Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's

No long-winded new year's piece here -- appropriate as that might be, considering that this year, and especially this past month, has ended up becoming the blog's busiest ever. No, I just wanted to make a short observation of what the first day of the new year will bring: Tomorrow, according to the press, the first, full-fledged premiere of Inspector Gadget's reboot will air on Boomerang Asia. The Asian launch will reportedly include the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Myanmar, so watch for it if you're in any of those countries. One detail I don't know regarding this, though, is the exact airing schedules. I have not been able to find any online TV guides for Boomerang Asia, though I'm sure they're out there somewhere. If anyone knows when Inspector Gadget's first airing (presumably episode 1, "Gadget 2.0") will take place on January 1, please let us know in the comments. I may not have time to do another update before tomorrow, but the information will be there, at least.

Speaking of which: the Cartoon Network Asia site has added a bunch of preview clips from half-hours 1 and 2 in their video section, available to watch for those living in the region. They're no doubt spoiler-heavy, though; so again, proceed at your own risk. (Annoyingly, I can find no TV schedule for Boomerang Asia on the site, only for Cartoon Network. Considering that the site has tons of preview clips for both CN and Boomerang, wouldn't it make sense to also include a TV guide for Boomerang?)

Finally, here's an unrelated, though weirdly appropriate note to end on. I've posted this 2005 Boomerang UK ad for the original series before, but it's worth reprising, as it remains one of the most creative TV spots I've seen for the show. (The best-quality version can be seen here, but it's inembeddable, so I'm posting a Cartoon Network recording below.) And why do I find this appropriate? Well, everything the announcer says at the end (with the possible exception of "4pm") rings true for today...

Anyhow, that's it for this year. As the reboot's premiere draws nerve-wreckingly closer for every country around the globe, and fans everywhere sweatingly await the results, there's really only one more thing to say...


45 Seconds of Inspector Gadget Showreel Animation From DHX Halifax

Here's a video I'm embarrassed not to have featured earlier. It was quiely uploaded to the 'net back on October 15 - and by "quietly", I mean that it's not publicly listed on YouTube. It is however available to watch via DHX Halifax's official studio site, which is where I came across it almost two months ago. And yeah, that's the embarrassing part right there: I found this in early November, but didn't post about it then because I felt I should focus on the World Screen clip commentary first, before going on to comment on even more animated footage. In retrospect, I should just have posted it -- commentary or no commentary. I didn't realize it then, but this post ended up getting so delayed that one of my diligent anonymous readers beat me to it, and shared the video in a comment ages ago (good job, by the way!).

Ah well. The silver lining is, I have yet another video to post about before tomorrow's full-fledged premiere airing on Boomerang Asia! Even better, this contains a lot of fun animation, all in sharp 720p HD. So skip to 00:49 in the below embedding to get to the Inspector Gadget section of DHX Halifax's showreel - or click here to watch from that point on YouTube.

This being a showreel, I get a feeling that it gives a truer representation of the new series than the World Screen video, which featured the intro sequence and the start of one episode. Here, as a contrast, the clips are likely sourced from multiple episodes, and specifically selected to show off the Halifax studio's work. With that in mind, I thought I'd include a few ramblings on pieces of animation that I liked, or found otherwise interesting.

I love the shot right at the start where Gadget takes off with his copter. Great anticipation, great bouncy feel to the copter blades, great timing.

(Oh, and: Motion blur. Commonly used these days, it seems, to make CGI animation come off as more cartoony, though it can make it a pain to get decent-looking framegrabs.)

The nice, bouncy quality of the copter blades is even more apparent in this shot at the end, where we also see a disguised Brain skiing after Gadget.

And speaking of following Gadget: the slapstick scene with Brain hanging on to the flying Inspector for his dear life is very fun to watch. Great animation of the frantically running/sliding Brain there. Of course I love how the obstacles just keep building up for him, which is sort a of a nature law when you're Brain.

Also, let's hear it for the beautifully designed night shot of Penny showing off her acrobatic skills. (I could have done without the last camera angle shift, though.)

By the way, who's Penny's friend below? Inspector Gadget's version of Monique? Come to think of it, this version of Penny does seem to veer a tad towards Disney's Kim Possible overall, considering her physical 'action hero' abilities. Penny's outfit in the above night shot even reminds me a bit of Kim's season 4 battle suit. I hope the similarities between the characters will not be too strong.

We also see that Claw's nephew Talon, despite being evil, will get his comic relief moments as well - which I'm sure is there to make him more likeable (and less threatening) to both Penny and the viewers.

Notice that Talon has apparently infiltrated Gadget's headquarters here. Hmmm.

...but at the same time, Talon is not only comic relief. If the below scene is any indication, his relationship/battling with Penny will also provide its share of action.

Plus, we get an action-oriented taste of what Penny's modern-day computer book can do. (I still don't think we know the name of that thing, by the way.)

On the other hand, a few moments in the animation seemed less-than-great to me. One is the scene of Gadget extending his legs to ski over a huge rock: something about the animation and movement there struck me as a bit stiff and lifeless. It was about the only moment in the video where I felt pulled out of the illusion of action.

I also think M.A.D. Cat's lower body here is posed rather stiffly and awkwardly. I like his facial expressions, though.

In the scene where Gadget legs suddenly push him upwards, I was puzzled to see this happen without any sort of anticipation on Gadget's part. No bending down to get ready for the jump, as I would have expected. For that reason, the clip looks a bit strange to me; though I'm willing to wait and watch it in context. (After all, maybe Gadget is actually trying to activate a different gadget here, resulting in the spring legs inadvertedly popping out.)

Regardless, I looove the elasticity of these spring legs. They've always been one of the funniest parts of Gadget's design to me, and it's great to see them back after the boringly streamlined, non-spring legs in Gadgetinis.

