Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Original Inspector Gadget Animation Drawings from "A Bad Altitude"

Today, a couple of 1983 animation drawings that I found a long time ago on Rubberslug. Animation frame drawings from the original Inspector Gadget series are quite hard to come by -- a number of drawings are for sale on Ebay right now, but they're all from either Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas or Inspector Gadget's Field Trip (despite many of the sellers claiming otherwise). These two drawings, however, are sourced from the vintage Season 1 episode "A Bad Altitude":



"A Bad Altitude" has several standout sequences with great-looking animation, and the extended action scene with Brain on top of a M.A.D. cab is one of 'em. Even by themselves, these two still drawings from the scene have a real dynamic feel. I also enjoy seeing the hand-written Japanese notes on the first one, which I'm guessing are instructions from the key animator to the inbetweener (I believe both of these drawings are key frames).

For comparison, here are the matching frames from the finished episode, seen at ca. 16:15. Go here to see them in motion.


Friday, January 22, 2016

My List of Global Premiere Dates for DHX's Inspector Gadget Series

It had to happen sooner or later. For over a year now, my right-hand news column about DHX's reboot show has included an ever-growing list of worldwide premiere dates (and broadcasters). Today, however, I'm removing that list from the news column and transferring it to this blog post. I felt at the time that it was important to cover the worldwide launch of the series properly; especially since my readers come from a lot of different countries. But that time is past now. While I can't be 100% sure, I don't think there is any major area left for the reboot to debut in - or at least, certainly not coming up anytime soon. And the most recent big launch I can think of, on Teletoon Canada, is more than four months old already.

This is not a truly complete list. I can think of at least a couple different countries' premieres that slipped through my fingers, either for lack of time to update or because I only found out about the show airing in that specific country long after the actual premiere (researching exact dates in retrospect can be a pain). And even excluding those, I wouldn't be surpriced if I missed hearing about some areas altogether. If any of my readers knows something missing from this list, regarding ANY country's broadcasting channel or premiere date, I would love to hear from you. This post can certainly be updated over time.

It has been a ton of work researching the new series' whereabouts in so many different countries. Honestly, had I known just how much work before going in, I likely wouldn't have done it. But since I HAVE done it, I might as well preserve this list for posterity. Maybe years from now, it can be useful to someone else researching aspects of the Inspector Gadget franchise's history.

Speaking of research, I'm adding one thing to the list below which was not included in the news margin version: Direct links to all the blog posts where I originally reported the various premiere dates. In a few of those posts you may hear me sounding somewhat uncertain about this and that exact date (most of them were written in advance of the air date in question); but as of this writing, to my knowledge, all of the dates are correct and accounted for. If you should have information saying otherwise, let me know.

Now then, on to the lists...


PREMIERE DATES:

BROADCASTERS:
  • Teletoon in Canada.
  • Netflix in the United States.
  • Super RTL in Germany.
  • France 3 in France.
  • Boing in Spain.
  • Boomerang in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Australia and probably even more places.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Unique Teletoon Promos

Two Teletoon promos for the reboot recently made it to YouTube... and I find them a bit more interesting and unique than the plethora of ads I've seen from Boomerang, Netflix and others. Why, do you ask? Well, have a look...





Thing is, rather than just being clipshows from episodes, these commercials include specially-made footage of the characters talking about their new show, and about it showing on Teletoon. With Teletoon being the network DHX produced the new series for, it makes sense that DHX would also do some custom promos for the channel.

I'm guessing these first aired on Teletoon around the time of the premiere last September. Nice to finally see them online.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

"New Inspector Gadget, Season 1, Vol. 4" on Australian DVD and iTunes Today

..and thus, the first season of the reboot series is complete on DVD and HD Digital Video in Australia. Universal's "Season 1 Volume 4" - launching today on disc and on iTunes - contains the final six half-hours of the season, episodes #21-26. Here's the hi-res DVD cover via The Viewing Lounge:



And here's a snapshot of the 1080p HD release on iTunes Australia, showing the list of episodes:



Since this volume concludes Season 1, I thought I'd sum up Universal's three previous releases as well. iTunes links are included in the title for each volume...

Season 1, Volume 1 (episodes #01-07)


Season 1, Volume 2 (episodes #08-13)


Season 1, Volume 3 (episodes #14-20)

13 Half-Hours of the New Gadget Series Available on iTunes Canada in Standard Definition

I have an update on Australian iTunes and DVD releases coming later today, but before that, a quick mention of another country where the new TV series has been available on iTunes for a while: Canada. This release apparently comes directly from Teletoon, the Canadian network which ordered the reboot from DHX (or Cookie Jar at the time development started). It was published on iTunes on September 7 of last year, the same day the reboot started broadcasting on Teletoon Canada... and if memory serves, more episodes have been added to the package after that inital release date. It now totals 13 half-hours:



Unfortunately, in terms of picture quality, it is not as good a deal as Universal's Australian iTunes releases. The episodes are only available in SD (Standard Definition), whereas Australian iTunes customers can choose between SD and HD. Also, the iTunes Canada release doesn't follow the original production chronology of the episodes, but instead seems to use Teletoon Canada's broadcast chronology.

I haven't been following Teletoon's airing of the reboot very closely, but I do remember seeing the episode "Fountain of Cortez" (ep #17a in the original episode chronology) being advertised on their Facebook page only one week after the September 7 premiere. Teletoon was airing the series weekly, every Monday evening, during the initial launch - and as mentioned before, they aired two half-hours on the premiere day of September 7. Which means that episode 17, broadcast one week later, was the third half-hour to air on their channel. And of course, it is also "episode 3" in the iTunes Canada release of Season 1, Vol. 1; so it all adds up.

Why did Teletoon decide to mess with the episode chronology? I believe the answer is fairly obvious: By the time they premiered the Gadget reboot last September, the first 13 half-hours of season 1 had already been airing on Boomerang in most countries for many months (as well as received DVD releases in Australia) -- and the first 16 half-hours had been up on Netflix US for almost as long. Even if Canada didn't officially get any of those releases, Canadian fans certainly had a number of opportunities to watch those half-hours early. So what would the most attractive option for Teletoon be? To start off with episodes which have NOT been available globally for a long time, obviously. So after episode 1, "Gadget 2.0" - which is necessary to set up the series - they followed not with episode 2, but with episode 24... and then a week later, with #17.

The chronology does jump back to episodes from the series' first half after that, as we can see above, but this reasoning still makes sense to me as far as the first few premiere weeks go.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Family

One of the more charming pieces of promo art I've seen for the Inspector Gadget reboot can currently be found on the site of Audio Postproduction SPR Inc., the company which carried out the series' French-language dubbing. A very fun group shot of all the main "good guys":


I'm posting it in as high a resolution as Blogger allows, but if you want to see the pic in its original, ultra-large size, go here.

Of course, this piece is not quite as awesome as the picture SPR originally had up on their site, but as replacements go, it ain't half bad.

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.)