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Mission: Magic!

No Hocus Pocus Too Out Of Focus Here.
As a Filmation show, this and other toons by that same studio weren't among the shows I watched in my childhood. I've checked out a few of them sometime after I reached adulthood. For a while, I avoided Filmation's works, due to reading about their subpar quality and was hesitant to try any of them. But in my view, from what I've seen, some of these are somewhat better than others and I believe this to be such an example. Even though Filmation may had been one of the biggest, but not most flawless, cartoon studios at the time, again, I still consider, at least some of the materials, to be better than others anyway and would rather watch some, certain ones than the majority of cartoons that have emerged in recent years that are a bunch of dreck. I find this to be more worthy, despite some imperfections and would take this over the aforementioned any day. In an online search, I came across this show a while back. After not thinking about it for some time, I happened to come across this again, being reminded of it, a few nights ago, and decided to look it up on Youtube and check it out there. Despite it not being one of the most sophisticated cartoons ever made, I find it fascinating but alright enough regardless after watching the first three episodes. At least the creators and rest of the crew tried putting some effort into this, more than some others by the animation company.

This series is actually a spin-off of The Brady Kids and I thought this was a spin-off that outdid the predecessor. The lead character, the teacher Miss Tickle, was introduced in an episode from the forerunner's second season, which led to this. Even though it features a cartoon version of Aussie rocker, Rick Springfield, I'm not sure I can quite call this a celebrity cartoon, in spite of featuring a celebrity like him, since he's not quite the lead. But this has a hodgepodge of celebrity, edutainment, musical, fantasy, comedy, and mystery elements, all rolled up into one.The fantasy element may be the main one. There have been similarities compared between this and the original Magic School Bus T.V. show that followed almost a couple decades later. I wondered if the creator/author of the Magic School Bus books, Joanna Cole, was inspired/influenced by this, but looking for that on the book series's Wikipedia page, I didn't see any mention of that. Anyway, other reviewers before me have already described the plot of this, which has each episode revolving around Miss Tickle and her ethnically-diverse group of six students who make up the Great Adventures Club, traveling through a portal that's a chalk drawing of a door that magically opens and can be physically used to enter other worlds, after being contacted by Rick via a gramophone whenever there was help needed. The ceramic cat, Tut-Tut, would also come to life and become a live cat who accompanied the others and meet up somewhere with Rick, who has his own pet, an owl named Potamy. Concerning the blackboard aspect, it's also similar to Chalkzone, except there aren't chalk drawings brought to life in this. Not getting into much more of the concept, I'm going to comment on the technical aspects of this next.

Like several, other T.V. programs by the studio and others from the same decade, the animation is limited, but not so limited that it's in the synchro-vox style of things like Clutch Cargo, so it's not as limited nor cheap as a cartoon can get. There are a few reused scenes in each episode, repetitive, scrolling backgrounds, and the like, but that was the norm. The colors are moderate, not too dark nor too bright, but just right, such as those of the psychedelic designs in the background when Miss Tickle and the students are flying from the classroom to another world. Speaking of colors, there's some animation goofs involving them, but a few, as is also the norm in cartoons, unless this occurs too much, as in the various Super Mario Bros. cartoon series. Some of the objects and buildings in the sceneries are detailed, while others are flat. I can't find much to complain about the writing of the stories and scripts, as they may be simple, but also satisfactory enough. The character designs are probably simple, I'm not very sure, but easy on the eyes. Although the characters themselves may not be the among most complex one will ever see, they're just likable enough. The theme song is a great association with one of the sub-genres that were big at the time, as are other songs performed within the episodes. The voice work for the characters is well-done and notably the cast has both male and female voice actors, rather than just limiting to male voice actors who try to do impressions of feminine voices for female characters, unlike some of the other oeuvre. There's also a laugh track, which is used at just the right moments.

I read that Rick hated on this show and the fact that, early on, this was one of the ways used to showcase his songs, and career, by his involvement. But then again, he had to start somewhere. I don't see it as being all that bad. There may have been other toons that came along later to outshine it, but I say it has some merits. I view it as fun nonetheless and it's some breath of fresh air from the middle of the Scooby Doo clone-trend that was common back then, so there's that as well. Some may think that the initial Magic School Bus is better as far as production quality goes, but if this isn't better than that, then it's on the same level as that. One difference is, although there was magic involved in that show too, Ms. Frizzle and her students never went world-hopping, but they remained in the real world. Aside from the theme song, Magic School Bus never had any musical numbers. This is one Filmation series I can take for what it is and from my viewpoint, it's one of the better products. It's better than or better next to The Brady Kids, M.U.S.H., and Friday Cat, and I haven't seen it mentioned as getting as much detestation as those. Following the Civil Rights Movement, it's great to see shows with ethnically-diverse characters such as this. That's one of the brighter spots about it. I would like to think that had this gotten a second season, it hopefully would've been improved somehow, disregard-fully knowing Filmation's typicalities. To anyone who might be curious as to what this is all about, I say give it a whirl. It's worth a shot. This is one of those I prefer and would still take over things like Mega Babies and Almost Naked Animals, once again, any day. Recommended.

Wondrous Myths & Legends

This Show May Be Legendary, But It's Anything But Mythical.
Another cartoon I don't recall knowing of before discovering it on the web. I first saw another promo pic with a link to videos of the series's episodes on Tubitv, but I'd watch them on Youtube instead. From the first seven episodes I've seen so far, this has been a blast. I was surprised to learn that it's yet another foreign animated show (particularly from the European country of Spain). But regardless, the crew behind it did a well-done job on making legends and myths more exciting. I don't think this adventure program is like any other I've ever seen or, at least, know about at all. One of the best to come out towards the end of the '90s, very impressive. This toon isn't just the stuff of myths and legends. There are no tall tales nor yarns to be found here.

It follows two siblings named Lisa and Nick Campbell, as well as their pet dog, Zeus, who spend their free time exploring a cave known as The Cave of Mythos, as the former two explain in the intro. Whenever they come across a picture, a crystal, or some other object they touch, it's activated, and they end up getting transferred to a time and place pertaining to the myth or legend, and associating with those. Once they get there, they become witnesses to the myth or legend, meet the figures associated with it, and face a problem in which they have to find a solution before they can return home to Denver, Colorado. To name a couple of myths/legends the siblings and canine meet throughout their adventures, they include those having to do with the Midas touch and the Loch Ness Monster, among others. In addition to this, there's sometimes a moral lesson to take from them as well.

Concerning the technicalities of this: the artwork is what I consider to be some of the better drawn, any animation errors aside, and the animation moves smoothly enough. The main characters, Lisa and Nick, are great heroes who have great chemistry and complement each other well. Lisa is the more serious and mature of the two, but she can take time to be frivolous every once and a while; Nick is less serious, but he knows it's time to stop being so frivolous when he realizes he's gone too far for some reason or another. As for the typical, sibling relationship, it's exactly that rather than rivalry, and they always look out for each other. Other characters, especially this series's rendition of the various legendary and mythical figures, are great as well. Haven't heard the Spanish dub, but the voice acting in the English dub sounds fine. The music is pleasing to the ears and well-composed, done just right.

What more can I say about this? It's just a thrill ride of a lifetime that doesn't disappoint. Lately, I've been getting into more and more adventure cartoons, and this is among the finest. Like the saying goes, "Seeing is believing", and after each legendary or mythical icon the Campbell siblings meet, it becomes clear that they're all seemingly very much real after all they've experienced. Haplessly, this is one of the one-season wonders, so there'd be no further myths and legends for the Campbell siblings to venture. I detest how it ended as soon as it did, as I feel there are a lot more undertakings to be had with such potentiality. I wish there were, at least, 52 additional episodes before being dropped. Now this is among my kinds of shows, those that are meaningful, not mindless. It's another underrated gem that's worthy. What I consider to be amongst the best I've ever seen. One of my most beloved animated shows and series in general of not only the '90s, but of all time. Any other adventure show lovers like me who may be reading this, please do check it out as soon as possible, well-worth watching, I can't praise this show enough. Recommended.

Flight Squad

Taking Flight To New Heights.
I'm not sure how I came to find this one, but it may have been while I was searching for some other cartoon on Google. But this caught my attention and I decided to give it a try, and, as usual, I don't regret doing so. This is another Canadian cartoon classic, it's no disappointment. It's one of my picks for best animated T.V. series from Canada, of the year 2000, and of the whole decade. I didn't watch many action cartoons growing up, but in adulthood, I'm appreciating them more and more. This is without a doubt action-packed and it doesn't disappoint. Due to there currently being only six of the episodes available to watch online, namely Youtube, this is all I've been able to see of it. But I've enjoyed each of them and what I've seen so far. Even though I might not have given this the time of day if it had been brought to the attention of any of my local T.V. stations, had I been aware and learned about this sooner, it's still unbelievable that a Canadian toon of this level of excellence gets less push to the masses than the more, nonsensical mess from that same country like Almost Naked Animals. As this is one of the better and more worthy shows.

Also known in the French dub as Air Academy, this revolves around a septet, some of whom are up-and-comers in the aviation field. The leader, Dan, formerly worked for the Canadian Secret Service and is an ex-fighter pilot; Tina, the aspiring aviator; Max, the team's mechanic; Jeff, another aspiring aviator; Jeff's younger sister and pre-teen, Emma, who handles air traffic control; Emma's fellow pre-teen, Alex, who does the same; and Parachute, a flying squirrel who is the team's pet and mascot (although he doesn't quite look like a flying squirrel, since he seems to lack wing-like appendages under his arms). An independent air services company is run and they carry out a la carte missions for their clientele, and coming to the aid of others in need. I presume it may be both a flight services agency and a flight school. Aside from that and flying planes, jets, and any other aircraft, they partake in other aerial activities, such as parachuting and skydiving. In addition to all this, they're tasked with foiling the plots of a group of mercenaries known as the Barracudas.

