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Danger Mouse Returns, With Former Male Characters Now Female

Television
by Charles Kenny
July 8, 2014 2:20 AM
8 Comments
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Danger Mouse - car

The iconic British cartoon Danger Mouse is getting a 21st century reboot (whether you agree with it or not) and as production gets going, we're starting to see details emerge as to exactly what form the new show will take. First off, some of the guys will now be girls:

“Characters that might have been male in the past will now be female characters,” said CBBC controller Cheryl Taylor, speaking at the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield....”We felt that the redesign stayed truthful both to the essence of Danger Mouse as we knew and loved him, but also brought something new for the youth of today,”

Yes, you read that right, not only is the show getting an 'update' with all the dreaded anxiety that such actions entail (usually through the good ol' conversion to 3-D CGI), but it's also being dragged into the modern era of gender equality to boot.

On the face of it, that's a good thing, and indeed it is. Although the move has a slight whiff of revisionism about it, denying that cartoons deserve to be a bit more even on the gender front is crazy. Recent shows from America and elsewhere have made broad attempts to move more towards a balanced cast without appearing to pander to political correctness for the sake of it. Avatar: the Last Airbender (book two onwards) remains the best American example although subsequent shows like the Legend of Korra not only exemplify the idea of an ensemble cast but also embrace it too. Although modifying an existing property is a riskier move than a wholly new show, for a reboot like Danger Mouse, it may as well be considered as being the latter since it will expand the concept and universe so much.

So the move actually makes sense from that standpoint; girls need to enjoy and embrace it too. If the original did so, it was in spite of its use of James Bond as inspiration. The spy genre has long been a popular one for kids cartoons and although the shadow of Mr. Bond has long cast a shadow (sometimes blatantly), alternatives do exist. T.U.F.F Puppy comes to mind with its focus on comedy, as does Totally Spies! even if it parodies the genre in the extreme.

This version of Danger Mouse is also being launched into a commercial atmosphere that is radically different from the original. No longer able to simply create content for their own benefit, it would be shocking if the BBC did not want to reach the largest international audience possible. Given that girls make up 50% of the population and therefore the viewing audience, if makes for good common sense to ensure they can enjoy the show as well.

There are no details on exactly which characters will be getting a transformation at this stage, but it seems safe to say that Danger Mouse himself and his sidekick Penfold will remain the same. As for this writer, he silently weeps that The Modifyers seems destined to remain but a glorious footnote in the history of spy cartoons.

Television
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8 Comments

  • Ad | July 22, 2014 7:54 PMReply

    Awww man.Poor old Danger Mouse deserves better than this.

  • Nic Kramer | July 8, 2014 6:02 PMReply

    And yet, we don't see much of the female super herorines in Marvel and DC animated shows. Okay, we see the more in the DC shows, but how come a "Wonder Woman" animated show hasn't made it off the planning stages and made it to the screens (yes, I'm aware of that Mattel "She-Ra" type toy show that almost happened in the early '90's)?

  • AM | July 8, 2014 11:41 AMReply

    "Given that girls make up 50% of the population and therefore the viewing audience, if makes for good common sense to ensure they can enjoy the show as well."

    Because we all know that girls are too stupid to enjoy a show unless it's full of females, right?

    This is going to be a bloody diaster. I actually did have some hopes for it originally, but they're being dashed.

  • Sparrowhawk | July 8, 2014 11:14 AMReply

    I'd hardly call Tuff Puppy a comedy - more like a noisy celebration of male idiocy, with physical abuse of the female protagonist its favorite running "gag".

  • Jody Morgan | July 8, 2014 10:11 AMReply

    I'll freely admit that I'm no expert on the original series, but I would guess that its lack of female characters could be explained almost entirely by its lack of female actors on its tiny budget. In all honesty, I have no objection to turning some of the male characters into female equivalents (Colonel K., anyone?); my only worry is that the writers might be afraid to make the female characters as fumbling and silly as the original male characters. The all-but-certain switch to CGI animation worries me far more.

  • Max C. | July 11, 2014 1:30 PM

    He won't be CG. He could be Toon Boom animated, but they've already released an image to show that he will be 2D.

  • Juan Alfonso | July 8, 2014 6:57 AMReply

    Why not actually show "Fifi"-Dangermouse's erstwhile girlfriend? She's mentioned often but never seen in the original series.

  • AM | July 8, 2014 11:52 AM

    Miss Boathook, the Colonel's secretary was mentioned (but never seen), far more. Fifi is only mentioned twice. Miss Boathook is even mentioned in an episode of Victor & Hugo (yes, I'm sorry, I'm a massive Cosgrove-Hall nerd!)

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