Overall, despite my nitpickings with a few scenes, this showreel does give off a good impression. There's a lot of good-looking animation here, some of it quite impressive for television CGI. While not 100% perfect, I'd say this bodes well for the visual side of the new Inspector Gadget series.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Updated New Series Episode Guide (Including The Correct Title For #6b)

Foxtel's shedule for Boomerang Australia has now reached January 12, meaning that a few more episode titles of the new series is included in the guide. One thing which surpriced me is that Inspector Gadget will actually not only air on weekdays in Australia, as previously announced; but on every single day of the week, including the weekends. After half-hours 1-5 are aired - during Monday, January 5 to Friday, January 10 - the 4:30 pm schedule will continue right on during Saturday and Sunday with episodes 6 and 7, before being followed by episode 8 on Monday.

In addition to that revised info, I found this update worthwile for a couple of reasons. One, I've changed episode 2b's title to simply "Game Over, Man", which is its onscreen title on World Screen, and almost certainly the correct version. Two, Boomerang Australia's guide finally reveals the correct title for episode 6b (see 'Sat 10 Jan'), which was erroneously listed as "Sucks Like Mad" in Super RTL's German guide. Its actual title is "A Claw For Talon", which matches the translated German title, "Eine Krallen-Hand für Titus". And speaking of Super RTL, TV Info has updated its German schedule with half-hours 8 and 9. Below is the full updated guide pieced together from both sources. (Note that I'm not including the German titles this time around. They can be found on TV Info's site for those who are interested.)

Episode 1
1a. Gadget 2.0 Part 1
1b. Gadget 2.0 Part 2

Episode 2
2a. Towering Towers
2b. Game Over, Man

Episode 3
3a. Rock Out
3b. Strike A Pose

Episode 4
4a. Better Class Of MAD
4b. Cough Due To Claw

Episode 5
5a. Dog Show Days Are Over
5b. One Bad Apple

Episode 6
6a. Sucks Like MAD
6b. A Claw For Talon

Episode 7
7a. Gadget's Da Bomb
7b. Gadget Management

Episode 8
8a. Diamonds are a MAD's Best Friend
8b. Ticked Off

Episode 9
9a. You Know the Drill
9b. Operation HQ Reunion

As I was typing the above info on Boomerang Australia's daily schedule, I couldn't help but think of the following. This TV series went into pre-production in late 2011 or early 2012. (Probably the former, considering that the earliest known statement about it is from January 2012, and it was likely being developed for at least a little while prior to that.) The series has taken about three years to develop and produce. And now, all of its 26 half-hours will be aired on Boomerang Australia in less than four weeks. Kinda funny looking at it from that perspective.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Creditless New Series Intro Sequence

Part 2 of my commentary on the new series ("The Intro Sequence") is getting delayed because I'm suddenly expanding on what I'd already written, and enjoying doing so. To give you a small teaser; compared with Part 1, this will be less of a rant and more of a here's-what-I-like-here's-what-I-don't-like piece. Not to mention that it will contain one of the certified trademarks of this blog - Obsessive Detail Observation™.

Anyway, to tide you over in the meantime, I thought I'd share something very much related: A 720p HD version of the intro which I found over on the Canadian news site CBC News, published on December 22 with the following title/caption: "Meet the new Inspector Gadget / DHX Media shared this sneak peek of their new Inspector Gadget opening sequence." What's interesting about this version is not only higher resolution than the World Screen clip (in fact, that bit is kind of annoying since CBC's video player takes about 20 seconds to shift to HD), but also that it doesn't have any written credits on top of the image, like the version on World Screen does. The intro used in the actual episodes will almost certainly be the World Screen variant, so this feels like a nice bonus view, letting us focus more on the animation. Just have patience when you start watching. If your viewing experience is anything like mine, the HD quality should appear about 20 seconds in...

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Positive Review of Boomerang Australia's "Gadget 2.0 Part 1" Pre-Premiere [Caution: Spoilers]

That went fast. Boomerang Australia's sneak peek premiere of the new Inspector Gadget series was yesterday, and the first review of "Gadget 2.0 Part 1" has already been online for a while. In fact, according to YouTube, this 4-minute video was published on December 26, before the sneak peek even aired on the 27th! This leads me to believe that the guy running the "TV Station X" YouTube channel has invented a time machine. (Or it might have to do with time zones, but don't take my word for that.)

You'll notice I'm only linking to the video instead of embedding it here. That's because I don't necessarily recommend watching it. If you don't want to know more about the first episode's storyline before you experience it for yourself, then it's best not to watch this review. I watched one minute of it and already I was hearing plot details I didn't want to know. I did, however, watch enough to understand that the reviewer really liked "Gadget 2.0 Part 1"... to the degree that he says, "it's really good - definitely really good compared to the old episodes of Inspector Gadget.". Wellll... we'll see about that. Anyway, proceed at your own risk if you want to watch the whole thing. I've seen enough for now.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

My Commentary on World Screen's Inspector Gadget Reboot Clip, Part 1: The New Theme Song

Does anyone still care about this? I sure hope so, 'cause I finally finished it! Of course, 99.99% of the people reading this will undoubtedly have watched World Screen's 3-minute clip of the new series by now. This video - the first extended preview that DHX released of their Gadget reboot, as a teaser for October's MIPCOM market - was posted online at the end of September, and that's also when I reported about it and promised a full commentary. A lot of unforeseen delays got in the way of that promise, but I always intended to keep it.

When I suddenly and unexpectedly found the World Screen video months ago, it was something of an indescribable moment for me. I had been gathering the smallest little snippets of information related to the new TV series for 2 1/2 years... and suddenly, here was a full, three-minute clip of an episode! I think, partly, that's why I felt I couldn't just jot my thoughts down together with my news post - it was just so big. In retrospect, I really should have. I hated falling behind with the commentary for as long as I did; and the delay of course led me to become more ambitious than I would have otherwise, causing me to take even longer to finish. Sigh. In fact, I realized as I was finalizing this that it was long enough to divide naturally into three posts/parts - which I'm also doing to give each part more focus. The first subject of discussion here is one that's especially close to me personally. Hope you enjoy it... or, well, get something out of it.


