Thursday, December 31, 2015

Netflix Launches Inspector Gadget "New Year's Eve Countdown" Short

End-of-the-year surprice! I have already stated a few times on this site that - contrary to popular belief - Netflix was not involved in any way with the actual production of half-hours #01-26 of the new Inspector Gadget series (i.e. Season 1, which Netflix US confusingly split into two seasons). That remains true... but it seems Netflix did have a more direct hand in a special, 2-minute short which launched on their services three days ago. Entitled "Inspector Gadget - New Year's Eve Countdown", the short is part of an initiative from Netflix to-- well, let's quote Fox6Now for the explanation:

Netflix is bringing back its kid-centric countdowns for parents who want their children out of sight long before they ring in the New Year. 
Netflix claims most parents fool their kids (or try to, anyway) into believing that midnight happens earlier than it actually does on New Year’s. Netflix helps them by offering a streaming three-minute countdown led by characters from kid’s show.

GeekDad's Jonathan H. Liu adds the following personal tip:

Ring in the new year whenever you want, with six different short videos featuring characters from kids’ shows. Each one is about 2 minutes long and ends with the 10-second countdown to the new year. Pull it up on the screen at 8pm, and hustle your toddler off to bed before your game night (at least, that’s how I’m celebrating New Year’s Eve). 
Your options are: Care Bears, Inspector Gadget, Peabody and Sherman, King Julien, Project Mc², and Puffin Rock.

So there it is. A noble effort from Netflix to help parents trick their kids on New Year's Eve. The idea is that parents can start playing one of these countdown shorts for their children at any time they choose - thus making them believe, for instance, that the new year kicks in at 8 PM rather than midnight. Here's the synopsis for the Gadget short via FlixSearch:

Celebrate 2016 on your time! Talon tries to ruin the New Year's party, but Inspector Gadget, Penny and Brain leap into action to save the surprise.

Another thing revealed by FlixSearch fascinates me a bit: The short is available on Netflix not only in the United States, but also in Canada, the UK, Ireland, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Australia and New Zealand. All the while the regular series is still only seen in the US. It seems this New Year's short is targeted not only towards users of the American Netflix, but also toward people who may have watched the new Gadget series on TV channels like Boomerang or Teletoon in the above-mentioned list of countries.

At any rate, what does all this tell us? Firstly, it feels like a pretty solid indicator that the new Inspector Gadget is a hit on Netflix in the States: this short was by all accounts commissioned directly by Netflix, unlike the regular series; and Gadget is one of six kids' shows selected to ring in the new year. Secondly, "New Year's Eve Countdown" is probably the first true "bonus material" to emerge from the reboot. It's not part of the 26 half-hours of the regular TV series in any way, nor a trailer or a teaser. Whether it will be released through other venues than Netflix remains to be seen. It would certainly be nice to see it as a special feature on Universal's Australian DVD and VOD releases (Season 1 Volume 4 is still slated for January 14 next year), but I wouldn't hold my breath. For one thing, it probably depends on how exclusive Netflix's rights are to this specific short -- and my guess is they may be more exclusive than the TV series.

In the meantime, I suppose this is as good an occasion as any to say: HAPPY NEW YEAR! After all, with the help of Gadget, we can start saying it any time we want...

(Screenshot via Geekdad.)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

"New Inspector Gadget, Season 1, Volume 3" Is Now On iTunes Australia in 1080p HD

Quick reminder: Episodes 14-20 of the reboot series are now available on the Australian iTunes in full 1080p HD, as "New Inspector Gadget, Season 1, Vol. 3". As mentioned before, this third volume was released to iTunes on December 14, about 1 1/2 month after the physical DVD release.

Monday, December 14, 2015

NBC Print Ad for Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas (and Noel)

Speaking of Brain disguised as a reindeer, as we were the other day, how about checking out a piece of promotional art for the 1992 special Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas? 'Tis the season after all. Clipped from a vintage TV Guide, this is a combined ad for Gadget and the concurrent Christmas special Noel, as the two of them premiered back-to-back on NBC that year.

(Via RetroNewsNow)

I find this particular promo piece interesting for several reasons. For one thing, it makes the Gadget special look a LOT better and more entertaining than it was. The characters look great, as if we're right back in a 1983 episode; and then there's their seasonal clothing. Penny dressed up as an elf? Santa Gadget? Hell yeah... THIS I wanna see! Of course, the actual special gave us none of what this artwork teases, and the crude animation from Hung Long Animation Company couldn't hold a Christmas candle to the original show.

There is however a specific reason why the above promotional drawing looks so good - it was based directly on a 1983 model sheet. Namely this one...

(For more original-series model sheets, go here.)

I'd like to provide a little more context on the print ad while I'm at it. It appears to have run in a number of TV magazines in 1992. Here it is from two other TV Guide publications:

(From the Toledo-Lima Edition of TV Guide Magazine;
via Vintage Toledo TV.)

The below press kit from NBC - dated November 20, 1992 - was up on Ebay sometime last year. It includes separate artwork and a written press release for both specials. Quite clearly, this is what the TV Guide ad was put together from:

(A small contradictory detail: the headline of NBC's press release says the two specials will premiere on December 4, but the first paragraph says December 3. Just for the record, December 4 is the correct premiere date. For evidence, see this extract from the December 4, 1992 edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer, which tells us that Gadget aired at 8pm and was followed by Noel at 8:30 (search through the OCR text).)

And finally, in case you're wondering: yup, the Gadget artwork does exist in color. Way back in 2006, this full-color promotional cel was sold on Ebay. Gotta say these colors look nice...

Friday, December 11, 2015

Brain's Secret Christmas Mission

Okay, this just amuses me too much not to share.

