Everyone has been stuck at home for a month or more, so it’s a good time to indulge in streaming video services of all kinds. And it’s a good time for all of us to relive our childhoods, whatever they may be. Disney+ has been my big indulgence this month, and one of my favorite childhood shows ever is Disney’s Darkwing Duck.
Maybe you’re like me, and you grew up with Darkwing Duck on the Disney Afternoon, and would like to revisit it. Or, maybe you’ve met Darkwing in the new rebooted DuckTales series and would like to go back to the original and see what the deal is. Maybe you’re just bored and looking for something neat to watch.
Watching a cartoon seems simple enough. It’s a cartoon! Here’s the problem: the episodes that are listed on Disney+ are in a really weird order, and you probably don’t want to watch them in that order.
Watching Darkwing Duck in a good, logical viewing order is surprisingly hard to do. This is because the show used to air on television six days a week. A certain set of episodes were set aside for the Saturday Morning Darkwing Duck, and another, larger set of episodes were in syndication as part of the Disney Afternoon. So the episodes never really aired in a logical order in the first place.
If you want to watch it on Disney+, it’s not set up in the order it aired in. It’s in a different nonsense order. The best that I can tell, the Saturday episodes are positioned at the end of the first “season,” which is not the order in which they aired. If you just sit down and watch it back to front, characters and concepts are used before they’re properly introduced. It was always like this, but the D+ order makes it worse!
Wikipedia suggests looking at the production codes to unscramble the episodes. So I’ve supplied those in my chart below as a reference, courtesy Wikipedia. But even that doesn’t really work a lot of the time. if you go purely by production codes, Darkwing Duck “stacks” villains instead of mixing it up – eg, there’s two Quackerjack episodes in a row, three Bushroot episodes in a row, etc. Something about this doesn’t feel quite right. The clear pilot is still pushed back further than I would like, and other inconsistencies appear.
This is my starting a suggested and better watch order based on a) actual air order b) production codes c) most important heuristic of what just FEELS correct. I’m also marking what I believe are excellent or essential episodes, and which I believe are entirely skippable episodes, if you just want to hit the highlights or skip the crud. I did rewatch every episode which is why this took such a long time to do. Episode names and numbers are C/Ped from Wikipedia and include both air date and production code for reference, but I listed the episode number as D+ lists it rather than the official numbers.
Watching this this way on D+ is complicated, so if you don’t want to try my untangled order, my recommendation is to start with “Epsiode 70,” That Sinking Feeling, watch to the end of the listed first season, then go back to the beginning. This isn’t perfect, but at least it positions the actual first episode first, as well as allowing the proper introduction for a few characters such as Morgana.
If you’re down for something more fiddly:
#70 – Excellent Episode
|“That Sinking Feeling”||Tad Stones||September 14, 1991||4308-007|
Watch this first – clearly the pilot and first episode to introduce the characters and concept.
Also, it’s awesome.
#29 – Excellent Episode
|“Darkly Dawns the Duck: Episode 1″||Story by
|September 6, 1991||4308-052|
#30 – Excellent Episode
|“Darkly Dawns the Duck: Episode 2”||Story by
|September 6, 1991||4308-053|
These are the origin episodes. Technically they’d occur chronologically before That Sinking Feeling, but That Sinking Feeling is so pilot-like that I’d watch them right after.
Essential, and wonderful, particularly the second half which is full of sweet daddy-daughter moments, and the vocal stylings of Tim Curry.
#1 – Essential Episode
|“Beauty and the Beet”||John Behnke & Rob Humphrey & Jim Peterson||September 9, 1991||4308-018|
This is the Bushroot origin episode, but it’s presented as a flashback, which is why it shouldn’t be the first episode that features Bushroot. Even though it was the first one to air! Why, IDK.
Originally I thought that this is obviously wrong to watch now and I should shuffle it later in the lineup. But I realized looking at how I initially structured this list that it’s a lot of flipping for no reason through the early ones, and you may not want to do that all the time. So this here, now, is fine.
|“Getting Antsy”||Doug Langdale||September 10, 1991||4308-008|
I seem to recall through foggy childhood memories that it was the first one I personally saw, though I guess it was second to air. I’ve moved it up really early, because it feels like people in the city don’t even know who Darkwing Duck is, which is not going to be true later.
