Thursday, December 17, 2015

Danger Mouse 2.0 E13: The Unusual Suspects

Who wants to see more DANGER agents? If you said "ME!", then you're in for a treat.

Danger Mouse is hard at work, tracking down just the right takeaway restaurant to grab some lunch. Professor Squawkencluck calls, reminding him that he's supposed to be picking up a sample of something incredibly dangerous called Formula X for transport back to HQ. No worries, Penfold has it covered. Has it covered in at least one roll of bubble wrap, that is. The boys get diverted popping some of the stuff, but Squawks quickly has them rolling out.

Check it out! The Mark IV has a matching trailer!

That is indeed a very random route.

They're underway when Colonel K calls, scratching and sneezing his way through forgetting who Penfold even is (again) and sending them a super-secret random route back to HQ to throw off any villains who may be lying in wait. The globe-trotting route doesn't work, though! Who should ambush them in the Sahara Desert but Baron Silas van Greenback! And he knows they have the Formula X! DM quickly disposes of the bubblewrap popping spiderbots the Baron deploys, and they leave the furious Greenback in the dust. Greenback seems to think he'll be seeing DM and co. again soon, though...

Agent Danger Mole is completely nonplussed by the suspicious looks being cast in his direction.

Squawks is relieved to attain the Formula X when the boys arrive back at HQ, but DM is concerned about how Greenback knew where to intercept him. Colonel K and an assortment of other Danger Agents appear, and the Colonel announces (sneezily) that the only thing that makes sense is that the Royal Secret Service has.. A MOLE!

Okay, Danger Moth is adorable. Look at her!

The Colonel puts HQ on lockdown, assigning Danger Mouse to find the snake in their grass and put a stop to the betrayal going on under their very noses. (Agent Danger Snake is not amused.) DM is reluctant to believe that any of them could be a traitor, and vows to prove it. He tells each agent (and Squawks) a different location for Formula X, and watches the security monitors. When the Colonel calls to check on his progress, he's happy to report that no one has made a move for any of the false locations. He's got the Formula X safely hidden away on his person. K is impressed with the scheme and asks for an update later.

DM and Penfold are feeling pretty good about this scheme, which couldn't possibly fail. They're so busy patting themselves on the back, however, that they miss the hole being cut in the lockdown shutters right behind them. Spiderbots come pouring in! DM is forced to deploy his "Danger Clips" to ensure that none of the nasty little crawlies scamper up his pants leg to steal the formula from his pocket.

DM makes quick work of the bots, and furiously confronts Colonel K, the only person who knew the location of the formula. (Well, other than Penfold.) After arguing the notion of arresting K, DM suddenly realizes that K's sneezing this episode has been rather... odd. Struck by a flash of insight, he reaches out and rips K's mustache clean off his face, horrifying his fellow agents!

It's none other than the Baron's nefarious little pet caterpillar, Nero! The sneaky little thing snatches the Formula X right off of DM and scurries off. No one finds K authoritative enough to follow his orders to pursue the little spy until he draws a hew mustache on, however. Danger Hedgehog and Danger Mackerel frighten a cornered Nero badly enough that his teeth crack the vial, and he licks up some of the formula. Bad news just got worse as they discover that Formula X grants super strength! Nero knocks down the agents and flees into the bowels of HQ. One by one, he takes down the agents until only Penfold remains.

DM appears, having secured himself some bubblewrap "armor". Nero attempts to escape in the Mark IV, but DM manages to use some of the wrap to snare the rogue vehicle and bring it back down to Earth. The Formula X is saved! The spy has been flushed out! But what of Colonel K's mustache?

Danger Mouse and Penfold help the Colonel track down his runaway mustache, which is alive, disturbingly enough. Why did it run away? We're not going to find out, because this is where our story ends. The Narrator assures us that there are no more bugs in the agency. Agent Danger Bug is not amused.