Over at Instagram, the user Claudia González Iglesias has posted this photo of a reindeer Christmas display in a shopping mall, accompanied by the following caption (via Google Translate): "Kids say they are reindeers... but for me it is the dog in Inspector Gadget with antlers! Is he on a secret mission??"

I do believe Claudia is right here, folks. To the ordinary child, these may look like reindeers, but we seasoned Inspector Gadget fans know better. Brain, I'm sorry, but your cover has been blown...

Friday, December 4, 2015

Two More Bruno Bianchi Drawings

A few months ago, I did a post featuring some latter-day Bruno Bianchi drawings collected off the web. Today, I have two more to add...

The first one - a very nice rendition of Gadget's face - was drawn for none other than Nordine Zemrak, the co-writer of the in-depth DiC history book "Les series de notre enfance". The caption reads, "For Nordine. Best wishes. B. Bianchi". I'm guessing this was done during the period when Nordine and his partner Maroin Eluasti were working on their book. Sourced from Nordine's ink361 page.

The second drawing is also a bit special, primarily because it's the first time I've seen Penny pop up in one of these Bianchi pieces. This was up on Ebay a few weeks ago with the description, "Rare dédicace sur feuille de Bruno Bianchi le créateur de la série mythique inspecteur gadget. Format A4 sur papier dessin type canson. Signé" ("Rare dedication on paper by Bruno Bianchi, the creator of the legendary Inspector Gadget. A4 format, Canson drawing paper. Signed"). As we can see, it has the same year and signature type (B. BiANCHi) as drawing number one in my previous post, suggesting that they were done for the same occasion.

This drawing is very loose, but I love the style on both Penny and Gadget. As with several of the previously seen drawings, Bianchi's linework here has a certain flavor of the classic French-Belgian comic book style, which is fun for me to see. Gadget's character design quite clearly came from that tradition to begin with, and Penny, while rendered simpler than her animated design, is also instantly recognizable.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Season 2 of the New Inspector Gadget Series Is Recording Now

The quickest of quick updates to report this: The upcoming Season 2 of the new TV series - in production since July - has now started recording. The current voice actor of Inspector Gadget himself, Ivan Sherry, gave the reveal on Twitter on October 8:

Talon's voice actor Lyon Smith has also shared a few tidbits, including this snapshot from a recording session on October 28:

...and this quick tweet from November 17:

Just to be perfectly clear: This second season of the reboot has nothing to do with what Netflix in the United States is calling "Season 2", which is in reality the last ten episodes of Season 1. Netflix's deal with DHX included only the first 16 half-hours of Season 1 (of 26) when they first launched the series in March... so when the 10 holdover episodes were finally added on August 28, Netflix decided to call them "Season 2". This is a bit unfortunate, not only because of the confusion it leads to among U.S. viewers, but because it will undoubtedly lead to MORE confusion down the road. You can bet that when the real Season 2 hits Netflix US sometimes in the future, it will be called "Season 3". But, ah well, that's marketing for you.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Season 1, Volume 3 of the Reboot Out on Australian DVD Now (and on iTunes from December 14)

Yeah, I know. I want this site to be more active too, but for a number of personal reasons (including personal health), I haven't been able to keep up postings as much as I'd like. Still, Universal's Australian DVD releases of the reboot series - which continue to be the only home video releases in the world as far as I know - is a topic I have covered thus far, and so I wanted to notify readers of the latest developments. After a break of four months, Season 1 Volume 3 was finally released to DVD on November 5. Cover art below:

According to several online retailers - for instance Sanity - the disc contains half-hours #14-20, leaving one volume to collect the final six episodes of Season 1. I should add that in addition to buying Volume 3, fans currently also have a chance to win a copy over at Mum's Lounge (yes, I'm very late with reporting that, but hey, still three days left of the giveaway).

So much for physical media. But what about the digital video release - which, until now, has happened concurrently with the DVDs? Well, for whatever reason, Season 1 Volume 3 has not seen an iTunes release yet... and it still won't for a few weeks. I asked about this on the Facebook page of The Viewing Lounge (a home media showpage run by Universal in conjunction with several other distributors), and was told: "It'll be available on iTunes from December 14." So episodes #14-20 ARE coming to the VOD world, they've just been delayed slightly. The upcoming iTunes release is expected to be in full HD like the Season 1, Volume 1 and Season 1, Volume 2 packages were.

...and that is NOT quite all. Because as I was googling about for details on Volume 3's release, I noticed that the low-res cover art for Volume 4 has already popped up a few places. Customers won't have to wait four new months for this one: According to Digitales, Season 1 Volume 4 will come out already on January 14, 2016. Presumably it will contain the remainder of Season 1, half-hours #21-26. So in not too long, the entire first season (i.e. the entire series at this point, even though Season 2 is in production) will have been released to DVD and VOD in Australia. [UPDATE (December 2): I found a higher-res pic of Volume 4's cover than the one I first posted, so I replaced it below.]

