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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

⏪ Classic Cartoon Rewind: Pole Position (1984)

Pole Position
1984
Country of Origin: U.S
DIC Entertainment, Namco 
Number Of Episodes/Seasons: 13 episodes, 1 season
Characters: Tess Darrett, Dan Darrett, Daisy Darrett, Dr Zachery Darrett, Wheels, Roadie, Kuma
Ran from September 15 - December 8, 1984
Episode length: 25 mins
Aired on: BBC1, CBS, The Family Channel (now Freeform)
'Hey-o!, hey-o! hey-o!'

Pole Position was created by DIC and it lasted for just one short-lived season of 13 episodes on Saturday mornings at fall during CBS's children's block in 1984. It also aired in the UK on BBC1 via CBBC and as part of the cartoon segment of Going Live. Following on from Pac- Man & Saturday Supercade, Pole Position became the latest animated kids TV series based on a video game property. Coincidentally, the impending arrival of Pole Position debuted at a time when the video game industry crashed. 

Dr Zachary Darrett, who is also the uncle to the kids, leads the group. He of whom also became the caretaker/legal guardians of his brother's children, Dan & Tess, now orphans, after Zach's brother and his wife, who were stunt performers, were killed in an unfortunate car accident. Both Tess and Dan inherited the role and thus, took over their duties and to carry out their traditions & parents' dangerous work in numerous shows. They also find the time to investigate and thwart criminal activities. 

Tess, the eldest sibling was the big sister and leader of the Pole Position team, who likes to get things done whilst younger brother, Dan was a bit of a hot-head and has a bit of a tendency to goof around also. They also had a younger sister in Daisy, who is very playful and infectious, who had a pet cat-thing named Kuma that resembled a fusion of a racoon and a cat. She also aspires to be a race car driver and follow in Dan and Tess's footsteps. I thought it was a little bit weird that as Daisy, Dan and Tess were all siblings they had different coloured hair. Tess was a Brunette, Dan was blond and Daisy was a red-head. 

Despite the fact that Pole Position didn't make a lot of hot noise and didn't garner as big of a fan base as say Transformers, He-Man, Thundercats back in the day, it is still notable for being one of the earliest writing credits for Chuck Lorre, who later went on to pen another animated series in Heathcliff, as well as network TV sitcoms, Two & A Half Men, Roseanne, Cybill, Dharma & Greg & The Big Bang Theory. That it still manages to garner a small following to this day, it is down to a number of factors. Interesting good guy characters, the family affair aspect with Dan, Tess and Daisy, cool looking cars and a few neat plotlines. The show also employs a bad guy of the week, similar to Scooby Doo, as opposed to the main villain. 

As much as people tuned in just for the cars and speed car chases, as one would do with a premise such as this, as I rewatched it as an adult I've also grown accustomed to the bond that the siblings share. I just found this show really neat, despite its faults, such as the bad editing and this show wasn't perfect, but I liked the characters and the idea of having various storylines and not just race scenes. Some people didn't like Dan because they find him whiney and annoying & too much of a doofus, but he was all right. I also think that in Tess, she is one of the most underrated female cartoon characters: determined, strong but still remaining level-headed and I liked her characterisation and how she comes across. I've never been bothered by the main characters, nor found either of them irritating. I also found it refreshing to see a cartoon series with a family of siblings as protagonists; there are not many shows that are like this and the concept was cool. 

The animation was good, really liked the character designs and some intriguing plots but thus, it's a shame Pole Position was given the boot like with so many cartoons and was never given time to develop fully.

As a whole, it's not amazing, but I liked this show and it's pretty decent.  
      


                               
            


Sources:                                         

Wikipedia - Pole Position (1984)

Wikipedia - Chuck Lorre                                                       


Saturday Mornings Forever - Pole Position


The Big Cartoon Database

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