Monday, July 8, 2013

'Dennis The Menace and Gnasher' Review : The First Episode

The first episode's name is 'Dirty Deeds' and it originally aired on the 8th July 2013 on the CBBC.

The show's new season had be talked about for quite a while since 2012 and ever since then, fans had been patiently waiting for the new 'series' (as the seasons of shows are known as in the UK). They have also been pondering what would be brought to the table for this season and now that it has finally come onto the internet, I will start giving my thoughts on the first episode.

First, the thing that struck me most about this new season is the animation. It thankfully, has the same appealing animation style that graced the screens of TVs in 2009 (depending on your perspective) and doesn't have the style of the current comics (which don't get me wrong, also look great) that would feel jarring if put next to the previous season. It is animated in flash but doesn't feel jarring and fits rather well in the series (with the exception of a few things which I'll get to later) but the comics had an excuse. Ever since David Law (the original creator of the UK Dennis) passed away, it was only natural that other artists would evolve the character further. The animation looks fluid and doesn't feel like it's suffering from 'Johnny Test Syndrome' and overall, looks and moves great. The character designs however have been slightly altered or changed entirely, specifically Dennis' Mum and Dad who don't have names (though that's rather irrelevant).

Dennis' Mum and Dad had a makeover in the recent comics (this one: ) and it left the fan-base divided on who were fine with the changes and who couldn't stand it. I was the latter at first. One of the reasons why people weren't particularly happy with the changes were because they (the latter) thought it ruined the appeal of what made the UK Dennis The Menace so popular. The parents were the authority types of people while Dennis and Gnasher were the rebelling types (similar to real life somewhat so readers could relate to the characters more) but when they changed the parents to look more like Dennis, it put people off because Dennis' rebelling was what made readers love the comic. But then I realized something. Even though they look different, they still watched over Dennis and were still somewhat authority figures to Dennis. That and they were trying to break the status-quo that the previous adaptations had been stuck with for a while and with the exception of the earlier comics, the other comics had been stuck in the status-quo for decades so to see them try something new for a change, it feels great and doesn't particularly ruin my enjoyment of the show. Curly has a hoodie this time around, Pie Face looks the same and so does Gnasher (who's one of my favorite characters in the comics and cartoons) and Dennis.

Now we go on to voice acting. This time around, the younger cast sound like they've gone through puberty in-between the 1st and 2nd seasons which is a nice touch, showing that they they've grown up a bit since we last saw them. But one of the few voice that didn't feel right at first was Walter's. His original voice in the 2009 series was like a younger Elmer Fudd and he also sounded more snobbish. Here, they got rid of the Elmer Fudd-like lisp and still sounds somewhat snobbish. He also sounds like he's been though puberty but I'll probably need to get used to the changes so I'll like this more. Plus, since I have admitted to liking the first season, I've admitted that the changes are good but what I should have said earlier was that changes for the MOST part are pretty good since some changes come off as either good changes or terrible ones (depending on the situation). Dennis' Mum and Dad sound different from the first series but their voices were changed to suit the characters, which sound fine.

There was another change that bothered me a bit and that was the name change. I understand it's Dennis the Menace and his name's always been that here, it felt tacked on and forced but then again, I might get used to the name design of the show but for now, it just bugs me.

Now we move on to the characters. Most of the characters have returned but there appears to be a new rival for Dennis. A new female character named Angel Face
(Don't be fooled).

Her voice sounds alright and she has a decent design. But again, don't be fooled. She has her ways of getting what she wants and is rather manipulative like Walter. I'm sure they'll become the best of friends, probably.

Now we move on to the writing. The characters are all in character and the idea of the 'softies' getting a hold of Dennis' tree-house though a will is a interesting spin on the story of 'X taking Y's Z' and it does lead to some funny gags in the episode which you'll have to watch for yourself. Oh, and there was a hilariously awful pun in there but it got a bit a laugh out of me so, yeah.

The music was pretty good too. Nice guitar work and the theme song is still awesome. There were some minor edits in the animation and they're pretty good too. They don't distract from the music and the music doesn't distract from the animation. Overall, I enjoyed the episode, I'm going to cut them some slack on this considering it's the first episode but all things considered it was still a great episode and I hope to see more in the future. Also, if you want to watch the first episode of the second season, check it out here:

There are some changes that make more sense if you were to read some of the comics to understand some of the changes made in this new series, like in "Dennis' parent's make over" story arc starting here:
Also, Dennis and his trusty Abyssinian wire-haired tripe hound, Gnasher, are getting their very own comic magazine called 'The Dennis and Gnasher Megazine' ( ) to coincide with the new series.

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading my review. I appreciate it.

Copyright ©2013 D C Thomson & Co Ltd.

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