The honest truth is that it wasn't at all planned or intended that tonight/last night/this morning/whatever, I would write upwards of a dozen bulky paragraphs about the new series and expedited-ly post them here or anywhere for the world to see. But I was watching the latest episode, and was incited to post a comment to The Disney Comics Fan Group on Facebook. I added a second comment. Then a third. I had explicitly stated when I started writing that I was just going to post one comment. When I thought of a couple more things I wanted to say and hadn't yet clicked "Post" and ushered forth all the finality that it brings, I spontaneously enhanced each successively added comment as it was added with an elucidatory, introdcutory, contextualizing, additional, secondary comment announcing the addition of -- and contained within a clause of -- the about-to-be-newly-added comment proper. (I should have added a comment that I was adding a comment that I was adding a comment! Why didn't I think of that?!) Finally, and equally spontaneously, I realized, "Actually, I have a whole rant I need to go on here...!", and proceeded accordingly. The self-aware commenting on each newly-added comment was generated more or less in real time, if you will, or I guess it would be better said stream-of-consciously.
Anyway, without further ado, here it is -- it's informal, not comprehensive, and focused on giving my take on the new show's taken on specific characters -- namely, the villains, but I touch on some of the principles, too... but this is it: My Big Comeback!
Modified revision of my Facebook post:
A few minutes into my first viewing of "The Beagle Birthday Massacre!" One comment: We did NOT need Joker/Pennywise Beagle Boys.
Okay, a second comment: When Ma Beagle introduced "the classic originals", wouldn't it have been nice if they were Barks'?
...oh, actually, a third comment: Did anyone else suspect -- until she said her name -- that Lena was supposed to be Daisy? I thought it added up especially because she sounded an awful lot like Kath Soucie, at least to my ears. But it's actually someone named Kimiko Green.
...annnnd, well, not done yet after all, jumping back to the subject of Beagle Boys, in what I'll call a P.S.: I meant to bring this up after "Daytrip of Doom!" -- why does this show's Burger Beagle look like the original's Bebop Beagle. The new character so far hasn't evinced any particular traits of either, yet evoking both at the outset, only to come up empty.
I don't want to be the fan coming off like he thinks rules should be imposed upon the show's creators -- and certainly keeping in mind to value the spirit of trying new things creatively -- over the years, starting with Barks (Grandpa Beagle), the allusions to the Beagles' extended clan and the occasional brushes with some of its members have always pointed to there being lots of fun to be mined from that colorful lineage. But I'm kind of disheartened by the wholesale eschewing of Beagle incarnations of the past, both those of the comics and the original DuckTales.
To me, an optimal way of paying homage to Barks would be a devoted attempt to bring his Beagles to animation -- meaning one character design making all of the "main gang" indistinguishable; all of same wearing prison tags formatted _ _ _ - _ _ _ that use only the numbers 1, 6, and 7; calling each other only by those numeric IDs in full or abbreviated to the latter set of three; and lastly, the biggest area of uncertainty and the one factor that never factored in Barks' comics but would be a major consideration on screen: should they all share the same voice _in addition to_ all sharing the same visage? (Maybe give just the prune-loving Beagle a slightly different voice? But NOT a "real" name, only his numeric ID, just as with the rest, of course!)
But since they didn't go the Barks route -- which would be a risky experiment, but I'd be really interested in and supportive of its attempt -- then as this IS DuckTales, after all, not Uncle Scrooge comics! -- I'd like to basically see the original series' Beagles. Yes, we have Bigtime, Bouncer, and a Burger who appears to not eat many burgers, but so far, their characterizations have been pretty thin. Not that the originals were mind-blowingly complex or even particularly clever, but couldn't they just play a _little_more into the nostalgia of a veritable child of the '80s like myself?
Time warp: 1987 abruptly find themselves at an impasse, stonewalled by 2017.
Painting by Mike Peraza for D23 Expo 2017 limited edition print.
Ma Beagle in the role of gang leader, and moreover, the VERY CHARACTER HERSELF, were exclusively conceived in the production of -- and to date the exclusive purview of -- the original DuckTales (Ma Beagle coming into prominence with "Super DuckTales" after a few smaller roles/appearances over the course of the first season), So including and making her "Boss" once again (more Don than matriarch this time) is an inspired, well-considered way of signaling, "This IS DuckTales, after all, not Uncle Scrooge comics!" But why not go all the way and deliver the whole package: Bigtime, Burger, Baggy, Bouncer, Bankjob, Babyface, and Bebop, basically in personalty and appearance -- adjusted to the new style, but keeping the innate elements of the original designs -- the louts we know from the original? Yes, the new Bigtime and Bouncer designs basically fit that bill, and even the voices seemed based on the originals', but they're just coming off as generic cartoon thugs. (I know, I know, someone's saying, "That's all the Beagle Boys have EVER been!" :) Oh, and there's been some comedy based around Bouncer's size.... and yeah, I chuckled at his "You even buyin' this?" line to the arcade doorman.
Geez, what was supposed to be just one comments -- okay, two and one "P.S." -- turned into something else entirely, hasn't it. Didn't realize I had so much to say about this one little subject! Well, while I'm at it, I'll mention that as with the Beagle Boys, I wish they'd tried to bring to animated fruition something closer to Barks' Glomgold. Think an equivalency model: as Barks' Scrooge visually is to the new DuckTales' Scrooge visually, take Barks' Glomgold design and translate it to the sketchy style of the new show. Restore his background as being from and based in South Africa. Voice-wise, he might still be of Scottish descent, but PLEASE, don't go the bombastic, over-the-top route the new show took has taken with him in the recording booth. Or figure out what he should sound like if he _isn't_ in fact Scottish -- I'm not sure if Barks ever gave us anything to go on in this regard one way or the other, so as far as I know, there's no voice "type" one could say is adhering to the canon.