#4 – Skippable Episode
|“Apes of Wrath”||Dev Ross||September 12, 1991||4308-016|
Maybe skip it – it’s just the monkey episode. Notice I’m already having you skip around a little bit because I just can’t justify putting the third episode where the creators put it. Sorry! Come back for it later.
#5 – Essential Episode
|“Dirty Money”||John Behnke & Rob Humphrey & Jim Peterson||September 13, 1991||4308-004|
I have a Fisher Price Picture Book of this episode!
This is the first time we see SHUSH and FOWL and probably not necessarily the INTENDED first time, but it’s hard to say. It’s a pretty solid one in general though and essential if you consider it the first secret-agentish episode.
#6 – Essential Episode
|“Duck Blind”||Len Uhley||September 16, 1991||4308-017|
This is the first time we’ve seen Megavolt, as Darkwing Duck explains who he is.
#7 – Excellent Episode
|“Comic Book Capers”||John Behnke & Rob Humphrey & Jim Peterson||September 17, 1991||4308-036|
Technically it has a later production code, but it’s fine here! Sometimes the same villain is used twice in a row, and that offends my mixtape sensibilities. But it’d be annoying for me to tell you to shuffle this later in the lineup “just because,” because the production code order also does the back-to-back villain thing a lot and doesn’t fix this problem.
Anyway, this is a super fun one.
Like, there’s a cowboys-and-indians segment in this and I guess that didn’t age too well depending on your POV but I still laugh at “Little Running Gag.”
#8 – Essential Episode
|“Water Way to Go”||Dev Ross||September 18, 1991||4308-001|
Production code #1 episode, which introduces SHUSH and FOWL. Despite being production code 1, it is clearly not the pilot or first episode.
This is the show’s first but certainly not last desperate attempt to assert heterosexualty for two men who live together raising a gender non-conforming daughter.
I might mark it as Important because it introduces critical characters, but at the same time it’s only OK as an episode.
|“A Duck by Any Other Name”||Pat Corcoran||February 18, 1992||4308-006|
Tuskernini episode… and feels like an early one. Early production code, too, but not an early air date. Based on how quickly and simply he’s introduced and the fact that he’s not completely the focus I think it’s OK to use this as the first time we see Tuskernini. I know it feels really weird for me to say “now jump to this random episode later in the lineup” but it’s going to make it make more sense later.
#67 – Excellent Episode
|“Fungus Amongus”||Dev Ross||October 5, 1991||4308-010|
The show’s second and most long-lasting attempt to assert heterosexuality for two men living together raising a gender-non-confirming daughter.
This episode introduces Darkwing’s love interest Morgana, who starts out as a villain.
As a kid, I really hated this character. This was for two reasons:
- In later episodes, every time she showed up, the genre of the show would switch totally, into some kind of Groovie Ghoulies Adams Family “hey isn’t it weird how monsters are like people just like us but also monsters” kind of genre instead of a super hero parody. This is a played-out idea.
- The real actual reason: I totally had a crush on Darkwing Duck as a kid and thought he should date my OC instead.
That being said, I stand by the first critique. I’d seen The Addams Family and Beetlejuice and every iteration of Scooby Doo and I just didn’t need another show like this. But Morgana is always fine in the first season; she doesn’t really start to suck until the second, and the animation here is really nice.
|“Battle of the Brainteasers”||Kevin Campbell & Brian Swenlin||November 9, 1991||4308-009|
Klaatu, Barada, Nikto.
I don’t know that the rest of the Muddlefoot family is ever introduced in some better way so this is a good way to meet them.
|“Something Fishy”||Steve Sustarsic||October 19, 1991||4308-028|
Neptunia, the sassy fish woman. Notice that this episode aired much earlier than the one that, on the service, is listed before it.
We see the character again but I’m not considering this otherwise essential.
|“Paraducks”||Doug Langdale||September 19, 1991||4308-033|
Sorry I made you shuffle around so much, so we can swap back to “air order” for a little bit for a few of these and ignore production code.
This is the “back to the future” episode.
