Animated Program Review: 101 Dalmatians: The Series

I’ve seen a lot of animated programs during my life, though there are some animated programs that I feel withstand the test of time. These animated programs, which I consider to be some of the best animated programs I’ve ever seen, stand above the rest, which is why I wished to write up several articles on these subjects. I have decided to start with 101 Dalmatians: The Series, and while I admit that I’ve never been much of a fan of the 101 Dalmatians franchise, I’ve really enjoyed watching 101 Dalmatians: The Series and it’s the reason I am writing up this first article on the subject of the series. I’ve heard many people express negative thoughts about the series throughout the years and while I know I cannot speak on behalf of all its fans, I hope this article will help others understand why I enjoy the series, as well as its characters. I also hope that this article will help other people make up their own thoughts on 101 Dalmatians: The Series, so that they may find an opportunity to watch the series in the future and be potentially entertained. I understand that I can make no guarantees that you will enjoy watching this series, though I hope you’ll take the time to read my article and understand my points; though either way, I feel it is my obligation as a fan of 101 Dalmatians: The Series to write up this article and express my thoughts.

My Thoughts on 101 Dalmatians: The Series

I know that throughout the years, 101 Dalmatians: The Series has often been considered an abomination to the 101 Dalmatians franchise, since it took several creative liberties for granted and some changes were made here and there that alienated some of the more dedicated fans of the base content. However, since I’ve never cared much for the base content in question, I suppose that I cannot actually provide defense for their claims, as I cannot fully understand what exactly it is that they feel was incorrectly adapted into the work of the series. However, I’ve enjoyed watching this series for what it is and while I know that my tastes likely vary from many individuals, I can say in good faith that this series was one of the more interesting Disney animated programs throughout the entire 1990s, and I believe it’s one of the best animated programs of all time, despite the fact that such is a debatable claim that others will disagree with.

When I first watched this series when I was a young lad of ten years, I instantly fell in love with the characters and I remember watching this series on television every Saturday morning whenever it aired. Now, some nine years later, I still find the characters to be extremely appealing and the nature of the Dalmatians and the way they interact with their predicament is just as entertaining as I remember it, if not more. Of course, most nineteen year olds don’t care much for animation, so I’m fairly confident that I’m unique in my interpretation of what entertainment is, though I do not wish to digress from the matter at hand. Many of the plots that this series used in its episodes were very well done and while I admit that this series sometimes suffered from the clichÃ?© plots that plague all animated programs, this series seemed to have a particular brand of magic that permitted it to succeed despite the odds, figuratively speaking.

I know this series had a few stale episodes that some of the series’ most dedicated fans still find appalling, though no series is perfect and such failures did not really accurately reflect the content of the rest of the series. However, I’ve never really hated any episode of the series and even some of the more disliked episodes, such as Horace and Jasper’s Big Career Move, were still entertaining for me to watch; I suppose my thoughts are unique, as I’ve said, though I seldom actually laugh while watching any program on television, so my value of entertainment is actually defined by how content and satisfied I am with the content that the episode’s provide. However, I do not wish to defend these abnormalities since I realize that most watchers of any program will refuse to watch an episode that does not entertain them, so I’d rather encourage individuals to watch some of the more entertaining episodes of the series, though such is common sense when one thinks about it.

Now that I’ve covered the more external fundamentals of the series, I wish to speak more directly about the content of the series itself. I know that there were some individuals who have expressed that Cruella De Vil’s new goal of obtaining the rights to the farm was inappropriate, since the nature of her character was created with her attempts to capture the Dalmatians in order to use them in her fashion designs and so forth. However, I personally believe the new goal of her character worked better within the premise of the series than people had expressed, as it permitted Cruella to open up other options to wreck havoc, rather than just trying to capture the Dalmatians at every chance she gets. Many of my favorite episodes had been episodes where Cruella had attempted to use extravagant plans in order to try to steal the farm from the Dearlys, which is something I’ve really enjoyed throughout the many episodes of the series that I’ve watched. However, I’ll talk more about Cruella when I actually discuss the characters, though I do wish to reinforce my claims that Cruella’s change of goal really worked well for the series, in the grand scheme of things.