On to the technical aspects of this. It makes a great use of traditional and CG art/ animation. The art style is well-drawn enough and the animation seems fine most of the time from all that I've seen. I mention this, because in one of the episodes that I know of, the lip-synching of the characters to the dialogue is done well, at first, but then it's off midway into it. I wish that problem had been fixed. The only CG mixed in this is of the aircraft and they look good enough to me, as they look nearly realistic. Plus, it's interesting to see a cartoon made at a time when both art/animation styles were still being utilized simultaneously. The writing of the stories seem distinctive enough to be unfamiliar of what I may have seen before (or , at least, that I know of), anyway. Haven't heard the French dub, but the English dub sounds just right. The music sounds just as good. Other than the little aforementioned problem with it, I didn't find many.

For anyone reading this who hasn't seen the program, I highly advise to check it outs it is so worthwhile. I'd add this to my list of animated T.V. series I'd like to see be brought to DVD, especially as a complete series. Although I may not have been that deep into aviation like that, it's still an interesting thing to watch in this show. It's a high-flying thrill ride, full of action and adventure. Recommended.

Princess Tenko and the Guardians of the Magic

More Than Just Tricks Up Her Sleeves.
Once again, while doing an online search for lesser but great/better cartoons that were previously unknown and new to me, I came across this. And it's another great find I made. I decided to check this out on Youtube some time last month and it's become another favorite but underrated animated series of mine I love, not just from the '90s, but of any decade. Since it's based on a celebrity (albeit loosely), it happens to be one of those rare, better, and stronger celebrity toons. I didn't watch many of those growing up and it's even rarer that I show interest in any of them now, as shows like that aren't really my first choice and I can see why most of them are so unworthy. But this is one that's exceptional. So exceptional, in fact, that to me, it's one of the best ever made. Most celeb toons are rubbish, not this one. The titular character also became one of my favorite voice roles by Cree Summer. Because of the reimagining of the famous person on which it's based, it's done well and doesn't disappoint.

Like the real-life Princess Tenko, the cartoon Princess Tenko's real name is Mariko Ikatura. And as the latter's real counterpart would become, this other Princess Tenko is an aspiring, advanced magician. She is admitted into a magic school by the head/teacher/master of it and ex-leader of the Guardians named Hikita Tenko. There, she meets her diverse trio of male classmates, Bolt (Caucasian), Hawk (Native American), and Steel (American Black), and they are the other Guardians of Magic, forming a team. Twin brother and sister, Jan and Jason, attend the magic school as well. Jan is envious of Princess Tenko, because she self-righteously feels she's more entitled and deserving of succeeding Master Tenko, despite slacking off on her training, unlike Princess Tenko. Despite Jason trying to convince her to just let it go otherwise, Jan is determined to take the position that she feels is rightfully hers and will stop at nothing to get it. But Princess Tenko and the Magic Guardians won't let that happen as long as they're around. Their goal is not to let a magical wardrobe that contains enchanted gems, known as the Starfire Gems, from getting into the wrong hands and keep them away from anyone who plans to use them with malicious intentions and purposes. Each of the gems has different, superpowers that aid each of the Guardians. The twins use two gems (or pieces of a gem), that when they're put together, the twins shape-shift into a conjoined dragon. Not long after, Princess Tenko and the others meet a troubled, teenaged, runaway girl named Ali, who later joins the team. From there, they travel from place to place all while being pursued by the twins. There, Princess Tenko leads a double life: One as a magic show performer; the other as protector of the Starfire Gems. So, she and her friends work with extraordinary magic, more than just the kind seen and used in magic shows.

The art and animation equally go hand-in-hand in terms of the quality being good. Each of the characters is fine in his and her own way. The stories are written with care, especially when they contain a social message. The music isn't too bad at all. The graphics, backgrounds, and layouts aren't bad neither, nor is the voice acting, even if I'm not familiar with most of the cast. The live-action, magic show segments featuring the real Princess Tenko and follow the episodes are enjoyable treats. The social message thing I just mentioned that's incorporated into the plots just may be why this celebrity, animated series seems to work so well to me, as it has more meaning than most, other, like-minded programs.

Before discovering this, I hadn't heard of the real Princess Tenko nor the illustrated/animated Princess Tenko. I don't remember ever being aware of this show when I was younger, but if I did, I wish I had seen it sooner now. In my view, although it's one of the better '90s T.V. series (animated or otherwise), it was also one of the most slept on and simply didn't garner enough attention that it deserved. And it truly deserved so much more. As a result of this, the show was dropped from continuing after it's one and only season. It's become a favorite for me by Saban. Anybody who may be reading this and is considering checking out this show, I say give it a go. It's one of those shows that's worth watching more than once. I know some of the episodes were brought to DVD in the U.K., but I'd love to see it get a U.S. release in that format as well. Recommended.

Miles from Tomorrowland

Spectacularly Special Space Series That's Anything But Spaced-Out Or Spacey For The Most Part.
Before I came across this show by reading a little about one of the characters on the Disney fandom site, I think I might had already known about this for some time, somehow or for some other reason, despite never catching it on Disney Junior when it was running, I'm just not that sure. But from what I read about this show itself, it ignited enough of my curiosity and interest in wanting to check it out on Kiss Cartoon and here's yet another show I don't regret seeing. I'm working on a list of my top 20 favorite animated T.V. series of the 2010s and this is among them. I must say, this is one of the better/best T.V. cartoons of the last decade. Not only that, but also one of the more underrated toons it seems, as this doesn't get brought up much, as that's evident from the few reviews there are on here and Common Sense Media currently. Additionally, it's since become amongst my favorite space/sci-fi shows, educational shows, and CGI shows. One of the smartest and most impressive in recent years that proves that, despite some clunkers in the Disney Channel/Disney Junior's repertoire, the studio is still quite capable of coming up with some great, strong, newer material. Programs of this caliber are what restore my faith in cartoons and verify that there's so much more to them than the stereotypes. I can say without doubt and hesitation that this is one of those that are worth watching and enjoying as much as an adult as I would if I were still a kid. Just a few late nights/early mornings ago, I binge-watched four episodes (eight segments) of the first season back-to-back as a mini marathon and I'm almost done and on my way to viewing the second. One of the best things Walt Disney Television Animation has ever done, I can't praise this enough.

The original title is a nice, clever nod to the Disneyland attraction, even if the reference is somewhat indirect and the show doesn't exactly revolve around that. One of the reviewers before me already explained the premise of this and I think the explanation is better than how I can explain it. I'll make mine shorter and make some notable points about it differently. Rather than focusing on Tomorrowland, the Disneyland attraction, it's really about a family of four, futuristic Earthlings, The Callistos, and their pet robotic ostrich, Merc, who are members of an organization or agency called Tomorrowland Transit Authority (TTA) and they have adventures traveling around the galaxy to various other planets, basically helping out others in need. In addition to the educational values about the solar system, the plots of the episodes often find the family and/or some others getting into a jam and a solution to the predicament needs to be found. So amid the positive aspects about this are the emphases on problem-solving and teamwork. Just when one may think everything there is to discover in space has been discovered, there's always something new up there and out there for one to find, and see.

From all that I've seen so far, I can't complain much about this. High-quality CGI art/animation, superbly written stories, many likable to lovable characters, well-composed music, the regular/recurring/guest voice actors, all great in their roles, everything about it is just about flawless. That is, up until the third season, according to a couple, other reviewers on here. Under the title of Mission Force One, the other commentators claim that's when the series began to decline. I haven't gotten to see the third season yet, but I'm kind of hesitant and wary to see that when I do, because of whatever content there is in that ruining the image and memories of the previous seasons. But I'll still check that out too eventually, anyway, despite the claim that it's not quite as great as the first two seasons. Although I haven't seen it yet, I presume the third has the son, Miles, his sister, Loretta, and their crew of mostly alien friends become more of the focus rather than he, his sister, and their parents as they continue their aspirations to be space explorers. From the complaints I briefly read about Mission Force One here, it seems like it that could'nt and wouldn't have been as bad probably if it were treated more as a spin-off rather than an extension or continuation of Miles From Tomorrowland. The crew behind this and whoever came up with that idea might had been better off doing it that way instead and keep the original format as it was. For this reason, I give it one less star than I would've were it not for the decline in quality later.

Regardless of whatever problems there may be with the third and last season, I say this is still worth giving it a go anyway. It hasn't been a disappointment to me from what I've seen to date and it's miles or lightyears ahead of Ready, Jet, Go. The factoids are always good to learn about and know. But this one that Disney has done it again. One of the most entertaining I've ever seen. Recommended.


This Band Doesn't Play A Sour Note Nor Miss A Beat.
I happened upon this show while doing an online search for some other animated T.V. series, this being among the cartoons of which other users searched. Eventually, I viewed it a couple late nights/early mornings ago on Youtube and even though all I've seen is the first episode so far, I already absolutely love it. Another great decision I'm glad I made when it comes to which shows that are new to me to try out and watch. Once again, this has become a new favorite for me of not only one of my favorites of the 2000s and coming out of Britain, but of all time, and I also found myself a new, favorite musical series, and this just may be my most favorite in that genre. I just couldn't wait to get deeper or farther into the series to review it. It seems to be yet another great but underrated show.