Episode Rating: 4/5

The standard "whodunnit" plot is fun in this episode, even if it is apparent very quickly who (or should I say what) the spy leaking information to the Baron is. The notion that Colonel K's mustache is some kind of living creature is rather creepy, in my mind.

It's great to see more of the "Danger Agents", though. Makes one wonder how come Danger Mouse is the one who gets to be called "DM" though, when there's also Danger Mole, Danger Mackerel, Danger Moth... Maybe K calls them all DM? 

Danger Rating:10

I think this is our most "Dangerous" episode to date. Here's a list of everything dangerous from today's episode.

Danger Car (Mark IV) with an honorable mention to the presumably named Danger Trailer
Danger Hedgehog
Danger Mackerel
Danger Mole
Danger Snake
Danger Moth
Danger Pelican
Danger Flat
Danger Clips
Danger Bug
Callback Moment

This episode plays a bit with a premise shown back in the 80's episode Nero Power, where Nero briefly attains powers (in this case telekinesis), and terrorizes DM and Penfold. It never pays to underestimate Nero as just a pet. He's at least as villainous and evil as his twisted master.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Danger Mouse 2.0 E11: The Return of Danger K

Speaking of the 80's, let's take a time warp and see how things were done back in the day!

We're never going to find out the Colonel's proper name, are we? 

Behold the ancient past! London in 1983... ish. A wave of shockingly un-British and frankly quite rude behavior is sweeping the nation!

Check out the band posters! Wait, Who are the Sniffs a parody of? The Tweets? (Selfie Guy!)
Tsk, just scandalous. The reason for this outpouring of incredibly un-British behavior isn't the influence of rock and roll music, or even those giant new-fangled cell phones. No, instead this is due to one individual and his nefarious doomsday weapon!

What, you were expecting maybe Silas van Greenback?
Birch Badboy and his mega-rude megaphone are dedicated to spreading this awful behavior (and presumably awful hairstyle choices), but thankfully for England, there is a super spy whose strength, cunning, and convenient gadgets make him more than a match for this villain. I'm talking, of course, about Danger K!

Just look at that dashing figure. Danger K apprehended the fiend using his Battle Blazer and Sonic Danger Hammers, and Badboy was incarcerated in the Arkwright Asylum for the Criminally Challenged. Meanwhile, Danger K's old gear has been stored in the Danger Museum, where all worthy Danger Things go to retire.

Penfold is recording this flashback for his blog, against Danger Mouse's better judgement. After all, it's a SECRET museum! But Penfold only has one follower, so what harm could it do?

Well, that one follower COULD be a nefarious villain, so there's that. And that villain COULD be one of the Colonel's (lame seeming) arch-nemeses. And that COULD get miffed and escape and... well, you get the idea.

K shows a few more items of memorabilia belonging to more of his vanquished foes, but before we can get too involved with trying to figure out what Ivana the Invisible's invisi-jet looks like or ponder the workings of the Snowman's rocket-powered carrot nose, the museum alarm goes off! Badboy has stolen his megaphone back, and is going to prove he's a force to be reckoned with by finishing up his old plan of spreading rudeness all over England.

DM and K are confident that they have him at first... but he jumps right into the invisi-jet and takes off. Seeing K's old personal copter, the boys pile in and give chase. It's a little over-crowded with all three of them in there, but K insists that his experience could be vital. This doesn't save them from being blown up by some of the invisi-jets invisi-missiles, however. Thankfully DM packed his Danger Chute.

DM is insistent that he and Penfold are more than adequate to take down the likes of Badboy, and dismisses the Colonel from the case. K looks a bit dejected at the reaction, but takes off with his personal Danger Copter, anyway. Badboy, meanwhile, is running amuck, even blasting the Queen with his Rudeness Ray. DM and Penfold track him, discovering that he's stolen an enormous broadcasting antenna, surely intending to blast the entire country - if not the world - at once with it! Deducing he's gone back to the prison to carry out this evil deed, they take off in pursuit.