While Cruella was the main villain of the series, many episodes had merely focused on the adventures, or misadventures, of the Dalmatians. I believe these episodes were some of the best as when the Dalmatians weren’t dealing with Cruella, it more accurately portrayed their typical life on the farm and I must admit that their typical life is quite exciting at times. From the Bark Brigade to various other activities, I’ve enjoyed seeing how the Dalmatians interacted with their predicaments, though many of the episodes were based on the characters, which permitted the viewers to see more of the characters that we’ve come to know and love. Lucky’s always been the leader of the group and many of the episodes that focus on him are about exploration and adventure, or competition and various other factors, though most of his episodes are relatively similar in how they typically have a frantically paced plot. Cadpig’s episodes tend to focus on her unique headstrong behavior and her desire for peace and harmony, until someone messes with her, though her episodes are personally some of my favorite. Rolly’s episodes tend to be the weakest out of the group, since they’re mostly about food or Rolly’s personal desire to be accepted and popular and whatnot, though his episodes are still good for what they’re worth. Spot’s episodes are nearly the same as Rolly’s, though since Spot isn’t typically a stand-alone character, many of her episodes tend to have more of a team-based focus, though I did enjoy the detective-spoof episodes of hers.

The series had more unique strengths though, as while many of the episodes exploited Cruella and the main group of characters in order to create a great plot, several of the episodes had used other Dalmatians and other characters in order to reinforce the plot to ensure the episodes were entertaining to watch. I particularly enjoyed the episodes about the swamp creatures, as each of them had unique personalities and I feel that they had good chemistry with the rest of the Dalmatians. However, it was sometimes the other Dalmatians that really permitted the main characters to excel, from Tripod to Two-Tone, to some of the other lesser-involved Dalmatians, many episodes had used several of these characters in order to ensure that the main group of characters had other characters to interact with, in which it was necessary at times to advance the plot of the episode. However, there were also the farm animals to be considered, in which they’ve become just as much a part of the series as the Dalmatians themselves, so I personally believe that the wide array of characters really did work well for the series, for the most part anyway.

The content matter of the episodes was something else that appealed to me, as I’ve said earlier in this article. There were episodes about such a wide array of material: romance, action, mystery, crime, parody, as well as many other classifications of episodes that I could mention. I believe that this really helped make the series as entertaining as it was since the content matter varied so greatly, so fans of the series managed to see their favorite characters involved in many different plots, though some plots didn’t use some characters, though such cannot be helped and that really can’t be considered a negative thing, considering just how many episodes of the series there were. My favorite episodes were always the romantic episodes though, even as a child I found them to have a certain appealing factor, as I’d rather watch “My Fair Moochie” and “Love ‘Em and Flea ‘Em” than I would any other episodes in the series, though I know that such will likely vary when it comes to the thoughts of fans of the series.

There were many fine episodes of 101 Dalmatians: The Series which I believe permitted the series to succeed in my eyes. Many of the episodes had some excellent humor, as well as various other factors, so most of the episodes were entertaining to watch, regardless of what the overall classification of the episode would be considered. However, I believe this series had an advantage over many other animated comedy programs since this series had an excellent series premiere and an excellent series finale. Most animated programs aren’t fortunate enough to have a great introductory episode, though it’s even rarer for a series to be permitted to conclude the series in a noble manner, let alone a series finale of such excellent quality as this program had contained. I believe “Home is Where the Bark is” really permitted new fans of the series to understand the premise of this series, even without any prior knowledge of the 101 Dalmatians franchise. All three parts of “Dalmatian Vacation” permitted the series to end with a rare level of dignity, though those three episodes in that series finale were some of the best episodes of any animated program that I’ve ever seen.

