Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rescue Rangers…Away!

Anyone out there remember the old cartoon Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers? It came out in 1989 so was a bit after my time. It was part of a Disney afternoon of cartoons – I vaguely remember the Duck Tales and TailSpin being on – and were a part of that lineup.

Anyway, we were visiting my in-laws some time ago and they had saved one Rescue Ranger episode and Stephen LOVED it. He insisted on watching “chipmunks” several times – which got old since they only recorded one episode. When we got back home, I was curious and found that someone has uploaded some full episodes on YouTube. So, Stephen and I watched a few and found he was hooked. I then discovered that Disney has released them on DVD (volumes 1 and 2 with a 3rd on the way). So, that was part of Stephen’s birthday.

Why am I bothering to share? To tell you that this is a very good series. As opposed to cartoons today, it didn’t feel the need to be explicitly educational. It also doesn’t have 1.4 kadrillion product tie-ins to tempt the kids. And, once you get over the improbable stuff, it’s fun for an adult (or at least me) to watch. The 5 rescue rangers have their distinct personalities that work very well together and the gags are funny even when you see them coming. Think of a less spooky “Scooby-Doo” where the crime solvers have real personalities and a little MacGyver thrown in. One more mark in its favor is that it deals with some serious themes at times. For example, choosing loyalty to friends over the threat of harm to yourself, joining a “cult” to belong to a group (a silly and good episode), and perseverance in your integrity. I recommend the DVD’s to my fellow parents out there. Note that some episodes are a bit scary. I haven't seen them in stores, but they are on Amazon:

One last note on the series: there’s still a serious fan following out there. They have their own Wiki. Also, the best fan fiction I’ve ever seen is for the Rescue Rangers. Yes, I confess I’ve read a bit of fan fiction, mostly Harry Potter, and it’s nearly all utter dreck by fans who can’t write. However, this one is done by someone who is a genuine creative artist. Thus, the first (and likely only) fan fiction I will recommend is Of Mice and Mayhem. This is definitely PG and will make more sense if you know the characters.

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