This doesn't contain the run-of-the-mill battle of the bands concept and story. It's much more than that. This supergroup of teen musicians (B.B., Freez, and Mo) come together to play for an even bigger, more significant purpose. It involves a matter of saving the world and their performances are what depend on it. The trio have a rivalry with another trio called Mantyz (Kurtz, Lady Lux, and Hitt), who work under the machinations of Mya De Zya, a record label head of a company called ComaCo, responsible for producing prepsie acts. Each of these two music groups has a Sonic Lord that becomes an ally to them: A benevolent, female Sonic Lord called Sugar Che with the titular band (and who were christened by her) and a malevolent, male Sonic Lord called Vox with Mantyz. Sugar Che represents keeping the world balanced, whereas Vox represents keeping the world imbalanced. In addition to the twelve musical notes, there's a thirteenth note that must be obtained as a crucial part of preventing the world from being put out of whack, so then there will be harmony rather than discord; everything with be tonal instead of atonal; sonant rather than dissonant. Each of the Sonic Lords provides assistance towards their goals along the way. The heroes and heroine are destined to be the saviors of the world.

The program gets off to a strong start with its writing of the plot of the first episode. The setup is well done. At first, when I saw the illustrations of the main characters, I thought the art style was much like that of the spy show, Delilah and Julius, but not quite entirely. It's at least partly like that anyway, since the art seems to be a combination of 2D and CGI, if there's a term for this, then I don't know if there's any, other way to describe it, but they blend flawlessly well. The animation has plenty of fluidity, the backgrounds and layouts aren't hard on the sight. The protagonists are well-liked and their adversaries make for worthy challengers. Not only the theme song is pleasant to listen to, but so are the musical numbers, very entertaining, enjoyable enough, and pleasingly catchy, original songs that are eclectic, spanning genres. Although this is a British production, I think, like, most of the characters' voices aren't British-accented, but regardless of that, they still sound fine. One thing of note, singer Jamelia provides Sugar Che's singing voice. The heroic musicians should've been among those mentioned, at least, in the honorable mentions of Watch Mojo's Top 10 Animated Bands list-video. Because I consider them to be a potential hit.

I look forward to going through the rest of this series. An excellent first impression that wasn't a let down at all in my view. Another one I wish I could've seen sooner. It might be one of the most slept-on cartoons. Any readers, I plead to check this out, it's well worth a watch. There are no sour notes to be found, let alone heard, here. Recommended.

Les jumeaux du bout du monde

Each Twin From Another Kin.
Jean Chalopin (co-creator of Ulysses 31) had done it again. He had made another true classic. Yet again, this is one of those greats I came across while doing an online search for some other show, but as always, when I find something of this quality, I'm very much glad I did. Another show I hadn't heard of nor known about previously, I wish I had been able to watch this in my childhood. Even back then, I'm sure I still would've loved it. For some reason, it seems that the English dub of this French-Japanese co-production was hidden from U.S. airwaves but not Australia's, making me unaware of it priorly. It should've gotten airplay in the U.S., in fact, it would've fit in and been well at home on Nickelodeon along with other anime series that used to be shown on there, like The Mysterious Cities of Gold. I checked out the first few episodes I've seen so far for most of this past week online and I've been enjoying them well so far. Another one that's got me hooked. Some of the programs I find are the best discoveries I've ever made.

Set in the very late 19th century/very early 20th century, this tells the story about two special and gifted, fraternal twins who are different not only in gender, but also in race/nationality named Jules (who is the Asian/Chinese brother) and Julie (his Caucasian/English sister) Tournier. Despite both of them being born to two different sets of parents, as well as their racial/national differences, they are still considered siblings to each other and treated as if they're related by blood just the same. This all has to do with them having several things in common, such as both of them being born in Shanghai, China, their real fathers becoming widowed after their mothers died in childbirth, a Moon Goddess involved with them from afar, both the twins being born and blessed with special powers, and more. All of the aforementioned are parts of a prophecy. A Chinese empress named Dowager sends her henchmen to have the babies slain to prevent the future of the two becoming saviors of China and having her overthrown. But through an act of a miraculous event, they are saved and manage to survive the failed attempt of being murdered. Baby Jules and Baby Julie are taken in by Martin Garcon and Captain Tournier, who adopts them. They all eventually make their way to Europe. Twelve years later, they're now preteens, but they're still not quite out of danger, as Empress Dowager has her henchmen trying to do her dirty work again. The kids have to be whisked away to safety and for the rest of the series, they are pursued through Eurasia. The twins are bonded by an intuitive connection, such as both being strongly able to sense danger or that something's wrong. Along the way to reaching their goal of freeing their dads from imprisonment, they gradually improve on the use of the seven powers they share and experience double the extraordinariness.

Everything about this is brilliantly well-done. The characters (especially the titular, two main protagonists/heroes), the writing, the art/animation, the music (especially the English version of the theme song), and the voice work (I heard the English dub only and it sounds fine). Not really any complaints about this. Well, almost. The exception being I just wish the audio/visual synchronization was perfect, as it's off at times. Amongst the animations that are so different from the more common fare. Once again, it has become another one of my favorite foreign cartoons/anime, animated shows of the 1990s, and just among my favorite shows overall, animated or otherwise. It's just as great as Chalopin's other creation, Ulysses 31. Shows of this high caliber should be getting more push instead of the mindless dreck that gets more attention. It truly deserves so much more. Another DVD release in which I'd be interested and invest. This is added to my "Best Cartoons/Anime/General Shows" Ever Made" list. Everybody who may be reading this, this is an exciting show that will give you one of the best thrill rides of your life. Well worth the watch and recommended.

The New Shmoo

Beginning With Scooby Doo And Crew; Ending With New Shmoo And Crew.
Because this was less than a decade before my time, it never seemed to air on Cartoon Network (or, at least, that I know of, anyway), and I was never able to watch it on Boomerang, it's one of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons I didn't grow up on watching. Other than Josie and the Pussycats and The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, this is one of the Scooby Doo clones I didn't see when I was little/younger nor did I know those I did see were supposed to be rehashes of Scooby Doo. I decided to check it out online earlier this year, despite this and the other imitators' reputation for being derivative. Not regarding the facts that I grew up on watching some of the Scooby shows and in spite of having some bias toward the franchise in recent years, due to how omnipresent it is and coming out with something new to add to the franchise too frequently, I actually find this slightly better too in spite of it being formulaic and gimmicky. It may be considered a guilty pleasure for me probably.

After the Lil' Abner comic creator Al Capp's death, Hanna-Barbera got the rights to use his Shmoo character in his first animation appearance. One of the three mystery/Scooby-based shows adapted from previous, other properties (after Josie & the Pussycats and The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan). But what separates the Shmoo seen in this show from the one in the comic is that this version of the character has shapeshifting powers.

The New Shmoo follows the adventures Shmoo has with a diverse trio of teenagers who are comic book writers/detectives: the Caucasian males: Mickey and Billy Joe, (the latter also being a hick) and a Latina: Nita. Both Mickey and Nita are more excited, and enthusiastic, when it comes to pursuing cases, whereas Billy Joe is less so and is the worrywart of their investigative circle. The cases they solve are sources of inspiration for the comics. Shmoo provides some comic relief in the form of sight gags, by turning into whatever object happens to be mentioned and he often takes it literally. One of the reviewers before me described the show as a cartoon X-Files. I'm not so sure about that (especially considering since that hadn't even come to fruition yet), but it does try to be a little more distinctive with a few sci-fi elements. Although homogeneous, there's still a reason to watch it anyway, if nothing else, for its historical firsts. Interestingly enough, Nita seems to be the first Latina lead protagonist in a Hanna-Barbera toon and she, and Mickey, may be the first interracial item. Another distinction is that almost none of the criminals in this series use the "you meddling kids" line or any other variations of it. Unlike the Scooby Doo franchise's Daphne Blake, Nita is never a damsel-in-distress (though I've read elsewhere that Daphne isn't that anymore at some point in later Scooby series).

The art and character designs are among the finest ever drawn. The character animation seems fluid enough, but as far as the backgrounds, they seemed to be more limited since the scenery is looped at times. Aside from that and the occasional goofs, those may be the only things that make the animation, at least, partly limited, so I'll give those a pass regardless. The stories, though average, are at least coherent. The voice work sounds fine enough. The music is decent too, with the theme song having enough catchiness to it. The characters are decent enough.

As the '70s winded down, this would close the Scooby clones trend. This is notable for arriving at the tail end of the '70s and being the last of the Scooby clones, but it ended on a decent note. Like the other Scooby emulators or imitators, it just didn't match that franchise's success. Other than Shmoo himself, the detectives haven't appeared in anything else since, seemingly not even a cameo in Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law. I'd like to see something done with them again somehow, as long as it's done right. Despite its gimmicky derivation, I've been having a fondness for it anyway and I think this just may actually be my most favorite of the Scooby clones. When it's finally brought to DVD officially, I think I'd still buy it. To all those who griped about the Scooby pattern, it was actually some network executives' idea, not Hanna-Barbera, so they should be blamed more. But after thinking about it, I don't mind that too much, since there'd be material to compensate for that later. It's good enough for what it is. I rather watch this than anything by Dingo Pictures, Spark Plug Entertainment, and that Brazilian animation studio any day. It isn't too bad, much better than Fangface (from video reviews I've seen of it) and The Buford Files (with writing not on the level of this, based on a commentary I read). Even if it may not had set itself apart enough, it's still underrated and was slept on for simply being a Scooby clone. It didn't have a chance and deserves much more. At least it recycles animation less than The Amazing Chan cartoon. Please, don't pass this up for anybody reading this. Recommended.

I'd Love to Take Orders from You

The Little Scarecrow That Seemingly Could.
This is another one of those Merrie Melodies shorts I didn't watch growing up, therefore, at the time, I had no idea it ever existed. But after reading through WB's Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies filmography, I discovered this and decided to check it out earlier this year. Since then, as always, I found something that caught my attention and it's become a favorite for me, yet again, in the MM series, as one of those 1930s animated shorts by WB/MM, one of my favorite one-offs, or even just in general.

