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Darkwing Duck on DVD: Volume 1 • Volume 2

Darkwing Duck: Volume 2 DVD Review

Buy the Darkwing Duck: Volume 2 DVD from Amazon.com Darkwing Duck: Volume 2 (1991)
Show & DVD Details

Regular Producers: Russ Mooney, Tad Stones, Alan Zaslove

Regular Directors: Bob Shellhorn, Mike Svayko, Bob Treat, Mircea Mantta

Regular Writers: Tad Stones, John Behnke, Rob Humphrey, Jim Peterson, Doug Langdale, Dev Ross / Regular Story Editors: Kevin Crosby Hopps, Duane Capizzi, Tad Stones, Tom Minton

Voice Cast: Jim Cummings (Darkwing Duck, Negaduck, Herb Muddlefoot, Professor Moliarty), Terence McGovern (Launchpad McQuack), Christine Cavanaugh (Gosalyn Waddlemeyer-Mallard), Katie Leigh (Honker Muddlefoot), Dan Castellanata (Megavolt), Tino Insana (Dr. Reginald Bushroot), Michael Bell (Quackerjack), Rob Paulsen (Steelbeak), Susan Tolsky (Binky Muddlefoot), Marcia Wallace (Clovis, Mrs. Cavanaugh), Jack Angel (Liquidator), Hamilton Camp (Gizmoduck), Kath Soucie (Morgana McCawber)

Running Time: 612 Minutes (27 episodes) / Rating: Not Rated (TV-Y equivalent)
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio), Dolby Stereo (English, French)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired
DVD Release Date: August 7, 2007
Original Airdates: October 14, 1991 - November 21, 1991
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s); Suggested Retail Price: $34.99
Cardboard box with three clear slim keepcases

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Page 1: Show Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

By Kelvin Cedeno

The early 1990s brought forth what many consider to be the pinnacle of Disney television animation. This was culminated in a two-hour block known as The Disney Afternoon (later shortened to TDA). TDA debuted in 1990 and contained four series in its block: "Adventures of the Gummi Bears," "DuckTales," "Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers," and "TaleSpin." Of these, only "TaleSpin" had been created specifically for TDA; the other shows were already in syndication. Another series was being worked on for this lineup, however: "Darkwing Duck". It's interesting to note that the character was actually featured in the Disney Afternoon opening theme a full year before his show even debuted. The second season of TDA (1991-92) was where the public was formally introduced to this masked crime-fighter.

"Darkwing Duck" follows the escapades of the titular character (also known as Drake Mallard in secret identity form) as well as his sidekick pilot Launchpad McQuack and adopted daughter Gosalyn. The trio face off with a myriad of colorful and quirky villains whose goals vary from the mundane (robbing a bank) to the unique (altering history via time travel). Gosalyn's nerdy and congested best friend Honker occasionally joins in against his will. Every episode essentially features the same story structure: a supervillain is out doing dastardly deeds, and Darkwing must stop him. Some sort of everyday household problem arises (usually thanks to Gosalyn), and this thread becomes crucial in stopping the villain during the episode's finale. With such a formula being used repeatedly, a show like "Darkwing Duck" can quickly grow stale. Thankfully, it has much more to offer than what its storylines indicate.

Left to right, Launchpad McQuack, Gosalyn, and Darkwing Duck discover what appears to be a dead body on the ground. The less said about Launchpad's hat, the better.  You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

This is a series where what's being said isn't as much a focus as how it's being said. This is easily the most tongue-in-cheek animated series Disney had done up to that point. Comic book and superhero lore are lovingly lampooned, with the show sharing much in common with Batman. This is most notable in the fact that despite being a superhero, Darkwing has no powers. Instead, he uses all sorts of gadgets and trickery to save the day.
Superheroes aren't the only course of the day in the show's checklist of parodies, though. Anything from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to Monty Python to Oprah Winfrey is referenced. Such things would have gone over most children's heads, but that gives the show a level of (non-low brow) maturity unusual for yesteryear's television animation. Because the allusions span so many different generations and topics, the show avoids dating itself, unlike other cartoon comedies that can't seem to reference anything older than a year before their productions.

