2 thoughts on “Photo Safari (Black Devil)

  1. wile_e2005

    The second season finally comes to DVD I have always found the second season of “Inspector Gadget” to be quite variable. There are some good episodes, and there are some bad ones. The reason? It is glaringly different from the first season of the show, originally produced in 1983 with 65 episodes.The second season, produced in 1985 with 21 episodes, came two years after the first season (in the 1984-1985 season, DiC was more busy with “Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats,” “Pole Position,” “The Littles” and a few others.) Here is what was changed…Voices were replaced. Cree Summer no longer voices Penny here, and Holly Berger is not too bad at times with the character, but still nowhere as good as Cree was. The very talented Maurice LaMarche now voices Chief Quimby (instead of Dan Hennessey in the first season), and also sounds quite different. The group of M.A.D. Agents all now have different voices, and a couple of times, Maurice LaMarche would fill in for Don Adams as Inspector Gadget (usually only for a brief scene or line of dialogue.) Don Adams and Frank Welker still remain part of the cast and voice their respective characters in most cases.The animation is not as good at times. For the second season, rather than hire an overseas studio, DiC decided to do it themselves and opened up their own satellite animation facilities in Japan to do the work. This studio also worked on the second season of “Heathcliff” and other shows during the 1980s. A number of incidental characters even have the appearance they came out of “Heathcliff” as well! The quality drop was noticeable compared to Tokyo Movie Shinsha’s stellar work of the first season (among other companies.) The videotape the show was edited on also looked a bit lower-quality compared to the first season as well.Concepts and writing changed as well. Instead of the nice realistic little house Gadget and company had in the first season, they now had a REALLY HUGE mansion-sized house with automated gadgets everywhere. M.A.D.’s crimes would often just revolve around simply getting rid of Gadget, compared to their more spectacular schemes of the first season (though at times they had some good evil plots in the second season.) The characterization would sometimes vary (like showing Dr. Claw in bed or in a hot tub, etc.) We’d also get some far-out situations, like the characters going up into space or traveling back in time (some of these were actually pretty fun, I will admit.) These were probably so syndication markets would see how different the second season was and pick it up for airing.The music and sound effects were a bit different. While Shuki Levy’s great score remains, at times it’s at a rather low volume and a bit hard to hear. Then there is some lazy music editing at times (such as getting a foreign-based cue playing while the characters are right in Metro City!) The sound effects are also noticeably different from the first season; instead of DiC and Nelvana’s custom-made effects for Gadget’s gadgets, in addition to several familiar Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. effects, this season mostly uses typical run-of-the-mill anime-esque sounds (maybe the editing was done in Japan too?) Even the sounds in the opening were changed as well!And a really big change was the addition of Corporal Capeman, who quickly became the Scrappy-Doo of the franchise. I was never really fond of him as a kid, and still don’t enjoy him that much, even though he had a few funny moments (I also liked it when he had a cold in the episode “Focus on Gadget!”) A number of fans of the show also hated Capeman. It was actually somewhat similar to what the Simpsons parodied, adding Poochie to “Itchy and Scratchy” (though at least Capeman didn’t have a rap number!)Differences aside, there were still good episodes of the show at this time.This DVD set does not have special features or language options. This is somewhat not surprising.The episodes seem to have a lower framerate at times; scenes where something is moving on ones (like a background or moving vehicle) instead move on twos, and can be a little distracting at times. This varies on a case-to-case basis; some episodes don’t have any of this at all.There is a little bit of what looks like DVNR at times, like on some of the other DVDs of the show, but this could be due to the ’80s video masters used.The original DiC logo from the mid-1980s was cut on all episodes, from what I could tell. Most end with the extended 2001 “Incredible World of DiC” logo, followed by the original mid-1980s LBS logo that was in use at the time (on some episodes you can hear the very end of the old DiC logo before the LBS music starts up.) One episode, “Bad Dreams are Made of This,” simply ends with that annoying Cookie Jar logo used before the company shut down. I was somewhat surprised, as I was expecting them to instead use a DHX Media logo at the end, though this edit was still somewhat unnecessary…

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