At the center is a family of three scarecrows: Pa Scarecrow, Ma Scarecrow, and Junior Scarecrow. Junior aspires to be just like his dad, wanting and hoping to be the scariest scarecrow there ever was. But after some practicing with Pa, it doesn't quite go so well and he hasn't quite achieved his goal, and Pa doesn't think he's ready yet. The next day, Junior goes out to try out his scares on a few animals and when each of them flees from him, he thinks he actually did it successfully. Then, when he comes across a crow, he tries to frighten him, but it simply isn't effective nor does it faze the bird. Instead, it ends up with the crow scaring rather than scaring the crow. The crow pursues Junior until coming to a halt when he sees Pa, who gives him such a fright he turns white before taking off to escape in a hurry. Junior thinks he managed to get the crow to flee, but that turns out not to be so when he realizes his dad is there and has been looking for him. Later that night and back at home, Junior tells Ma all about how much he gave the black bird such a scare, but gets terrified again when he sees a shadow of what he believes to be a real crow, but it's revealed to be a crow-shadow-puppet made by Pa.

This short's title is the same as the musical number featured in it, during the scare- rehearsal scenes. As with several, other Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts at the time, the titles were derived from the songs presented in them, as the series began as musical comedies and were focused on showcasing and promoting the WB studio's musical library more than the comedic aspects of the cartoons. But as both theatrical animated short series progressed and over time, they'd get loonier and loonier for the most part. One interesting thing about this is that it's an example of marking a transitional point of the LT and MM shorts falling somewhere between their musical/cutesier moments and their more hilarious/wackier ones. After the dull, subpar, and forgettable Buddy shorts from the mid '30s and Tex Avery came on board as a director, he really turned things around for the series and the studio. How they came about is all thanks to him, he contributed to giving them the vitality they were lacking and desperately needed.

The art is an example of how much higher quality this and several, other, '30s LT and MM shorts have compared to many of the much later ones from the mid to late '60s. The animation flows well enough, such as in the scenes in which the crow chases Junior. The writing of both story and dialogue is good enough. The music, probably especially the musical number, is pleasant. The voice work is decent enough. It's just a well-made cartoon all around, so I have no gripes with it.

But since seeing this, I've been wondering, are the members of the Scarecrow family the only live ones there or are there others? Is there a whole, larger community of scarecrows or are they all owned by a farmer and they go back to being inanimate when he's around them? Anyway, for all the aforementioned reasons, I consider this to be one of my picks for the best '30s cartoon shorts in general. Recommended.

Dragon Flyz

Dragon Flyz Not Only Maximize, But Also Reach For The Skies.
Looking at a list of 1990s cartoons on the Skool Days site, the link to this title in the "D" section caught my eye. I'm not sure if I remember somehow hearing of this show premiering in that decade, but if I did, then I simply passed or slept on it. Then, over two decades later, I decided to give it a go on Youtube. This was inspired by my desperation to find better cartoons to try out after having overlooked them previously in lieu of the dreck that passes for the medium. It has since been added to my favorites list (both of the '90s and in general) and, once again, to my list of 'toons I wish I had bother to check out sooner. Considering this is what I'd consider to be one of the most impressive programs I've ever seen. So far, I've seen only the first episode, but it left a great impression on me in such a big way. I found something new to me on which to be hooked.

Although other reviewers prior to me already explained the premise, I'l try to discuss some things about it differently, in that they haven't been mentioned. This series follows the titular characters, who make up a team of four siblings: The three brothers, Z'neth, Summit, and Peak, along with their sister, Apex. Evidently, all their names are various references to the top or highest point of something. Set in the 41st century, they and others used to make the ground or land their home, but were forced to take refuge to the sky in a place called Airlandis, as their new home, due to a war outbreak that destroyed much of the planet, Earth. Crystals are searched for with the help of their pet dragons to keep their stratospheric safe haven balanced. Also, they go in search of a place that hasn't been devastated by the war and radiation outbreak, which resulted in the appearances of unprecedented species, like the aforementioned dragons. But their are several mutants, led by Dreadwing, that are out to devastate Airlandis as well. The Dragon Flyz have special wings that are built into their seemingly ordinary suits that turn them into wing suits and allow them to take flight. Again, each of the siblings has his and her own dragon and like the human foursome, most of them are male: Riptor for Z'neth, Sky Fury (the lone female dragon) for Summit, Wing Storm for Peak, and Blazewind for Apex. Funnily enough, I would've thought a female dragon would be paired with Apex, but ironically not. Sometimes their owners use their steeds for transport to travel. The first three episodes comprise a story arc and a feature film. Amazingly, this show seemed to predict that one day wing suits would become a reality. In addition to this being an animated action/adventure/sci-fi/fantasy/drama, it could be considered environmental with the near-ruins of Earth used as a focal point to get its message across.

On the technical, both the art and animation are breathtaking; the characters (both heroes and villains) are a great bunch; the story is written flawlessly; the music is fine too. The presentation had its own toy-line by Galoob, but due to inconsistencies by different sources, I can't be sure if the toy-line inspired this or if it was vise-versa. I don't know which came first, but if it's the former, then this is another toyetic 'toon that managed to outdo itself in many more ways than one. Proving that not all toy-based cartoons are useless, other than being extended commercials and it's surely among the better ones. At first, it seemed like things were going to go sky-high for the Dragon Flyz. But due to the toys failing to sell, it wasn't quite sky's the limit for them and the series. That misfortune led to this being yet another potential but short-lived program that was dropped too soon. It seems to be one of those shows that didn't get a proper nor satisfactory ending. Not only does this seem to have been underrated, but the toys seemed to be as well. If only this were brought to DVD in the U.S., as I'd like to own my own copy of the complete series. I may not had been as appreciative of toons like this at the time, but now I have a whole new appreciation for material of this caliber. Please, don't pass this up, as this is really amongst those that are truly worthy. Recommended.

For Better or for Worse: The Good-for-Nothing

More Like The Good-For-Something.
I had planned to watch this on Youtube last year, but the only copy that was available got removed before I could do so. After searching for a copy of this elsewhere online, luckily, I was able to find and view this through the archive site instead. This became the third For Better or For Worse special I watched after The Christmas Angel and A Valentine From The Heart, and this Halloween special is just as great as those Christmas and Valentines specials. The makers behind it did it again: They made another great classic in the franchise.

This special revolves around a couple of characters, Farley, the Patterson family's pet dog, and Brad Luggsworth, a bully who gives the son, Michael, a hard time. I'm not sure whether there are both a plot and a subplot in this or if the whole thing is one, whole plot. But how this story all came together is well-executed. The "good-for-nothing" to whom the title refers is Farley, who always seems to be nuisance for the Pattersons and others most of the time. Brad is a guy who has a rough-and-tough exterior. Later, Farley proves that he really can be a good-for-something after all when he comes to Michael's aid after Michael is confronted by Brad. Although there is some focus on Halloween with scenes featuring costumes and candy being given to trick-or-treaters, the aforementioned is more of the main focus. In the end, it's proven that Farley isn't completely useless, he can be useful, and that deep down there is some goodness in Brad. A similar scenario or situation of the latter has been done in the Valentine special also.

The art style remains true to that of the comics, while the animation is fluid enough. The characters are all great as usual, but it's Farley and Brad who are the standouts. Especially with Brad's character development. Although the music isn't among the catchiest I heard, it's still good enough. Even though I'm not well-familiar with most of the cast, the voice actors are as good as ever and seem well-suited to their roles. The story and script, and how they all came together were well-done. Two lessons that are learned from this are that one may be surprised at what another is capable of doing and that one should always be humble, because you never know when karma just may come back for you. It's relatable to anyone who may have had the misfortune of facing off with a bully.

This is one of the best Halloween specials ever made. In this case, simply for the morals or the lessons provided. For all those who may not had seen it already, I recommend it to everybody as it doesn't disappoint and it has plenty of good moments to keep things intriguing. It's should be seen for anybody who is looking for a fine Halloween special.

CBS Storybreak: The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek

Paleontology Lesson With The Unusual And The Unexpected.
I don't remember this being among the episodes of this show I watched during its mid to late '90s repeats, but I believe a few months ago when I watched this episode on Youtube, it was the first time I saw it. Can't compare and contrast it with the original story, as I never read it, but it's another one I still enjoyed nonetheless. There are interesting parallels and similarities between this and the ABC Weekend Special, "The Bunjee Venture". This features two siblings, brother and sister (Joey and Joan), as does "The Bunjee Venture" (Andy and Karen), who come across a prehistoric creature (George the Stegosaur, who was named by Joan, in this; Bunjee in the ABC Weekend Special) one way or another. With Joey and Joan, they cross paths with George in some plateaus; Andy and Karen cross paths with Bunjee by using their dad's time machine, which took them to prehistoric times. Both pairs of siblings have a mom and dad. I had to point out those three things I noticed, but that's where the parallels and similarities end. Therefore, both each book and its adaptation just may be somewhat of an answer to the other.

