Monday, January 8, 2018

On The Air: Wacky Races (2017)

Just in time for its 50th anniversary this fall, Wacky Races has finally been revived. That's the good news. The bad news is, you have to subscribe to Boomerang's streaming service here, or have access overseas in order to see it.

Not everyone is back, though, in the wake of DC's short-lived Wacky Raceland series that rebooted Professor Pat Pending as an African-American, and Sgt. Blast of the Army Surplus Special as a woman, as the writer didn't realize there already was a female Sgt. Blast (from Private Olive Oyl on 1981's Popeye & Olive Show). The Ant Hill Mob aren't regulars this time, but they do make an appearance in the new series.

The familiar racers include Peter Perfect (Diedrich Bader, ex-Batman: The Brave & The Bold), & The Gruesome Twosome, who've been given individual names. Tiny is the Monster, and Bela (spelled with 2 l's on this series) is, of course, a vampire and a homage to Bela Lugosi. Dick Dastardly & Muttley are still a team, but also act independently of each other. Peter Woodward replaces Jim Cummings as Dastardly, and it's Tom Kenny, not Frank Welker, replicating the late Don Messick's famous laugh for Muttley.

Additionally, Penelope Pitstop now has a fraternal twin sister, Pandora, both voiced by Nicole Parker (ex-MadTV). Your race commentator comes off as a parody of Al Roker from The Today Show, and voiced by Christopher Judge (ex-Stargate SG-1). Yes, we can see Brick Churchman on this show.

The new Wacky Races is part competition, part soap opera, as we delve into the private lives of the racers, albeit in a completely different continuity than Wacky Raceland. It also fits the 15 minute format that Boomerang and Cartoon Network favor these days.

Unfortunately, full episodes are not available on YouTube. Instead, we have an edited sample.

Oh, doesn't Penelope look SO hot?

Hoyt Curtin's original theme has been co-opted as the opening theme for the new show, and often plays in the background during competition. I am begging Chumptoon Network to put this on the schedule and stop jamming Teen Titans Go! down the viewers' throats.

Rating: A.


Silverstar said...

Turner isn't about to put Wacky Races on CN; they consider it a dated property that (in their minds, or more accurately, according to their focus testers) today's kids neither know nor care about; sho' 'nuff, I saw an extended trailer for CN's 2018 highlights, and Wacky Races was nowhere to be found. Boomerang US is off the table as well, as here in the States its' parent company is only interested in Boom's SVOD service, though Wacky Races airs on all the overseas Boomerang channels. My prediction is that the American Boomerang TV channel will likely fold soon, as these days it only serves as a dumping ground for CN's defunct shows, shows that are failing or shows that Turner didn't have enough faith in to put on their main channel.

hobbyfan said...

And that would be a shame to kill off Boomerang here, but it's the fault of the morons in charge at Turner.

I wonder if that screen shot of a bikini clad Penelope would make a good poster, though......

Silverstar said...

It would indeed. :D

hobbyfan said...

Note, too, that this time Penelope is a natural blonde, not a strawberry blonde as in the original series.

magicdog said...

I managed to see a few eps for free and the show isn't bad but I hate that the number of contestants had been pared down. I also think it might have been better to borrow a bit from Laff a Lympics and maybe rotate some of the racers out for different games. I also think a real race announcer would have worked better.

I think Wacky Races Forever was better - and I liked the voice work for those characters better as well.

hobbyfan said...

I think they pared down the original lineup and added a new character (IQ) because of the 15 minute format.

Wacky Races Forever was a little better animated than this, admittedly, but, as noted, Penelope Pitstop in a bikini is a selling point.

BTW, the current Dastardly & Muttley miniseries from DC has a revamped Vulture Squadron, a Muttley that can talk in complete sentences, and he & Dick are more or less anti-heroes. I think I'll get the trade paperback.