Friday, July 8, 2011

Saturday Morning's (Not Yet) Forgotten Heroes: Danny Phantom (2004)

Animator Butch Hartman came over to Nickelodeon from Cartoon Network, and immediately struck gold with the wacky Fairly Oddparents. So what could he do for an encore? How about a superhero cartoon with a comic twist?

Danny Phantom bowed in 2004, and, like most Nick cartoons of the period, was played into the ground way too quickly.

Daniel Fenton's parents are professional ghost busters----or at least they claim to be, but we never seem to see them actually on a case. They built a ghost portal as a dimensional doorway between worlds. A test run failed, and they left it at that. Curious Danny, 14, decided to take a look, and accidentally activated the portal, resulting in his transmutation into a half-boy, half-ghost. The series open summarizes it all rather nicely:



Ultimately, Danny learned to control his new powers to become his city's secret guardian, but hunted by his parents, cluelessly unaware of their son's new dual identity, known only to the youth's two closest friends, Tucker and Samantha, and later, his older sister, Jazz. Nickelodeon terminated production on the series after 3 seasons, perhaps way too soon, some might say, but it is company policy for whatever reason. What do network executives know, anyway?

Rating: B.

6 comments:

magicdog said...

This was a good show!

My neice and I used to watch it regularly during it's original run and I was suprised at how good it was. I loved how there was character development, relationships didn't remain completely static (like Jazz being clued in to her brother's secret identity) and the early intrigue involving Vlad Masters. Unfortunately, the darker aspects of that storyline got dropped when writer Steve Marmel was let go and we never got to find out where that storyline with Vlad and the Black Knight was headed.

I wouldn't mind seeing a reboot of this show, perhaps with the darker tone Marmel originally intended.

hobbyfan said...

I think Marmel was let go because Nick didn't want the darker, mature storylines to be prevalent. As I noted initially, Nick would shove their original series down the viewers' throats, a practice common with all of the MTV Networks components for over 20 years, unfortunately. I didn't like that the parents were so clueless, which IMPO was a bad idea. They did have Jazz trained for a career as a ghost buster herself, as she had a replica of her mother's uniform, and one wonders if that was a last ditch effort to get boys interested in Jazz.........

Steven Dolce said...

How is this show considered as "forgotten"?

hobbyfan said...

It's been out of production for a while.

Steven Dolce said...

You do realize that people still remember this show right? In case you haven't noticed, around Late January of 2014, Shout! Factory released a Danny Phantom: The Complete Series DVD. This proves that Danny Phantom is NOT forgotten.

hobbyfan said...

So I adjusted the title of the post. Thanks for the heads-up on the DVD.