Finally, we happily note that the covers for both Volume 3 and Volume 4 look much better than the one for Volume 2, which you might remember featured a bizarrely misplaced and badly edited smile on Gadget's face. Photos of the physical DVD have turned up on Ebay in recent months, so I can now conclude that the worst version of the smile did indeed end up on the final cover. Ah well. It looks awful, but at least three out of four covers came out decent. (And of course, there are also those who prefer the crooked smile on Gadget - each to his own taste!) I still can't understand why it's so important that ALL the main characters smile on EVERY cover motive, though.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Teletoon Canada Premieres the New Inspector Gadget Series on September 7, 2015

Here comes the premiere which everyone has been waiting for... or more to the point, wondering about. Teletoon, the network which commissioned the new Inspector Gadget series in the first place, will premiere it on Monday, September 7 at 6 pm in the evening. According to a yesterday press release from Corus Entertainment, the show is slated to air every Monday evening at that time... and checking Teletoon's own schedule for September 7, I see that it will air in a one-hour slot on the premiere day. Here's the most relevant part of Corus' press release, including the longest series synopsis for the reboot that I've seen so far:

Premieres: Mondays at 6 p.m. ET/PT beginning September 7. 
Everyone's favourite bionic policeman returns! In this new CGI series,Inspector Gadget battles the evil Dr. Claw with all new gadgets - and all new gadget-related chaos! But our loveable, bumbling, accidentally-destructive Inspector's not alone in the fight to take down MAD. His ever trusty police-dog, Brain, is still by his side; and he's getting extra crime fighting help from his new partner: Inspector-in-training Penny! It's a MAD-cap romp as our heroic trio chases crime all over the globe (and tries to keep Gadget's collateral damage to a minimum). From the streets of Paris to the rainforests of Brazil, from the lost city of Atlantis to the moon, there's nowhere they won't go to get their man! And with MAD more powerful than ever with the arrival of Dr. Claw's evil-genius (and totally crush-worthy) nephew - Penny and Brain will need to use every ounce of their training to keep the world safe from Dr. Claw… and Gadget!

And as we can see from Teletoon's schedule, "Gadget 2.0" will naturally be the first episode to air:

So there it is. At (extremely) long last, the reboot premieres in its own country. 

Feeling better, stephdumas? ;)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Teletoon Canada Says September

Still no specific date, but at least we're slowly getting there. The below Teletoon promo pic first appeared in an August 9 Facebook post by Teletoon Retro...

...and here's the accompanying text from that posting (actually less specific):

Get your fill of the one and only original Inspector Gadget at NOON in the Retro Rewind Marathon. Plus, get ready for the ALL NEW version of Inspector Gadget on TELETOON this Fall!

"New series coming this September". September is now but a day away, so I'm guessing an announcement for the exact premiere date can't be far off either. Still, it's interesting just how long Teletoon has waited with this premiere, considering they were the ones to order the series from Cookie Jar/DHX to begin with and all other broadcasters (yes, including Netflix, although a large part of America has been led to think otherwise) simply acquired it for their channels later on.

One thought that struck me is that Teletoon's September launch of the new Gadget may have a double meaning. As has been known for a while now, the Teletoon Retro channel dedicated to older cartoons will close down on September 1. Teletoon Retro has been the Canadian home of the original Inspector Gadget for many years... and I can't help but think that strong ratings for the original played a key part in Teletoon deciding to commission a brand-new Gadget series from Cookie Jar back in 2011/2012 (though a certain 2010 hit mobile game also played into that).

Several long-time Teletoon Retro shows - such as The Bugs & Tweety Show, Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones - will move to Teletoon's main channel from September onwards; but the original Inspector Gadget series doesn't seem to be among them. In other words: Come September, it seems the situation for Teletoon viewers will be, 'out with the old Gadget, in with the new'. The reboot launches just as the original stops airing. This timing ain't no coincidence.

Personally, I hope the original series will also turn up on Teletoon somewhere down the line, in tandem with the new show. From my perspective, it could be a cool bonus for kids who like the reboot to discover what the original version was like. And of course, the original series is just so awesome in and of itself that it should never stop airing.

Friday, August 28, 2015

France 3 Premieres the New Gadget Series Tomorrow, August 29 seen in this YouTube promo, posted today on the official channel of France 3's Ludo program block:

This has been known for a little while now. The first YouTube teaser from Ludo appeared on July 27, and a few weeks later, the premiere date was revealed as August 29 (though an online pre-premiere was launched on on August 22). The series is slated to air every Saturday and Sunday at 10:25 in the morning.

As long-time readers might remember, the news of public channel France 3 airing the reboot actually goes all the way back to last summer. Here's what was announced back then, via a French article from July 9, 2014 on

"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. (...) 
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.

Obviously, a lot of the above turned out to be wrong. The series ended up premiering in French broadcast already on January 3, 2015; on Boomerang France... so clearly, the translation and dubbing into French must have started as soon as Season 1 finished production at DHX Halifax (around November 2014 if I'm not mistaken).

What did turn out to be correct, though - which I was doubting for a while - is the series' broadcast on France 3 this fall. My reader NBU was right the whole time. It does makes sense: after the initial run on the paid kids' channel Boomerang, the reboot now gets broader exposure on a public, open-for-all channel. And though I've said it before, it warrants repeating right now: it's probably no coincidence that France 3 is the renamed, modern-day version of FR3, the channel which launched the original Gadget in France way back in October of 1983...

Vintage magazine ad promoting the premiere run of Season 1 on FR3. Scan courtesy of GC.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Latter-Day Bruno Bianchi Sketches of Inspector Gadget

This is a bit above my price class for a single sketch, but I'm sure it will find a buyer. Here's an Inspector Gadget sketch from 2000 drawn by Bruno Bianchi himself, currently up on with a starting bid of 150 (!) euros.  [UPDATE (August 25): Well, whaddaya know... it didn't find a buyer. Guess it was a bit above everyone's price class.]

This may be the oldest Bianchi sketch I've seen of Gadget (that is, of sketches and model sheets not related to the original series' production). I'm guessing Bruno did a lot of these for French fans at various conventions and festivals. Since I have a number of other sketches collected on my harddrive, I thought I'd use this occasion to share them, too.

The first few sketches here were done for a celebration of Inspector Gadget in France. On November 4, 2008, Gadget's 25th anniversary was marked by Fanny's Party at the Hard Rock Café in Paris, France. Probably the biggest sensation of it was, Bruno Bianchi actually attended this party and spent hours chatting with fans, being interviewed and, of course, drawing sketches. Here are three of the drawings he turned out that evening...

Note that Gadget is sporting what I've nicknamed the "Gadgetinis chin" here, reflecting the redesign Bianchi 
gave him for the 2002 spinoff. I personally much prefer the original-series chin (even if I like this drawing!).
Via iRonfle.

Edited from a photo where the lucky fan in question, Anne-Laure, is holding her drawing.
See the full photo, as well as tons of other photos from Fanny's Party.

The above sketch from Fanny's Party, coupled with the next one from I-don't remember-where, are by far the most off-model Gadget drawings I've seen by Bianchi. Still, I like the ink lines and the expression in the below one.

This one was up on the Italian Ebay a few years ago, for a more
reasonable price than the one currently at
Missed it by very little.

To end, how about a picture or two of Bruno himself? Turns out he attended the French Cartoonist animation festival in 2002 - and so did Shingo Araki (to the right), the famous Japanese cartoon veteran who, as it happens, animation-directed a handful of Season One Inspector Gadget episodes...

And here's Bruno in the middle of drawing Gadget at the festival:

Caption from Hello Japan: "Bruno Bianchi dessine son personnage fétiche : Inspecteur Gadget!"
(Bruno Bianchi draws his favorite character: Inspector Gadget!)

Man, how I wish I owned the drawing he's working on here... it looks FANTASTIC! Some of the sketches above are quite off-model and were obviously drawn quickly and spontaneously, but not this one. Gadget almost looks like he could have stepped out of a vintage episode. Seeing this makes me wish all the more that Bruno was still with us.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Horseradish? No - I Said Hosh Hash Habalash

I decided today to take a break from reboot-series updates and just do a post for the fun of it. It's been too long since I did that. Here's something I thought was simply fun to stumble across on the net a few days ago... a vintage Inspector Gadget VHS release from Israel! This scan was shared by an administrator on the Israeli forum

There are several things I find fun about this cover art... for one thing, it's the first I've ever seen or heard of Israeli VHS releases of the series. Secondly, it uses a couple of publicity stills that I've never seen before, from the episodes "Gadget at the Circus" and "The Invasion". It's especially amusing to see the utterly dead, wax-figure-resembling circus audience blown up in all their glory. Yup, that ep's animation was CHEAP. On the other hand, I wish the randomly-inserted still from the much better episode "The Invasion" was shown in bigger size.

As you may have guessed from the headline, the series' title in Israel is "Hosh Hash Habalash" (or "חוש חש הבלש" with the local alphabet*). Of all the foreign names I've seen for Inspector Gadget, "Hosh Hash Habalash" may be the funniest. Just try saying it out loud.

As far as I can gather, "Habalash" means 'detective' and "Hosh Hash" is Gadget's name... but the title seems to be a wordplay as well. The most sense I can make of it with Google Translate is, "The detective feels a sense". A sense of a clue, I guess, though there's probably a better translation for it if you speak Hebrew.

Here's the one other related image I could find over on another Israeli Gadget VHS among a huge lot of cartoon tapes offered for sale:

Only the spine is visible in this photo - can you find it? - but it's enough for me to recognize it as a still from (okay, I checked to be sure) "The Amazon". Here's the full motive, as seen on a sticker released with the Spanish magazine Tele Indiscreta back in the 80s (via the blog tardes de phoskitos, where you can see more nice Gadget stickers):

I can think of no better way to round off than with the Hebrew "Hosh Hash Habalash" theme song. This is one of those instances where the local dubbers decided to just do a completely new theme song instead of translating Shuki Levy's original. The Hebrew Inspector Gadget theme is just as weird as the title... and weirdly fun to listen to. Making it even better, though: the uploader of the specific video I'm featuring below has gone to the effort of subtitling the song lyrics in both Hebrew and English! Weirdness accompanied by understanding. Truly the best of both worlds.

(*Yeah, I know those letters don't look like any of the captions on the VHS scan - but it seems to be the only Hebrew spelling I can find of Inspector Gadget. Maybe the VHS uses an older Hebrew alphabet? I genuinely have no idea.)

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Boing Spain Update: The New Inspector Gadget Premieres at 17:50 Tomorrow

As you may remember, I posted on Monday about the Boing channel in Spain having picked up the Gadget reboot for Spanish broadcast, with the premiere slated for Saturday, July 25. The exact air time of the first episode wasn't known there and then - but it is now. As we can see on SincroGuíaTV under "Sábado 25 de julio":

So: Episode 1 airs tomorrow at 17:50 in the evening, inbetween the two other newcomers, Masha and the Bear and Mr. Bean. SincroGuía also says that episode 2 will air in the same slot on Sunday... so most likely, this is Gadget's permanent slot on Boing for the weekends to come.

Oh, and check out Boing's lavish site for Inspector Gadget! (Yeah, let's hope this gets expanded a bit with time...)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

BREAKING: Season 2 of DHX's Inspector Gadget Is Coming

Found this a moment ago and had to post about it. Remember how, back in May, I quoted an "Earnings Call" session with DHX CEO Dana Landry in which Landry sounded very positive about a second season of the new Gadget series? Well -- take a look at the recently updated LinkedIn page of Josh Saltzman, a DHX employee who wrote several Season 1 episodes of the reboot:

In black and white: "Josh Saltzman - Executive Story Editor/Co-Head Writer of Inspector Gadget Season 2 at DHX Media". As well as confirming Season 2 as underway, this marks a crew change from Season 1, which was executive-story edited by Doug Hadders and Adam Rotstein. Also of interest, scrolling down a bit to Saltzman's "Experience" section, we can see this:

Executive Story Editor/Co-Head Writer of Inspector Gadget Season 2
DHX Media
July 2015 – Present (1 month) NETFLIX 
Co-Head writing the reboot of the classic 80's toon. Season 1 is on Netflix now

So the second season just went into the making, writing-wise, sometimes this month. Talk about fresh news. I'm not sure exactly when this info went up on Saltzman's LinkedIn, but a narrowed-down Google search gives an estimate of 3 days ago.

