Stuart Heritage recently wrote an opinion piece in The Guardian on the topic of a Danger Mouse reboot for the 21st century. Although slightly tongue in-cheek, Heritage manages to nail down the finer points of such an effort and why it just might work if done right:
And then there’s the question of the reboot itself. The word conjures up catastrophic images of a humourless, jerky CGI rodent, possibly in a baseball cap, possibly called Dangamouz, battling the forces of evil with the power of industrial dubstep. Sometimes this tactic can work – both He-Man and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been the recipients of darker updates, and they were arguably better than the originals – but it almost definitely won’t with Danger Mouse.
The notion of rebooting an old kids cartoon from the 1980s is nothing new and past successes would surely embolden anyone looking to take it on. The question is though, do we even deserve a Danger Mouse reboot?
First of all, what do I mean by ‘deserve’. Surely that question was answered in the Simpsons episode “The Itchy, Scratchy and Poochie Show” when Bart confronted Comic Book Guy about being “owed” entertainment, right? Weeeeeell, no. As consumers, we do deserve to be entertained. That’s our demand, and plenty of times, producers do a great job of satisfying it. However, plenty of other times, they do not.
The risk involved in creating a new animated property (TV show, web series or otherwise) is immense. There is plenty of success to be had if you pull it off, sure. But what if it’s not?
Bad entertainment can leave a sour taste in your mouth for years, decades even, in the same way that great entertainment can bring back a flood of nostalgia many years after the last viewing.
Danger Mouse would play off of this. The original series is steeped in nostalgia for many many people who grew up with it but when viewed today, the show is rather crude compared to modern standards. A reboot would keep the characters and premise intact but would update them to appeal more to today’s tastes and hopefully bring a whole new generation into the fold of a great animated property.
Why don’t we deserve a Danger Mouse reboot? Well as much as consumers deserve to be entertained, they also deserve to be entertained in an innovative manner. Hollywood has been rehashing the same formulas for decades but every iteration is done so in such a way as to appear new. Think of Danger Mouse’s inspiration, James Bond. Practically every film is the same and yet they keep making more because they keep finding ways to innovate just enough to make it appear fresh.
In the context of Danger Mouse, it would be tantamount to admitting that the concept of a British mouse who’s a secret spy must depend on a property that is nigh-on 30 years old and that has had no significant activity since it ended production in 1992.
Are we, as consumers, deserving of such a situation? No! We should be deserving of new ideas or twists on the concept of a British spy. Throwing an old idea in new wrapping is insulting on many levels but it’s a situation that keeps on happening. Now yes, you could argue that many consumers are all too happy to lap reboots up but that misses the point. Plenty of the consumers that enjoy the reformulated content are the very same consumers who will drool at the thought of a new episode of Mad Men or become slaven devotees to whichever new show is on HBO.
Yes, Danger Mouse would be aimed at kids, but kids are voracious consumers of anything that’s sold to them as being ‘new’. Why should we, as adults, force our nostalgic memories on them? Why shouldn’t we create something that bestows its own nostalgia on them? I believe we should, and be all the better as an industry for it.
Would a Danger Mouse reboot ruin your childhood? Let us know with a comment!