At Arkwright Asylum, the duo arrive just as Badboy is finishing the setup on his antenna. Badboy blasts them, and the two secret agents are immediately snarling insults at each other. (DM telling Penfold "Go back to Hobbiton, shorty" is one of my favorite moments of the new series so far!)

With the heroes distracted making up insults for each other, Badboy is able to transmit his Rudeness Ray over the entire country! It's anarchy in the UK!

Colonel K calls, attempting to rally the boys into shutting this mess down, but they're not interested in taking orders from him (or anyone else) anymore! He vows that he's coming to save them, but they're hardly impressed. Could it be? Is THIS how the world ends? Not with a bang or a whimper, but with a resounding sarcastic raspberry?

K grabs his old Danger K gear and after a strained fitting session, he arrives at the asylum to confront Badboy. Fortunately for him, his old Battle Blazer has a rudeness deflection system, so he's immune to the rudeness ray. Unfortunately for him, Badboy isn't alone! It's an 80's bad guy reunion special!

Tutankamoo, the Snowman, and Ivana the Invisible are all here, too! And the last thing they want is a fair fight. K is blown back into the Mark IV atop Danger Mouse and Penfold by one of Ivana's invisi-rockets. The boys are annoyed, but shake off the effects of the rudeness ray at the Colonel's stirring speech. The secondary villains are quickly knocked down and K's Sonic Danger Hammer blast knocks Badboy's megaphone out of his grasp. As DM and Penfold go after it, K faces the villain himself.

As Penfold and Danger Mouse play keepaway with Tutankamoo and the rest, Colonel K finds himself momentarily outmatched by Badboy, who destroys the Sonic Danger Hammers. DM and Penfold finally manage to seize the megaphone, but see that K is down with no hope of getting to him in time OR of staying in that suit much longer. They encourage him to take a deep breath, and the Battle Blazer's buttons give way, destroying Badboy's own battle suit and weapons, and sending him careening into the broadcast antenna just before it can transmit the rudeness ray worldwide. Whew, talk about cutting things close!

Back at the museum, Danger Mouse acknowledges that K really saved their bacon on this one. The Colonel is pleased at the recognition, and vows that if they ever need his help again, he'll be ready to take his Sonic Danger Hammers back into action. Whoops, but maybe they should leave his suit switched off until then...  

Episode Rating: 4.5/5
As nice as it is to see Penfold save the day, it's a rare treat indeed to see K do so! The bit of backstory on him as an elite RSS agent is pretty fantastic, too. Probably the greatest thing is that a villain as ridiculous as Badboy came so close to winning, though!

Danger Rating:
A rather dangerous episode! Here's the run down on all known Danger Things in this one:

Danger Museum
Sonic Danger Hammers
Danger Chutes
Danger Copter
Danger Car (Mark IV)
Callback Moment

The opening of this episode, with its 1980's London skyline, is a pretty solid reference to the typical opening of episodes from the 1980's series. I half expected to hear Isambard giving the opening narration!

Danger Mouse 2.0 E10: Jeopardy Mouse

Alright, I have another confession. Way, way back in the early 1980's, as I was watching the original series of DM, I had a fan character, probably the first one I ever made. She (because of course it was a she) was an American spy and a romantic foil for DM. At first she was a black cat, but once I saw the episode Planet of the Cats, I realized that the different animal species were all different scales and plus a cat and a mouse wouldn't get along at all. So then she changed to a black bat/mouse hybrid, who still kept the name "The Black Cat". The bat part, if you're interested, came in so that she could have pointed ears and keep the "Cat" name. The notion was that she was so mysterious that no one had ever seen her except in silhouette. So, of course, they would think that she was a cat. For the next 30 years, whenever I thought of Danger Mouse, I tended to recall BC fondly and mentally tweak her development a bit.

Anyway, one of the things that came up when this new series was revealed was that there would be a female spy character. An American, and probably a romantic foil. You see now where I'm going with this. I promise, I'm going to try and be objective about...

Even the NAME is derivative.

We open in London, as Penfold's directions lead Danger Mouse on a circular route around the Tower of London for reasons that quickly become clear...

