Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Rein-Toon-Ation: Gadget Boy & Heather (1995)

In 1995, the History Channel took another chance on the Inspector Gadget franchise, this time with a juvenile version of the cyborg sleuth.

Gadget Boy & Heather was a total departure from the original Gadget, as Heather (Tara Strong, then going by her maiden name, Charendoff) was in her early to mid 20's. Gadget Boy himself had the body designed like a grade schooler (I'd guess 1st or 2nd grader), but with the mind of a veteran detective. Don Adams voiced Gadget Boy in the first season, while all the other male characters were performed by impressionist Maurice LaMarche (Pinky & the Brain, etc.). Instead of Dr. Claw, the big bad in the series was a masked woman known as Spydra, who had 4 extra arms, but whose true face was never seen. The idea was that anyone that saw her supposedly disfigured face would turn to stone, a la Medusa, out of shock in this case.

Viewers had to wait 18 months, from the point where the first season ended, to the start of the 2nd season, which saw a change in format to Gadget Boy's Adventures in History, which saw Gadget Boy & Heather travel through time. LaMarche took over as Gadget Boy. Unfortunately, the format change also resulted in the series' cancellation.

Let's take you back to the 1st season opener, "Raiders of the Lost Mummies":

Just wasn't the same, and the magic wasn't there.

Rating: C.


Silverstar said...

This series raises 2 important questions:

1. Was anybody asking for this?
2. How did this get greenlit?

hobbyfan said...

Since it aired on History, I'd think they were looking for a younger version of Gadget to appeal to the small fry, which answers both questions.

Silverstar said...

Gadget Boy & Heather originally aired in syndication as part of the Amazin' Adventures block (Gadget aired on Wednesdays). IIRC, it was remade into Gadget Boy in History when the show moved to History Channel.

Goldstar said...

So, was Gadget's brain transferred into the body of a small boy? I don't think that there was ever any in-universe explanation given to this shows' premise. I'm guessing that this was strictly a non-canon deal existing solely outside of the time line of any other Inspector Gadget series.

hobbyfan said...

What I think it was was that they came up with a younger Gadget for the kiddo's. As it turns out, Inspector Gadget's Field Trip, also for History, came along in 1996 to fill the gap between seasons of Gadget Boy. Someone at History decided to use Gadget Boy as a teaching tool, too, hence the 2nd season being a time travel show.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

DiC never really did too many great things past the 80's.

hobbyfan said...

No, their quality began to go down the tubes after Real Ghostbusters ended. With some exceptions, they began coasting on past laurels.

Androu Burgess said...

...until they found success again via the video game market (Super Mario Brothers, Captain N: The Game Master, and three Sonic The Hedgehog series) into the 90's.

By the end of the 90's, though, it was downhill again (The New Tex Avery Show, the Sabrina The Teenage Witch animated series, Sherlock Holmes in The 22nd Century, and that Olsen Twins SatAM show).

Btw, DiC eventually reached it's lowest point yet when in 2011 when they announced production of a new series starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, fresh from his disgracefully "terminated" tenure as California governor. Six years on, nothing has been heard about it, which most likely means the producers thankfully must have decided to scrap the whole project. For those who are curious, though, here's the first of four articles posted to Cartoon Brew about the series: