As I’ve noted over at The Clutter Reports I’m a bit behind in my emails. Actually I’m a few years behind but that’s besides the point. Due to this delay I only just found out that Disney Junior released the sneak peek trailer for their updated Rocketeer series. As noted in a previous commentary, Disney Junior’s The Rocketeer does not follow the adventures of Dave Steven’s action pilot Cliff Secord fighting Nazis and assorted criminals in the 1940s. I don’t think too many preschoolers would be into that and I know their parents wouldn’t be. Instead it will follow Kit Secord, presumably the descendant of Cliff and my guess would be Betty as she inherits the rocket pack.
While I still have a few misgivings I do want to give this a decent try. At least it’s not a remake…at least not yet. Let me show you the trailer and then I’ll get into what I like and don’t. Yes, I know, somehow adults aren’t allowed to dislike the preschool kids show because it’s “not for you” or some crap, but remember you’re talking to the adult who watches Paw Patrol or Miles From Tomorrowland (I haven’t seen much of the Mission Force One spinoff admittedly because it’s never one when I have a moment in the mornings) and enjoys it sometimes MORE than the stuff allegedly for me so you don’t get to qualify what is and isn’t for me, and even then “kids show” isn’t, wasn’t, and never will be an excuse to create garbage that is the equivalent of “jingling keys” even though kids shows are not supposed to be like adult shows. I’m probably one of the few adult who can give an honest assessment, so pipe down and find out what I actually think and why before you tell me I’m not allowed to like or hate it, okay?
So here’s what I know. Kit here is half-Lebanese (one of my sources just says Lebanese but if she’s Cliff’s descendant she has to be at least half-white and heaven forbid we acknowledge a mixed race child), which is perfectly fine. She’s the latest in the family to inherit the rocket pack or at least a rocket pack, the tech being her family heritage ever since Cliff Secord first found it. Billy Campbell, who played Cliff in Disney’s live-action movie years ago, will be playing her father, Dave Secord. Kit, as the new Rocketeer, will protect Hughesville, an obvious nod to Howard Hughes, who in the movie and the original comic book was the creator of the original rocket pack used by Cliff, the first Rocketeer. She will be aided by her grandfather Ambrose, and you already met Butch the bulldog, also a nod to the original since Cliff’s mechanic Peevy has a bulldog as a pet.
And my mention of Miles From Tomorrowland was quite fitting since it turns out not only is one of the people on this show also from that show, but another member of the creative team worked on Transformers: Rescue Bots. This inspires confidence that the show will be good. Boosting that belief is the animation company, Wild Canary, who has worked on a number of animated shows for Disney Junior, including guess who. This should actually be a good preschool superhero show based on the talent involved. Although for some reason their “coming soon” blurb has a picture of Cliff in his 1940s pilot gear and not Kit in her modern look. Was that not finalized yet when they posted it? You’d assume they’d update it since all the other stuff includes stuff from the show and this video came out in July. (I told you I was behind.)
Of course we’ve seen good studios and producers make bad TV before, but going by the sneak peak we shouldn’t have that problem. The pinks and purples seem to match her personality from what we see of it. She seems like a girl who loves to fly around in a jet pack. Who wouldn’t? Well, I’m afraid of heights, but who else wouldn’t as a kid? The animation is really good, which I’ve come to expect from this studio. I do wonder why she doesn’t have something covering her mouth while flying? There’s a reason Cliff had the helmet he did. It keeps the design that makes the Rocketeers more aerodynamic but it doesn’t hide her identity very well and if she’s going to be wooping and cheering you might not want to do that in the air without blocking cold air, debris, and bugs. Just something Kit should think about. Otherwise, the visuals look good and Kitana Turnbull is showing promise as Kit. Frank Welker will be Butch and grandpa Ambrose.
Of course I still have that one nagging complaint with the show. The Rocketeer had one live-action movie and some tie-in material, but has otherwise never really shown up outside of comics and he isn’t even as popular as say The Phantom. Fans of the original comics would have loved to have had a cartoon based on the Nazi-punching, mad scientist fighting Cliff Secord and his crew, while the target audience probably don’t even know about Disney’s movie since it came out in 1991 and none of them were born at the time. It’s not a problem with this version itself. At least this isn’t a re-imagining but more of a next generation (or five) story and I’m okay with that. It’s just a bit of a disappointment that they didn’t consider a show with the original character before the modern-day great-great-great-great-great (give or take a great) granddaughter. THEN do the version with Kit as a spin-off for the young ones with a modern period story and everyone would be happy. The best Cliff’s fans get is a fan film from the 20th anniversary of Dave Steven’s comics.
That complaint aside it has the makings of a really good show, and hopefully one that honors the source material but for a younger audience. I don’t see Kit packing a gun and punching Nazis so how she’ll stop the bad guys and what she’ll be dealing with should be interesting. Please have at least one mad scientist. That’s all I ask. I don’t care if this is set in 2019. they still pop up. PJ Masks has one and Rescue Bots did as well. It should be coming out soon (the only date I saw was fall) and I’ll check it out when it does. Unless I missed that, too!