Via the French news site Ozap.com... our first look at the redesigned Chief Qumby!
...and with this, I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief. You see, for over a year now, a question had been percolating in the back of my mind: would Chief Quimby be part of the new show? I always assumed he would, but then again, none of the synopses or press statements have even mentioned him up to this point. So the above visual certainly feels reassuring. And I think Quimby looks pretty good here, too. It is a bit odd to see him with glasses, and I miss the pipe in his mouth - will he be smoking at all? - but his original facial design seems to lend itself nicely to CGI. In fact, this redesign seems more faithful to the original facial shape than for any of the other characters. If his (season 1) personality is kept, and if the disguises and self-exploding messages are included at the start of every single episode, I think I'll be good!
(And seriously, how could the self-exploding message NOT be included? It's one of the most brilliant running gags ever conceived for a cartoon.)
On a similar note, I love Penny in the new picture above. That previously revealed image looked fine, but... here she just seems much more alive, and truly looks and feels like Penny. (Gadget, meanwhile, looks a bit generic.) Also, what's that thing floating in mid-air that Penny is controlling with her hands? A hologram? Some kind of modern-day replacement for the computer book? Man... by this point, each new image just makes me want to see more.
Now for something that might be a slight disappointment, though. The French article with the picture also contained some fresh information about the new series which - if correct - contradicts some of the previously revealed details. Let's have a look via Google Translate (and my own grammar tweaking)...
"Eh la qui va là ? Inspecteur Gadget ! Eh la ça va pas ? Ouh ouh". [French theme song lyrics.] The unforgettable theme song of "Inspector Gadget" will soon return to echo on France 3. The public broadcaster has pre-purchased from the Canadian production company DHX Media the rights to a new version of the cartoon series about the adventures of the famous inspector who delighted children in the 80s.
In 2015, the bumbling police character, assisted by the young Sophie [Penny] and dog Finot [Brain], will try to capture a new generation of children. For this, the inspector created in 1983 by Bruno Bianchi, Andy Heyward and Jean Chalopin will be revised and updated in 3D. Gadgets coming out of his trenchcoat will themselves also be updated for the twenty-first century. In short, his world will be upgraded but the plot of the series will not be changed.
This new series of 52 episodes of 11 minutes will be delivered in June 2015 by the Canadian production but it will take a few months to France 3 for the translation, dubbing and production of a less dated theme song. The channel should therefore not broadcast "Inspector Gadget" 2.0 before fall 2015.
So, okay... IF this new info is accurate, then we have some serious contradictions on our hands. Instead of Boomerang France, as we learned from a Turner press release back in February, the series is now apparently set to air on the public channel France 3. Note also that the planned French premiere time is no longer November 2014, but fall 2015 (!). To be specific, June 2015 is the tentative release time for Canada and fall 2015 for France. Considering the announcements we got half a year ago, I'm really surpriced to hear now that the series will not be ready for a Canadian premiere until the summer of 2015. Seriously, this feels like a major postponement.
And then, the part I feel particularly (potentially) disappointed by: The series will apparently consist of 52 episodes á 11 minutes, rather than 26 episodes á 22 minutes. As you might remember, the show presentation in DHX's distribution catalogue from January was the first source to state that 26 x 22 minutes would be the format for the new series. Back then, I expressed hope that this meant each episode would be 22 minutes long. But if this new French article is accurate -- apparently not. This is not necessarily a contradiction to DHX's distribution catalogue. In many cases, TV shows consisting of 11-minute episodes are still produced in a half-hour format, a 22-minute package containing 2 episodes (making sales and distibution deals easier, I imagine). That seems to be the case here. However, it IS definitely a change from the June 2013 press release, where the format was stated to be 26 x 11 minutes.
I've already written a little here about why I feel sceptical towards an 11-minute format. It's not that the series can't possibly work with this shorter run time - that depends on the execution. But I've kind of been hoping that this new show will be just slightly darker than the original, and have a little more room for character development and plot continuity... and that, to me, seems hard to cram into a mere 11 minutes. I hope the writers are at least given the freedom to do an occacional, full 22 minute episode if the plot requires it (this should be doable as long as the series is produced in a half-hour format anyway). Shows like Phineas and Ferb work well like that.
(Thanks to Nbu for the picture link.)