Got any wishes for Season 2? I can think of a few off the top of my head myself...

--Shuki Levy's original Inspector Gadget composition being used for the theme song.
--A seriously menacing and threatening Dr Claw (hey, at least I can dream).
--22-minute-long episodes being the rule rather than the exception. This could potentially allow for more involving stories and perhaps even long-term character development.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Boing Spain Premieres the New Inspector Gadget Series on July 25, 2015

The caption to the right reads: "NEW SERIES - weekend afternoons". Picture sourced from Boing's Twitter.

That's right, in only five days. And credit where credit is due: Daniel of the Adelante Gadgetoblog had the scoop before me. Daniel has actually written several posts over the past months where he's been wondering when and where the reboot series would be broadcast in Spain... an especially interesting question since Boomerang no longer exists in that country. In fact, as RegularCapital points out, Boing is the only channel operated by Turner Entertainment in Spain; and also a free, public channel. In other words, unlike the paid Boomerang channels around the globe, the Spanish airing will be open to watch for everybody.

Let's look at some news sources. As Daniel mentions, word about Boing picking up the Gadget reboot in Spain has actually been out since June 29, when MisionTokyo announced a July 3 premiere. The RegularCapital piece from July 18 seems to reflect that announcement (as well as a Twitter update by Boing from the same day), stating that "Boing Spain are now airing" the new Inspector Gadget as well as two other newcomers, Masha and the Bear and Mr. Bean. Not so, however. The premiere of all three shows ended up getting delayed, and Boing just recently confirmed the new launch date: Saturday, July 25. The freshest announcement can probably be found on Boing's news site, which was updated today with the following:

Nuevas series en Boing: Masha y el oso, Inspector Gadget y Mr. Bean 
Durante el verano el calor aprieta y la mejor forma de sobrellevarlo es con buen humor y para refrescar aún más el buen rollo de Boing, a partir del 25 de julio, estrenamos tres series: Masha y el Oso y las nuevas series de El Inspector Gadget y Mr. Bean. Los fines de semana no volverán a ser lo mismo cuando Masha, Gadget y Mr. Bean entren en tu vida… ¡van a ser muchísimo mejores! No te los pierdas, los sábados y domingos, justo después del cine de la tarde, en Boing. (...)

In English (Google Translate, me, you know the drill):

New series on Boing: Masha and the Bear, Inspector Gadget and Mr. Bean 
During the summer the temperatures climb and the best way to cope is with good humor and the cool, good vibes of Boing, as from July 25 we premiere three series: Masha and the Bear and the new series of Inspector Gadget and Mr. Bean. The weekends will never be the same when Masha, Gadget and Mr. Bean enter your life ... they will be much better! Do not miss them on Saturdays and Sundays, just after the movie in the evening, on Boing. (...)

Oh, and... since the news posting doesn't seem to have a permalink, I thought I might as well include a screenshot of it:

What about the exact air time? The July 18 posting on Boing's Twitter says the three new series will premiere at 17:30... but it doesn't specify in which chronology they will air. And the few online TV guides I've found don't seem to be updated (for instance, claims that the anime series Doreamon will air in Boing's 17:45 slot this Saturday; something which certainly can't be true if the latest news from Boing are accurate). Guess we'll have to wait and see exactly when El Inspector Gadget premieres on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Boomerang Latin America Premieres the New Inspector Gadget Series on August 10, 2015

Due to a number of things going on in my life right now, I don't have the time or energy to update this site very often. But I've made a traditon here of reporting every international premiere date I can find for the new TV series, so I'm taking a few minutes to jot down this one, as well. As reported by ANMTV back on June 21:

Inspector Gadget llegará en agosto a Boomerang Latinoamérica 
Para comenzar con las novedades que traerá el canal Boomerang para el mes de agosto, una de las más destacadas será el estreno de Inspector Gadget, la nueva versión de la serie en formato CGI y producida por DHX Media. ... 
La más nueva versión del Inspector Gadget llegará a nuestras tierras a partir del día lunes 10 de agosto, de lunes a viernes a las 18h30 Arg/Méx. Vale recordar que la serie cuenta con doblaje al español latino realizado en Caracas, Venezuela.

In English (translated through Google Translate and myself, as usual):

Inspector Gadget arrives in August at Boomerang Latin America

Getting started with news that the Boomerang channel brings for the month of August, one of the highlights will be the premiere of Inspector Gadget, the new version of the series in CGI format and produced by DHX Media. ... 
The newest version of Inspector Gadget reaches our lands from Monday, August 10, Monday to Friday at 18:30 in Argentina/Mexico. It is worth remembering that the series features Latin American Spanish dubbing done in Caracas, Venezuela.

A June 27 article gives additional info on the air time in different parts of South America:

... Las nuevas aventuras del Inspector Gadget con doblaje hecho en Venezuela llegara a Boomerang a partir del lunes 10 de agosto a las 16h30 Col. 17h Ven. 18h30 Mex. con episodios todos los días, tomando el lugar de The Twisted Whiskers Show que dejará la programación del canal luego del episodio del día domingo 9.

In English (you know the rest):

... The new adventures of Inspector Gadget, with dubbing done in Venezuela, reaches Boomerang starting Monday August 10 at 16:30 Colombia, 17:00 Venezuela, 18:30 Mexico, with episodes every day, taking the place of The Twisted Whiskers Show, which will leave the channel's programming after the episode on Sunday, August 9.

