a malevolent organisation, both main characters were portrayed by the same man (Don Adams), both have a short tempered chief as their boss, both have a female accomplice that usually accompany them on their assignments (in the case of Inspector Gadget, anonymously), and ironically, both don't use their gadgets properly.
After all, Get Smart was the principal inspiration for Inspector Gadget (along with Inspector Clouseau), and without Get Smart, there would be no Inspector Gadget, so I am glad that this iconic 1960s spy spoof show was made.
They honestly couldn't have picked a finer man than Don Adams to portray a bungling agent such as Maxwell Smart (and of course later on, Inspector Gadget).
Whenever I watch Get Smart and I hear the voice of Maxwell Smart, it will always remind me of Inspector Gadget.
I love Get Smart! Loved it when I was younger, still love it today.
RIP Don Adams, of whom will live on in our hearts. 1923-2005
One of the best written and most helpful episodes of the series
Did You Myth Me? is arguably one of the best written and most helpful Inspector Gadget episodes I have ever watched, and one of the most sophisticated.
It helped me learn about the Ancient Greek craftsman Daedalus, of which the villain, Dr. Daedalus, gets his name from.
I like how the word "myth" is used as a play on the word "miss", and of which refers to Greek mythology, as the episode takes place in Greece.
This was also the episode where I learnt the phrase "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts", which is mentioned at the end of the episode.
All in all, this is a great episode, one of my absolute favourites, and of which I recommend to those Gadget fanatics who have yet to have seen it.
Wacky Races (1968)
A true cartoon classic. Ought not to be missed
Wacky Races is, to put it one way or another, like no other auto race in the whole wide world. Almost everything about this cartoon is wacky (hence the title): The cars, the characters, the effects, I mean pretty much everything. And that's what makes it great. My favourite characters from this wacky cartoon are none other than those "double dealing do-badders", Dick Dastardly and his wheezing canine sidekick Muttley in the Mean Machine. While we're on the subject of favourite characters, my dad's favourites from this cartoon are the Slag Brothers in their Bouldermobile. They just crack him up. My favourite car, on the other hand, is Peter Perfect's Turbo Terrific, in spite of getting destroyed throughout the series. In short, it is a great cartoon, and is on my list of my favourite cartoons ever to have existed on the face of the earth, along with Inspector Gadget, Looney Tunes, and Tex Avery. A true cartoon classic. Ought not to be missed! 15/10 for this one.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964)
Classic and stylish
The '60s were a golden age for television, in the days before political correctness and when everything was easy (sort of) and stylish, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was no exception.
Here you have the dashing, handsome, and womanising American spy Napoleon Solo, the cute, blonde, hunk of a Soviet spy Illya Kuryakin, and the embodiment of a stereotypical English gentleman and head of the U.N.C.L.E. Mr. Alexander Waverly, all fighting against the evil forces of their greatest enemy THRUSH.
Also, the equipment they used were way ahead of their time.
Another thing I particularly have to mention about this show, is Barbara Feldon of Get Smart fame's appearance in the episode, "The Never-Never Affair", as a Portuguese weather translator Mandy Stevenson. I mean, I had my fists clenched just seeing Barbara Feldon in this episode, because she just looked so darn beautiful and sexy (especially when after she took off her glasses), with her seductive voice to match. Also, I could really see the bonding (this being a spy series, no pun intended) between Napolean and Mandy in the scene in which they are both captured.
All and all, this show is great, and in my opinion redefined the spy genre.
R.I.P. Robert Vaughn (1932-2016)
Inspector Gadget (1983)
These are the characters as follows:
Gadget: A cyborg police detective with a Maxwell Smart-like personality (hence Don Adams' previous role) and Clouseau attire, who always bumbles about on his assignments (except on a couple of extremely rare occasions)
Penny: Gadget's precocious, brave, intelligent, (rather cute) little niece who is the one well and truly responsible for thwarting M.A.D's evil schemes, even though she lets her uncle take all the credit
Brain: Gadget and Penny's bipedal dog and loyal companion who usually assists Penny in helping her thwart M.A.D's evil schemes, and whenever he is in disguise, usually fools Gadget into thinking he is either a M.A.D agent or another type of person
Chief Quimby: Gadget's boss and Metro City police chief who, whenever after he gives Gadget his assignment, ends up getting blown up in the face by it. He also congratulates Gadget after all the "work" he's done, not knowing it is really Penny that saved the day, despite often being contacted by her
Dr. Claw: The deep, gruffly-voiced leader of the evil organisation M.A.D (a parody of SPECTRE from the James Bond films, and THRUSH from The Man From U.N.C.L.E), and Gadget's mortal enemy, is short tempered, devious, sinister and whose face is never seen. Only his arms and cat are. (Much inspired by Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld)
How can you not love a list like this?
Even though Gadget is officially the main protagonist of the series, it is pretty much effectively Penny that is the protagonist. It's just the feeling of it, whenever you watch this series. I mean, whilst Gadget is bumbling about during an assignment, it is Penny that is doing all the real McCoy detective work (albeit secretly), with a little help from Brain. And yet, that's the sheer beauty of this series.
Despite often getting captured and left in perilous situations by enemy agents whilst snooping around (much inspired by The Man From U.N.C.L.E), Penny is a VIC (Very Important Character) in this series, and is one of the characters that makes it come alive. She is one of my top favourite female TV characters, along with Agent 99 from Get Smart.
Also, me being an absolute petrol-head, I just love the Gadgetmobile (which I think best resembles a 1983 Toyota Celica Supra), Gadget's equivalent of James Bond's Aston Martin DB5. Although, unlike the DB5, a car of which I shall always cherish, the Gadgetmobile can be converted from a minivan into, uh... well... the Gadgetmobile.
And the soundtrack? Oh, the soundtrack! It's absolutely to die for!
I loved Inspector Gadget when I was younger, and I still do today. Albeit, more now than I ever did at the time when I was younger.
10 out of 10? Nah! I'll go further than that: 15 out of 10!
As Gadget's real life and secret agent counterpart Maxwell Smart would say: "And... loving it!"
Inspector Gadget is more than just a cartoon... it's a piece of history.