I know that this wasn’t a perfect series by any means, though I still consider myself a proud fan of 101 Dalmatians: The Series and I feel that a majority of this series was very well done. It’s unfortunate that the series is no longer airing on Toon Disney, though I was glad that I had an opportunity to watch many of the episodes again; I’ve seen many of these episodes when I was ten years old and I’ve re-watched many of them when I was eighteen years old, though in both instances I’ve enjoyed the series just as much and that it what I consider the true legacy of 101 Dalmatians: The Series. I can only hope that one day, more individuals, whether they be young or old, will find a way to watch this wonderful series as I honestly believe that this series is capable of withstanding the test of time; I look forward to the day when I can once again re-watch many of the episodes in this wonderful series, though I truly hope that others will take the time to watch it when they gain an opportunity to do such. 101 Dalmatians: The Series was a truly outstanding series and while it wasn’t perfect, as I’ve said, I honestly believe it’s one of the best animated programs of all time and I am truly content with my experiences watching this series.

My Thoughts on the Characters

Lucky: Lucky was an excellent character when it came to the series; I’ve often enjoyed his strong sense of justice, though at times he was equally as mischievous, which added some considerable depth to his character. He tends to have a strong desire to be a hero, as is displayed in several episodes, though he seems to crave the adventure and the journey, rather than the title itself. Lucky was never really my favorite character, though I would consider him my second favorite character because of his strong role in the series and the nature of his personality, as he does seem to be one of the more appealing of the Dalmatians, particularly towards adventurous youth. However, I feel that Lucky suffered from some flaws that prevented me from enjoying his character entirely, as some episodes seemed to hold his character in a state of contradiction; I’ve noticed Lucky was mean towards some of the characters in many episodes, despite the fact that he had learned his lesson several times as the series progressed. I suppose the syndication factor of the series caused many of the episodes to air out of order, so perhaps the contradiction derived from the fact that the development was out of sync, though I suppose I’ll never know.

Even with his flaws though, Lucky was an admirable character and I believe he did many good things throughout his time on the Dearly Farm. From the first episode to the series finale, Lucky was the leader of his group of friends and he was also one of the better members of the Bark Brigade, despite the fact that he lacked interest in the organization and only took it seriously when he wanted to try to prove he was better than Tripod. Still, this permitted him to be more realistic as Lucky was far from perfect; I’ve seen many episodes where Lucky wasn’t able to do everything on his own, so the more realistic portrayal of this adventurous puppy helped permit me to enjoy watching him more. I still need to see some episodes of the series that seem to relate to Lucky in regards to the plot, though I’ve enjoyed most of the Lucky themed episodes I’ve seen and I believe he certainly served a vital role in the series. However, I recall Lucky once mentioning that Rolly was his best friend, though I personally believe Lucky and Cadpig have a much stronger bond than he and Rolly does; I suppose I shouldn’t digress into other characters, though that was something I always thought was interesting. Regardless, Lucky certainly performed well enough to earn my respect; I’ll always hold fond thoughts of this character, though he wasn’t my favorite, as I’ve said.

Rolly: Rolly was an interesting character that had potential, though I believe he was the most unfortunate character in the entire series when it came to how he was used. Rolly was often forced to be the comic relief character and many of his antics, although annoying and mostly food-related, occurred in nearly every episode that he’s in and I believe that such wasn’t a wise move to take. I know Rolly as a character was supposed to be the group’s glutton, but I cannot help but believe that they overused that factor in his character and while he had some episodes that focused on the development of his character, I just personally didn’t see that many good things come out of Rolly’s involvement in the plot. Rolly is a main character by definition, though the styles of his character really made him seem to be nothing more than a goofy, mess-up sidekick who more often than not just caused complications for the main characters.

