In a nutshell: The one-eyed
white wonder arrives on DVD!
In 1984 the Nickelodeon cable network first brought the adventures of
Danger Mouse to the US. A popular British show that was started
in 1981, Danger Mouse is a funny show that is able get the right
mixture of slapstick, puns, and parody so that the show is appealing to
both youngsters and adults. Now, thanks to A&E, the first two
seasons of this amusing and inventive show are available on DVD here in
Danger Mouse, or DM as his friends call him, is the world's greatest
secret agent. Wherever danger rears its ugly head, he's there to
stop it! With his faithful, and rather timid, sidekick Penfold (a
hamster) to aid him, DM fights the evil machinations of Baron Silas Greenback,
the world's most evil toad.
A parody of James Bond, this cartoon sets itself apart from other animated
shows with its creativity, not so subtle satire, and a strong sense
of the absurd. Each episode is filled with strange situations that
really give the show its strange sense of humor. In the second episode,
for example, Greenback goes about stealing herds of grazing bagpipes from
bagpipe farmers. The Chicken Run has Danger Mouse and Penfold
facing giant chickens that Greenback is trying to use to take over the
world, and in final show of the first season, the evil toad transports
pyramids to England in an attempt to sink the island. These are plans
that Pinky and the Brian would be proud to concoct.
In addition to the strange plots, there are a lot of bad jokes and even
worse puns. Younger viewers may miss some of these, but they are
sure to elicit groans from the adults. In one show where a strange
cloud is causing people to disappear DM remarks that the mysterious cloud
looks like a Cumolo Nimbus to which Penfold replies "Didn't he discover
The show also pokes fun of a lot of popular culture icons. Finding
themselves in the desert in one show, DM and Penfold are captured by a
native who shouts "Hi-Ho Mustaffa! - Away!" as he spurs his camel to a
gallop. Danger Mouse also lives in a mail box on Baker Street, the
same street on which Sherlock Holmes was supposed to have lived.
Movies are also a prime source for parody as they create a take off of
Day of the Triffids (Day of the Suds where England is invaded,
not by giant plants, but by washing machines) and there are episodes entitled
Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind and Ice Station Camel.
One of the standout episodes is the first story from the second season,
Custard. Baron Greenback has flooded the world with custard,
and it's up to DM and Penfold to fly off into space and find the ever hungry
Custard Mite of Glut. That's the only creature in the universe that
will be able to eat all that custard. Along the way Penfold becomes
a mother, they run off the edge of the universe, and end up in a strange
world that is a cross between Yellow Submarine and a Terry Gilliam
cartoon. While in this place they get a ticket and are fined 99 bicycle
clips. Finding that they only have three available, Penfold, in a
classic example of the non sequiturs that the show loves to throw about,
wonders aloud "perhaps when they said bicycle clips, they meant toothbrushes."
This set also includes The Four Tasks of Danger Mouse which has
the first appearance of Count Duckula. This character would go on
to star in his own series after Danger Mouse finished his run.
Though the program is very funny, the animation is rather limited.
They cut a lot of corners, animating only a person's mouth if they could
possibly get away with it, and often having characters look the other way
when talking so they didn't even have to do that much. Scenes of
Danger Mouse and Penfold walking or driving in their car are often reused,
as are some backgrounds.
Despite the low grade animation, Danger Mouse is a great show.
It has a slightly off kilter sense of humor which makes it enjoyable for
both adults and children.
The episodes included in this set are:
Who Stole the Bagpipes?
Trouble With Ghosts
The Chicken Run
The Martian Misfit
The Dream Machine
Lord of the Bungle
The World of Machines
Ice Station Camel
The Plague of Pyramids
Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind
The Day of the Suds
The Bad Luck Eye of the Little Yellow God
The Four Tasks of Danger Mouse
The first two seasons of Danger Mouse come on two single sided
DVDs. This sounds like a lot to put on a pair of discs, but it really
isn't. The first season consists of 11-minute long episodes, and
there are only 11 of them. In the second season they changed the
format a little: Instead of ten minute shows, they had created longer
stories that consisted of five shorter chapters. Each chapter has
abbreviated opening and closing credits, as they were originally broadcast,
and runs about five minutes. There are six of these 25-minute tales
in the second season, so altogether there are roughly 4 ½ hours
of programs spread across two discs.
The two-channel audio track sounds about average for a program of this
age. The dialog is easy to understand and the background music is
clear. There are a couple of pops that are audible, and a very slight
hum in the background that is only noticeable in quiet parts when the volume
is turned up fairly high. There were one or two instances of distortion
where the soundtrack cracked, but this was rare. Not a bad sounding
disc though, just average. There are no subtitles.
The video is acceptable, but not outstanding. The shows have a
faded look to them. The colors weren't as bright as they should have
been, and the details weren't as sharp. The image was a little on
the soft side too. There are a few specks on the print that was used,
but this was a minor defect. All of this doesn't mean the picture
is bad, it isn't, it's just showing it's age a bit. There are no
digital defects worth mentioning.
This set also includes the unaired pilot episode The Mystery of the
Lost Cord. This 15 minute episode is similar to Who Stole
the Bagpipes though there are several differences. Baron Greenback
is called Greenteeth, the voices are different, and there isn't a narrator.
A lot of the dialog has changed too, making this almost an entirely new
episode, though the plots are similar.
There are also text biographies of the characters in the show.
This is a funny show that both children and adults can enjoy.
The show has a wonderfully odd sense of humor, with Baron Greenback hatching
ludicrous plots to rule the world and Danger Mouse coming up with equally
odd schemes to defeat him. If you enjoy bad puns and the bizarre
spoofs, you'll enjoy this show.
My biggest complaint with this collection is that they didn't give us
more. Though it sounds like a lot of content with two whole seasons
(out of ten) included in this set, it really isn't. There are only
17 episodes with a total run time of about 4½ hours.
Still, a very enjoyable show with a lot of replay value. Highly