I'll have to get this off my chest first - and those who know what I think of the original series' music will probably not be very surpriced. I think the new theme song is not right. I'm not going to call it terrible, but it is, frankly, a huge disappointment to me.

And here is why: IT'S NOT THE ORIGINAL COMPOSITION. It's not the wonderful theme written by Shuki Levy. Just to be 100% clear, I'm not talking about the orchestration here, but about the actual melody. The song. Sure, there is a refrain in the new theme song sounding superficially close to the classic Inspector Gadget theme... but that refrain is in truth not emulating Levy's composition. Instead, as many fans have already remarked on both here and elsewhere, it's emulating "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by famous Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.

And before anyone starts arguing that "In the Hall of the Mountain King" has the same melody as "Inspector Gadget" - because, believe it or not, some people on the internet do - let me just say right away that it doesn't. Yes, there are indeed some very obvious similarities. It might well be that Levy was inspired by Grieg's piece when he wrote the Inspector Gadget theme... though to be fair, I've never heard Levy himself confirm this anywhere, and someone writing it on Wikipedia without a documented source doesn't make it a fact. For all we know, Levy might have channeled Grieg without being consciously aware of it... or it might even have been sheer coincidence that the pieces sound so alike. But I digress.

My point is: regardless of the similarities, there are also important differences between Levy and Grieg's pieces -- differences enough to make the "Inspector Gadget" theme and "In the Hall of the Mountain King" two SEPARATE and UNIQUE compositions. For one thing, while the refrain in both compositions starts out similarly, the Inspector Gadget refrain uses less beats, and ends up becoming a different melody. (Not sure if "beats" is the proper musical term here, but hopefully you get the point.) And of course, there are many other differences aside from the refrain. Let's listen to the new Inspector Gadget series' theme song again... and then, let's compare it to both Edvard Grieg's original masterpiece and Shuki Levy's original masterpiece:

The New Series Theme Song as heard in the World Screen video (embedded from Behind The Voice Actors):

In the Hall of the Mountain King ('I dovregubbens hall') by Edvard Grieg:

Inspector Gadget Theme (1983) by Shuki Levy (embedded from Levy's site):

In the new series' theme song, especially near the end, it's painfully clear that the composer is adapting "In the Hall of the Mountain King" rather than "Inspector Gadget". Not just the main refrain, either: The beats at 00:32 in the intro, where Dr Claw slams his fist into the desk and Talon does a surpriced take, are lifted directly from the tail end of Grieg's piece.

You might argue, "Why expect a reboot to use the original Inspector Gadget theme, when the soundtrack music is owned by a different company?" Well, there is that... but that situation is a bit different than it used to be. Yes, it's true that the original music for Inspector Gadget - including the famous theme song - has always had separate owners from the TV series. Back in the 80s, the music's owner was Haim Saban and Shuki Levy's company Saban Records, through which the score was produced. This posed a problem for the Gadget franchise later. Due to a conflict that occurred between DiC and Saban in the early 90s, Saban stopped providing music for DiC's shows in 1991 - and none of the Gadget reboots and spinoffs that DiC produced after that point could use Shuki Levy's original music or compositions, including the famous theme song. For a long while, it seemed like this would always be the case...

...however... a few years after DiC was purchased by Cookie Jar (in 2008), I was suddenly filled with hope regarding the theme song situation. Cookie Jar, then later DHX, put out a couple of pretty cool official iOS games. The first, 2010's "Inspector Gadget - M.A.D. Dash", used Levy's theme song outright; the second, 2013's "Inspector Gadget - M.A.D. Grab", used a remade theme song adapted directly from Levy (part of that remake can be heard in this animated ad). Finally, it seemed to me, someone in charge had realized how important Shuki Levy's theme song is to the Gadget franchise -- and more importantly, had spent the necessary dough to licence the music from its current owner. Today's owner, by the way, is Warner Chappell, as seen in the below end credits snapshot from the "Inspector Gadget - M.A.D. Grab" game:

So: If DHX can afford to license Shuki Levy's theme song for a low-budget iOS game, then they should certainly be able to afford it for a full-fledged, high-budget TV series. Which leads me to believe (or at least speculate) that it was actually a creative choise by them to do a similar-sounding, yet different theme song for the reboot series, rather than something they had to do because of copyrights. Maybe I'm wrong and it still has something to do with copyrights -- but as I said, I just don't get why DHX would NOT pay the music fee for an actual TV series, when they DID pay the fee for a little iOS game. It makes no sense. 

In truth, this makes no sense either way. The new theme song is nowhere near as good, catchy or memorable as Levy's amazing original. To me, the 1983 "Inspector Gadget" is one of the greatest theme songs ever composed for television. I'm far from the only one of that opinion either. So what on earth were they hoping to achieve by doing a different-yet-obviously-similar song? The mind boggles. 

The worst part is, the superficial similarities make the new theme song come off as cheap. Now, based on my thoughts above, I can't quite get myself to believe that they did this to save money. But considering that the new theme song sounds superficially close to the 1983 theme, but different - and also considering that it adapts a similar-sounding piece of public domain, classical music - it does kind of give off that feeling. And that's never a good thing, regardless of the reasoning behind the scenes.