Set in the titular locale somewhere in the Southwest, the family's home is a ranch. Joey and Joan's dad is a paleontologist, and after they bring him his lunch, they go horseback riding into town. But little do they know they're about to be in for a huge surprise. On the way there, Joey falls off his horse and encounters a rattlesnake. Joan attempts to protect him, but both she and Joey are saved, thanks to a live, talking stegosaur who comes to their aid. The twins never would've thought they'd see the day when they'd actually come across a dinosaur of any kind in the flesh, much less one that can speak and he happens to be the last one in existence. Although the stegosaur is normally shy when it comes to showing himself to people, he makes an exception for Joan and Joey. The things of more modern times are foreign to the stegosaur, such as his unfamiliarity with chewing gum and mistaking an airplane for a pteranodon. After Joan christens her and Joey's new friend George, George has to go into hiding whenever others are nearby, and he has the ability to do this by camouflaging himself when he's near a plateau, changing himself to the same color as it, and appearing as if he's made of stone. In addition to this, there's a caper involved, committed in town by three men. Joan is in trouble when one of the men finds her alone after George seemingly disappears and catches her learning of their plans. Will George be able to muster the courage to come to her rescue again and will the law enforcers be able to apprehend the robbers?

This story is just as good as the other episodes I've seen so far in this series. The art with both the characters and the depictions of the backgrounds, and layouts, such as with the plateaus, are well-designed. The animation is a paragon of the quality being better than some, certain, other '80s cartoons. George himself is great, as while usually shy, he can summon bravery at times as well. Joey and Joan are the same. The incidental music consists of a ear-catching country/Western feel. I know of only some of the cast this episode features, but everyone sounded fine in their voice roles. Everything technical about it is top-notch. It's a mystery how George managed not to go extinct after prehistory. Another entertaining story/episode. What more can I say? Other than it's another winner. Recommended.

Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue

Ineffective, Cautionary PSA Tale.
Somehow, I didn't watch this when it aired, but I think it was three years later, after its airing, that I would have the opportunity to watch it when I rented a VHS copy of it from Blockbuster. I remember seeing the special on that itself, as I'm not sure if I saw the prelude with the late President George H.W. Bush giving that speech about the fight against drugs, but I know for sure I didn't see the musical performance given by some kids and the promotion of McDonald's after the end credits. I wouldn't know about that until I read that being mentioned elsewhere on another site. The purpose behind the making of this may have been the point, but like several others, I was just excited about the crossover thing with these mostly '80s cartoon characters from various shows of that same decade and that was what drew me into it.

Other than seeing the various cartoon stars of the day come together, again, now I'm not quite sure what I saw in it after watching. I guess I almost always wasn't that good at discerning and analyzing what was wrong with nearly anything I viewed on T.V. or VHS. This isn't one of my favorites. After reading others' reviews and comments on both here and on other sites, I now see it for what it really is more than not: A promo for the well-known characters' various shows more than about drug prevention. I remember seeing another drug prevention, PSA cartoon at some point in elementary school that had completely original characters rather than mostly established ones with newer characters. I hadn't seen it in years, but I did an online search for it and tried putting "D.A.R.E. cartoon" into the search engine, to be exact, it's actually called D.A.R.E. America. I wasn't sure of the title, but that was the first thing that came to mind and I found it on my first and only guess/try. I found video of that for viewing at Youtube, three copies, but unfortunately, they all have a Spanish dub only. Now that seemed so much better than this. Also, I thought the running time of it was closer to half an hour, but it's really just a little more than 12 minutes.There was a comment on another site stating that this get-together of mainly '80s animated characters could'd revolved around them battling the ultimate foe. That sounds like that would'd been a much more interesting idea. I like the sound of that more.

I can't explain too much about it that other reviewers before me hadn't explained what the problems are with it. But I'll try to mention what was already covered differently and more short-handedly. The point of its message being too preachy (though I probably wouldn't had gotten what the big deal with that would be back then, when I was little/younger), the inconsistencies (like with the Smoke character being able to pass through walls, but not a trash can), the explanations of why drugs are so bad for anyone being too vague or not specific enough. Therefore, all of these are what would make for bad writing. The established characters are somewhat themselves, but in this, they're also not 100% consistent. It may be nice too see them all in one place, but it's such a waste, as they hardly help out the main protagonist and drug abuser, Michael, they could'd been used so much better. They attempt an intervention, but the ways they do it are done badly. Of all the original characters, I like the sister of the special's protagonist, Corey, the most. I don't remember the musical number being all that bad, but I'll take others' word for it anyway and the rest of the music may be just alright. The art and animation seem fine enough, although somebody commented it not being on the same level as other animations from 1990, but I wouldn't know the exact difference. The cast, much of whom I'm familiar with, sound like they did a great job in there roles as usual (perhaps other than the singing).

It pains me to admit it, but this isn't as great as I once thought nor is it among the best cartoons ever made looking back on it. I have no idea how I could've missed it. It would've been much better as just another PSA ad that is much shorter like several others. In my review's title, I mention this cautionary PSA tale is ineffective for the reasons I mentioned above, so that means several may not had taken heed of the dangers and effects that drugs can cause, as the explanations were poorly done. Well, at least the one thing I can say that's the sole good that came out of this is, at least established toon characters from other '80s programs that weren't featured in this, fortunately for them, it's a great thing others didn't appear in this disaster. The aforementioned reasons are why it's no longer popular with me and some of the other reviewers on here, if it even ever was popular with them at all. Not the best anti-drug PSA ever made. Anyone who is interested in checking it out should see it at least once, even if it may not be one of the most perfect. If this were to be brought to DVD, I doubt it's worth owning, most nobody would be intrigued by this, other than the very young. Not recommended.

The Space Kidettes

It's An Outer Space Chase.
Among the less-renowned Hanna-Barbera toons I hadn't heard of nor grew up on watching, I first came across this show while looking at that studio's filmography and stills of scenes from this series. The storyline behind it appealed to me and made me curious enough to want to see the show online. I'm glad I made that choice, as it became one of my favorite T.V. cartoons from the 1960s, favorites by H-B, and favorites in general. I consider this to be one of the most exciting and entertaining programs ever made.

Due to the other reviewers prior to me already explaining what it's all about, I don't think I can state much that hasn't already been stated. But I'll try to explain differently while I keep mine shorter and try to add a few, other things of note to it. A quadruple crew of youngsters and their canine: Countdown, Scooter, Jenny, Snoopy, and Pupstar travel around the galaxy, from planet to planet, all while being pursued by the space pirate duo, Captain Skyhook and his underling/sidekick, Static. They're constantly after the kids' treasure map and their goal is to steal it from them; the kids' goal is to keep it within their possession. That's the basis, but both groups also meet other characters along the way.

What I have to add to this are the technicalities of it. The art is stylized, but the animation isn't limited like several, other animated works have been and with which they've been associated, including certain, other, H-B shows from the '60s. It's actually one of the rare T.V. toons from that decade that has full animation (which I wish was more common), so it turns out the T.V. animated series of that time having nothing but limited animated isn't entirely true, there were actually higher quality T.V. cartoons prior to the mid 1980s. As for the characters, some may say that the Space Kidettes have the same personality, at least seemingly, at first glance, but I beg to differ. They're really more distinctive from one another than one may think. The chemistry between the protagonists and antagonists allows it to play off of each side well enough. The writing I'm sure is much better than that of the Biskitts and the Monchichi's (even though I only saw clips of the former and read about both of them). Although I recognize some of the voice cast, they all sounded like they did a fine enough job bringing out their roles. The music is nice too, nothing to complain about there.

I read that each of the episodes was supposedly, approximately a half-hour long rather than ten minutes long and that after their original airings, some scenes from every one of those got lost over time. But from all that I watched so far, I can't tell at what points it seems there are any scenes missing. So, I'm not so sure just how true that is. Anyway, I consider it to be one of the better materials in that company's oeuvre. I say it's plenty worthy of a look. I have no regrets about it. Recommended.

Zak Storm

Out Of Swashbuckling Sight.
I thought about and remembered this being among the shows aired as part of the now-defunct Kids Click TV block of the This TV channel (at the time, I didn't know that this is a foreign cartoon that's a French/Italian/South Korean/Indonesian co-production with the U.S.). I didn't check for it when it was airing on there, but then I decided to try it out and watched the first couple episodes on one of the Watch Cartoons Online sites last late Wednesday morning. It's my belief that I've found another winner. I've gotten into only a few 2010's cartoons to date (and not including many of the bigger ones), but it has since become a new favorite of mine and to add to that list. Another one of my favorite cartoons, CGI or otherwise. Anyone who may be reading this and hasn't seen this series should get ready for sailing off to an adventure and fantasy that's sure to be a splash.

Now what can I say about this series that hasn't already been mentioned by one of the other reviewers before me or how can I explain it differently? Well, for one thing, it's one of those shows that has a continuing storyline. The titular, main character, Zak Storm, starts off as an ordinary boy whose hobby is surfing. Suddenly, he gets caught in a tidal wave, which sweeps him away from his home. He then finds himself lost and trapped in The Bermuda Triangle. Little does he know, he is destined and tasked to be a pirate, despite not having any prior experience in that nor having first-hand knowledge about it. It's up to him to hone his swashbuckling skills before he can achieve his goal to return home. But he seems to be a fast learner, with the help of an enchanted, piratical-accented, talking sword named Calabrass that has various modes, which allow Zak to take on various powers as he battles or duels with the villains. Another requirement prior to returning home is he must pick up and form a crew that consists of the Seven C's (that is, everyone in a group of seven having in common of their names beginning with the the letter C, a play on the word "sea") and they join him and share his quest of returning to their own homes. Everything I just mentioned may be the main or most notable points.