IT'S THE ZOMBIE APOCALPYSE! Well, sort of. Penfold's trying to sneak in a quick game of Attack of the Bunnies while he's supposed to be using DM's spare iPatch to find Baron von Greenback's hideout. Penfold's lack of aptitude for Geography is getting them nowhere, so DM activates the DangerNav to calculate a route to the baddie's evil lair.

After a ridiculously dangerous (by design, yes) sequence of twanging off trees and turbo boosting over canyons, they arrive... at Bouncy Henge, apparently a play area for kids built by the ancient Britons. And there, lurking in the shadows they found Silas von Greenback and his faithful minion, Stiletto. Before DM can more than say "Not so fast!" the Baron has already activated the "Tectonic Plate Spinner", and ended the world as we know it! Except... wait.. did anything even happen?

As a matter of fact, something apparently did. A purple-clad spy appears, attempting to arrest the Baron and proclaiming that they're in America and she has jurisdiction. Oh, and SHE is supposedly the world's greatest secret agent. As she and DM argue about who's a secret agent and how cool her eyeshades are, the bad guys escape. Attempts to locate them via the DangerNav results in the second computer meltdown so far of the new series, as the car's CPU cannot accept the the map is wrong, and self-destructs. What on Earth has happened?

It appears that the Tectonic Plate Spinner has flung entire countries around the globe! England is in the US! The entire city of New York/London (New London? LonYork?) is a mishmash nightmare of nearly Monty Python proportions. While England is in the US, Jeopardy's boss E. Normous Schwartznut claims he's in charge. He (and Colonel K, sort of) reveal that the Plate Spinner was stolen from the US, and directs the two spies to work together to get it back.

"Shouldn't you at least be having problems with the whole 'driving on the wrong side of the car' thing?"

Jeopardy initially refuses, calling DM unprofessional and only interested in having fun. Penfold is aghast, asking DM if Jeopardy does, in fact, know that he's standing there. The powers that be insist, however, and Jeopardy snags DM's car keys to drive them all the Shanghai... now in Switzerland. The two spies snark at each other most of the way, but Penfold is able to get an odd sort of laugh out of her at Danger Mouse's expense, leading DM to speculate that maybe she's not a robot, after all. Then we're right back to her being scandalized he's just here to have fun, and him being agog that she's PAID to do this stuff.

The Baron's friends list is a source of never-ending amusement.

In Switzerland/Shanghai, Greenback puts the finishing touches on the demands video before uploading it to SpamChops. Just in time, too, as the spies are closing in! Or wait, are they? A few knocks to the ground with the Tectonic Plate Spinner and the terrain shifts and folds, landing them in the ocean, hurling them into the desert, and just generally making things difficult.

While Jeopardy tries out several of the Mark IV's all terrain (and we DO mean all terrain) modes, DM enjoys some parasailing, waterskiing and just plain showing off. Jeopardy points out that he's supposed to be a SECRET agent, and DM muses that there's no point in doing it if nobody's paying attention. Speaking of not paying attention, it seems the mice lost Penfold on that last epic stunt jump! And worse, the next spin lands the hapless assistant right in front of the Frog's Head Flyer!

Back in the Mark IV, DM and Jeopardy are too busy calling each other names to notice Penfold's gone, so their bosses have to call and let them know. The two spies put aside their differences over whether it's okay to have fun saving the world or not to spring into action. As the Baron flees with the entire landmass of Italy, Jeopardy and DM get the US's spare Tectonic Plate Spinner and take New Zealand in hot pursuit. Jeopardy lassos the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which prompts Greenback to try and flee via the Frog's Head Flyer. She handily stops that via causing the Great Wall of China to pop up.

Greenback isn't worried, the Frog's Head Flyer is still indestructible, so the two spies can't possibly get in. Not unless Penfold hits that big green button, that is.