Well! That's how I feel about the new Inspector Gadget series' theme song. Have I made it loud and clear yet that I'm very disappointed? I had really, genuinely, expected an actual remix of Shuki Levy's work; and the substitute offered is nowhere near good enough. Now the question remains... will I rant my way through the rest of this commentary as well, or will I actually find something I like in parts 2 and 3? Only one way to find out. Tune in tomorrow for... Part 2: The Intro Sequence!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Boomerang EMEA Premieres the Reboot on January 14, 2015

Quick post here to get this update in: The other day, I noticed a Toonzone comment in the 'Boomerang International News and Discussion Thread' stating, "Inspector Gadget premieres on Wednesday January 14th on Boomerang EMEA." I couldn't see any source link for the info, but since then, I've come across the following info on Cable Vision, the site of the leading cable TV company in Lebanon:

Inspector Gadget
on channel BOOMERANG

Premiere show: 1/14/2015 wednesday @5:15pm
From Monday 19/2015 to Friday 23/2015 @5:15pm and 7:40am
Repetition on Saturday 24/2015 and Sunday 25/2015 @7:40am, 6:05pm, 8:10 pm
Inspector Gadget is back! Catch him in action in this rebooted CGI show. Dr Claw has reactivated his global crime syndicate MAD and only the bumbling Swiss-army-knife detective can stop him! With his rocket roller-skates, his niece Penny and her dog, Brain, Gadget must combat his sinister foe before Claw and his nephew TALON can take over the world!

The premiere date matches the Toonzone comment... so I guess this is indeed the date for Boomerang EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), even if Lebanon is a country in Western Asia. However; as far as I know, Lebanon is not one of the countries covered in the already mentioned Boomerang Asia deal, so I suppose Cable Vision provides the EMEA feed to Lebanese viewers.

(Final note: I've reported before that "Boomerang Europe" will premiere the series on February 2. If I understand correctly, that date is indeed still valid; but encompasses only the Boomerang CEE feed (Central and Eastern Europe), which operates independently from Boomerang EMEA. At least I think that's how it works. If anyone knows better, feel free to correct me. For now, I'm changing the "Boomerang Europe" premiere date in the news margin to "Boomerang CEE"...)

French New Series Trailer and Episode Titles

The first French-language Boomerang trailer is online via Univers Freebox, which will offer Boomerang for free in France from January 5 until February 1, 2015. (As we know, the French premiere weekend for Gadget is January 3-4, so this is not quite early enough to catch the premiere of the first two episodes.) Notably, this trailer includes a number of clips which are obviously from the premiere episode "Gadget 2.0". Watch for Claw's M.A.D. Mobile in the Antarctic and Gadget being dressed up anew to resume his old job.

We also get to hear Gadget's new French-language actor for the first time. I'd say he sounds pretty close to the first French Gadget voice by Luc Durand, but not completely alike. (Not that I really have much of a relationship with the French dubbing.) Something I found more striking, though, is this:

The French-language version gets its own title card after all! Now I'm curious if this will happen in every country with a localized title. Considering the strong tradition of "Inspecteur Gadget" with French fans, I suppose this custom-made logo might be a one-off exception, but who knows?

In related news, Télérama now has the schedule for the above-mentioned premiere weekend on Boomerang France, including the French episode titles for half-hours 1 and 2 (and also including synopses, though I've decided not to post those for spoiler reasons):

Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 10:25 AM - Episode 1
1a Gadget 2.0 (1/2)
1b Gadget 2.0 (2/2)

Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 10:25 AM - Episode 2
2a La tour gigantesque [The Gigantic Tower] - Towering Towers
2b Arrête ton petit jeu [Stop Your Little Game] - Game Over, Man

UPDATE (December 27): It will probably interest French viewers to know that Boomerang France will rerun half-hours 1 and 2 on Wednesday, January 7; at 12:20 and 12:42am respectively. So for those watching the channel through Freebox from January 5, there will still be an occasion to catch them.

The end of the Boomerang trailer. "Inspector Gadget - Saturday and Sunday, 10:25"

Univers Freebox ad. "Boomerang - AVAILABLE until February 1"

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Boomerang Australia Pre-Premieres Inspector Gadget's Reboot In Two Days (December 27, 2014)

Insane world premiere news here, folks! At least I'm pretty sure that's what this is. I have found out that episode 1a of the reboot series - "Gadget 2.0 Part 1" - will get a pre-premiere in Australia before the series' official launch on January 5! Moreover, that pre-premiere is less than two days away! According to the Boomerang schedule on The Official Foxtel Australia TV Guide (navigate to 'Sat 27 Dec' in the link), the 11-minute episode segment will be aired twice on Saturday, December 27; at 10:00 AM in the morning and 5:15 PM in the afternoon.

Even if I won't be watching this myself (unless I find a way to teleport myself to Australia during the next 44 hours), I think it kinda sucks that they will only be airing Part 1 of the series' opening episode... which is of course a two-parter. I can see the reasoning, of course, as they're likely intending this to be an effective teaser for the full-fledged premiere of "Gadget 2.0" on January 5; but I think airing the entire first half-hour could have worked fine too.

By the way -- the episode synopsis I found by clicking on the show title offers at last an explanation of the whole 'Dr Claw in hibernation' mystery from Super RTL's presentation. Believe it or not, it's just as literal as it sounded before:

Gadget 2.0 Part 1: When Dr Claw returns from being frozen in the Antarctic, Inspector Gadget is brought out of retirement to defeat him - again!

Riiight. Claw has actually been frozen in the Antarctic all the while Gadget was retired. I wonder if we'll get to know why and how that happened. For the moment, this sounds slightly better to me than the thought of Claw having been captured by the police (which I had feared that 'hibernation' part of the German synopsis might really mean). Then again, did he end up being frozen during a battle with Gadget, Penny and Brain? I really don't like the thought of him ever having been defeated to such a degree. (Wow, that pun came out of nowhere!)

While we're at it: Foxtel's schedule covers the next 14 days of broadcast, meaning that it also offers schedule and synopsis information for the first three days of Gadget's proper Australian launch: January 5-7. As we know, the series will air every weekday at 4:30 PM, so naturally "Gadget 2.0" gets its full, half-hour premiere in the afternoon of Monday, January 5. Here are the synopses for the next two half-hours (likely the only ones I'll be posting):

Episode 2 - Towering Towers/Game Over Man - January 6, 2015 at 4:30 PM 
Towering Towers: Dr. Claw plots to take over every satellite in the sky, using the antenna on top of the world's tallest building, to cripple the world's communication systems and have access to every hilarious cat video on the internet./Game Over Man: Astronauts are going missing on the Multinational Space Station, and it's up to Gadget to find the truth: is it aliens, or something more sinister?