Rolly has been the hero in certain episodes and he does have a kind heart, though many Rolly episodes just proved to focus on the poor elements of his personality and I feel that such was one of the more disappointing factors within the entire series, though I suppose such is up for debate. Rolly is my least favorite character out of all the main characters, though I believe that beyond his poor portrayal in the series is a character that is worthy of my respect, though in most episodes of the series he never seemed to be used properly. I can only see Rolly get excited about food and brag about his sense of smell so often before it just becomes stale and bland, though I suppose that his character did stay the most true to himself throughout the entire run of the series. I can’t say whether or not that’s a good thing, though I suppose that’s really one of the better things that Rolly has going for him in the grand scheme of things, or so I believe.

Cadpig: Cadpig is my favorite character in the entire series and I believe that the brilliant personality behind her character is the key reason I’ve enjoyed this series. Even during the days of my youth when I first watched this series, Cadpig has always been my favorite character and my respect for her as a character increases more and more with every episode I’ve seen. Most of my favorite episodes in the series are Cadpig episodes and many of my favorite lines throughout the entire series are lines that Cadpig has spoken, though I know that Cadpig wouldn’t be as great without Kath Soucie’s brilliant voice acting ability. Kath Soucie’s voice for Cadpig was wonderful; I cannot stress this fact enough because she defined the character and I believe that many fans of the series could instantly recognize that voice if they heard it anywhere, which is something that I’ve often found impressive. Cadpig’s role in the group has always been an enjoyable one; I’ve often found her brilliant insight to be impressive and while she tends to annoy many characters on the series, I believe that her pure soul and headstrong demeanor are some of the best aspects of her character, which in return helped to make the series as entertaining and refreshing as it was.

I know some people who have watched the series have expressed discontent for Cadpig’s character, though I honestly believe that Cadpig is the heart and soul of the series and she has been one of the more identifiable characters throughout the entire series. She is the most emotional of the characters and she also cares about the characters quite often, though the brilliance of her character is that she can be quite a little vixen whenever she is scorned, though I recall a saying that once said there is no wrath like that of a woman scorned; I suppose Cadpig could be quite a female role model, I wouldn’t mind seeing more woman be like Cadpig, though I suppose I’m rambling on again. I recall a scene in the episode “Cone Head”, in which Cadpig rubbed her face against Lucky’s as a sign of affection and admiration for her brother; I thought that scene was one of the best scenes in the entire series and it really showed the capability of Cadpig’s character to truly be thoughtful towards her siblings and the rest of the animals in the world. I know that there were a few instances where even Cadpig’s brilliant character couldn’t save an episode’s quality, though I believe Cadpig was the key ingredient of the series that helped ensure its success; I know some people will disagree with me, but Cadpig is certainly one of the main reasons I’ve enjoyed the series as much as I have and I will always consider Cadpig to be one of my favorite animated characters of all time.

Spot: I suppose I don’t really have that much to say about Spot; I believe she served her purpose well throughout the series and she was the most versatile character in the entire series. Spot could be used to provide the comic relief for an episode when such was necessary, though she could also be involved in interesting plots and she often was the most reasonable out of all the characters. Her desire to be a Dalmatian was always interesting, if not somewhat forced, though I suppose that nothing could be done to change the content of her character, since the series is some ten years old now. Spot is my third favorite of the main characters; I feel she was used more properly than Rolly was, though Lucky and Cadpig are better rounded than she is in regards to the content of her character. However, despite my lack of words, I feel Spot was certainly a welcome addition to the series and she had many excellent lines and roles in various episodes that cemented her place in my heart. I feel she is unnecessarily bashed by fans of the series, since they feel another dog should have been used instead of a chicken, though I stand by Spot’s role and I believe she was an integral factor in 101 Dalmatians: The Series.

