**WARNING: MILD SPOILERS THROUGHOUT**
1. That Theme Song (Woo-ooo!)
What better way to start than at the beginning with one of the most memorable, catchiest theme songs of all time? Even with a new version performed by Felicia Barton, you’ll be bopping along, whether you want to or not. It’s the perfect way to get back into the swing of the show. Trust me, one episode, and you’ll be singing along in your head every ten minutes for the rest of the week.
The "Ducktales" cast performs the theme song | © The Los Angeles Times
2. A Cast of Favorites
The new “Ducktales” goes way beyond being “just an 80s cartoon reboot,” and the sign you’re in for something better is the cast list. The show has recruited some of the best actors from a slew of shows I like to call “Peak Weird TV.”
The best example of this is the casting of David Tennant as Scrooge McDuck, with his native Scottish brogue in full force. Tennant is best known for his years as the Tenth Doctor on “Doctor Who,” and he brings the Doctor’s charm and sass to the part of Scrooge. For those only familiar with his work as the (arguably best) Doctor, Tennant’s true accent comes a bit of a shock to the system, but stick with it and you’ll find all the warmth of everyone’s favorite Converse-clad Doctor. Plus, with Catherine Tate playing Magica DeSpell throughout the season, getting to watch the Doctor and Donna spar once again has never been more fun.
Tennant and Tate are far from the only draw here. This cast has everything you could need from across the Peak Weird TV cannon: Ben Schwartz, aka Jean-Ralphio from “Parks and Recreation,” Danny Pudi and Jim Rash from “Community,” Beck Bennett and and Bobby Moynihan from “SNL,” and even LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA shows up! For more than one episode! With this array of voices, you’ll want to stick around every episode to see who else you can recognize.
© Disney XD
3. Animation That Speaks Adult
Ok, this is a show that airs on Disney XD, and it’s a cartoon, and the main characters are kids, but what if...this isn’t a show aimed at children? Go with me here. This definitely isn’t just regular old kiddie fare. For starters, the celebrity cameos are definitely targeted to a more grown-up audience. How many ten-year-olds do you know who would go, “Oh my GOSH that’s Don Cheadle voicing Donald Duck!!!!!11!1!”? Maybe I don’t know that many ten-year-olds, but I doubt too many would.
Even as a show filled with jokes and adventures, “Ducktales” has an impressive ability to get real. When Mark Beaks, Duckberg’s newest billionaire (and perpetual self-absorbed jerk) is told that he may have broken the law by hyping a product that doesn’t exist, his response is “Maybe, but the money and the buzz are very, very real!” It’s a line that gets a laugh, but one that’s immediately followed by a pause, and then a “...huh.”
Similarly, a multi-episode arc at the end of the season leaves Scrooge alone in his mansion, trying to shut out the world. The image of him, covered in grime, sitting on a throne of empty pizza boxes after only a few days alone, is both crushing and worth a giggle. But even as you laugh at Scrooge, King of Pizza and Misery, there’s a real recognition of how depression works and manifests itself that makes the show relatable and connects to any viewers who have a more – shall we say – mature view of the world.
4. Superior Worldbuilding…
Much of the action takes place at McDuck Manor in the town of Duckberg (get it??), but the show keeps working overtime to build a full world that’s like ours, but clearly different.
Greek adventures on the lost island of Ithaquack?
The top tech company that makes everyone’s phone is Waddle?
Scrooge’s dream is to finally climb to the top of Mt. Neverrest?
The gang has a magical gambling adventure in the Asian city of Macaw?
A relic from the long-ago Netherworld War II?
Yeah, I want to go to there.
5. ...Based on Some of Your Favorite Existing Universes.
“Ducktales” isn’t here just to reinvent the wheel. Many of the best episodes draw on classic stories for inspiration. An episode about Scrooge and his former girlfriend Goldie (voiced magnificently by the one and only Allison Janney) might as well be the missing Indiana Jones film. An episode featuring our heroes going toe-to-toe in competition with Zeus and, er, Storkulese, features allusions to myths of old. There’s an even entire episode with a Bond homage, featuring a mysterious island, cool gadgets to fight bad guys, and a Ludwig Von Drake cameo! There’s even a Cape Suzette reference for those who still miss TaleSpin. The show may be new, but the themes are instantly recognizable.
6. So-Good-You-Can’t-Blink Visual Gags
This is a show that knows its audience and likes to wink at them whenever possible. Every episode featuring Duckberg tech-bro billionaire Mark Beaks has a seemingly endless number of branding gags lovingly spoofing on Amazon, Google, and other tech mega-corps:
© Disney XD
It’s been three weeks since I saw this episode, and I still can’t stop thinking about this Daft Punk joke:
© Disney XD
7. Characters You Can Connect With
Ducktales is, in theory, a show about brothers Huey, Dewey, and Louie and their wacky adventures with their uncles Scrooge and Donald. However, the real heart of the show is Webby Vanderquack, Scrooge’s housekeeper’s granddaughter.
Voiced by Kate Micucci, Webby is a girl with the heart of an adventurer and the social experience of a fourth grader. She’s grown up alone in this big mansion filled with incredible objects and stories and devours all of them. But it’s not until Huey, Dewey and Louie show up that she’s finally able to connect with other people her age and understand how friendships work (or, in some cases, don't’ work).
It’s clear she’s missing some experiences—a trip to a golf tournament involves custom T-shirts, a vuvuzela, and Webby declaring, “I’ve never been to a sport before!!” —but struggles to fit in while being an exceptional girl is heartwarming and surprisingly relatable. As a kid, there are a ton of things about yourself that you think are weird, and only in adulthood do you realize those same things are actually pretty cool. Webby embodies this dichotomy of growing up, only she has a grappling hook and knows martial arts.
© Entertainment Weekly
8. Season Two Is Premiering SO SOON
“Ducktales” has been officially renewed for a second season, scheduled to premiere Saturday, Oct. 20, and just got the go-ahead for a third! This image of the Three Caballeros was leaked at Comic-Con this year, so we can only imagine what else is in store for these next two seasons. Woo-hoo!