And just like that, Jeopardy becomes the Mike Wazowski of the DM universe.
 The two spies "no after you" at each other until ANOTHER spy shows up. Hazard Mouse, who also claims to be the world's greatest secret agent, swoops in with his spiffy cape and arrests Greenback in the name of the Italian people.

Back in Mayfair, Colonel K informs the boys that they're getting complaints from all over the world over where Penfold put all the countries. This just begs the question... why was he allowed to do so in the first place?!

Episode Rating: 4/5

The big hook in this episode is supposed to be Jeopardy Mouse, and eh... I'm really just not feeling her, personally. Her personality (and voice) are rather flat, and even her coming around to having some fun at the end is a little dull. Honestly, I think I'd be unimpressed with her even if I hadn't made what was (mostly) the same character myself back in 1983! The fact that they had to lampshade her name by throwing in Hazard Mouse just adds to the inanity of the name.

The ridiculous romp through the world as it twists and morphs around them is the real star of this episode. The standout sequence for me, at least, was putting the Mark IV through its paces in the ever-changing terrain. Oh Mark IV, is there ANYPLACE you can't go?

Danger Rating:
Despite the word danger being thrown around a bit, we only saw a few "dangerous" items during this episode.

Danger Car
Danger Flat
Callback Moment

This isn't the first time that something bizarre has happened to DM at an ancient landmark. In The Good, The Bad, and the Motionless, a trip to Stonehenge unleashes DM's evil side, which then has to be stopped. 

The basic premise of the plot, the changing around of the countries of the world, is yet another thing from the old series. In the episode There's a Penfold in My Suit, the nations of Central America were swapped around, due to an earthquake and a mystical swapping stone. DM, Penfold and their nemeses soon had a serious identity crisis going on.

Let's have a stinger; the city of New Londork! There, that seems fitting.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Danger Mouse 2.0 E9: Welcome to Danger World


By George, it's a... An ant? In a dragon suit?

We join the adventure, already in progress, as Danger Mouse and Penfold face off against a massive, terrifying dragon ant in a dragon suit. DM is severely disappointed with this turn of events, and chastises Penfold for reprogramming the holographic training simulator. Before Penfold can have more than his second-favorite tie destroyed, however, the Colonel breaks into their program with shocking footage from Cambodia.

Jazzercise? Really, Colonel!

Wait, not that footage.

Nooo! Not selfie-guy! Sweet precious cinnamon roll is too good and pure for this horrible world!

Here we go. Aliens with some kind of weird camera-like devices are snapping up landmarks and people in a shocking manner! Selfie-Guy is just one of the natives captured as landmarks and animals disappear into the cameras. Worldwide, Mount Rushmore, Notre Dame and most disturbing, Big Mike's Pie Shop have already been stolen!

Has the exit been talking to us this whole time and I just noticed it? Who's leaving these messages? Squawks? It's cute!

Admonishing his assistant that this just proves that the world needs heroes, not cowards who reprogram training simulators, DM rushes for the Mark IV. A quick launch sequence later and the boys are airborne.

Upon arrival in Egypt, DM makes quick work of the balloon animal-like aliens. However, upon pausing to confront one of them, he is asked for directions to the gift shop. This puzzling invasion is quickly explained as a space ship lands next to the befuddled hero.

"And don't come back without a proper Babel fish!"

The tour director, a being of two rather distinct minds, has come to give a guided tour (and fleece more money out of these intergalactic rubes) of the desert country to his patrons. Penfold's enchanted with the idea of taking the tour, but DM's not having it. Penfold being shutter-napped by one of the tourists is the last straw, and DM makes quick work of the tourists and Quark before sending them packing.

Home again, Danger Mouse and Penfold relax, enjoying a respite from the nonstop danger and peril. The narrator wonders if DM will spend this time calling his mother (like he said he would), or if he'll notice the huge alien eye looking in the window at them. They do notice, and are upset when the alien's "camera" nabs a goodly chunk of their wall. Danger Mouse clobbers the eyeball-tentacle alien, only to discover that he's been set up. Quark is bringing tourists to see HIM now, and the aliens are loving seeing the monocular mouse in action. Appealing to DM's (massive) ego, Quark convinces him to sign some autographs and play it up a bit for the tourists. Penfold is appalled that his hero is such an easy schmuck to manipulate.

