Friday, May 30, 2014

RR Gadget Boy & Heather


Go-Go-Gadget-Spinoff!

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Name: Gadget Boy & Heather or simply known as Gadget Boy and later on as Gadget Boy's Adventures in History 
Created by DIC Entertainment
Original run 1995-1998
Genre Cartoon comedy

Remember Inspector Gadget? Sure you do!

Remember its following spinoff series? I doubt it...

Following the original series in the mid-1980s, DiC Entertainment produced a sequel show, produced by much of the same studios and even sharing a couple of voice actors and writers.

Gadget Boy & Heather was launched in 1995. It followed a "new Inspector Gadget" doing much of the same, a clueless hero solving crimes almost by accident while most of his sidekicks were doing all the work.

This little spinoff ran for two seasons from 1995 to 1998.


The show revolved around the titular Gadget Boy.

You might think that Gadget Boy was actually Inspector Gadget as a kid. And the show doesn't spend much time trying explaining anything much. But during early episodes there were some allusions that Gadget Boy was in fact not Inspector Gadget as a child, but instead the series was taking place slightly in the future, at least some time after the original Inspector Gadget series.

Gadget Boy was created by a Swiss inventor named Byron Dabble. From his lab in Switzerland he was able to create a new fully robotic crime-fighting detective to fight evil! He was built in the image of the one, the only "legendary crime-fighter"(the classic Inspector Gadget!) and they were even able to implant the mind of the original hero in this new kid body... Which didn't make Gadget any better a detective!

In fact his friends end up doing all the actual detective work. Gadget Boy is paired with Agent Heather in a role similar to Penny in the original series. And they have now instead of Brain a robo-dog called G-9 to tag along and help whenever possible. Their pet dog G-9 also served as their mode of transportation, by it by land, air or sea. Giving our team new missions each week was Chief Stromboli, based in his headquarters in Italy to give the series a new International flavor.

But there's also a new villain around... Replacing Dr. Claw as the main villain to thwart week after week is now a pink-colored multi-armed masked villainess named Spydra! She's trying to steal the world's greatest treasures to conquer the entire world (and later on, re-write history). She's helped by several minions, including two brothers Mulch & Hummus and a pet-sidekick vulture Boris (who is, might I add, mildly annoying at times), a Russian talking bird who slacks of most of the time and should really think about switching camps instead...

This series had more accent on the many gadgets of Gadget Boy (pun not intended!) and to do so made a lot of use of Byron Dabble's sci-fi technology. Byron also had a huge crush on Heather (as many kids watching the show, no doubt!).

Our young hero was just as maladroit as the original Gadget and simply lacked focus on every mission. G-9 the fully robot-dog ended doing much of the work while Heather had to help save the day more times than often. Using their smarts and high-tech gadget, they had to defeat Spydra's new weekly evil scheme every time.


Simply said, it was pure Inspector Gadget, revamped for the 1990s.

Gadget Boy was also voiced by Don Adams like the original inspector. Heather was played by Tara Charandoff, Spydra by Louise Vallance and most sidecharacter as well as Spydra's minions were voiced by Maurice LaMarche himself!

The first Season ran from 1995 to 1996. Only released on DVD so far are a bunch of random selections of 4 episodes, over two disc volumes.It doesn't prove to be much of a problem since the series was really episodic and the stories could just as easily be watched independently. The first volume contains the following episodes:
12 Gadget Boy Squadron
10 Gadget Boy and the Uncommon Cold
25 All Webbed Up, Nowhere to Go
26 Vulture of the Bride
While the second DVD release covers episodes:
6 You Oughta Be in Paintings (14 October 1995)
16 The Day the Gadget Boy Stood Still (23 December 1995)
18 Jurassic Spydra (6 January 1996)
21 Pirate of the Airwaves (27 January 1996)
The score was composed by Mike Piccirillo and Jean-Michel Guirao this time, taking over the original composer Shuki Levy.

Alongside Gadget Boy also ran a semi-spinoff side-series/follow-up to the original Inspect Gadget for The History Channel in 1996, Inspector Gadget’s Field Trip. That one featured the original character and only ran for 26 episodes. It was pure edutainment using recycled material and live action segments. Gadget Boy actually made some appearances over there, connecting both series. It share a very similar theme song with GB.


Overall, it's a decent cartoon for kids, if a bit childish and silly at times.

Nothing spectacular, but certainly a bit below average. And far from the original campy show of the 80s.

Very odd at time (with lazy animations and plotting). But Spydra was a nice original new villain, Heather proved a pretty fun new character and addition to the formula. The more scifi-ysh take - what with the numerous gadgets constantly and all the robots around - was a nice change of pace.

If they want to re-release the entire rest of Season 1 like this, they're probably gonna need 4 more disc releases! The entire series is available on iTunes though.


Following the end of the first Season in march 1996, the series underwent a lot of changes by demand from DIC and the History Channel, which no doubt resulted in the early cancellation of the show at the end of its second and last Season.

Gadget Boy & Heather was replaced by the retooled series "Gadget Boy’s Adventures in History" in 1997, the official Season 2 that ran from 1997 to 1998, for 26 episodes as well.

This time the show saw our heroes traveling through time to prevent Spydra from changing history. Each time covering new dates and places in history to meet important figures such as Neil Armstrong, 1969, Moon, Henry Ford, 1909, Detroit, Michigan, Mary Shelley, 1816, Geneva, Switzerland or even Sinbad The Sailor, 1300 BC, Phoenicia!

While the idea, to teach some history to the kids, was nice in itself, it was simply plain badly executed... This second Season was just really, really bad... Really cheap production values, bad animation that just got worse, really bad art and nonsensical plots (as far the Inspector Gadget usually go). It was just so bad... Yet it's the only of the two Seasons they decided to release in an entirely complete DVD set! The writing really got worse, so much more childish - even as a kid I remember I couldn't stand it and sit through a whole episode...

I'd say, give a look to a couple episodes of the first Season, but just AVOID Season 2! It's that bad and cringe-worthy...

Fun fact, Gadget Boy ended just short of the first Inspector Gadget live action film's release on theaters!

I give it:
2 / 3 Felixes!

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