As the new Disney series reminds us, ‘Family is nothing but trouble.’ That’s exactly what makes it valuable.
The past few years have been good for those nostalgic for ’80s childhoods—and for those of my age bracket, few cultural products embody that era better than the Disney animated series DuckTales. Based on the long-running Carl Barks comic series Uncle Scrooge, DuckTales followed the exploits of Scrooge McDuck, the miserly (but generally affable) Richest Duck in the World. Despite (because of?) his comfortable socioeconomic status, Scrooge’s wanderlust constantly calls him to adventure across the globe, usually accompanied by his identical triplet grand-nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie and an eclectic cast of supporting animals—er, characters.
There are countless reasons for childhood fans to look back on the show fondly. Its irrepressibly exuberant theme is surely one of TV’s greatest earworms (even if you never did figure out all the lyrics). In addition, the show’s brilliantly colored animation was coupled with writers who mined storylines from history, literature, and pop culture, placing them in settings that evoked the pulp-action feel of Indiana Jones paired with a flurry of avian puns. It was silly fun, perhaps—yet for many kids, DuckTales might also have been their first exposure to Homer or Shakespeare or Dumas or even H. P. Lovecraft. As an adult, I can still happily show my own kids the same episodes I so thoroughly enjoyed.
You can imagine, then, the mixture of excitement and trepidation among fans when Disney announced it would be fashioning a reboot of this beloved show.
The one-hour premiere, “Woo-oo!” aired Saturday, August 12, replayed the entire day on Disney XD. The new DuckTales is a remake, not a sequel, with different voice talent from the original show …