Putting together the info in these two articles, it seems a bit unclear to me whether the series will air only every weekday or every day (including Saturday and Sunday), especially since the show Gadget replaces airs for the last time on the Sunday right before. But the premiere time itself is no doubt accurate. We've known ever since December of last year that Boomerang Latin America would air the reboot, but it took a fair amount of time (at least compared with most other Boomerang areas) for a launch date to be announced.

It seems, by the way, that the new series will not be called "El Inspector Truquini", the catchy name the original was known under in South America. Pity.

In case you're wondering: "El Superagente Truquini" is only the name of this specific
VHS editon, while "El Inspector Truquini" was the series' official Latin American title.
You can hear that title spoken out loud in the end of this YouTube video.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Norwegian Chief Quimby's First Impression of Capeman

Did you know that Chief Quimby's first reaction upon meeting Corporal Capeman in "The Capeman Cometh" was somewhat different in the Norwegian-dubbed version? In the original, English-language version, Quimby exclaims, "Who is that masked marvel?" But in the Norwegian dub, the translators apparently had a much better idea of what he oughta say. So what did he say? Take a look at my latest YouTube video to find out...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cro and Bronto Return - Now With Intro Sequence and Credits!

Stop the presses, everybody! I've found a complete and uncut episode of that awesome, classic DiC series Crô et Bronto, including its ridiculously rare intro sequence and credits!


What? You're saying you never watched Cro et Bronto before? Cro et Bronto didn't play repeatedly on your cartoon channels as you were growing up? You don't actually know what Cro et Bronto is? Son of a gun! Have YOU ever missed out!

Okay, okay, I'll calm down a little. In truth, Cro et Bronto probably isn't one of the greatest cartoons ever made. But for us Gadget and/or early DiC fans, it's interesting from an historical perspective. This mini-series about the little stone age man Cro and his obsession with catching and eating the naïve, good-natured brontosaurus Bronto was one of the very first animated productions to come out of DiC Audiovisuel. It was produced for the French channel Antenne 2, where it reportedly premiered sometimes in 1980 (more on that "reportedly" later).

Screenshot from the intro sequence. Watch the full episode below.

I'm not sure how much Cro et Bronto was rerun after its initial airing, but it's safe to say it's been nearly impossible to watch in modern times. When I first posted about it in 2012 (right after I found out it existed), not a single clip was available on the web. My second post in 2013 was done because animation site Osibo News had finally shared one episode as part of an article about the DiC history book "Les séries de notre enfance". Annoyingly, though, Osibo's clip was missing the intro and end credits. And that's a big reason why the video I'm showcasing in this third post is by far the best to surface...

Shared by the channel VHS Cartoons back on February 25, this YouTube upload finally lets us see the intro and end credits, as well as hear the opening theme -- a very frenetic and somewhat obnoxious theme, I must add, but it does capture the series' tone. As for the episode itself... well, let's just say that the inspiration from Chuck Jones' Roadrunner cartoons is getting clearer and clearer (and so is the reuse of animation).

Watching the end credits leads me to revise some of the production details I wrote in earlier posts. My info at the time was based on Planete Jeunesse's Cro et Bronto article, which credits Bruno Bianchi and Edouard David as the series' co-directors. However, the only credit screen seen in the above episode tells us that the director is Bernard Deyriès, a long-time DiC employee who would go on to direct series like Ulysses 31, The Mysterious Cities of Gold and The Littles. (Planete Jeunesse does list Deyriès as the "Auteur", meaning the creator; but I can't remember his name being there when I used the site as a source three years ago. I certainly didn't mention him anywhere in my first post.)

Since Planete Jeunesse's info doesn't match up with what we see on screen, let's cross-check with a different source. "Les series de notre enfance", Maroin Eluasti and Nordine Zemrak's excellent DiC history book, has a small entry on Cro et Bronto on page 18 - and I recently took the time to type that entry into Google Translate. While Eluasti and Zemrak do not mention any directors, they state that the series was "conceived by Edouard David, Bruno Bianchi and Bernard Deyries". So I suppose all three should be credited as creators. As for the direction, the above framegrab proves that Bernard Deyries directed at least this episode, if not all of them.

About that, here's an interesting producton tidbit. I wrote earlier that the series consists of 45 episodes lasting for about 1 minute and 20 seconds each. Eluasti and Zemrak confirm the part about 45 short episodes in their book, but adds something I didn't know: "It was a production for Antenne 2 for a duration of 30 minutes in total, but dividable into 45 episodes of 1 minute and 10 seconds each." So it was originally produced as one half-hour of sketches. Now we know.

There's one bit of info in "Les series de notre enfance" that I can't quite make heads or tails of, though. The sentence "Cro et Bronto est la première série animée produite par la DIC quand son bureau s'est déplacé à Paris en 1980", meaning: "Cro and Bronto was the first animated series produced by DIC when the office moved to Paris in 1980." That's interesting... but the above screenshot clearly tells us that the series was produced in 1979. So if DiC got their new Paris offices in 1980, how could Cro et Bronto have been produced there? Maybe "1980" is a typo and DiC got those new offices in 1979...? Hmmm.

Even more confusion surrounds the original production and airing time. In my first post, I wrote that it premiered on Antenne 2 in March of 1980. I obviously got that from Planete Jeunesse, but their section on the premiere date has now been changed to "1er janvier 1980 (?)" At least they admit they're not certain. Planete Jeunesse also states 1978 as the year of production, but the credit screen says 1979. I'll trust 1979 to be the correct year here, especially since I really doubt this series was produced over several years.