We see one of Quark's hyperbolic advertisements for the Danger Mouse Extravaganza briefly before checking back in with Penfold, who's trying to repair the pillarbox all alone. Colonel K calls, demanding Penfold find the errant agent so HE can save the world from the grotesque theme park makeover that Quark is giving the planet. Though Penfold's able to find DM, he's initially unable to get the agent to see that Quark using the entire polar ice cap to make a Danger Mouse ice sculpture is a bad thing. (Massive, MASSIVE ego)

The whole planet has been turned into a tourist trap, and even Colonel K's hologram and Professor Squawkencluck have had to find new jobs under the new regime. The moon's even been turned into an enormous car park!

Well this gives new meaning to the phrase "Retail Hell".
Only slightly chagrined, DM agrees to speak to Quark about this. The boys arrive at a packed arena, and discover that Quark has a new gimmick for the Danger Mouse Show. If DM won't perform on cue, then who will save the planet from the gross alien creature that attacks people with it's gross tongue?

Upon seeing the Queen licked by the gross little creature, DM is incensed. "Nobody licks her majesty... WITHOUT royal approval!" The tongue-monster is quickly dealt with.

Penfold's becoming a sneaky little sneakster. I like it.

Quark is just going to keep releasing monsters to force DM to fight, though. The agent is baffled on how to defeat Quark.. but Penfold has a plan. He announces that Danger Mouse is challenging Quark to a fight, and notes that if the fight doesn't happen, then they'll just have to refund all the tourists' money. The greedy alien is quick to agree to get beaten up for quick cash, but Danger Mouse manages to overcome his natural inclination to beat and defeat his foes. The performance is downright embarrassing.

Quark desperately tries to get DM to fight back, even tying him to the London Eye and turning it loose in the city. The crowd has a new hero, and Penfold's got the market temporarily cornered on Quark merch.

"Pleaaaase don't make my next browser game in Flash! I beg of you! It's a dead-end technology!"
Danger Mouse sets the eager crowd of photo hounds on the horrified Quark, who flees the planet with his public close behind. DM is forced to concede that the world really DOES need cowards as well as heroes. The Mark IV has been stolen as a souvenir, so the boys are forced to take the Danger Mouse Coaster (covers all of Europe) back home.

So how long until all this incredibly DM-centric infrastructure is dissolved?

Episode Rating: 4/5

Again, it's always nice to see Penfold save the day. This reimagining of Quark is going to take some getting used to for me, but it's a unique twist at least. The whole "moral of the story" bit feels a little off, but it's a strange enough journey to get there that it's not terribly annoying.

Danger Rating:

There are SO MANY Danger Mouse theme park things. Let's just lump them all together, shall we?

Danger Car (Mark IV)
Danger Flat
Danger World (and many, MANY pieces of Danger Mouse memorabilia)

Callback Moment

J. J. Quark was introduced back in the 80's, in the aptly named episode Quark! Quark! In it, the antagonistic alien is attempting to take over the Earth, as most villains do. That version of Quark was far different from this new one, though. Besides being in the world domination game instead of the tourism market, the previous incarnation of Quark lacked the second mouth (and mind) of the newer one. Instead, Quark's pessimistic half was provided in the character of his robot servant/sidekick Grovel. Quark was defeated by Penfold (and his silly face) in his first appearance, but made two more appearances as he tried to defeat the two spies and claim the Earth (which he claimed he'd inherited) as his own.

Landmarks vanishing worldwide is old hat to the Danger Mouse universe. Be it via Greenback or even a fourth dimensional demon, the Earth seems to have serious trouble keeping its famous sites in place. Then there was that plague of pyramids cropping up all over... You know, maybe they should just tie everything down, just to be safe.