miércoles, 29 de octubre de 2014

Road Rovers

Road Rovers is a cartoon I have never watched when I was a kid (and I’m pretty sure I have never heard of it either). I think there are good reasons for that, as this show seemed to be a big failure for the Warners Brothers, ending it’s run with only 13 episodes (just for comparison, Animaniacs! lasted almost a hundred). It’s somehow weird really, as the premise is REALLY GOOD, and the cast they gathered together to do the voices was the best of the best at the time (and would be some formidable team even today) with Jeff Bennett, Tress MacNielle, Frank «Runt» Welker, Jim Cummings and Jess Harnell doing their standard terrific jobs here. It’s a shame, because even them couldn’t save this toon for feeling completely bland and unnecessary. But more on that later, as there is a lot of ground to be covered.

My first real problem with this show is not related with the cartoon itself, but with the form I could watch it. Some good fellah uploaded the complete series to DailyMotion (in which I’m gonna assume were VHS tapes recorded straight from the TV). That’s a problem because the quality lacks horribly and the volume peaks to the point of being torturous. I had to do some audio engineering just to prevent myself to going deaf with this. That’s not fun at all, and, needless to say, did not help improve my opinion on the toon (even when it wasn't its fault).

My second problem is that the plots are really good, but they are completely overshadowed by the constants attempts of humor this show is hopelessly trying to deliver. I could never blame the immense talent of the cast, but those wise guys comments that were hammered one after another were -slowly- driving me crazy. The only instance in which I really laughed came from a running gag of the show, in which Colleen (voiced by Tress MacNeille) couldn't remember the name of Blitz (magnifically voiced by Jeff Bennett doing a really good Arnold Schwarzenegger’s impression) and tries everything that sounds alike. As far as the humor goes, their exchanges are the centerpiece of the cartoon, and the only instance that it’s worth waiting. That said, I have to remark that there was one part in which Hunter was delivering yet another «wise guy» comment and ended it up in spanish; that was immediately followed by Colleen’s unenthusiastic «Ay Caramba» in the same tone. I don’t know who found that funny, but was embarassing to me.

I honestly don’t know what happened with this cartoon, but even the weakest segments on Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs can destroy it in terms of humor. That said, I have to add that, when they were not trying to be funny, the characters were actually funny! These are the kind of characters that should have been limited to phisical gags, because they work better at it. Most of their fights are a riot, and the animation -even when it’s not handled by TMS, Startoons or Wang- does them a lot of favors visually, resulting in an incredibly good lookin’ cartoon that works better that way. The whole show should have been the Road Rovers beating the tar out of somebody and that would have actually been a better program.

As I said before, the plots are very imaginative and good, with every entry standing out due it’s own inner quality. There is one episode that was set in the middle of Europe, with a war just about to start, and another one that seems like it just walked straight out of a science fiction show, with giant bugs attempting to destroy a Nuclear Plant in order to be the only survivors and rule the planet. Very colorful stuff, don’t you agree? And to take it even further... some of the stories were so good that I actually didn't mind the «jokes» at all.

I really wish I have more positive things to say, but nothing comes to mind. I like the idea behind this show, but this has to be the most uninspired that came from WB since «The Plucky Duck Show». The animation is excellent and so are the plots, but this cartoon just feels off all the time. I hate to admit it, but aside from some little bits of dialogue and the fight scenes, there isn’t much more that I like about it.

So, I don’t know what happened here but I had high hopes with this show and it pretty much killed itself right in front of me. For the first time in a lot of time, I had a complete series to enjoy, but it ended up being so tedious that I couldn't finish it (and I had some tough times getting to the end of the episodes I started watching).

I guess you could say that I’m being extra rude with Road Rovers because I just came from an excellent cartoon like Watership Down, but that’s not the case at all. There’s no way I could compare both toons because they have nothing in common... but if there is something that really made me be extra harsh with RR it’s Dog City (another cartoon from my childhood in which dogs fight crime). That one is excellent in all forms, and I watched it right in between both aforementioned programs. Still, Road Rovers sabotages itself really hard that none of that matters. It’s series finale is the weakest I have ever seen (even when, once again, the premise is really original) and goes against everything the show was about, so it didn’t make any sense and was probably the worst entry of the program as a whole. That speaks for itself.

Road Rovers has caused me a lot of mixed feelings while I was watching it, and there were a few instances in which I truly believed it was about to redeem itself (there was a delicious song that was amazing and I half expected Yakko to come over and sing it along with the rest of the cast) but it couldn't accomplish that goal. Some things it does are really good, but the rest not and that’s what kills it. Heck, it almost surprising to see Tom Ruggers’ name in the credit roll.

So, your mileage may vary, but in terms of dogs fighting crime, I'll stick with Dog City.

First posted here: http://80scartoons.net/forum/viewtop...?p=26401#26401

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