Episode 3 - Rock Out/Strike A Pose - January 7, 2015 at 4:30 PM 
Rock Out: Gadget and Penny are sent to provide security detail for World Whistling Popstar Nigel St De La Peppertone IV Esquire III, whose army of loyal fans proves to be an attractive target for Dr. Claw./Strike a Pose: Professor Von Slickstein sets out to present at the fashion technology show in Paris, with Gadget as his security against MAD and their plot to steal Slickstein's invention whatever it is.

Etc. New schedules/episodes are added daily at the Foxtel site for those who want to keep up. I might post more episode titles, but I doubt I'll be doing that with the synopses, as they all veer a bit too much into spoiler territory for me. (Admittedly, it's still hard to keep from reading them, especially where the opening episode is concerned.)

One more thing before I leave you...  I found the schedules via Foxtel Insider, a news report on Boomerang's Australian rebrand. Weirdly, the piece doesn't mention the December 27 pre-premiere, and it even erroneously claims that the daily air time in January will be 4:00 PM, while the correct slot is 4:30. Regardless, one interesting thing it does offer is the first, proper television trailer I've seen for the series. This contains a bunch of animated shots we haven't seen before:

Note that the clip at the end, where Gadget puts the finishing touch on his huge 'Dagwood' sandwich, is obviously from the same scene as this image from an earlier Australian press release:

...oh, and... sorry, I almost forgot that I have another last thing to end this post with. If you clicked on the Foxtel Insider link up there, you'll have noticed that the news report is illustrated with an image, and not just any image. It's the one and only... the favorite of every press release maker... the Inspector Gadget reboot series TEMP image! In a poetic effort to add to the screenshot's raw state, Foxtel has even stretched it to the wrong proportions:

Honestly, at this rate I wouldn't be surpriced if the image turns up on future Blu-ray and DVD covers. It certainly seems to have struck a chord with admakers. And why not? Unfinished CGI looks CHARMING! Even more expressive than a rough pencil sketch!

Anyway, to all Australians out there: remember to tune in on December 27 for the exclusive pre-premiere of "Gadget 2.0 Part 1"... or on January 5 if you prefer to watch the whole episode in one go. And, should readers from other countries have heard of other exclusive pre-premieres, please let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from Inspector Gadget and Santa Claw

Forget the 1992 Christmas special and its Gadgetinis follow-up "Santa Claw". Here's some proper Christmas spirit from Gadget, and from the true Santa Claw...


Saturday, December 13, 2014

More New Episode Titles and Screenshots [UPDATED]

TV Info has added the German schedule information for two more half-hours of the new Gadget series in addition to the five we already knew. One English episode title is missing, sadly, but here's the full updated list, including episodes 6 and 7 at the bottom:

Episode 1
1a. Gadget 2.0 - Part 1
1b. Gadget 2.0 - Part 2 

Episode 2 
2a. Towering Towers
2b. Game Over Man, Game Over 

Episode 3
3a. Rock Out 
3b. Strike A Pose 

Episode 4
4a. Better Class Of MAD
4b. Cough Due To Claw 

Episode 5
5a. Dog Show Days Are Over
5b. One Bad Apple

Episode 6
6a. Sucks Like MAD
6b. ? (titled "Eine Krallen-Hand für Titus" in German).

Episode 7
7a. Gadget's Da Bomb
7b. Gadget Management

Now, as you can see, episode 6b's English title is missing... and the reason for that is, the episode guide sent out by Super RTL mistakenly lists the English titles for both #6a and #6b as "Sucks Like MAD". Looking at the German title and synopsis for #6a, "Der Saugotron 9000", it's quite obious that this is "Sucks Like MAD", since the plot is centered around a vacuum cleaner. (Yep, I know enough German to see that without translating.) So that leaves us without a known English title for #6b right now. Ah well. Here's the German Super RTL schedule for episodes 6 and 7, including my direct translations of the German titles...

Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 19:45 - Episode 6
6a. Der Saugotron 9000 [The Suck-O-Tron 9000] - Sucks Like MAD
6b. Eine Krallen-Hand für Titus [A Claw Hand For Talon] - ?

Friday, January 30, 2015 at 19:45 - Episode 7
7a. Eine explosive Pizza [An Explosive Pizza] - Gadget's Da Bomb
7b. Das MAD-Agenten-Treffen [The M.A.D. Agent Gathering] - Gadget Management

And not least, here's the rest of the new screenshots...

From episode 6a, "Sucks Like MAD".

From episode 6. Penny and Brain are chasing Talon... or trying, anyway.
Note: The site caption for this actually says they're chasing "den Sohn
von Doktor Kralle", i. e. Dr Claw's son. Get your info together, TV Info. 

From episode 6.

From episode 7a, "Gadget's Da Bomb". 

...and a rerun of the top image, which i find cute and a bit interesting. This is from episode 6, though I don't know which part. Looking at the background, it's hard not to make associations to the classic episode "Haunted Castle", and the strong use of purple in the background indicates to me that this is one of Dr Claw's castles... 'cause, like it or not, purple is M.A.D.'s new black. Might we be seeing a new horror-themed episode? (I do hope, by the way, that this really is only ONE of Dr Claw's castles, and that he has multiple bases and headquarters around the world, as in the original season 1. The thought driven home by later reboots that he would have only one home base, which everybody knows the location of, is ridiculous.)

Is Gadget protecting himself or his family here? Maybe both.

