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Darkwing Duck is a 1991 Disney animated TV series. It featured the adventures of Darkwing Duck and his family as they fight crime in St. Canard. This series has 91 episodes, running for three seasons. The original run ran from 1991-1992 and also aired on The Disney Afternoon.

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Development

Television

Darkwing Duck aired on The Disney Afternoon from 1991 to 1997 with a brake in-between 1995 and 1996. It was also played on other forms of syndication as well. In 1998, the Toon Disney channel launched with Darkwing Duck in the schedule. It was removed in 2004 and was only seen once in 2007. In some parts of the world, Darkwing Duck is still seen on Disney XD. On the Toon Disney replays Darkwing Duck was rated as "TV-Y7" (meaning that show is okay for kids 7 and up). Before this, Darkwing Duck was marketed as a "after-school show" or a "Saturday morning cartoon".

Intro

There are five different versions of the Darkwing Duck introduction. The first one was aired on the Disney Channel when Darkwing Duck first premiered and featured alternate animation and a rock version of the theme song. The second version was used in syndication, and is actually the one they use today. The third is the version used on The Disney Afternoon, and is the same as the second version only cut for time. The fourth and fifth introductions were used on the ABC Saturday Morning airings, and contained mostly scenes from those episodes, starting with Darkwing tiptoeing up the Audobon Bay Bridge.

Unproduced episodes

When an episode is proposed and a basic outline written, it receives a production code regardless of whether or not it actually gets made. Holes in the production code list of a television series indicate episodes that have been considered but ultimately not produced. Darkwing Duck has six missing production codes, namely 4308-003, 4308-005, 4308-011, 4308-054, 4308-087, and 4308-088.

There is nothing confirmed as to what the subjects of these unproduced episodes are, but the first two leave room for estimation. Due to the appearance of her model in the episode "In Like Blunt" and those of her robot puppies in "Toys Czar Us", it is certain Anna Matronic was designed for the cartoon and therefore was supposed to have at least one episode of her own. Instead, her main appearance occured in a 1992 booklet titled "The Silly Canine Caper". It is possible this booklet represents the cancelled episode and that in turn makes it likely the episode was production code 4308-003. Darkwing learning to appreciate Launchpad fits as early season 1 material, the way the story starts with the fate of SHUSH agents prior to Darkwing's involvement mimics "Water Way to Go" and "In Like Blunt", respectively 4308-001 and 4308-002, and the same company also adapted "Dirty Money", 4308-004, into a booklet. An early placement also works well with the fact that Darkwing receives his radar cape from a non-specific SHUSH scientist, as Sara Bellum would not be introduced until "Heavy Mental", which carries production code 4308-020.

As for 4308-005, that production code falls between "Dirty Money", the last of a trio of SHUSH-centric episodes in which Gosalyn does not have a role, and "A Duck by Any Other Name", which is the first episode to feature Drake, Gosalyn, and Launchpad living in the home Drake promised in "Darkly Dawns the Duck". In "A Duck by Any Other Name", Drake's family has the home and already knows the Muddlefoots, while Honker already knows Drake and Darkwing are the same person. Honker is the only one of the Darkwing team not to have an episode explaining how he got involved. A guess following these observations is that 4308-005 was meant to be Honker's introduction episode.

The episodes with production numbers 4308-001 to 4308-013 notably have no repetition in villain-of-the-day. It isn't until 4308-014 that Steelbeak is the first to return, namely in "Trading Faces" after starring in "Water Way to Go". This pushes the assumption that 4308-011 — and 4308-005 — would've featured a villain not in the other of the original thirteen episodes, but whether said villain was discarded like Matronic or perhaps moved to a later episode is anyone's guess. 4308-054 is entirely a mystery. 4308-087 and 4308-088, part of the third season, have it for themselves that it is peculiar for adjacent episodes to go unproduced and could point at a cancelled two-parter. Inspired by "Negaduck" and "Life, the Negaverse and Everything", Tad Stones did pitch a Posiverse story to ABC, but the company wasn't interested. He has since forgotten what the story would have entailed.[1] Stones also has been rather vocal that if the series had continued beyond three seasons, he would've created more origin episodes for Darkwing.[2]

Availability

Several episodes of Darkwing Duck have appeared in home video format between 1993 and 2007. However, most of those have only been available to a few regions and a little under half of all episodes, among which the entirety of Season 3, has never been made available for purchase. Additionally, the quality of the home video releases has a history of being lackluster.

