Growing up, “Duck Tales” was one of my favorite shows. I had it on VHS even, along with the feature-length film. When I heard it was being rebooted by the Disney Channel, I had my doubts, as I always do. But then when I heard who the primary cast would be – Ben Schwartz (“Parks and Recreation”, “House of Lies”), Bobby Moynihan (“SNL”), Danny Pudi (“Community”) as Huey, Dewey, and Louie and none other than the 10th Doctor himself David Tennant (“Doctor Who”, “Jessica Jones”) as Scrooge McDuck, I was in without having seen a single second of the show.
“Duck Tales” follows the adventures of Donald Duck’s nephews, the aforementioned Huey, Dewey, and Louie, as they move in with his insanely rich uncle and former adventurer Scrooge McDuck in Duckberg. Donald and Scrooge’s relationship has been strained for a decade and whatever happened between them seems to constantly be bubbling at the surface. But having his rambunctious nephews around reignites Scrooge’s adventuring spirit and he takes the boys and his housekeeper’s granddaughter Webby (voiced by Kate Micucci) across the globe in search of treasure, excitement, and mythical beasts. Aided by his trusty driver and pilot Launchpad McQuack (voiced by Beck Bennett), the first season is a down-right delight; a perfect pairing of action, comedy, and heart that kids and adults of all ages can enjoy.
The best thing about cartoons currently is they are being made by people who grew up watching Saturday morning and Disney Afternoon cartoons as kids. So yes, many of them are reboots, but they’re more than just that. They’ve taken these characters that we all know and love, and given them new adventures, new nuances to their characters, and allowed them to grow and exist in a real-world setting. Prime example of that is the on-going subplot about the boys’ mother and Donald’s sister, Della Duck. To my knowledge, there was never a mention of their mother in the original series. It seems it was easier in the Disney universe to have new children characters be nieces/nephews to principle characters like Donald to as to not have to explain where babies come from (which makes total sense). But at the same time, who is their mother? And these are questions only fans of the original would ask when tackling the idea of rebooting the series.
So the majority of season one is Dewey’s pursuit of the truth of their mother, with the help of Webby, primarily, while she has her own mission to learn as much about the famous adventurer Mr. McDuck she’s duteously studied for her entire young life. Of course the other boys have their own missions as well: Huey wants to stop at nothing to gain all his Junior Woodchuck badges and all the knowledge he can, while Louie is really only in it for the money and fame he can get from associating with Scrooge and the spoils of their adventures.
Featuring the supporting voice talents of Jim Rash (“Community”, “The Way Way Back”), Catherine Tate (“Doctor Who”), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Broadway’s “Hamilton”, “Mary Poppins Returns”), Paul. F. Tompkins (“Boojack Horseman”, every podcast ever pretty much), and so many others; every episode is an absolute delight. It has become our new Saturday morning cartoon: we’ll bank up several episodes and binge-watch them while having breakfast – just like when we were kids!
Season two premiered back in October and since we watch exclusively on Hulu, we’re saving a handful of new episodes to do the same the next free Saturday we have.
If you love smart humor, if you love “Indiana Jones” – heck, if you loved the original show – you’ll love the new “Duck Tales”. And in case you wonder about such things, it currently has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. So go watch it already!
Rating: 5 out of 5 Snack Packs
Lincoln L. Hayes is an actor and filmmaker living in NYC. He’s currently developing a new screenplay and two new podcasts. He also plays Dungeons & Dragons whenever he can. Follow him online @lincolnlhayes.