The only real problem with a show like "Darkwing Duck" is that it's best taken in small doses. When one watches many episodes in succession, flaws become more apparent. Several gags are used and re-used in different episodes to the point where eventually one can predict the payoff before it happens. The show also features lots of slapstick to counterbalance the cheeky script. Physical gags (which every installment contains in abundance) become tiresome after several episodes. Also, because of the brief running times, plots are kept to a bare minimum. As mentioned earlier, the witty dialogue coupled with the memorable characters help mask this, but the rushed nature of the storylines become evident after extended concentrated viewing. This isn't so much a fault with the show as it is with its genre. Most animated series can (and do) have slim plots, yet feel fulfilling. With a show like "Darkwing Duck," however, there's so much adventure and extravagant set pieces that half an hour with commercials doesn't seem enough to let the stories unfold and for the audience to truly revel in them.

Despite such shortcomings, "Darkwing Duck" still proves to be a winner. It's creative and fun, offering something for everyone. It simply is a show that is best taken in the way it was intended - one episode at a time rather than many put together. This series has a legion of fans that have been eager for a Volume 2 DVD release. Just shy of one full year the first volume was issued, Disney has followed up with a second 3-disc collection, consisting of episodes 28 through 54. Like the first volume, Volume 2 presents the episodes in airdate order rather than production order. While on one hand this can be commended for preserving the show the way viewers first experienced it, it causes some problems. Characters suddenly appear for several episodes and then are later given a proper introduction and origin (such as the Liquidator). Other characters seem to randomly change their motivations when viewed in this order, such as Morgana going from evil to reformed without a second thought. The best option would've been to present both orders as playing lists for the viewer's choice. As it is, a series of this sort isn't wildly affected by lack of chronology thanks to the stand-alone nature of each episode.

A star () indicates ten standout episodes from this Volume 2 collection.

There are many things that can cause a rift between a father and a daughter, but none so much as a video game competition. A tutu-clad Darkwing finds himself surrounded by villains in one of his dreams. Tuskernini tries to enjoy some simple television, but Darkwing suspects something else is afoot.


28. All's Fahrenheit in Love and War (22:44) (Originally aired October 14, 1991)
Darkwing and Launchpad make plans to go south for the winter, but DW can't resist solving a case involving a group of thieves known as the Fire Bugs. An ice queen with a connection to the bugs offers to help.

29. Whiffle While You Work (22:41) (Originally aired October 15, 1991)
A Whiffle Boy video game competition creates a rift between Darkwing and Gosalyn. Meanwhile, a toy maker named Quackerjack plans to crash the competition thanks a vendetta he has against the Whiffle Boy franchise.

30. Ghoul of My Dreams (22:46) (Originally aired October 16, 1991)
Morgana uses the dream world and its ruler, Nodoff, to swindle the citizens of St. Canard and seduce Darkwing over to her. Nodoff, however, has ambitions of his own.

31. Adopt-a-Con (22:44) (Originally aired October 21, 1991)
While desperately trying to ward off the Muddlefoots, Darkwing accidentally agrees to adopt the convict Tuskernini. Despite Tuskernini being a well-mannered house guest, Darkwing is convinced he's up to his old schemes.

Baby Darkwing flies in a rocket ship to earth in a scene highly reminiscent of 1978's "Superman". Gizmoduck becomes an instant celebrity to the horror of Darkwing. Negaverse Gosalyn accompanied by four of the not-so-fearsome five: Bushroot, Megavolt, the Liquidator, and Quackerjack.

32. Toys Czar Us (22:42) (Originally aired October 22, 1991)
After Gosalyn gets into trouble at school, Darkwing is determined to be the perfect parent, much to Gosalyn's chagrin. When Quackerjack's toys are deemed by parents to be too dangerous, he kidnaps children in an effort to sell the toys directly to them.

33. The Secret Origins of Darkwing Duck (22:43) (Originally aired October 23, 1991)
Decades into the future, two students on a field trip are told the story of how Darkwing Duck supposedly came to be, from escaping an exploding planet as an infant up till his first confrontation with Negaduck.

34. Up, Up, and Awry (22:45) (Originally aired October 24, 1991)
Megatron tries to absorb all of the city's electricity for his own super magnet, but is thwarted by Gizmoduck. Darkwing becomes increasingly jealous as Gizmo's popularity outshines his own.

35. Life, the Negaverse, and Everything (22:41) (Originally aired October 25, 1991)
The Fearsome Five accidentally lead Darkwing to the secret hideout of Negaduck. DW soon finds himself in Negaduck's Negaverse, a world where everything is the polar opposite of the real world.