UPDATE (December 15): The TV Info site for episode 6 (specifically for its rerun on January 25, at 09:35) actually added one screenshot after I checked it on Saturday. Here it is... and look who's fighting...

UPDATE #2 (December 16): I just noticed that, for some bizarre reason, I had misspelled the title of episode #7a as "Gadget Da Bomb", whereas its real title is "Gadget's Da Bomb". This is especially weird to me as I distinctly remember double-checking all the episode titles and coming to the conclusion that "Gadget Da Bomb" was correct. But I've now checked three different sources, and the correct title is indeed "Gadget's Da Bomb". I've corrected the mistake throughout the post.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gadget Reboot Dates Announced For Boomerang Asia and Boomerang Australia

Listen up, Asians and Australians! Turns out you'll be getting the new Inspector Gadget series earlier than (almost) anyone else that's been announced so far! Let's look at the premiere date for Boomerang Australia, via Toonzone's Boomerang International News and Discussion Thread. This press sheet has apparently been out since at least November 6 (and the Australian rebrand began already on November 3):

So: Boomerang Australia's premiere date is Monday, January 5, 2015, with the series slated to air regularly at 4:30 PM every weekday, Monday through Friday. Here's a transcript of the show presentation for reference, and because I like it:

Evil has reawakened and threatens to spread its MADness across the world. There's only one man who has what it takes to stand in its way ... Go Go Gadget! Once again the world's greatest[ish] detective is here to go gadget-to-claw with the forces of evil. Part man, part machine, part unstoppable natural disaster, Inspector Gadget - the world's first, and only, top secret bionic police investigator - is out of retirement and raring to go in this brand new CGI series!

And now, how about Boomerang Asia? Well, according to news announced yesterday, just a few hours ago...

Boomerang refresh continues with Asia move 
Boomerang will relaunch in the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Myanmar. 
In the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Myanmar, Boomerang will replace Cartoonito channel feed on January 1, 2015. 
Boomerang was last on air in Southeast Asia in December 2012, a Turner spokesman told TBI. 
“The channel is powered with premium content from Warner Bros. meaning that it will now be the home in Southeast Asia for the likes of Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes and Scooby-Doo,” said Mark Eyers, chief content officer, kids, Turner International Asia Pacific. 
“The re-launch is a global initiative with a commitment to acquire the world’s very best animation, and we’ll be one of the first regions to unveil the new-look brand. Right from the start, we’ll be airing the all-new Inspector Gadget [pictured] and Turbo FAST series.” 
The network will also have the animated reboot of UK comedy Mr Bean. 
Boomerang’s move to an all-animation youth and family-targeted channel began in October, with a plan to reposition it as a ‘second flagship’ Turner kids channel that would sit alongside Cartoon Network. 
The new look began rolling out on September 29 and then debuted in Australia on November 3. It completes next year.

Summing up: Boomerang Asia's premiere date for the reboot - likely across all of the above-mentioned areas - is Thursday, January 1, 2015; the day the Asian rebrand rolls out. It's impossible to tell, but this New Year's date airing just might become the show's first. It's certainly the earliest date I've seen 'till now.

Oh, and here's yet another cropped (though sharp) version of that there picture. This one has the title logo removed from Gadget's hat hand... I wonder what Chief Quimby is so anxious about now.

New Look Boomerang France Bumper With Gadget

At 00:30 in this all-new (yesterday) Boomerang France ad, Gadget pops up and plays a little with a scene from his own series...

Only 3 weeks and 3 days to go for French Boomerang viewers!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

First 10 Episode Titles of Inspector Gadget's Reboot Revealed - The Show Kicks Off With The Two-Parter "Gadget 2.0"!

Via the sites and, I've been able to find the episode titles and German air dates for the new series' first five half-hours, i. e. the first ten 11-minute episodes. The episode guide provided by broadcaster Super RTL handily includes both the German and the original English-language titles. I'll list them in English first...

Episode 1
1a. Gadget 2.0 - Part 1
1b. Gadget 2.0 - Part 2 

Episode 2 
2a. Towering Towers
2b. Game Over Man, Game Over 

Episode 3
3a. Rock Out 
3b. Strike A Pose 

Episode 4
4a. Better Class Of MAD
4b. Cough Due To Claw 

Episode 5
5a. Dog Show Days Are Over
5b. One Bad Apple

So, YAY! The series starts out with a full, 22-minute two-parter! I had been hoping the half-hour production format would be utilized this way, should the story require it... and if I'm right, then the plot of "Gadget 2.0" really might require that much time. This is very likely the story that has been teased in the German-released series synopsis, of how the retired Gadget is forced to return to his job as a police inspector due to Dr Claw being freed from "hibernation" and reactivating M.A.D. (Sigh. If anyone German reading this knows an alternate translation for the word "Kältestarre", please let me know. I really don't get that hibernation part.) "Gadget 2.0" is the start of a new chapter in the lives of Gadget and his family - at least that's how I'm reading the title.

Amusingly, many of the German-translated titles are pretty far off from the original English versions. Whereas the English titles are stuffed with wordplays and alliterations, the German ones seem to be more straightforward regarding the storylines of the episodes. (Understandable to some degree -- wordplays can be hard to translate.) In the below airing schedule for the first 5 half-hours on Super RTL, I have added direct translations of the German titles in brackets:

(Note: all episodes will be rerun at 09:35 on Super RTL the day after their first airing.)

