Sunday, April 16, 2017

Puppy Dog Pals Reviewed: S1E1-4 (there are like, four titles so I'm *not* typing them all out)

PAW Patrol! Go! Go! Go! ...uhhh, I mean, we're so excited to be going on a mission! Going on a mission! Going on a mission!

What is it? 24 minute CGI cartoon aimed squarely at the preschool to early elementary demographic about rescue pups with transforming pup houses with techno-wizzy collars oh wait they actually have those too with a robotic dog pal wait they have that too? that live in a lookout tower with a slide oh wait they have that even
Where did it air? Nick Jr Disney Junior
Who stars in it? A bunch of pups named Marshall, Chase, Rocky, Zuma, Rubble and Skye with their human leader Ryder A bunch of various voice actors who have probably been doing the VA circuit for a while for Disney.
Why are we reviewing this? Because, eh, why not.

Those of you who follow my Twitter (and can sense the sarcasm already above, which shouldn't be too hard because that's the point of sarcasm) already know how I feel about this, so I'll just go ahead and pull a direct quote from one of my tweets: "It feels as if a Disney Channel exec went to the Pixar studios, showed them PAW Patrol, and told them 'make us that.'" The similarities and parallels do feel less like they were made up by an ex-professor with no conception of what a haircut is who managed to land a series of TV shows on "History" Channel and more, you know, actually legit.

That said the animation on Puppy Dog Pals is noticeably much higher and it does look like what you would've gotten from a Pixar movie not long ago at all, if even that (I guess it pays to have some of the biggest animation studios muscling in on your side).But while PAW Patrol does manage to have a cutesy charm that makes it easier for adults to swallow (go see the TVTropes page if you don't believe me, as manchild-ish as the collective of TVTropes tends to be) Puppy Dog Pals feels...a little dumbed-down for its demo even in comparison to that. It's cutesy overload, and that cutesy-ness is mostly being propped up strictly by character designs and art direction and over-the-top voice acting. 

It's a colorful series, that's for sure, and it already appears to be a huge hit with the demo as every bit as PAW Patrol is. And, I mean, what do I know anyway? It could have a huge peripheral adult-ish demo behind it too. I could see myself trying out a few more episodes as long as they don't deluge my DVR but I think it's going to be mostly background noise.

Episodes Grade: C+. Yes it already has its moments so far but, well, we'll see. And as much as I build up PAW Patrol, it's not exactly the greatest thing ever on TV either.

Now, Doc McStuffins, that's a preschooler's show I can get behind just about universally.

Episodes MVP: Spin Master for clearly coming up with an idea so brilliant Disney couldn't but help themselves to the same buffet table.

Extra Thoughts:

 - One key distinction is that the pups here can only talk to each other - their human caretaker only hears them as generic barking. At the same time they can communicate clearly with cats (Rubble would probably be freaked out given his "I had a dream that cats can talk!" from Pups Leave Marshall Home Alone). Their robotic dog pal A.R.F. seems to be capable of being a go-between speaking both English and barking that both parties can hear.

 - Another thing: Puppy Dog Pals is an incredibly unimaginative title. The previews made it seem like it was just a generic buddy adventure cartoon (which in all fairness it pretty much is) but I think it also shows the direct parallels/rip-offs to PAW Patrol really aren't that necessary.

 - That said, Cupcake and Rufus are more effective villains than Mayor Humdinger and the Catastrophe Cats (which together are probably the dumbest elements of all of PAW Patrol - needless to say Sweetie was a welcome villain upgrade).

 - Happy Easter!

1 comment:

  1. There's Disney Jr shows that are meant to have more universal, like Doc McStuffins, then some are clearly aimed at just the younger set like Henry Hugglemonster and this. That's not saying they are bad just not as well done as others.

    That said the music is by Andy Bean, who did the music on Wander over Yonder so clearly there's ONE reason to watch the show.

    Also those eyes stare into my soul.

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