A couple years ago, a 20-something was discussing her favorite cartoons growing up, saying, “I like old-school cartoons, like ‘Rugrats.’” Hearing that made me feel my years. “Rugrats” was “old-school?!” I’m pretty sure I was well into my teens when that show was new. While it may be nostalgic for some to look back at the “Ren and Stimpy” era as the good-old-days of Nick, the old timers like me remember the network in its infancy. In the EARLY 80’s, the newly born Nickelodeon had to borrow half of it’s programming from BBC, including a unique animated program called “Danger Mouse.”
According to The Guardian, “Danger Mouse” is coming back. CBBC has ordered 52 new episodes of the series, having been out of production since 1992. A few things from the original version are promised to stay intact. Danger Mouse will still be assisted by his loveable side-kick, a hamster called Penfold, and their headquarters will still be housed inside of a now out-dated red mailbox. DM’s face will still be adorned with the iconic eye-patch, but show runners have indicated that it will now be an “i-patch,” suggesting some 21st century tech will be added. Neither character designs nor concept art have been publicized, so we do not yet know how “new” the new Danger Mouse will be.
Back in the day, Danger Mouse was debonair English super-spy. He was the James Bond of the animal kingdom, answering to a walrus called Colonel K, and facing off against a rogues gallery of zoological villains, including the vampire duck Count Duckula (who eventually gained his own spin-off) and the powerful evil frog Barron Silas Greenback. While “Danger Mouse” served as a very blunt parody of cold war spy thrillers, similar to Mel Brooks’ “Get Smart,” it also carried the dry British wit found in the more subtle sketches from Monty Python or the books of Douglas Adams. It appealed to the young consumer of American Saturday morning programming while carrying sophisticated quips for the elder siblings in the room. The old version of “Danger Mouse” is a program I wouldn’t mind stumbling upon on DVD. (As I wrote this, I was able to locate episodes on Hulu and Amazon. It is not, however, available on Netflix.)
Will the new “Danger Mouse” live up to its predecessor? As much as fans love to predict the quality of art before it exists, we can only wait and see. The optimistic position can point to 2005’s revival of “Doctor Who” and embrace some hope for a 21st Century “Danger Mouse.”