DuckTales

 
Fun globetrotting '80s cartoon can spark kids' curiosity.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Some of the stories are set in locations around the world; others place the characters in history alongside versions of famous people and in the midst of events such as the Civil War or medieval times. Even though they're fictionalized, they do introduce kids to concepts of history and mythology.

Positive messages

The series features quality storytelling laced with lessons in honesty, kindness, and gratitude, traits that are consistently demonstrated by Scrooge and his family. Scheming antagonists always get their comeuppance for misdeeds, but even their interactions with the good guys are more comical than they are tense.

Positive role models

Scrooge is married to his money, and he's bent on accumulating more, but his desire for material things never overshadows his love for family and friends. His clever nephews' problem-solving skills always manage to foil the villains' plans.

Violence & scariness

Some stories incorporate guns and other weapons, but the instances are brief and never end in injury.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that DuckTales was a huge hit with fans during its four-year run in the '80s and continues to entertain today with quality stories, wild adventures, and classic Disney characters such as Scrooge McDuck and the dynamic trio of Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Because the stories often are set in far-flung places such as Greece, Antarctica, and the Klondike, kids are introduced to basic concepts of geography and diverse world cultures. Other episodes take the ducks back in time to visit events such as the American Civil War, so there's also some exposure to history and mythology. Every story touches in some way on positive social messages about kindness and philanthropy as well. Because of the timeless nature of the characters and stories, this is a fantastic series for the whole family.

What's the story?

Wealthy business tycoon Scrooge McDuck (voiced by Alan Young) lives in the bustling town of Duckburg with his three mischievous grandnephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie (all voiced by Russi Taylor). Being the richest duck in the world often makes Scrooge a target for villains such as the Beagle Boys and Flintheart Glomgold (Hal Smith), whose schemes usually aim to steal his money or land him in trouble with the law. Fortunately for him, his family and friends -- including his pilot, Launchpad McQuack (Terry McGovern); his housekeeper, Mrs. Beakley (Joan Gerber); and her granddaughter, Webby (Taylor again) -- would go to the ends of the earth to save him...and his money.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Disney's DUCKTALES centers on characters from a comic book series by Carl Banks. Some, like the rascally young triplets, are familiar from other Disney projects involving their uncle, Donald Duck; others are new but prove to be instant crowd pleasers. Even the bad guys are easy to like, with their ill-fated plots and their hearty helpings of just desserts in the end. And of course it's impossible to not love Scrooge, whose name is such a contradiction to his jovial personality and his kind and generous spirit.

As cartoons go, DuckTales is a quality offering with complex stories set in fascinating places and even, in some cases, time periods. The show has fun with cultural references to movies and famous story characters and often puts a kid-friendly spin on historical figures and events. It's a pleasing, well-rounded series that has a lot to offer kids while doubling as a fun trip down memory lane for parents who may have loved it as kids themselves.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this show has aged. Is the animation style markedly different from that of modern shows? Do these differences make it any less appealing to watch? What qualities does it have that are better than what's out there today?

  • Scrooge's kind and generous nature seems to contradict his love of money. In what ways do you share your time and resources with others? How does philanthropy make you feel? How does it strengthen your community?

  • This show introduces a number of historical and geographical concepts that families can explore further together. Use maps or electronic resources to learn about the places the characters visit. How are different cultures presented in the stories? What do you learn about past events and important figures from the stories?

TV details

This review of DuckTales was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old January 5, 2014
age 2+
 

Amazing

Amazing
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byerinw2 October 30, 2014
age 4+
 
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence

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