Since we're on the topic of corrections... I need to correct myself, too, on a little something that I wrote at the very end of the 2012 post. It's a piece of artwork that seems to be the cover for a record edition of the series' theme song. In fact, that's what I thought it was back then. Looking at it now, though, I'm certain it's just an imaginary mock-up cover. I found it on, a French web site which features listings and covers for many real soundtrack releases (including Inspector Gadget). That's what had me fooled. But I notice now that the title logo on the fake cover looks nothing like the series' real titles, and the artwork is simply taken from scans of the French comic book adaptation printed in Télé Récré A2. Plus, when you think about it, would a theme song like the one you just heard above really be likely to get its own soundtrack release? Mange-disque even has the cover posted under the headline "Les pochettes improbables", i. e. "the unlikely covers". Guess I should have taken the hint. Anyway, congratulations to "gosseboffe" (who is credited as the cover's "auteur" if you enlarge it) for fooling me way back when.

Enough fact revisions, though. Want some more videos? Believe it or not, the YouTube episode above is actually NOT the only Cro and Bronto clip to surface lately. Back in January, the French web community Les Pays du Manga uploaded two other episodes to RuTube and Dailymotion! These are very low quality and conspicuously missing any intro and credits, but still nice to see. (I'm guessing the titles for these episodes were invented by the uploaders.)

I think this one below may be my favorite of the three "new" episodes. A few gags took me by surprice.

And to make the roundup truly complete, here's the episode that Osibo News shared back in 2013 as well...

Cro and Bronto FTW! Who wants to start the petition for a Blu-ray release??

UPDATE (January 25, 2016): Since VHS Cartoons' channel is now gone from YouTube, I re-uploaded the "Cro et Bronto" episode myself and embedded it in the old upload's place.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

DVD Cover(s) Revealed For Australian "Season 1 Volume 2" of the New TV Series (With Add-On Promotional Images)

A few odd details surround the cover art for the next Australian DVD release from Universal, slated for June 18. Nothing wrong with the motive, but for whatever reason, someone has taken what was already a nice promotional image and replaced Gadget's serious-looking mouth with a smiling one. Even stranger, the cover art is currently circulating online in two different versions. First, there's this (where Gadget's mouth seems seriously misplaced)...

...and then there's this...

...where the mouth is better positioned, but still doesn't look quite natural (I'd say slightly more to the right). This version has other problems, too: it zooms in on the characters more, but the result is that Brain is chopped away, which looks especially odd with one of his arms still visible. Since Gadget's mouth is better placed here, I'm guessing this is the version we'll be seeing on the physical DVD editions... though I much prefer version 1 otherwise.

The number one problem is that the original promo art was created to work as a horizontal image, not a vertical one (as the motive used on Volume 1 was). For comparison, let's look at a few web-released versions of the artwork. This is actually an image I haven't featured in a post earlier (I discovered it many months ago, but it slipped through my fingers because of very little time to update the site), so it's about time, anyway. The below version was found in a DHX distribution catalogue released as a PDF back on September 26, 2014. Click to enlarge:

I think Gadget's non-smiling mouth here looks much better, not just because of the situation - he's on duty and serious about his work - but also for the facial expression as a whole. Is it really that important that all the good guys are smiling on a DVD cover? I'd say the most important thing is to show off their personalities.

A slightly different version was posted on Inspector Gadget's official Facebook page back on December 5, 2014. I like how this one incorporates Dr Claw's new M.A.D. Jet:

Finally, some practical info about the DVD. As I've mentioned once before, the Australian Government's classification lists Volume 2 with a runtime of 130 minutes, so I assume we'll be getting the next six half-hours here, #8 through #13. (Another reason I'm assuming this is that only the first 13 half-hours of season 1 were launched for the initial premiere on Boomerang.) Also, as with Volume 1, I'm assuming a 1080p release on iTunes Australia will pop up concurrently with the physical DVD on June 18. The DVD can currently be pre-ordered from retailers such as Ezy DVDJB Hi-Fi and DVD Warehouse, as well as this, this and this Ebay seller. There's also a possibility for Australian residents to win it for free over at smoothfm.

...oh, and one more thing. I thought it might be interesting to put together a GIF of the two cover versions, showing the differences in composition more clearly. Aside from Gadget's mouth, which of them do you prefer?

Friday, May 29, 2015


Just a small update to let you know: My recent blog post on a potential second season of the new TV series temporarily disappeared because I somehow managed to press "Revert to draft" inside Blogger's editor. Really not sure how I did that. Anyway, the post has now been republished and is back in its place.

That's all. As you were.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New Inspector Gadget Live-Action Movie Being Developed By Lin Pictures and Disney

Absolutely insane news - and NOT necessarily in a good way whatsoever. I came across this through a DeviantArt journal, which links to what seems to be the first article breaking the news, and also one of the very few sources we have at the moment. But it's not April 1, and I don't see why a movie news site with the tagline "Hollywood's Insider Information" should just make this up... so I guess I'll have to report it. Via The Tracking Board, then...