As for the content, it's great, aside from the wind-breaking attacks and humor provided by the ghost boy and crew member, Clovis. I wasn't expecting there to be any wind-breaking humor and usually, for the most part, I've avoided those kinds of shows and will try to avoid those. But because I love the premise of this series so much, I'll try to look past that and make an exception. On to the technical details of this production. The CGI exhibits a perfect paragon of how it's done properly. It's top-notch, so unlike the several, various, low-budget, very poor quality, straight-to-home video computer animated movies, and one of the better CG-animated 'toons ever made. The art of both the characters and the backgrounds, and layouts are well-designed. The colors have no issues, like clashing nor being too dark or too bright, but just right. Both the protagonists and the antagonists are amongst the better ones ever conceived. Ce Ce has become one of my new favorites. Don't recognize any of the voice actors in this cast, but they all sound like they did a job well-done. The music has that great sense of epic. The writing of the episodes' stories are well-connected, again, since this has a continuing storyline.

Anyone who hasn't viewed this, I advise and implore to do so as soon as possible. Even though I have yet to get through the whole series so far, I understand that supposedly there's finally supposed to be a second season coming out some time this year. What else or what more can I say other than this is one of the less disappointing programs of the decade. A swashbuckling smash, recommended.


An Urban-Flavored Teen And Muppet Series That Should've Had More Real Appeal.
Yet again, another series I don't remember hearing of nor knowing about growing up, but I wish I had and watched it, even if I wasn't a teen yet when this hit the air and I probably may not had been as interested in it nor appreciative as much back then. But if that were to be the case, I am now. This isn't your typical nor average teen show. Unlike the bigger, others in its genre, such as Saved By The Bell, this show was truly unique and stood out in that it featured lesser known Muppet characters. There weren't any other teen shows like it, so this may well be considered innovative or groundbreaking, as well as rather unusual. Not only was this a new, different side to teen-oriented programs, but to the Muppet franchise additionally. After reading about this online, I had to do a Youtube search for the show and watch it, which I did some months back and most of the episodes were available on that show's channel. But I got around to watching only a couple of them before, for some jacked and dumb reason, they were all pulled prior to me getting to see the rest last I checked on there. Currently, it's hard to find viewing it on other video sites and it should have more exposure again, as I say it deserves it.

Set in some New York location, this program follows an ethnically diverse circle of friends who are eight high school students (half of them boys, the other half girls) as they face and go through the typical issues of the juvenescence. However, in between the moments with them, there are also cutaways to moments with this series's Muppets, such as the Rastafarian philosopher Dread and his pigeon sidekick, Bird; the trio of Muppets that live Inside The Head: Libido, Lieutenant, and Captain; and the gossipy Dirt Sisters, Trish and Toya. Even though they're never seen interacting with the human characters, the Muppets are known to be there to the viewers to act as representations or metaphors to help with whatever difficulties, dilemmas, or obstacles any teens may be facing along the way. Because of the explanation and aforementioned, these Muppets may be seen as side characters, but regardless, they still fit into and jell well with the situations at hand.

Speaking on the technical aspects of this show, the first thing I must mention is the theme song. This rap or hip-hop tune is one of the best I've heard and has since become a favorite. The writing is well-handled in how the episode plots tackle serious, everyday problems while at the same time, blending that with the solutions and the humorous points to them. Both the humans and Muppet characters are have plenty of likability to them, as they're very well-rounded. The cinematography in this just fine for television, nothing too cheaply filmed. I'm familiar with only little of the cast, including Dule Hill, who would later go on to star in Psych. But they all seemed to act well enough in their roles. Intriguingly enough, one of the theme's composer's, Malik Yoba, would go on to star in New York Undercover the following year. Several of these Muppets would later appear in other shows.

This project was a collaboration or co-production between Jim Henson Productions and the charitable organization, the CityKids Foundation. Haplessly, after a single season, this would fall by the wayside, due to a lack or shortage of viewership. That right there convinces me this is one of the less notable series in the Muppets franchise and what I consider to be underrated. I hardly found any commentary on it anywhere on the Net, but I think it had potential and deserved to go farther than it did. I just can't praise this show enough, I believe it should've been nominated and won some Emmy. One of the most overlooked T.V. series of the '90s. In all of the Muppet franchise, I think this is my most favorite Muppet-related series. I'm just so fascinated by it and its concept. I think this one grabs me the most. I would like to own it on DVD if it were to be brought to home video. One of the best, it would be relevant to today's teens. It's worthy of watching and not a disappointment, as it doesn't talk down to viewers nor treat them with less than intelligence. As the stories are intelligently written. Recommended.


The Clothes Pile-Monster.
I had completely forgotten about this cartoon somehow, let alone that it was included as part of one of the seasons (fourth) of Eek! Stravaganza. But earlier this year, I just so happened to come across it again after doing an web search for something else. It was only then that the memories suddenly came flooding back. At the time, when I first watched it, I had no idea it was supposed to be one of those rehashes of some, certain, other shows, in this case, any of the Scooby Doo franchise, but that's what I've seen mentioned. Somehow, I just couldn't see it and missed that at the time. It's amazing just how much of an impact and influence that show had on some, certain other shows outside of the studio, Hanna-Barbera, rehashing it's own material. Not only that, but how just about everyone wanted and had to ride on it.

On to this segment series itself. Klutter revolves around a formerly inanimate pile of clothes that becomes a living, clothes pile-monster one day, thanks to Ryan Heap (whose and his family's surname is a reference to a clothes heap, get it?) inadvertently transferring some static electricity to it when he was really trying to shock his brother, Wade. Their little sister, Sandee, also finds out about Klutter, as do their friends and neighbors Vanna Erving and Kopp. Klutter becomes their pet, who exhibits dog-like behavior. They have adventures together while also finding solutions to mysteries following the tradition of the Scooby formula. However, the Heap siblings' parents, John and Andrea, are unaware of the attire pile being sentient and he's kept a clandestineness from them.

Despite what I could probably best describe as one of those formulaic gimmicks, I still like this anyway. In fact, maybe even over Eek the Cat. Even though it may not had been one of the more, original series and may had been average, but I find it alright for what it is regardless. It's one of those things that are good rather than great. What I can say concerning the technicalities of this production is that the writing is fine, that gave it enough humorous moments to keep it going strong. The art work, animation, and character designs aren't too bad. The colors are well-balanced, the backgrounds and layouts are fine as well. Although I'm familiar with, at least, some of the voice actors in this cast, they sound like they did well in their roles. The music is composed and played well-enough.

This was haplessly (and perhaps inevitably) short-lived, running for only eight episodes. Part of it having to do with it being associated with Eek the Cat and being a different series from that, and it didn't seem to fit in well with Eek, and another segment series, The Terrible Thunderlizards. That's what hurt its chances of having a better shot. It may had been one of those things that needed time to grow and improve. I think Klutter might had done better and lasted longer had it not been featured with the others, and aired as it's own, separate show (plus, it would've consisted of two segments of each episode instead of just one). Having read about some info behind the show, a fun fact is one of the characters, Kopp, is actually based on Eek's creator, Bill Kopp, who may had been considered to be involved in the creation of this at one point, but couldn't due to his being busy and committed to or with other projects. I wonder what he would had done as part of the crew behind this and could've or would've made it even better. With Ryan being an aspiring investigative reporter like his dad, it would've been interesting to see if the Heap kids' dad and mom would've ever learned about Klutter eventually. That would've finally given Mr. Heap the break he needed. In spite of the Scooby thing placed on it, I recommend it anyway nonetheless. It may not be the most perfect because of that, but I still find it plenty enjoyable. Also, correction to the air date: This actually premiered in 1995.

The New Adventures of Ocean Girl

Take A Ride To The Seaside.
This is yet again another T.V. cartoon series that I previously hadn't heard of and would come across later. This just happened to catch my eye while I was doing a Google search for something else through a picture of the titular character, also known as Princess Neri. Part of one weekend either earlier this month or late last month, I decided I'd check it out on my usual video-viewing site, Youtube. I saw the first couple episodes so far and I've been enjoying them. This is loosely based on the live-action T.V. series, Ocean Girl, which I also hadn't heard of nor seen, but I may plan to check that out too eventually. The New Adventures has since been added to my list of favorite animated T.V. series of the 2000s and what I consider to be amongst the best.

Among the foreign/Australian cartoons that were unknown to me, this is one of those that should've been imported for air in the U.S. and given more attention than some certain, other shows. It may be different from the live-action show, but I still rather this get airplay on American T.V. than several, particular shows that were given notice, basically anything that's been too mindless. I think the only Aussie cartoon that I knew of and grew up on watching was Blinky Bill. But of all those 'toons I've seen so far, I think this may be my most favorite. I can't say nor add anything about this program that hadn't been already been explained by the reviewer, so I'll just discuss the technicalities of it. When I mentioned too mindless shows, this isn't one of them. First, the writing is intellectually and intelligently written. Then, the characters, both the protagonists and the antagonists are great. The eponymous character herself, Princess Neri, is a fine heroine and has been one of my favorites since. The art and animation are decent aplenty, featuring a blend of traditional and CGI forms, when both used to be commonly used together simultaneously in the presentations, most notably in the backgrounds and the sceneries for the latter. The theme song is nice and easy on the ears with it's gentleness, as is the incidental music. I'm unfamiliar with the voice cast, but they all sound like they did alright in their roles. There are enough moments to keep things interesting.

One of those environmental series that may be my most favorite and I even think it's much better than Captain Planet. It should get the point of its message across. The planet, Oceana, is reminiscent of the lost city of Atlantis. One thing I can say concerning the premise is basically Princess Neri and, with the help of her friends, revolves around protecting the environment of her home world. Regrettably, this seems to be one of those series that got dropped too soon before receiving a more proper, satisfying conclusion. It deserved so much more than what it got and should've obtained it. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for something that is more meaningful and worthy of one's time. Because despite its difference from the first show, it's well worthy the watch.