36. Dry Hard (22:42) (Originally aired October 28, 1991)
Charismatic spokesman Bud Flood promotes his brand of drinking water while poisoning every one else's. After a tussle with Darkwing, Bud falls into a vat of his own poisoned water, thus becoming the Liquidator.

No one can understand why Launchpad can't light a simple match with his new psychic powers. If only they knew. Just what the world needs: multiple Darkwing Ducks. Negaduck will be delighted. Gosalyn is non-responsive to seeing her father pop out of one of her Christmas presents.


37. Heavy Mental (22:46) (Originally aired October 29, 1991)
Launchpad volunteers as a guinea pig for the Norma Ray,
a machine that can give the recipient psychic powers. As he struggles to control his newfound abilities, Major Synapse uses the machine on his two assistants, transforming them into super villains.

38. Disguise the Limit (22:42) (Originally aired October 30, 1991)
Negaduck disguises himself as Darkwing while committing various crimes. A million dollar reward goes out for DW's capture, so he uses a revolutionary ray beam to disguise himself into whom ever he may be looking at the moment.

39. Planet of the Capes (22:38) (Originally aired October 31, 1991)
When a citizen goes missing, Darkwing is summoned by Comet Guy to come to the planet's aid. Darkwing soon realizes he's actually a replacement for Ordinary Guy, the planet's lone superpowerless resident.

40. Darkwing Doubloon (22:41) (Originally aired November 1, 1991)
A tale is told of the swashbuckler Darkwing Doubloon's adventure involving the scalawag pirate Negaduck and the king's stolen treasure.

41. It's a Wonderful Leaf (22:44) (Originally aired November 4, 1991)
Bushroot hatches a plan to ruin Christmas by using trees to steal the city's presents. Darkwing attempts to stop him while Gosalyn is tempted to open her presents early.

Before there was Captain Jack, the world had the no less offbeat Darkwing Doubloon. Audiences clamor to see Darkwing Duck live on stage. Tony Awards may be on the horizon. Darkwing enjoys being primped and pampered…until he finds out why.

42. Twitching Channels (22:41) (Originally aired November 5, 1991)
Megavolt develops a way to transmit himself via airwaves. When Darkwing goes after him, the two end up in an alternate world where they're known as the stars of a TV series.

43. Dances with Bigfoot (22:37) (Originally created November 6, 1991)
Gosalyn is eager to fight alongside Darkwing despite his protests. After he's taken by a native tribe, Gosalyn and Honker try to help him escape before he becomes a volcano sacrifice.

44. Twin Beaks (22:42) (Originally aired November 7, 1991)
Bushroot mysteriously disappears from prison while Honker's parents have gone missing. Darkwing and the gang trace the connection of both to a surreal town obsessed with cabbages.

45. The Incredible Bulk (22:44) (Originally aired November 8, 1991)
Bushroot develops a fertilizer that that can mutate plants into super giants. Darkwing uses some to gain an advantage, but Honker discovers that it has unpleasant side effects for animals.

Buy Darkwing Duck: Volume Two on DVD / Buy Darkwing Duck: Volume One on DVD

Continue to Page 2 >>

Page 1: Show Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

Related Reviews:
Darkwing Duck: Volume 1 (1991) • The Tick vs. Season One (1994-95) • The Tick vs. Season Two (1995-96)
DuckTales: Volume 1 (1987) • DuckTales: Volume 2 (1987) • Goof Troop: Volume 1 (1992) • Quack Pack: Volume 1 (1996)
TaleSpin: Volume 1 (1990) • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Volume 1 (1989) • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Volume 2 (1989-90)
Gargoyles: The Complete First Season (1994-95) • Gargoyles: Season 2, Volume 1 (1995-96) • Spider-Man: The Venom Saga (1995-96)
Fantastic Four: The Complete 1994-95 Animated Television Series • Space Ghost & Dino Boy: The Complete Series (1966-67)
Dinosaurs: The Complete First and Second Seasons (1991-92) • Home Improvement: The Complete First Season (1991-92)
Tales From Avonlea: The "Complete" First Season (1990) • Beauty and the Beast (1991) • The Rocketeer (1991)
The Muppet Christmas Carol: Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition (1992) • Newsies (1992) • Aladdin: Platinum Edition (1992)
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins • The Muppet Show: Season 2 (1976-77)

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Reviewed August 17, 2007.