In 1987, the original DuckTales debuted and became a cornerstone in cartoon nostalgia for the kids of the 80’s and 90’s. Based on the “Scrooge McDuck” comic books by Carl Barks, the series followed the adventures of Scrooge and his three great-nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. There was much to love about the original series, including the voice talent of Alan Young as Scrooge, the fun cast of characters, and the wondrous adventures the main cast would stumble upon. Now, thirty years later, the series has been rebooted and modernized for a new audience and luckily, it’s good.
David Tennant stars as Scrooge McDuck who is just as witty and smart as ever. His personality seems to be the same as other portrayals of the character, meaning that he’s and old grumpy Scottish man, but he’s also spry, extremely clever, and above all, goodhearted. Tennant’s performance perfectly captures the personality of Scrooge and serves as a great lead.
His nephews are a tad different than they were in the original series, mainly that they have different voices and distinct personalities. In the original show, the triplets were all voiced by Russi Taylor, and although fans will remember her voice fondly, the fact that all three characters sounded identical made it a bit hard for them to stand out from one another. In the reboot, Huey (Danny Pudi) is the brains of the group, Dewey (Ben Schwartz) is the most daring, and Louie (Bobby Moynihan) is the slacker. The very fact that they have different appearances, personalities, and voices means that there is a whole new level of depth to the show that was absent from its predecessor.
Other returning characters include Webby Vanderquack (Kate Micucci), pilot Launchpad McQuack (Beck Bennet), and Webby’s grandmother Mrs. Beakley (Toks Olagundoye). Webby, much like the triplets, has also gone through some major changes. In the original series, Webby was merely a helpless little girl who carried a doll, but now, she is a strong, independent adventurer that serves as a great role model in a show whose cast is predominantly male.
Among other changes in the series is the addition of Donald Duck (Tony Anselmo), who appeared in the original, but only in guest roles. In the new series, Donald seems to have been made a main character. He is presented as the overprotective uncle of the triplets and the ex-sidekick to Scrooge, both of which provide an interesting family dynamic that adds yet another layer of depth that the original lacked.
The actual episode served as a great pilot that follows the main cast as they search for the lost city of Atlantis. The first half served as a great introduction to the characters and managed to squeeze a lot of vibrant colors and funny moments into one thirty-minute time slot, however, the second half starts a little bumpy and tends to drag in some places, mainly the portions of the episode featuring villain Flintheart Glomgold (Keith Ferguson). It’s by no means bad, but it just wasn’t as exciting to see him with his cronies as it was to see Scrooge with his nephews.
That aside, the show manages to retain the heart and warmth that its predecessor had while also boasting a talented cast and colorful characters that have all new personalities. Despite a few boring moments (and believe me there are very few), the DuckTales season 1 premiere was a great introduction to these characters for a new audience as well as a long-awaited reunion for old fans.