The Adventures of Pow Wow

Just Naturally Native.
I've known about this now-mostly obscure T.V. cartoon series for some time. But reading about it on a few sites like Toon Tracker got me interested enough to want to check it out, which I was finally able to do some nights ago earlier this month on my usual go-to-site: Youtube. It's so rare nowadays, both the previous edition of this series and this one are hard to come by and there are hardly any episodes available online for viewing currently. There are two: One in English and the other in Polish. Additionally, there are a couple episodes that are on the Worst Cartoons Ever DVD, presented by animation historian Jerry Beck. The first of these I've seen so far is "The Magic Spigot".

From the info about how many episodes there are in total of both series, it's hard to say exactly as they're inconsistent. One site mentions 43, another states it's 52, yet another claims it's 88. I don't know for sure, I'm only presuming or speculating, but if there are 88 episodes from both series combined, then my theory is that the first 36 episodes are from the first Pow Wow show and the remaining 52 are from the second, which would add up to 88. Before getting into what the episode I saw is like, I just thought I'd point out something I deem noteworthy first. Anyway, I read that the production qualities and technicalities of earlier episodes (which might be from the original program) are poor and they ran for 15 minutes. When the second program of the same title followed and arrived, the newer episodes were reduced to 5 minutes and the presentation quality of those is much better. A couple of the episodes I saw seem to attest to this and what as far as I can surmise must be from the 1956-'58 series. Episodes were also originally in black-and-white, but I'm not sure how nor when any of them were later switched to color: Either color is found in only the latter show as a whole, in later episodes of that series that had color added, or if both shows had color replacing the grayscale eventually.

To the point of what the show is about, it resolves on a young Native American boy named Pow Wow. He may put in minds of being reminiscent of another Native boy known as Little Hiawatha. Episodes often involve him coming across and to the aid of some animal or protecting it, and the forest from whatever threats come to them. These Native folktales provide morals and life lessons. Other characters include the Medicine Man, who Pow Wow sometimes went to for advice, and a young Native girl who's a friend of Pow Wow's and possible love interest.

Concerning the first episode I saw, "The Magic Spigot", there's a drought and a miraculous solution must be found to have the rain pouring down some other way rather than waiting for that weather to come naturally or on its own. It's similar to the Porky Pig short, "Porky the Rainmaker" and the one-off Native-based,WB cartoon short, "Sioux Me". But also different and distinctive in it's own right. Instead of using a rainy weather pill, the titular spigot is what's used. After Pow Wow does a good deed for an old, Native man, the latter rewards him with the spigot, which is the answer to the problem. But it will work if and when Pow Wow operates it only. Once that's done, the inhabitants are saved.

As aforementioned, the animation quality is an improvement over earlier episodes, one of the few or even rare examples of T.V. cartoons from the '50s that are fully animated rather than limitedly animated. Pow Wow himself is a positive representation of Native Americans and free of any negative stereotypes. The soundtrack features good, traditional Native music. The colors, backgrounds, and layouts are good enough. There's no dialogue nor voice acting, other than a narrator who provides the monologue to explain what's going on in each episode, as it's more action-based. The writing for, what I can only imagine, at least, the majority of episodes have good storytelling. The exceptions being the Worst Cartoons Ever DVD episodes, "Pow Wow Gets Even" and "Pow Wow's Lucky Duck".

Despite this being one of the only episodes I've seen, I still enjoyed what I have watched so far. Since there are so many who are so obsessed with rebooting past properties, this should get a reboot, even though I'm not very big on them. But this is one of the exceptions I'd make. This time around, I'd like to hear the characters' voices, no just a narrator's, which is one of the reasons this mostly fantastic series would be one of the few I consider rebooting and would like to see actually rebooted. That would bring and add something different. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for cartoons of the Native peoples shown in a more positive light, along with the WB cartoon short, "Mighty Hunters" and the 2005 Yakari T.V. series.

The Special Magic of Herself the Elf

There's Nothing The Magic of This Elf And The Others Can't Fix.
Here is another grand discovery that I came upon while searching online for something else. This one I came across as I was looking at a blog with one article devoted to '80s cartoons, listed in alphabetical order. Not among what I grew up on watching, so this was another one new to me. A week ago or over a week ago, I became interested enough to watch this on Youtube and I'm glad I did as I always do when I find a true classic. Doesn't disappoint, one of the best '80s cartoons have to offer. I really try to know how to pick them. I'm jealous that I wasn't among those who were aware of this at the time and I wish I had known about it sooner.

I haven't usually gone for the girly 'toons, but as of right now, this has been one of the exceptions and I'm grateful I chose to take a chance. It may be somewhat cutesy, but it's actually better than what it is presumed to be on first sight. As I read and learned more about it, the eponymous, main heroine, originated from a series of greetings cards and there were also some read-along, audio books as well. As some may know, when a cartoon is based on some form of merchandise, they may or may not work out well. In fact, the majority are usually or almost always nothing more than extended advertisements, promotions, or commercials. But not this, this isn't one of them, it's so much more than that. I guess it all depends on how it's handled and in this case, it's one of those things that did work out very well in the end after all.

In addition to Herself the Elf, there are four, other, female elves and they each represent a different part of nature: Meadow Morn (who is responsible for the fauna), Willow Song (who is responsible for music), Snow Drop (who is responsible for the weather, especially rain), and Wood Pink (who is responsible for colors). They are the protectors of the environment and especially their home, which is the forest, and they do anything they can to keep whatever threats that may be to destroy it at bay. The antagonists, Thorn (a wizardly elf), Creeping Ivy (his daughter with vegetative powers) , and Vendetta (Thorn's pet vulture), plan to vanquish all that is wholesome in the world. They capture Herself, steal her wand, and keep her captive for a year. The stolen wand won't work again for a year and a day. After that, the other elves come to her aid, but before that, they meet a male wood sprite named Wilfie, who narrates and accompanies them on their quest. How will they be able to free Herself and restore nature from darkness to brightness?

This is a fantastic animated fantasy movie that has since been added to my favorites list. Everything about it is how a quality work should be. The heroines and hero are lovable whereas the villains are who one would love to hate, the art and animation are well-done and couldn't be any more fluid, the story is written without any problems in it, the voice acting is strong, the music is composed and performed well (with the theme sung by Judy Collins and the villains' song being great as well). Everything about it just falls into the right place. Unfortunately, this was never expanded into a T.V. series, which is another one of those greats that should've been. I would've liked to see other adventures to be had. I read elsewhere a T.V. series never came to be due to it being in the vein of the '80s Strawberry Shortcake specials. Dern that, Strawberry Shortcake has a pastry theme, this doesn't, so how are they in the same vein? So much more could've been explored. Examples for a couple ideas I have are how the five elves were appointed to be guardians as well as the relationship between the elves and the wood sprites. I was surprised to learn a reboot was attempted a few years back despite the '80s Herself the Elf franchise getting only one special, that was unexpected. This seems to be one of the truly overlooked and underrated greats from the '80s or otherwise. Whether it's a Canadian or partly Canadian cartoon, this is one of my favorites made by that country. A paragon of how more animation of recent years ought to be. Like others of their caliber, this deserved so much more that what it got. This shouldn't be so obscure nor forgotten, because it's a spellbinding or enchanting experience. Please don't skip it, recommended.


A Second Powwow For The Eponymous, Young, Native Hero.
Yet another, great discovery I made while searching for some other cartoon in a search engine. I came across this in a row of animated T.V. series above the links to other sites. At that moment, it caught my eyes and got me interested in that the most, so I decided this is the next one I'd check out and, as usual, I'm glad I did. Another cartoon that was unbeknownst to me and seems to have passed American T.V. (I know at some point, this became available on Netflix), but I watched it on Youtube. Of this series, so far, I've seen only four episode segments, but I've been enjoying them well. It has since become another part of my favorite 2000s cartoons list, foreign or otherwise. This must be among those programs that has been slept on or skipped over by U.S. T.V.

Speaking of foreign, this is the second, made-for-T.V. French adaptation of a French-Belgian comic book or graphic novel series of the same title. But the co-creators of the books/novels are a Swiss writer known as Job (a.k.a. Andre Jobin) and a Swiss illustrator known as Derim (a.k.a.Claude de Ribaupierre). The previous adaptation is from the 1980s, but I've yet to see that. In addition to being a Western, adventure, and historical show, it can also be considered a fantasy, as it contains several mystical elements that make this even more of a thrill to watch. Yakari and the other Native American/Sioux characters are much far away from the negative side, depiction, and stereotypes of the indigenous peoples seen in various past live action movies/T.V. series and cartoons. They're shown in a more positive light, which makes that refreshing. This just may be even better than the Paw Paws, which I've never seen, but read about and from the description, it's the opposite, as the Native American-based bears may not be the best, accurate, or perfect representation of the Native peoples.

Concerning the technical aspects, I've seen and heard the English dub, and the voice actors of that sound like they voiced their roles well. Most of the cast I'm not familiar with, the exception being Sonja Ball. The animation quality is among the finer seen in T.V. cartoon programs. The character designs, colors, backgrounds, layouts, everything about the art is flawless. Everything about that probably outdoes the '80s series, based on the pic of the poster of the first series. The music is nice as well, but most notably that traditional Native American music featured as the theme. I never read any of the comics, but the writing of the teleplays of the stories seem to be well-written, whether they're based on a previous source or not. I understand that later on in the series, the animation form got switched from traditional to CGI animation. Even though I haven't gotten to those CGI episodes yet, I'm still not crazy about the sudden break in the consistency of the animation form, I just detest that. It's probably a petty reason, but just the same, I still detest that and that's the only reason why I took away a star in the rating.

This deserves a lot more attention than what it has been getting, because it's one of the few cartoons that feature Native American characters, especially positively, and shows, and movies like that don't occur often enough. This is a look at a Native community in a good light. It shows the relationship between the Natives and animals, and how they manage to co-exist peacefully, creating less friction. One of the better animated programs I've seen to date and European. Recommended to anyone who is looking for something that features Natives on the non-stereotypical end of the spectrum.

