Duck Dodgers (TV series)
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Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century|
by Michael Maltese
|Theme music composer||
|Opening theme||"Duck Dodgers", performed by Tom Jones and The Flaming Lips|
|Ending theme||"Duck Dodgers" (Instrumental)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||39 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Warner Bros. Animation|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original network||Cartoon Network|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||August 23, 2003– November 11, 2005|
Duck Dodgers is an American animated television series, based on the 1953 theatrical cartoon short Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, produced by Warner Bros. Animation from 2003 to 2005. The series is comic science fiction, featuring the fictional Looney Tunes characters in metafictional roles, with Daffy Duck as the title character. It originally aired on Cartoon Network and Boomerang until March 22, 2010.
Though primarily based around the original Duck Dodgers short (which is set in roughly 2350 AD), the series has also taken many visual and thematic cues from other Looney Tunes shorts unrelated to the Dodgers character and its science fiction premise. Many other familiar characters from the Looney Tunes pantheon are featured in the series, often given traits to fit within Duck Dodgers' own universe. For example, Yosemite Sam becomes "K'chutha Sa'am," a parody of Klingons in Star Trek, Elmer Fudd becomes a parasitic mind-altering alien disease known as "the Fudd" (a combination of the Flood and the Borg), Witch Hazel was "Leezah the Witch" in one episode, Count Bloodcount was "Count Muerte" in two episodes, and Wile E. Coyote was a Predator-like alien hunter in one episode where Martian Commander X-2 and K-9 were hunting. Gophers Mac and Tosh appeared as Martian gophers on an alien golf course. Nasty Canasta, Taz, Rocky and Mugsy, and the Crusher also made appearances on this series. In a two-part episode, the "Shropshire Slasher" appears as a convict named the Andromeda Annihilator. Michigan J. Frog was the host of a talent show and Ralph Phillips played Babyface Moonbeam. Egghead Junior also appeared, as well as the unnamed evil scientist who owned Gossamer.
In addition to pop culture references, the show's theme (arranged by the Flaming Lips) is sung by Tom Jones, in a style reminiscent to Jones' performance of the theme from the James Bond film Thunderball. Jones also appeared in caricature form in the second-season episode "Talent Show A Go-Go," to sing his signature song, "It's Not Unusual". Dave Mustaine of the thrash metal band Megadeth was featured in the third-season episode "In Space, No One Can Hear You Rock", with the band performing the song "Back in the Day" from their 2004 album The System Has Failed.
Duck Dodgers was nominated in 2004 Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Television Production Produced For Children, Music in an Animated Television Production, Production Design in an Animated Television Production, and Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production. It won the Annie award for 2004 for Music in an Animated Television Production, music by Robert J. Kral. It was also nominated 4 Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Editing - Live Action and Animation and Special Class Animated Program in 2004, and again in 2005. It later won for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program - Joe Alaskey. The series ended production in 2005 after its third season.
- Captain Duck Edgar Dumas Aloysius Eoghain Dodgers – (voiced by Joe Alaskey) A hapless soul that was accidentally frozen for over three centuries for reasons not known. He was later revived by Dr. I.Q. Hi in the 24½th century. Dodgers is arrogant, selfish, greedy, lazy, cowardly, gullible, and not particularly intelligent. However, he occasionally displays surprisingly high levels of heroism and competence, suggesting that he is not quite as daft as he appears to be, although he mostly succeeds through sheer dumb luck and the work of the Eager Young Space Cadet. Though he doesn't show it often, Dodgers cares deeply for his cadet, even though he often demeans and puts him through humiliating situations. In episode 25, he is described by Psy Q. Hi as an ego-maniacal, bipolar, narcissist, and pathological liar with sociopathic tendencies.
- The Eager, Young Space Cadet – (voiced by Bob Bergen) Looks up to Dodgers, seeing him as a father-figure in many ways. He is utterly loyal to Dodgers and doesn't doubt a word he says. Despite being much smarter than his so-called hero, he lets him give all the orders. Dodgers cares deeply for his Cadet though he rarely shows it, and often tries to take credit for the Cadet's work. Dodgers relies heavily on the Cadet's assistance and would likely fail most missions without it. The Cadet is also fairly successful as a ladies man, often being the one who gets the girl Dodgers swoons over. He graduated summa cum laude from the Protectorate Academy. The Cadet is played by Porky Pig.