Two-Tone: While many of the Dalmatians were used in many episodes of the series, I consider Two-Tone to be my favorite side-character out of the Dalmatians. She only had one episode that truly focused on her, leaving her to small cameos and appearances throughout the rest of them, though the episode she appeared in was one of the best in the series, which is why I wished to express my thoughts on her here. Two-Tone is unique, since she has two tones of color on her, hence her name, though Two-Tone is also rather two-toned when it comes to her personality. She often expresses blatant hypocrisy, since she has two thoughts on each subject, though she tends to come to a conclusion that appeases her desires before too long after each of her thoughts. Also, since Two-Tone is one of the few female Dalmatians to have the spotlight in certain scenes, I feel her role in the series was more substantial, as unlike the other side-characters, Two-Tone served to balance the gender fields in order to make the series more appropriate and to appeal to a different audience. I understand that she wasn’t used enough to really secure a place in some fans’ hearts, though I believe Two-Tone was the best side-character in 101 Dalmatians: The Series and I consider myself a fan of her character.

Cruella De Vil: I believe that Cruella was a competent villain in the series and I’ve enjoyed many of her unique plans in how to steal the farm. While some of her plans were obviously flawed and some of them were too ignorant to even be considered proper, I still enjoyed her attempts and even some of the episodes I’ve disliked were still somewhat entertaining, as Cruella seemed to have a method to her madness that kept the viewers interested in what she was doing. I know that Cruella’s change of goal likely bothered some more dedicated fans of the base content of the series, though I believe Cruella worked much better when she was just trying to steal the farm, as it created many more opportunities for unique plots that directly related to Cruella. Unfortunately, Cruella’s involvement in the series caused some episodes to needlessly have her involved, in which I’ve noticed she appeared in several episodes where the plot didn’t really need for her to be involved in, though I suppose that the writers just wished to make use of all the resources they had available. Personally, I believe P.H. De Vil is a better villain than Cruella was, though Cruella and Scorch to some extent did prove to be capable in their own rights, so I believe Cruella needs to be given some credit since she helped make the series what it was.

Horace & Jasper: Horace and Jasper are characters that people will either love or hate, though most people tend to lean towards the hate feeling. However, Horace and Jasper are some of the more entertaining characters in the series and I’ve gradually learned to like and respect them as characters through the course of the series. While Horace is a bumbling oaf who is has some entertaining lines, I’ve often enjoyed Jasper’s more professional take on things, though Horace seems to disagree with Jasper’s sense of things from time to time. While both characters are relatively ignorant, I’ve enjoyed seeing episodes with the two of them in it; I recall one episode where Jasper was going to run over Lucky, I believe it was, though Horace became an anti-hero for a moment and he stopped Jasper because he didn’t want to see the little puppy get hurt. I might have some of the base details incorrect since it’s been quite some time, though that scene was basically what happened in one of the episodes and it was one of the more memorable scenes, though I particularly liked it because it showed just how far Jasper would go in order to try to actually succeed in doing what he’s been told. Regardless, I personally believe people are too harsh in their hatred for Horace and Jasper, though I suppose nothing can be done about that and since every fan has their own tastes and so forth, I shouldn’t try to convince anyone to change their mind; though I’ll always consider Horace and Jasper to be some of the more entertaining characters in the series.

Conclusions

I understand that some people will inevitably dislike this animated program, though I feel that 101 Dalmatians: The Series is one of the better animated programs that I’ve ever seen. It had plenty of entertaining episodes that covered a plethora of plots, so chances are there’s bound to be at least a dozen episodes out of the sixty-five episodes that anybody can sit down and enjoy watching. It’s a true shame that Disney has decided to stop airing this animated program on Toon Disney, though I feel it will go down in history as one of the better Disney animated programs in the 1990s. It may have been different from the rest of the 101 Dalmatians franchise, and I know the series itself was different than the other animated programs from its time, though I believe fans of 101 Dalmatians should really enjoy watching this series, should they take the time to check it out. I highly encourage other fans of animation to check this series out, should an opportunity ever present itself for such to occur, as this series has a lot of humor in it and I’ve grown really fond of this series over the years. Regardless, I acknowledge the fact that all of this is merely my personal opinion, though I’m hoping this article will have helped others understand why I love the series as much as I do, though I also hope it will entice others into checking the series out as well, as it is truly one of the best animated programs of all time.

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