Friday, January 9, 2015 at 19:45
1a Die Rückkehr (1) [The Return (1)] - Gadget 2.0 - Part 1
1b Die Rückkehr (2) [The Return (2)] - Gadget 2.0 - Part 2 

Saturday, January 10, 2015 at 19:45
2a Wolkenkratzer-Alarm [Skyscraper Alarm] - Towering Towers
2b Die Alien-Attacke [The Alien Attack] - Game Over Man, Game Over 

Friday, January 16, 2015 at 19:45
3a Der doppelte Pop-Star [The Double Pop Star] - Rock Out
3b Professor Rotoskop in Gefahr [Professor Von Slickstein In Danger] - Strike A Pose 

Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 19:45
4a Der entführte Filmstar [The Kidnapped Movie Star] - Better Class Of MAD
4b Gute Besserung, Gadget! [Get Well Soon, Gadget!] - Cough Due To Claw

Friday, January 23, 2015 at 19:45
5a Der beste Hund [The Best Dog] - Dog Show Days Are Over
5b Operation Monster-Apfel [Operation Monster Apple] - One Bad Apple

Note the title of episode 2B, "Game Over Man, Game Over", which is translated to "The Alien Attack" in German. This is clearly the episode we see an excerpt of in the WorldScreen preview clip, but for some reason, its on-screen title there is just "Game Over, Man". I guess time will tell if the title has been changed for the TV airing.

Also, here's a bonus -- the separate TV Info sites for episodes 4 and 5 on TV Info included some actual screenshots! All low-res, unfortunately, but we'll take what we can get. Judging by the picture descriptions there, it seems possible to link some of the images to specific 11-minute episodes... so I'll do that where I can.

Episode 4 - Better Class of MAD / Cough Due to Claw

Loving this one of Penny and Brain in action.

From 4a, Better Class of MAD. Gadget, Penny and Brain study
a poster image of, probably, the episode's kidnapped movie star.

Did Brain ever drive the Gadget Mobile in the original series? I can't
remember seeing that. (Not that I doubt his driving abilities.)

From 4a, Better Class of MAD

Episode 5 - Dog Show Days Are Over / One Bad Apple

From 5a, Dog Show Days Are Over

From 5a, Dog Show Days Are Over. This picture of Brain working
undercover on the dog show makes me smile. He is Brain, after all. Can't
just go there as a dog.

From 5a, Dog Show Days Are Over

One last thing to round off: The comprehensive separate sites for each half-hour on TV Info additionally includes synopses of the episodes. I considered translating these... but then, after looking at them in Google Translate, came to the conclusion that they reveal a little too much of the plots for my taste. Images and episode titles are one thing, but synopses are naturally much more informative and detailed.

Some of you might be surpriced to hear me say this. After all, I've been searching for every bit of info I could find about this series for more than 2 1/2 years. And admittedly, skimming through some of the episode plots, of course I found them interesting. Looking for news about this reboot is in my blood now. But there comes a point in time - especially now that the premiere is drawing closer and closer - when you don't necessarily want to know every little detail about the series' plots and storylines. When it feels better to just wait for the episodes to start airing... and then sit back, relax and (hopefully) enjoy watching them.

Besides, except for the opening two-parter, all the episodes announced so far are eleven minutes. I do hope to see more double episodes pop up through the 26 half-hours... but, considering the short run times as well, I really don't need to know everything before going in.

Still, because I like to make my news reports as complete as possible, I'll include the synopses in German underneath. I'm not sure what I'll do when English-language synopses start popping up. Maybe copy them without looking, or maybe just link to them. (Or hey, maybe I'll change my mind about all this tomorrow.) Anyhow, those who are curious enough can paste the German text into Google Translate. I'll make note of one detail, though: As seen in the synopsis for episode 3a, Dr Claw's nephew Talon is named "Titus" in German.

1. Die Rückkehr - Teil 1 / Die Rückkehr - Teil 2 (Gadget 2.0 - Part 1 / Gadget 2.0- Part 2)
Lange Zeit war er der Schrecken aller Verbrecher, doch vor einigen Jahren hat sich Inspector Gadget in den Ruhestand zurückgezogen. Jetzt genießt der schusselige Rentner sein Leben, doch wird er jäh aus diesem Zustand gerissen: Die Polizei bittet ihn, sie im Kampf gegen Dr. Kralle zu unterstützen, der aus der Kältestarre erwacht ist. Die Lage ist so ernst, dass Inspector Gadget keine Wahl bleibt und er in den Polizeidienst zurückkehrt. Gemeinsam mit seiner Nichte Sophie und ihremHund Fino nimmt er den Kampf gegen Dr. Kralle wieder auf. Natürlich kann er dabei nicht auf seine berühmte Uniform sowie die genialen Go-Go-Gadgetos verzichten...

2. Wolkenkratzer-Alarm / Die Alien-Attacke (Towering Towers / Game Over Man, Game Over)
1. Geschichte: Dr. Kralle hat einen hinterhältigen Plan: Er will die weltweite Kommunikation beherrschen! Um dies zu erreichen, lässt er eine Antenne von schier unvorstellbarer Größe errichten. Inspector Gadget macht sich mit Sophie und Fino an die Arbeit, um Dr. Kralles Plan zu durchkreuzen 2. Geschichte: Astronauten verschwinden unter ungewöhnlichen Umständen von einer Raumstation. Inspector Gadget eilt zur Hilfe und hat schon bald eine Vermutung: Aliens müssen hinter den unerklärlichen Vorgängen stecken...

3. Der doppelte Pop-Star / Professor Rotoskop in Gefahr (Rock Out / Strike a Pose)
1. Geschichte: Dr. Kralles Neffe Titus versucht verzweifelt, sich als Rockstar zu etablieren. Um seinem Ziel näher zu kommen, versucht er, die Rolle des Superstars Nigel einzunehmen. Doch damit nicht genug: Mithilfe eines Gedankenmanipulators will er die Fans zu einer willenlosen Armee umpolen. Kann Inspector Gadget ihn aufhalten? 2. Geschichte: Dr. Kralle hat es auf Professor Rotoskop abgesehen, denn er will an dessen neueste Erfindung gelangen. Inspector Gadget und Sophie begleiten den Wissenschaftler zu einer Messe, um ihn vor MADetta, einer Agentin von Dr. Kralle zu beschützen.

