Given that there’s a fair amount of hype surrounding the upcoming DuckTales reboot (with David Tennant, of all people, as Scrooge McDuck), I thought it might be a neat idea to take a look at the DuckTales sequel that time forgot…
Quack Pack was rather an odd duck; it was only technically a DuckTales spin-off/sequel/whatever, in that Donald’s time in the US Navy from DuckTales was mentioned in maybe two episodes, literally nobody else from the original show besides Donald and his nephews ever made an appearance, and human beings showed up frequently. To be fair, it seems the show was intended as more of a tribute to the classic Donald Duck shorts, so I guess Disney probably foisted the connection onto the show runners.
So, if the show doesn’t really stand up as a DuckTales sequel, does it stand up as a tribute to the original shorts? Well, kind of… the show was focused more on the nephews learning some Very Important Lesson about sharing or teamwork or some other trite bullshit that always goes down well with TV executives, but when it focused on Donald then it was actually pretty funny.
Well, if the focus was more on the children, then surely they must have made an effort to give them distinct personalities? Eeeeeehhhhhhhhhh… I mean, the link above says that the boys were indeed given their own traits and interests, so I guess I’ll take Mr. Shelton’s word for it. Going by my own memories of the show (which are surprisingly vivid, given I haven’t seen an episode in about 20 years) I can remember them having different hobbies, but that’s about it.
Let me explain by quoting a 4chan thread I was in (yes, I go on 4chan – sometimes you can actually get decent discussions, if you cut through all the chaff and stale memes) that was discussing the first nuDT trailer:
Okay first of all no, they have characterizations like in Quack Pack. They don't have their QP characterizations (also, I think Huey is the smart one in this). Second of all, and this is important, QP's problem was despite them having different personalities, they were all basically still the same person except also all smug asshole 90s kids trying to ride off of Jonathan Taylor-Thomas type popularity which was the actual problem.
And that, in essence, sums up why Quack Pack is the red-headed stepchild of the Disney Afternoon lineup (or would be, if The Shnookums & Meat Funny Cartoon Show didn’t exist): it’s not that the show was bad, it’s that it wasn’t as good as its predecessors. Darkwing Duck was the better 90’s DuckTales sequel, DuckTales was (comparatively) better at corny TV show morals, and the original Donald Duck shorts actually focused on Donald and his wacky antics.
It was trying to be the affectionate tribute to the Golden Age of Disney and be the cuh-razy 90’s sitcom that taught you to laugh, love and learn… as a family, and never quite managed to be either. I’m not saying it was never funny (Kent Powers was a surprisingly good addition to the show, and the animtion was pretty damn good, in a hyperstylised way that was clearly great fun for the animators) but it could’ve been funnier if it wasn’t juggling so many plates in the air.
There’s nothing quite as frustrating as wasted potential.