MAY 22, 2015 [4:22 pm]
The iconic cartoon character is getting another live-action film treatment 
Everybody’s favorite bumbling cyborg policeman is making his return to the big screen via Lin Pictures and DisneyDan Lin will produce the INSPECTOR GADGET reboot, which sources confirm will be another live-action interpretation of the beloved cartoon classic. The film is expected to wash away the existence of the 1999 Matthew Broderick outing, as well as the subsequent follow-up with French Stewart. Classic characters Gadget, Penny, and Brain are expected to appear, once again battling their unseen enemy, Doctor Claw. Lin Pictures’ president of production Jonathan Eirich will oversee development alongside Mark Bauch. 
Inspector Gadget intitally ran from 1983 to 1986, but remained in syndication into the late ’90s. The series followed a dimwitted half-robotic policeman who could summon nearly limitless amounts of useful, and often useless, gadgets by saying “Go-Go-Gadget,” and then inserting the name of the item. Though his gadgets almost regularly malfunctioned, Gadget solved capers and crimes with his niece Penny and dog Brain in tow, often thwarting the schemes of the nefarious Doctor Claw and his diabolic agents working for the evil M.A.D. syndicate. 
A live-action adaptation loosely based on the series was released by Disney in 1999, starring Matthew Broderick, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Rupert Everett. The film was generally poorly received, but still led to a straight-to-DVD sequel starring French Stewart as the titular hero. The character returned in an updated CGI-animated series, which just recently premiered in the U.S. on Netflix this past March. 
Lin Pictures most recently produced Warner Bros.’ massive animated hit The Lego Movie. Other credits include the Robert Downey Jr./Jude Law Sherlock Holmes series and the Josh Brolin/Ryan Gosling pulp-crime outing Gangster Squad. Lin is currently in development on an impressive array of high-profile projects, including the third Sherlock Holmes and The Lego Movie sequel and spinoffs. 
Clark Allen | Associate Editor

I don't know what to say. In fact, right now, I have pretty much nothing to say, except I don't think it's a good sign that Disney is involved with this thing. The only good-sounding part of the press release (if it is a press release - that part feels unclear) is the sentence, "...expected to wash away the existence of the 1999 Matthew Broderick outing, as well as the subsequent follow-up with French Stewart." So much the better, obviously. Both of those movies were trainwrecks, with absolutely no respect for their source material and riddled with terrible writing, direction and acting. But is it really to be expected that the same, big Hollywood corporation - today much bigger, with all the buyouts that has taken place over the past decade - will do a more respectful and (not least) better adaptation this time around?

From what the news piece says, of course, Disney will not be doing it just by themselves this time. Dan Lin of Lin Pictures is set to be the producer, which I'm guessing might mean that his company will be handling most of the actual production, with Disney co-financing and distributing the film. That is at least my theory for the moment. But I can't say Dan Lin as a producer makes me feel more optimistic, either. The Lego Movie was wonderfully fun and entertaining, but that's clearly a testament to the film's directors, not its producers. Plus, several years ago Dan Lin was heavily involved with developing a CG/live-action movie of another cartoon series, Tom and Jerry. That whole concept sounded quite awful... and in the end, thankfully, nothing came of it (although Warner is currenty developing an all-animated feature with the cat and mouse instead).

To that end, we should remind ourselves that this new Inspector Gadget movie is only in the earliest stages of development. Any information given now is subject to change. If you check The Tracking Board's tag list for 'Inspector Gadget', you'll find a link to an "Inspector Gadget (Sales)" site which teases more information about the film; though you have to be a registered member of the site to see it. But it doesn't seem much more info is available yet anyway, judging by the sentence next to the "In Development" thumbnail picture: "Kept under wraps, but pitched as another live-action interpretation of the beloved cartoon classic about the dimwitted cyborg policeman."

Some other sites mentioning the project are also worth noting. AceShowBiz, in addition to a May 23 piece quoting The Tracking Board, lists the film in its movie section with a tentative "2018" as the release year. I don't know if that's an assumption by AceShowBiz or sourced from the "Sales" site behind The Tracking Board's subscription wall. Meanwhile, Sci4Me has a news piece posted on the same day as The Tracking Board's article, but with partly different information. I especially found the following interesting:

While [the 1999 Disney live-action film] spawned a live-action straight-to-DVD sequel starring French Stewart, the two films weren’t as popular as hoped, and the franchise faded away. Recently, an updated CGI series premiered on Netflix, paving the way for a new version to hit the big screen.

And I'm pretty sure that last sentence is true, too. We already know that the reboot series has been doing well in ratings, so this makes sense to me. But it's interesting: very often with franchise reboots of this kind, a big-screen movie paves the way for new animated productions. It happened with Garfield, it happened with Alvin and the Chipmunks. It even happened with Gadget, 16 years ago. The (purely commercial) success of Disney's 1999 film paved the way for a new TV series, Gadget & the Gadgetinis, as well as two direct-to-video animated films.

In this case, however, it's the other way around. A new animated TV series gets made - not because of any live-action movies, but because the original show performs strongly in reruns and instant video; and a 2010 mobile game closely based on it becomes a surprice hit. Teletoon Canada, which already has the 1983 show airing around the clock on their Teletoon Retro network, orders an updated version for their main channel. Following the reboot series' global launch in early 2015, a big-screen movie enters development. The chronology of events is clear... and undoubtedly the clearest sign yet of the new TV series' success, not to mention the lasting success of the 1983 original.

ANYWAY. What matters most of all here is whether the new movie, should it get produced, will be any good. But I think its producers would do well to realize the chronology of events I just described, and realize that the cornerstone of Inspector Gadget's popularity is still, after all these years, the original 1983 series. The two Disney movies are largely forgotten today, and for good reason: they were awful. If the new live-action reboot could manage to actually be a good movie - one which works to capture the spirit and essence of the 1983 series, rather than do everything to steer away from it - Lin Pictures and Disney could have a long-term franchise hit on their hands.

Whether that will happen is impossible to say right now, and I can't say for certain how closely I'll be following this project, either. It will depend on how much it interests me... right now, not too much.

But who knows. That one sentence with "wash away" does provide a tiny glimmer of hope. Plus, there's nothing inherently wrong with the sentence immediately following: "Classic characters Gadget, Penny, and Brain are expected to appear, once again battling their unseen enemy, Doctor Claw." Good so far.

Final question: why do these Hollywood adaptations of cartoon shows always have to be live-action? Why not do an all-animated Inspector Gadget theatrical feature?