4. Der entführte Filmstar / Gute Besserung, Gadget! (Better Class of MAD / Cough Due to Claw)
1. Geschichte: Sean Shrapnel, ein berühmter Schauspieler, verschwindet spurlos. Jetzt ist es an Inspector Gadget, die Ermittlungen zu übernehmen. Gemeinsam mit Sophie und Fino macht er sich auf den Weg zur Insel Isla Diabolica, wo ihn die letzte Spur von Shrapnel hinführt. Baald wird klar, dass Dr. Kralle seine Tatzen beim Verschwinden im Spiel haben könnte... 2. Geschichte: Inspector Gadget hat sich eine schwere Erkältung eingefangen. Deshalb muss Sophioe eine Mission für ihn übernehmen: Sophie soll einen Dieb schnappen, der im Auftrag von Dr. Kralle Kunstwerke aus Museen stiehlt. Doch als Sophie den Übeltäter auf frischer Tat ertappt, erlebt sie eine faustdicke Überraschung...

5. Der beste Hund / Operation Monster-Apfel (Dog Show Days Are Over / One Bad Apple)
1. Geschichte: Dr. Kralle verkleidet seine Katze als Hund, damit sie an einer Hundeshow teilnehmen kann. Dort soll sie eine Spezialbrille tragen, um per Hypnose alle Hunde unter ihre Kontrolle zu bringen. Ob Inspector Gadget diesen Plan durchkreuzen kann? 2. Geschichte: In einem Geheimlabor hat Dr. Kralle riesige Monster-Äpfel gezüchtet, um die Menschheit mit ihrer Hilfe zu unterwerfen. Inspector Gadget stellt sich ihm in den Weg, doch seine Vorliebe für Apfelsaft droht ihm zum Verhängnis zu werden. Gut dass Sophie nicht weit ist und ihren Onkel unterstützt...

Turner France Presents the New Gadget Series With TEMP Image!

In the comments to yesterday's news about Boomerang France, Cortoony remarked something I hadn't quite noticed about the promotional screenshot accompanying those news: that it was in fact a work-in-progress image (from the "Game Over, Man" episode; the one the WorldScreen clip includes an excerpt of). This could be evidenced by partly different furniture, something resembling a framed picture on the left wall and, most glaringly, Quimby's freakishly long arm poking through the floor underneath the livingroom table. Well, guess what? In this official PDF from Turner France, I found a higher-res, less cropped version of the image... which shows pretty clearly why the finished episode version removed that framed picture - uh, television screen.

Is that TV channel really on pause, or are the words "TEMP image" trying to tell us something?

Here, again, is the matching episode screenshot for comparison. I find it interesting how the details revealing the temporary state of the above image have been literally covered up in the final version. Maybe that's why they went with a different type of table.

It's charming to get a glimpse into the CGI animation process... but I have to say I'm surpriced to find that glimpse in official promotional material. My guess is, the image was added to the promotional image bank in its temporary state, intended to be replaced with a final rendering later... but for some reason, that replacement didn't happen. And then for some even stranger reason, it snuck into Boomerang France's press material. This picture has come a long way.

While on the subject of Boomerang France, I should mention that the PDF was released on December 8 along with this article on Turner's kids channels from the news site Offre Media. The article specifies a few more details about the French premiere, which is now merely three and a half weeks away:

C'est Boomerang, ciblant les 4-7 ans et toute la famille, qui programmera le plus de nouveautés en 2015. Le samedi 3 janvier, la «chaîne des stars du dessin animé» (Tom & Jerry, Mr Bean...) arborera une nouvelle identité graphique, un nouveau logo, un nouvel habillage et de nouveaux codes de communication. Le même jour à 10h25, la nouvelle version de la série «Inspecteur Gadget» (52x11min) ouvrira le bal des nouveautés programmes.

In English:

It's Boomerang, targeting 4-7 year olds and the whole family, which programs the most news in 2015. On Saturday, January 3, the "channel of the cartoon stars" (Tom & Jerry, Mr Bean...) will sport a new graphic identity, a new logo, a new look and new communication codes. The same day at 10:25, the new version of the series "Inspector Gadget" (52x11 min) will open the show of new programs.

We already knew that the series would premiere on Boomerang France on January 3, the day the channel splits from Boomerang Europe at large; and also that it will air regularly at 10:25 on Saturdays and Sundays. But here we learn that the new Inspector Gadget is in fact the very first series to introduce the revamped schedule of Boomerang France. (And yeah, this is clearly part of the same Boomerang rebrand that's gradually happening around the entire globe. Boomerang France just moves at their own pace, independently of Europe at large.)

The PDF page for the series also included another interesting visual detail (see if you can find it)...

...that's right: the first release of the show's French logo! As with the original series, it is of course just like the English version except for "EU" replacing the "O".

Seeing this kinda makes me wonder if the new series might have a custom-animated, French title logo for the intro, like the 1983 series did. Then again, I doubt it. On the original show, as I mentioned yesterday, the French broadcaster FR3 was a production partner on the financial side... so it makes sense that it would ask for custom-made, French-language titles and end credits. DHX's series, on the other hand, is a 100% Canadian production.

Finally, a quick translation of Turner's French PDF presentation, because I find it a bit charming:

Inspector Gadget returns with a new production unreleased in France! Gadget is a subtle blend of Inspector Clouseau and Robocop. 
Always confident, self-assured, while being a bit careless, he leaves destroyed paths behind without understanding that he is the cause. New stories, new gadgets, new characters. 
It is me who's here, Inspector Gadget, it will be a joy... ooh ooh! [French theme song lyrics.]

The Robocop comparison makes sense, though it's amusing to me considering that the first Robocop movie premiered in 1987, several years after Inspector Gadget. Ah well. Anything to create interesting associations, I guess. (EDIT: As for more Robocop connections - true to his 1980s form of scoring nearly every cartoon show on TV, Shuki Levy of course composed the music for the 1988 animated series adaptation.)