- Dr. Ignatius Q "I.Q." Hi – (voiced by Richard McGonagle) The overweight scientist that revived Dodgers after being frozen for three centuries. Serious and hard-working, he is often irritated and frustrated with Dodger's incompetent side, and doubts that Dodgers truly was a 21st-century hero. In addition to being a hard-working scientist, he constantly wears gloves that stretch up his arm, ending at his elbow and leaving a gap between his fingertips and the glove's tips (which he did not wear in the 1953 short).
- Captain Star Johnson – (voiced by John O'Hurley) Johnson is a rival captain of Dodger's in the Galactic Protectorate. Gifted with a University education, Johnson has a Flash Gordon-like personality about him, and once took Dodgers to court over his incompetence. Since then, Johnson has been involved in freeing Mars from the military coup by General Z9, and searching for gangsters when Dodgers went missing for a brief period of time. He also played rocketball in college.
- Bigfoot – (voiced by Michael Patrick McGill) In "The Six Wazillion Dollar Duck" (a parody of The Six Million Dollar Man), it was revealed that Bigfoot worked for the Protectorate as a Maintenance Supervisor and was also the first (thing) to receive cyborganic implants (Steve Boston was the first man to receive them, but before The Protectorate tested it on someone with a similar anatomy). These implants enhanced his combat abilities, as he is able hold off several centurions before they bait and trapped him with pie. He seems to not be very educated as the only two words he says are "Duck" and "Stereo".
The Martian Empire
- The Martian Queen (AKA Queen Tyr'ahnee) – (voiced by Tia Carrere) The beautiful ruler of Mars and the main antagonist of the series. Although she dislikes him at times, she is infatuated with Dodgers and, just like Cadet, believes him to be a true hero. She is something of a female version of Marvin the Martian and wears outfits reminiscent of Martian Princesses in the John Carter of Mars book series. Her name is pronounced like "tyranny."
- Martian Commander X-2 – (voiced by Joe Alaskey) The confident commander of the Martian military who is Dodgers' arch enemy. He is infatuated with the Martian Queen that he serves, and considers Dodgers more of a nuisance than a true enemy. He once essentially created Duck Dodgers by going back in time and making him a hero so as to not be proven wrong by the Queen (the Queen did figure it out and was punished). He is played by Marvin the Martian.
- Commander K-9 – (voiced by Frank Welker) Martian Commander X-2's dog.
- Martian Centurion Robots – (voiced by Michael Dorn) The faithful robotic servants of the Mars Empire. They appear to be sentient, and make up a large portion of the Imperial Army, while the organic Martians act as officers. This is a homage to the Cylon Centurions of Battlestar Galactica. Dorn's casting may be a nod to his popular sci-fi character Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Instant Martians – Strange bird-like Martian beings with purple hair. They were used briefly as an escape ploy by Commander X-2. They emerge from minuscule seeds that are activated when they come in contact with water. They first appeared in the 1958 cartoon Hare-Way to the Stars, in which the Martian Commander ordered them to capture Bugs Bunny.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||August 23, 2003||November 15, 2003|
|2||13||August 14, 2004||February 25, 2005|
|3||13||March 11, 2005||November 11, 2005|
- Joe Alaskey – (Daffy Duck as) Duck Dodgers, (Marvin the Martian as) Martian Commander X-2, Beaky Buzzard, Drake Darkstar, Hubie and Bertie, Rocky, Muttley
- Bob Bergen – (Porky Pig as) the Eager, Young Space Cadet
- Michael Dorn – The Martian Centurion Robots, Captain Long, Klunkin Warrior
- Tia Carrere – The Martian Queen
- Richard McGonagle – Dr. I.Q. Hi
- John O'Hurley – Captain Star Johnson
Warner Home Video released Duck Dodgers – Season 1: Dark Side of the Duck to DVD on February 19, 2013, and Duck Dodgers – Season 2: Deep Space Duck on July 23, 2013.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|Season 1||13||February 19, 2013|
|Season 2||13||July 23, 2013|
- "FOR YOUNG VIEWERS; The First Duck in Space? That Is So Daffy". The New York Times. 2003-09-21. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
- "The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Announced for the 31st Annual Daytime Emmy® Awards" (PDF). The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved March 4, 2004.
- "The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Announced for the 32nd Annual Daytime Emmy® Awards" (PDF). The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved March 2, 2005.
- "The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Announces Winners for the 31st Annual Daytime Creative Arts Emmy® Awards" (PDF). The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved May 15, 2004.
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