Or, once again, there's the "This IS DuckTales, after all, not Uncle Scrooge comics!" approach.They got partway with his basic, standardized clothing outfit (if I just said "outfit", would you know I was talking about what he wears?)... but why, why is he, I dunno, something like 7 feet WIDE?!!! Is it a medical condition, like a tumor or excessive swelling? Anyway, as with the new Bigtime and Bouncer, this clownish Glomgold's voice are based ostensibly on the original series'... but take this Bizzaro Flinty's aforementioned cringe-worthy larynx-generated emanations, which are a blunt aural caricature of a Scottish accent taken to all extremes, blown out of all proportion, and delivered as if on speed, compound that with the torrent of absurdity that in his two (three, depending on how you count) appearances so far (either way, the most recent appearance was a cameo, or actually, a Family Guy-style cutaway, the thrust of the gag being, "HA! He's Scottish!") has been the whole of his function. In fact, with both Gomgold and the 2017 Beagle Boy trio, it's as if they took some rudimentary elements of each characters' counterpart from the original series, but decided they were either going to be a parody (Glomgold) or stock thug (the Beagles). But we're only a few episodes in when there's more than 15 to go -- and that's just this season -- so we'll see what they'll do yet with these characters.
In the meantime, take Webby and Mrs. Beakley: I can at least understand their reasoning in thinking, "There really wasn't much to the ones from the original show, so we can do them ___a whole lot different and a whole lot better___!", and thus at least respect what they're trying to do.
More crucially -- and the end result registers in the green, I'm happy to say -- there's the classic/legacy characters. Naturally, the biggest concern in that department wis Donald. Clearly, they made it a point to get this one right/do the character justice. On the one hand, when appropriate, they run him through comedic, traditional-ish-cartoony-slapstick routines (like the stuff on the mansion-grounds-grounded houseboat in "Daytrip"). He furiously waves his arms around, stomps his feet on the ground in rapid succession, and voices his rage with unintelligible, ceasefire rants and raves. Clearly, they're paying homage to the classic-era Donald Duck theatrical shorts. But when the story beats call for it, they depict him in a more heartfelt way -- as a disgruntled, down-on-his-luck "average Joe", à la Barks. But re: Glomgold and the Beagles, the show seems to be depending on sticking to convention and archetypes, cuing a lampoon, but really just referencing genre fiction's go-to type villains, ones that we all know and recognize right offhand. I'm "not really feeling(, man!)" the spirit of these characters' earlier counterparts, whether they be those in the comics or on the original show. But again, that's only as of yet, and we're not very far out.
So... Glomgold down...Beagles down... Magica still to go... *gets a little nervous* Don't get me wrong, I don't "require" that they play her exactly as Barks did, nor exactly as the original series did, but I want her to be an ACTUAL and FORMIDABLE villain, not in a tried-and-true comedic relief capacity.
Remember, in the above piece, I was zeroing in exclusively on very specific aspects of the new series. There's a lot I didn't cover a lot of which I quite like. Case in point: Another group member (who a lot of you know of, and some of you even know!) replied with a comment hinting at a hint -- that is, the biiiiiiiiiiig hint dropped on us at episode's end. (Said hint came in the form of an explicit, much-appreciated visual reference to a fondly-recalled early episode of the original series!) When I got there, I saw exactly what he meant, but I was already pretty excited just by what I'd gleamed from his comment.
Here's my reply... and, and at this point, I must issue a necessary SPOILER WARNING, applicable to what follows below:
Okay, didn't catch that, but... SOLD! I _do_love how they're building a mythology and teasing upcoming big events. ("Project Blatherskite" -- you bet THAT got my pulse pounding!) A later-to-come big, knock-you-to-the-floor reveal/unmasking like you're hinting at is something I'm ALL about. (Not that anything has actually been given away -- it's all on me and how I read between the lines! [Addendum: If you've seen "Beagle Birthday Massacre!"'s ending, as I now have, IF you know what you're looking at, there's NO ambiguity about it. Thus, not a thing has been spoiled, provided this is being read post having viewed "Beagle Birthday Massacre!" I hope that no one's eyes, unable to resist and avert themselves despite the spoiler warning above -- quite possibly their temptation level significantly raised by it, I regret must be acknowledged is a not-too-unlikely possibility -- haven't fallen here, but... Lena is Magica. The teaser-reveal-coda shows this to the viewer, provided that they recognize that the shadow is very close to Magica's evil(er) shadow doppelganger of the original series' "Magica's Shadow War". (With THAT title, it wouldn't be any other episode, now, would it?) Even many those well-familiar with Magica may not be acquainted with or may not vividly recall that episode, though... so if that's not enough, née Lena refers to herself in the third-person point-blank as Magica.
Reminds me of (er, more spoilers imminent, just in case anyone needs them 20 years on...) when Owen abruptly started spinning rapidly in a Tasmanian Devil-type cartoony-mini-tornado blur, incongruous to the show's realism, only to have a certain Elven trickster emerge, announcing, "Herrrrrrrrrrre's PUCK!" Still one of my absolute favorite moments of any show, ever.
(Most of the rest are from Gargoyles, too, though!)