One of the finest examples of Saturday morning cartoons (in my opinion) in the past 25 years, "Ducktales" was consistently clever, energetic, and incredibly fun. Seeing these episodes again brought a big smile to my face, as I can clearly remember watching both as a kid. It's disappointing that children's programming today just doesn't provide this kind of fun or adventure anymore.
"Ducktales" tells the story of how Donald Duck's nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie went to live with their uncle Scrooge McDuck when Donald decided to go off an join the navy. The incredibly wealthy Scrooge takes care of the boys, who join him for adventures that lead the group to various locations around the globe. Assisted by nanny Mrs. Beakley and pilot Launchpad McQuack, the group are often the target of schemes from villian Magica DeSpell and her not-terribly-bright assistants, the Beagle boys. Overall, the show definitely had an engaging, fast-paced, "Indiana Jones" quality to it. Lessons were worked into each story, but in a way that was certainly not heavy-handed.
The series operated on such a high level of quality that it gained a fairly strong adult following, as well. It's impressive to see the series again today, as the scripts are superb enough to still stand up well nearly 20 years later, offering great, well-developed characters and stories that often mixed mystery and sci-fi. Amazingly, the episodes also nearly never become repetitive, with each adventure standing out as an imaginative original. Some of the highlights in this set include: "Duck to the Future" (Scrooge travels to the future to see what will happen to the boys, but ends up stranded by Magica), "The Uncrashable Hindentanic" (Scrooge may lose a million dollar bet due to a bad blimp), "The Ducky Horror Picture Show" (Scrooge opens a new cinema, only to find out his stars are real monsters) and the five-part "Super Duck Tales" special, which begins with an episode where Scrooge has to move his famed money bin.
Overall, the show remains - in my humble opinion - a classic and the best of Disney's terrific run of animated shows in the '80's and '90's. The fact that I clearly remembered watching nearly all of these episodes (despite not having seen them since around the first time they aired) as I was watching them says a lot about how wonderful they are.
"Talespin", which boasts one of the catchiest theme songs ever for an animated series, takes characters from Disney's classic "Jungle Book" and sticks them into a new situation. Baloo (Ed Gilbert) is now the pilot-for-hire for a struggling courier company headed up by Rebecca (Sally Struthers), who has a young daughter named Molly. In the pilot, Baloo runs across an orphan named Kit Cloudkicker (RJ Williams) and both adopts him and takes him on as his co-pilot.
Each episode would have Baloo, Kit (and occasionally Rebecca and Molly) on a new adventure, often facing attacks from air pirates like Don Karnage snd other assorted baddies. Understandably, the animation now looks rather dated, but "Talespin" still holds up quite well, otherwise - the stories remain a great deal of fun.
Volume 3 episodes:
Duck to the Future
Launchpad's First Crash
Dime Enough for Luck
Duck in the Iron Mask
The Uncrashable Hindentanic
The Status Seekers
Nothing to Fear
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. McDuck
Once Upon a Dime
Spies in Their Eyes
All Ducks on Deck
Ducky Horror Picture Show
Till Nephews Do Us Part
Time Is Money (1) - Marking Time
Time Is Money (2) - The Duck Who Would Be King
Time Is Money (3) - Bubba Trubba
Time Is Money (4) - Ducks on the Lam
Time Is Money (5) - Ali Bubba's Cave
Super DuckTales (1) - Liquid Assets
Super DuckTales (2) - Frozen Assets
Super DuckTales (3) - Full Metal Duck
Super DuckTales (4) - The Billionaire Beagle Boys Club
Super DuckTales (5) - Money to Burn
Talespin - Vol 2 episodes:
1-24 024 A Baloo Switcheroo
1-25 023 Whistlestop Jackson, Legend
1-26 034 Double or Nothing
1-27 028 Feminine Air
1-28 027 Last Horizons
1-29 035 Flight of the Snow Duck
1-30 039 Save the Tiger
1-31 040 The Old Man and the Sea Duck
1-32 022 War of the Weirds
1-33 044 Captains Outrageous
1-34 029 Plunder and Lightning (1)
1-35 030 Plunder and Lightning (2)
1-36 031 Plunder and Lightning (3)
1-37 032 Plunder and Lightning (4)
1-38 011 The Time Bandit
1-39 045 For Whom the Bell Klangs (1)
1-40 046 For Whom the Bell Klangs (2)
1-41 033 Citizen Khan
1-42 037 Gruel and Unusual Punishment
1-43 064 A Jolly Molly Christmas
1-44 036 My Fair Baloo
1-45 050 Waiders of the Wost Tweasure
1-46 038 Flight School Confidential
1-47 041 Bringing Down Babyface
1-48 047 Jumping the Guns
1-49 049 In Search of Ancient Blunders
1-50 043 Louie's Last Stand
1-51 048 Sheepskin Deep
1-52 042 Pizza Pie in the Sky
1-53 051 Baloo Thunder
1-54 061 Bullethead Baloo
VIDEO: "Duck Tales" episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The picture quality is excellent in some regards, as the animation appears crisp and well-defined and colors look bright and well-saturated. No edge enhancement or pixelation was visible, either.
Unfortunately, the show is slightly starting to show its age, as there were times when minor specks, marks and dirt were spotted on the elements used. These issues were not major, but they were noticable. Still, fans will likely be pleased with the overall quality of the presentation here.
"Tale Spin" is presented in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. Flaws include some slight specks, marks and minor dirt on the elements used. Colors look bright and well-saturated on both titles, with no smearing or other issues. No pixelation and no edge enhancement were seen, but some slight shimmering was occasionally spotted
SOUND: Both shows are presented in stereo, with clear dialogue and music.
Final Thoughts: While "Tale Spin" doesn't hold up quite as well as the wonderful "Duck Tales", both shows are still highly entertaining for both young and old alike. While it's still dismaying that no extras are included - these are both great shows that many adults fondly remember growing up with, and it would have been great to hear from the creators - I'll still easily recommend both of these sets.