VHS

Four VHS cassettes, each containing one two-parter episode or two episodes of Darkwing Duck and a Darkwing Duck music video that plays at the end of the tape, were released under the title Darkwing Duck: His Favorite Adventures in the United States on March 23, 1993. The tapes also have a subtitle based on the episodes held by them. Most countries outside region 1 only received releases of the VHS cassettes containing the two-parter episodes. Each videotape came with two "glow-in-the-Darkwing" trading cards with character of the series on them. Featured on the cards are Darkwing Duck & Taurus Bulba, Launchpad McQuack & Bushroot, Honker Muddlefoot & Megavolt, and Gosalyn Mallard & Negaduck.

Darkwing Duck: His Favorite Adventures Content
Darkly Dawns the Duck "Darkly Dawns the Duck" (uncut version)
Justice Ducks Unite! "Just Us Justice Ducks, Part 1" & "Just Us Justice Ducks, Part 2"
Comic Book Capers "Comic Book Capers" & "A Brush with Oblivion"
Birth of Negaduck! "Negaduck" & "Tiff of the Titans"

Outside of the Darkwing Duck: His Favorite Adventures releases, the episode "It's a Wonderful Leaf" was put on a VHS cassette on September 28, 1993 together with the Goof Troop episode "Have Yourself a Goofy Little Christmas" as a Christmas package called Happy Holidays with Darkwing Duck and Goofy!. This was followed up on three years later on September 3, 1996, when the episode "Ghoul of My Dreams" was released along with the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Good Times, Bat Times" on one VHS cassette as a Halloween release called Witcheroo!.

DVD

DVD - 0607 cover Volume 1 DVD - 0607 cover Volume 2

Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc. has released two region 1 triple-disc DVD box sets in the USA containing episodes of Darkwing Duck. The first box set, Darkwing Duck Volume 1, was released on August 26, 2006 and the second box set, Darkwing Duck Volume 2, was released on August 7, 2007. Each box set contains 27 episodes of season 1. That is, Darkwing Duck Volume 1 contains "Darkly Dawns the Duck" as two episodes and the first 25 episodes that aired on The Disney Afternoon, while Darkwing Duck Volume 2 holds the next 27 episodes. This leaves 11 more Season 1 episodes missing as well as the 26 from the next two seasons. The episodes included also are as they aired on television later on and thus lack material or have revised material such as in the case of "Double Darkwings". There are no bonus features present on the discs of either box set.

Darkwing Duck Volume 1
Disc 1 Disc 2 Disc 3
Darkwing Duck Volume 2
Disc 1 Disc 2 Disc 3

Adaptions

A number of episodes have made their way into other formats, specifically illustrated books and comics. In 1992, Mallard Press turned four of the early episodes, "Beauty and the Beet", "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlatan", "Getting Antsy", "That Sinking Feeling", into booklets. That same year, Western Publishing released "Clean Money", which is an adaption of the episode "Dirty Money", and "The Silly Canine Caper", possibly an adaption of an unproduced episode.

In the late months of 1991 and early months of 1992, Disney Comics published a short-lived Darkwing Duck comic series consisting of a four-part comic version of "Darkly Dawns the Duck" under the name "Brawl in the Family". The comic series was supposed to be longer and a same-name two-part adaption of "Just Us Justice Ducks" had been prepared as filler, but ended up published elsewhere when the plug was pulled.

References

  1. Flapping Terror's Exclusive Tad Stones Interview
  2. Origins: Usenet posts from Darkwing Duck creator, Tad Stones, who posted them to alt.fan.disney.afternoon in 1999 at The Darkwing Duck Blog

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