DVD Review: Danger Mouse Seasons 1 and 2
By Jim Van Nest
June 30, 2005
"He's terrific! He's magnificent! He's the greatest secret agent in the world!" And he's also FINALLY out on DVD. That's right kiddies, Danger Mouse Seasons 1 and 2 have finally touched down in the States on DVD. They actually hit a few weeks ago, but with this week's DVD crop being so sucktacular, you should go pick up the Danger Mouse. And one of the best parts? How about the price? You should be able to gobble this one up for a mere $20. In the day and age of television shows fetching between $40 and $80 on DVD, the $19.99 price tag was a sight for these sore eyes.
Danger Mouse debuted in 1981, the brainchild of Cosgrove Hall Productions in the UK. Shortly thereafter, it was sold to 50 other countries and in 1983, DM made his debut as the very first cartoon on the American cable channel Nickelodeon. The witty dialogue along with the excellent voice acting made DM a hit with the kids as well as teens and young adults. The success of the show led to the infusion of several cartoons into the basic cable station's lineup, including the pretty popular DM spin-off, Count Duckula. While it might be stretching it a bit, it's not too far out of line to suggest that the success of Danger Mouse helped spawn the glut of cartoons all over the cable dial today.
I've been waiting for DM to hit the DVD circuit for so long I about wet myself when I saw they were coming. I went on my lunch hour and picked them up with plans to introduce my two boys to DM and Penfold later that night. I got home; we made some TV dinners and turned on the telly. We plugged in Disc 1, which contains the 11 shorts that make up the first season. It was so good to see the show again as it's been years, but I was a little annoyed at the running of the opening and closing credits in between every seven to ten minute episode. In some cases, there is some of the wittiest commentary over the closing credits, but the replaying of the opening every episode got pretty old, pretty quickly. Either way, however, midway through the disc, my kids and I were both hooked.
We put in the second disc (the six episode second season) the next night, and THIS is the Danger Mouse I remember. There are fewer episodes, but each one is closer to 30 minutes and has several breaks where commercials used to go, or where the episode continued until the next episode. I still had the annoyance of the repetitive intro/outro thing, but this was a much more enjoyable experience. I'd like to say I've been able to watch this a couple times, but I've had a terrible time trying to wrestle it away from my kids.
As far as extra features, this set has few. It has character descriptions as well as the never-before-aired pilot episode, "The Mystery of the Lost Chord." Honestly, as far as Danger Mouse episodes go, we never really missed much by missing the pilot.
A couple other things of note on the set: when the series aired in the States, the producers changed the voice of Baron Greenback's #1 henchman, Stiletto, from Italian accented to Cockney accented. For the DVD, Stiletto is back to his mafia-like voice. Also, on the DVD, the longer episodes are back into original five five-minute chunks, rather than the two 12/13-minute chunks we saw on American television.
Once again, with the lack of many qualities DVDs released this week, now is the time to pick up this gem of a cartoon on DVD.