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Saturday, 20 April 2013

He's the greatest! He's fantastic! He's not half as funny when he's not David Jason.

I have started watching Supernatural Season 7. Haven't got far, but I've started it. Just thought I'd let you all know that, since my 'I can't fucking get caught up with Supernatural' woes seem to amuse certain people.

 (I wrote this post ages ago, and it sat idle as I intended to wait until I had a cushion of a few posts so I could guarantee not to miss any more weeks. Then I forgot about the blog for 4 months. So, you know, I finished Supernatural S7 ages ago. Haven't touched S8 yet though, so the point still stands.)

This weeks Quest, however, is not to be about Supernatural. Oh no. I have a very special treat for you all today, so I have, so I have. I'm going to talk about one of the shows that influenced my sense of humour more, probably, than any other in my young life. The one, the only...

Fuck Yeah!

Dangermouse ran for many years, and the reason for that is really very simple; it was freaking awesome. This show was to the '80s what The Animaniacs was to the 90's and Phineas and Ferb was/is to the '00s and beyond; namely a show that manages to be as funny for parents/adults as it is for the kids, albeit for different reasons, usually. (And yes, I did say Phineas and Ferb. I'm championing a Disney show, what of it?)

This type of show; the kids show that makes adults laugh too, have always been thin on the ground. I don't know whether this is down to program makers not trying it very often, or whether they are trying, but just aren't very good at it. If it's the latter, then fair enough, but if it's the former then I think it's a crying shame, because that implies that making shows that the whole family can watch together, and enjoy, without anyone over the age of 12 wanting to throw themselves through the window head first, is not something worth striving for.

Anyway, what was I talking about? Dangermouse, yes. Right!

I could talk about the many running gags that the show developed over the years; the mispronounciation of 'fiend', Penfolds eyebrows as a plot device, the homo-erotic exchanges of punnery between Greenback and Stiletto, the narrator using the closing spiel to pimp out his other services and big up his CV, the narrator mucking up the opening narration and getting a bollocking over the phone from his boss, the narrator interrupting the episode to complain that the plot makes no sense...

(I really like the narrator)

Krumhorn waits for the narrator to stop talking

I'm not going to talk about those though, or the sublime characters like Colonel K; who may well be one of my favourite fictional characters ever; because I want you to experience them for yourselves. Seriously. If you don't want to do what I did, and buy the complete series box set; although I'd say go for it if funds allow, because it's a thing of beauty; then there are many full episodes on youtube. Go on, treat yourself. I'll wait here until you get back...

Watched one? No? Fine, I'll wait...

All done? Right then. Onwards!

So if I'm not going to go into details about that lot, what am I going to talk about? Well, I put my thinking cap on, and I decided to give vent to my thoughts about the original Danger Mouse pilot, which is on the DVD box set (bizarrely, it's an extra on the season 9 disc, but hey ho).

Watching it at that late stage, with so many episodes under my belt; I would have watched it before the show proper, but I didn't know it existed until I found it on the season nine disc at which point I had watched, somewhat surprisingly I know, nine seasons; is a bit of a harsh comedown.

Don't get me wrong; the tone of the show is spot on, from the off. You get exactly the same style of humour as you would expect to see in any episode of the series, and other changes, like Baron Greenback being called Baron Greenteeth, are purely aesthetic. It's just...well...

What's my name? WHAT'S MY NAME?
The cast of the pilot is different to that of the main series and David Jason and Terry Scott are so instantly recognisable, even as voices, that to hear the characters of Danger Mouse and Penfold being performed by other people is just...wrong. Not to mention the fact that DM is voiced as a kind of suave, action hero type and Penfold is saddled with a comedy accent, which cheapens the whole thing. No, even if they hadn't got Jason and Scott, I think these two would have needed to go.

That one difference is enough to make the whole thing just feel...wrong. Despite the fact that the plot and script are well up to par, with several moments that should, objectively, have been laugh out loud moments, I just couldn't get over that sense of wrongness, which means that the episode can be enjoyed, by me, purely as a historical oddity, rather than as a decent episode of Dangermouse. Which is a shame.

So I say this to Fremantle Media, Talkback Thames, or Cosgrove Hall, next time you bring out a new edition of the boxset, put this on disc one. I'd suggest simply listing it as episode one, but then you couldn't advertise it as an extra, so I beg you, at least put it on the first bloody disc, and allow newcomers to the show to enjoy it properly, before their preconceptions mar it, as mine did.

Look how nice.

(It's actually possible that this could happen, because they have certainly proven that they are willing to improve their products and won't just sit on their backsides. When the 25th anniversary edition came out; in a very fetching silver case; all the episodes were present and correct, but completely out of broadcast order. Madness. Luckily, at least in hindsight, my copy was among those dvd's stolen by my druggy brother to pay for his next batch of whatever he was smoking at the time, so I bought the 30th anniversary set and lo and behold, the episodes were in the right order. Kudos. The box wasn't as nice though. HashtagNeverSatisfied)

Not as nice. 
Next week I'm going to talk about something else entirely which may or may not include pictures of hot women. (It will. One post without is more than enough, thank you.)

I do hope you'll join me then.


  1. Dangermouse is still my favorite cartoon of all time, although watching it again as an adult, I find the music to be a little grating.

    I agree, the voices and pacing in the pilot just seem... wrong.

  2. ....and did you see this?

    1. I hadn't seen that, no. I don't really keep up with those news sites. The first I know of a new show is when the first episode shows up in the TV guide.

      I'm torn between being really excited for more, and turned off by the fact that most of the people involved are dead now, so we'd probably end up with all the same problems I had with the pilot. Still, it'd be nice for a new generation.