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Friday, 2 March 2018

⏪ Classic Cartoon Rewind: Mighty Ducks (1996)

Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series
1996
Country of Origin: USA
Anaheim Ducks/Walt Disney Television Animation
Number of Episodes/Seasons: 26 Episodes, 1 season
Characters: Wildwing Flashblade, Nosedive Flashblade, Duke L'Orange, Mallory McMallard, Tanya Vanderflock, Check ''Grin'' Hardwing, Canard Thunderbeak
Ran from September 6, 1996 - January 17, 1997
Aired on ABC, Toon Disney, Disney Channel UK, Family Channel
'Here Comes The Mighty Ducks!'

Also titled Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series, the show aired on ABC and on its syndicated Disney Afternoon block during season 7 in the fall of 1996 and the series takes inspiration from the live-action Mighty Ducks movies starring Emilio Estevez and the professional NHL team, the Anaheim Ducks, based in California. In 1992, the National Hockey League (NHL) awarded The Walt Disney Company an expansion of the Mighty Duck licence/franchise at the region of $50 million, and with that Anaheim Ducks were founded & are based on The Mighty Ducks movies. The original live-action The Mighty Ducks film saw a rag-team of hockey-playing kids managed by a lawyer, as part of his community service, after being caught drink-driving. The animated incarnation, which sought to deviate from the movie, was developed by David Wise, who also served as the show's head writer. 

Its last appearance was on Toon Disney and it was the last cartoon that was in the Disney Afternoon line-up, but it was removed in late 2004 and the series hasn't aired on the network, since then. The show's main theme song was performed by Starship's Mickey Thomas, whose group had a monumental hit song in 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now'', taken from the motion picture soundtrack of the 1987 Mannequin movie. It also won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Editing- Special Class.

The Mighty Ducks Animated series unfortunate cancellation on January 10, 1997 coincided with the arrival of the sequel to its namesake first Mighty Ducks movie, as well as it cited the end of Disney's duck craze, which was kick-started by DuckTales back in the 1980s, followed by Quack Pack and the superhero-like show, Darkwing Duck. However, & oddly enough, Mighty Ducks, are not (officially) part of the Disney Ducks Comics Universe canon.
Mighty Ducks tried to differentiate itself from the movie in various ways, such as having anthropomorphic duck characters as the leads in place of the kid characters, opting for the futuristic action cartoon route with hi-tech cars and weapons, whilst incorporating the ice hockey theme and other elements that were in the likes of Darkwing Dark.

The cartoon show charted a group of six ice hockey playing super-powered, intergalactic humanoid ducks, who hail from another planet in a universe called Puckworld. The only sport they had there was ice hockey and their entire planet was covered in ice. But it just wasn't any old sport to them - it was a way of life, a part of their lives occupying their day-to-day existence. A duck by Drake DuCaine was the planet's saviour over the Saurian's overlords, led by Lord Draganus. DuCaine fought the overlords with a magical hockey mask. With it, the wearer could see through the Saurian's invisibility cloaks. With Canard as leader, the resistance is formed to help fight Lord Draganus consisting of Wildwing, Nosedive, Duke, Grin and female members, science-whizz, Tanya and martial arts tough girl, Mallory. When they land on earth via a dimensional portal, the ducks end up in the city of Anaheim, California and meet up with team manager, Phil: a human who becomes their manager and he turns them into a legitimate NHL team. As well as taking their fight to Draganus & various aliens, they pose as ice hockey players to take their minds off their arch-enemy. 


Notable voice over actors for the Mighty Ducks animated series include Jeff Bennett (Johnny Bravo), Jennifer Hale (Samus in Metroid Prime 1, Johnny Bravo), Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) and film actor and comedian, James Belushi (K9, Red Heat with Arnold Schwarzenegger) as the Mighty Ducks's human manager, Phil, movie actor Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Home Alone 2, Ferngully) as the show's antagonist, Lord Draganus, Clancy Brown as Siege (Blue Steel, Flubber) & Frasier's David Hyde Pierce who played Niles Crane as German hunter, Baron Von Licktenstamp .

When I watched the first episode, I wasn't fond of it but as the show went on, the episodes got a tad more intriguing as I got into the series more. Even though it wasn't amazing, Mighty Ducks is still one of my favourite cartoons from the 1990s; I just like the whole concept, the character designs are very imaginative and creative. The fourth-wall humour was worked well into the show and its structure kind of plays out much like with Darkwing Duck with the good guys defeating the bad guys. Two issues I had with the show were that some of the storylines weren't all that great; it was perplexing at times watching Mighty Ducks, which has some cool character designs, yet when it came to the episodes, some left a lot to be desired. Plus, the creators and writers didn't do enough to flesh out their personalities, characterisations and made them more memorable. Nosedive did, however, remind me a little of Raphael of 1985's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: impulsive and who had a very in-yer-face attitude. 

As a show, on the whole, this one wasn't too bad and regardless that it lasted for just one season, I can see how and why this didn't have as much popularity and appeal as say, Disney's 80s offerings in DuckTales & Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers


  


Sources:

Mighty Ducks Animated Series: One-Year Wonder Or One-Year-Blunder


Retrojunk 


Mighty Ducks (TV Series) Wikipedia

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