The Lampies

Sprites Who Make The Lights Bright At Night.
In the continuation of cartoons that I previously hadn't heard of nor watched until recently, this is yet another great discovery I made. I came across this on a site called IT Saturday while searching for some, other sites related to the now, mostly defunct Saturday morning cartoon tradition. It basically features circular pictures of these various show titles in the Animation genre (with some live-action material as well), which are links to video streams of episodes from these programs. As I looked over them, I noticed this title and decided to check out the first episode segment, and I'm very glad I did. It is just, if there's one word that I can use to describe this, luminous. As far as I know, this seems to be yet another, superior, animated T.V. series that has been overlooked or passed up by the U.S. airwaves. I love it and find what I consider it to have been another winner. I think I really know how to pick them. Another program that's now a part of my favorites list.

Since the plot synopsis has already been explained and covered on here, I'll just add some other things about this in my review and discuss all the technical aspects of it. This is somewhat reminiscent of and similar to other stories with tiny beings, such as those from the Borrowers and the Littles, but also different in its own right, in that this features tiny people who reside in a street lamp and are responsible for maintaining the illumination of power sources, not just at night, but at all times. They serve as a team of electricians. The history of the Lampies and others like them or related to them probably goes all the way back to the discovery of electricity. I don't know for sure whether there was an episode segment that explained their origins, but if not, then there should've been to expand upon how they came to be and got involved, since probably all the bigger people would be unaware of or oblivious to their existence. When I first saw the title picture of this, at first, I thought or presumed this would be about the characters being genies who come from the kind of lamps of which they emerge when rubbed. But this turns out not to be the case at all. Essentially, this is a look at a world in which somebody may wonder, "What if there were diminutive beings who actually caused all the power sources to function" and explores it.

The animation is as well-done as it can be, successfully containing both traditionally hand-drawn objects and those that are in CGI. The writing is of the highest caliber and most intelligent or even intellectual. The music's well-composed. I'm not familiar with any of the voice cast, but everyone sounded like he/she did a good job in voicing his/her role.

Currently, only some of the episodes are available for streaming online, as the complete series isn't yet complete on the Internet. Anyone else who is curious about this and contemplating checking it out, I say go for it. It will appeal to anyone who is looking for a breath of fresh air from the lowbrow-ism of the majority of cartoon series in recent years and seeking out the kind of shows that are the opposite for those who find that more appealing. I've seen little of it, but I already enjoyed and was impressed by what I saw so far. I can't ask for anything more or better than what this has to offer me. Among my picks for best cartoons of not just the 2000s, but ever. Not a disappointment nor a waste of time, it truly delivers. Recommended.

Penny Crayon

Artful Rather Than Arty.
In my continuing pursuit for cartoons that I didn't watch growing up and that I may find appealing, this is yet another discovery I made some months back. I first learned about this through reading up on it on the site, Toonhound. Desperately trying to find something that may be among the better animated material to watch and get into more 'toons from the U.K., I decided to give this a try. It's not one of the series that comes even close to being 100% perfect technically, but despite this, it's still has enough enjoyability to sit through it anyway, going by or based on the premise itself.

It's art imitating life, centering on an artistically gifted, British girl named Penny Crayon. As her surname suggests, she's an aspiring artist who draws with a special crayon that can magically make any illustrations she creates come alive. When they come alive, they also seem to be as genuine as the things that weren't originally doodles. Water is used on them to revert them as they were and a magic eraser is used to rub them out of existence. Penny is often accompanied and assisted by her best friend, and schoolmate, Dennis.

The art style in this has a comic book feel and everything about it is well-colored, but the animation quality isn't the most fluid. While Penny's voice isn't all that bad, the funny but somewhat hard-on-the-ears voices of some of the other characters, such as Dennis, and Cockney accents may take some time for them to grow on listeners. The music, especially the theme song, is alright. The overall plot and the stories may be the best thing about it. In all of the dozen episodes, Penny uses her magic crayon as a problem-solving mechanism, to get out of jams, and for other conveniences. Penny is very clever and resourceful, as she never goes anywhere without carrying her delineative tool or art supply.

In spite of it not being high art or even quite a masterpiece, or the most sophisticated as far as the animation goes, it still should be appealing enough, especially to art fans. As this arrived at the tail end of the '80s, it's still one of my favorites from that decade. However, I wish this had run longer, as it was never explained how Penny found the extraordinary crayon that represents her namesake, which would've been better had there been an episode that revolved around that and should've been among the further episodes, had there been any more. While it may not be the most exquisite, it's still is, in my eyes, as far as storytelling is concerned and nevertheless makes for a fine alternative to all the mindless drivel that would come along later. So that's another reason why anyone should watch this, in addition to curiosity. This may be better, if at least, slightly, than the similarly-themed Chalkzone. Recommended.

Captain Zed and the Zee Zone

Dream Team With A Dream Theme.
This is yet another animated series that I was unaware of, didn't know existed, and was new to me. I discovered it on a site called Lost Media Wiki, which is devoted to some, certain, various, obscure media that eventually became unavailable over the years, or even decades, but some have been found to date and I saw pictures of VHS box covers of the show. After reading the premise, I decided to see three out of the eight episodes that are currently available on Youtube. One of the best decisions I ever made. I enjoyed all of what I had seen so far. One of the better '90s cartoons, it's since been added to my favorite animated series from that decade and overall, favorites by (or partly by) D.I.C., this is one of the shows I would've loved watching growing up and I wish this was among the series I saw in my childhood. As a 'toon I hadn't heard of previously, how and why did this seemingly hidden treasure seem to go under the radar (or, that is, at least, under my radar) somehow in the U.S.? It seems that it was underexposed, but deserved to get more exposure than it got, at least in the aforementioned country.

Centering on the heroic, dynamic dream duo of Captain Zed and his partner, P.J., they are patrollers based in a place called Dreambase, where they work to prevent any interruptions and disturbances brought to kids' subconsciousness while they're trying to have pleasant dreams. Those interruptions and disturbances are a pair of shape-shifting, villainous monsters known as The Nightmares, named Snort and Mutter. Captain Zed and P.J. carry out their duties under The Commander and he, and several counting sheep check for any signs of disruption of dreams on the dream monitors. Each episode features a different kid who runs into a problem in his or her dream and the dream patrollers must come to their rescue and try to solve it. At the same time, once that's done, there's always a lesson to be learned from the incident in the end.

I would consider this to be one of the smarter or more intellectual cartoons that really means or is worth something. However, simultaneously, it's not too much so that it doesn't have anything fun about it. There are many great moments, even surprises, to keep the viewers' attentive and entertained. As for the technicalities of it, the animation flows smoothly enough, the colors aren't too bright nor too dark, the backgrounds and layouts are nice as well. Unlike several, certain, other D.I.C. 'toons, the animation errors/goofs in this are kept to a minimum. The storylines are among the most creatively-written. All the characters, both good and bad guys, are great in their own ways. The music, especially the theme, is fine. Although I'm not all that familiar with most of the cast of voice actors, they all sound like they voiced their roles well. P.J. was redesigned in the second season, possibly to make her look more feminine, as I know for sure at first glance, I mistook her for a male. But I like both designs of her equally.

Love this dream-themed program as much as I do another one, Midnight Patrol. Speaking of which, intriguingly enough, they're both U.S.-U.K. co-productions. I had the thought of what it would've been like if the protagonists and antagonists from both shows crossed over with each other and joined forces, with one side attempting to take down the other. Amongst the animated shows I find the most fascinating and, in my eyes, I consider, the best ever made. Tony Collingwood took the mind-scape thing to the next level after Rarg. Even though I haven't seen that short yet, I'm going to say anyway that this may be even better. If only we all had some dream patrols come to our aid whenever we ran into nightmares or even night terrors. Then we could take control over what we dreamed, which would've made things much easier. To conclude, I've added this to my DVD wish-and-want list. This doesn't disappoint and it's not a time-waster. I can't complain. Great show, well-made. A lesser-known show that deserved so much more. Definitely recommended.

The Country Mouse and the City Mouse Adventures

An International Family Affair
I don't believe I knew it at the time, but I found out this show originally aired as part of a kid/cartoon show block on HBO, HBO Family or one of those HBO channels. The way I remember seeing, at least bits of it, was on Saturdays on the channel formerly known as the WB. It might had been broadcasted on both of those channels around that same time. But anyway, since it's now being repeated as part of the morning cartoons block on Light TV, I checked out a number of episodes more and they are educating, and entertaining.

In this spin of the Country Mouse and City Mouse story set in the early 20th century, the series follows two mice named Alexander (from the city) and Emily (from the country) who travel around the world. In each episode, they're in a different country and these two cousins aren't the only ones we see in here.They have cousins from around the globe and together they encounter kids of varying nationalities, and they help them out in some way, such as coming to their rescue. Some episodes also feature historical figures. While the mice come across several villains as well, the main one is a rat known as No-Tail No-Goodnik, who is so-called because he wears a prosthetic tail that is sometimes prone to coming off loose. After coming to someone's aid or solving a problem, most episodes usually closed with a group photo being taken and Alexander, and Emily, back at home discussing the adventure they had. In some cases, this program is essentially a look at and imagined as "what if mice had played a part in bringing about historical events"? in this alternate reality.

Everything about this is perfectly well-done, from the writing to the animation to the characters to the voices to the music. In addition, the episodes contain some sort of lesson or another. One of the better '90s shows. Definitely worthy enough to be award-nominated and winning. Worthy of watching as well and recommended.

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