I like when a song is sung in an episode so it makes me happy.
|“Easy Come, Easy Grows”||Marion Wells||September 20, 1991||4308-024|
I really feel like this is the intended first appearance for Bushroot. They do a little origin for him here and explain his deal. This is despite the fact that it’s not the first Bushroot episode to air, apparently. If you’re following my current order this is the second time you’ve seen him, and it’s fine. (I deliberately had you skip one earlier.)
|“A Revolution in Home Appliances”||Gary Sperling||September 23, 1991||4308-050|
Megavolt standalone episode. I think it’s fine in its air date spot to avoid you flipping around.
This is the point in this process by the way where I felt myself already start to go insane. Because this is episode production code #50 and thus goes a lot later “chronologically” but yet it doesn’t matter and oh no, we aren’t very far into this at all, are we?
|“Trading Faces”||Julia Jane Lewald & Dev Ross||September 24, 1991||4308-014|
There’s a few situations where production code order and air order is mysteriously shuffled. In these cases I’m happy enough to just let a few episodes run in air order to save you all the random flipping.
|“Hush, Hush Sweet Charlatan”||Bruce Talkington||September 25, 1991||4308-015|
See, if this is the first time you see Tuskernini then “shouldn’t you be in prison” doesn’t work here so I am confident with the earlier Tusk shuffle I made you do.
|“Can’t Bayou Love”||Bruce Talkington||September 26, 1991||4308-012|
Jambalaya Jake is just kind of an uncomfortable villain for some reason and he’s in more episodes than I remembered.
I think in general there’s a lot of redneck stereotyping on this show? I suppose this is kind of a “product of its time” thing and there’s definitely more racist ways that a cartoon can be, but I dunno, tread with care.
In principle, in 2020, I entirely support Jake stealing money from a billionaire’s benefit party and giving it directly to the poor even when the poor is himself. Direct action in action.
|“Bearskin Thug”||Tad Stones & Pat Corcoran||September 27, 1991||4308-029|
This isn’t the only episode about camping, but it’s probably an early episode about camping as it introduces the concept that Gosalyn hates camping.
#16 – Filler episode
|“You Sweat Your Life”||Julia Jane Lewald & Marion Wells||September 30, 1991||4308-013|
Skippable… but it has some cute Muddlefoot stuff.
#73 – Excellent Episode
|“Negaduck”||Steve Roberts||September 28, 1991||4308-025|
This is a Saturday AM episode. It introduces the original iteration of Negaduck. He is not the Negaduck that will appear in “Just Us Justice Ducks.” This is confusing, but it’s just how it is. It’s a great episode for gags and character development though and a top recommendation.
|“Double Darkwings”||Dean Stefan||October 4, 1991||4308-019|
From Wikpedia: There are two versions of this episode, in one Jambalaya Jake lures Darkwing to a tower by having Gumbo bite a power line, in the other, Jamablaya Jake lures Darkwing to the power company by causing a black out by pouring hot sauce into a telephone. Otherwise the episodes are identical.
…why? Why. Maybe they thought kids would bite the power lines so they made it more ridiculous in a remake.
#21- Filler episode
|“Aduckyphobia”||Doug Langdale||October 7, 1991||4308-021|
There are a few straight up body horror episodes of which this is one.
Here most important characters have been introduced by other episodes so I’ll just stick a big block of them in air order to save a lot of flipping around.
#22 – Filler episode
|“When Aliens Collide”||Jeremy Cushner||October 8, 1991||4308-056|
Notice how far off the production code is from the air order in some cases, but for fillery episodes like this one it really doesn’t matter too much.
|“Jurassic Jumble”||Marlowe Wiesman||October 10, 1991||4308-031|
Stegmutt. I mean, whatever! Hey, kids like dinosaurs.
|“Slaves to Fashion”||Gary Sperling||October 12, 1991||4308-037|
There’s a block of pretty boring episodes in the 20s so I am suggesting you take a break here if you want and watch the one that would have actually aired next even though it’s not that way in the block. This one is actually kind of interesting because of its take on gender and that it directly addresses Gosalyn’s unwillingness to conform to gender stereotypes, in 1991. Kinda progressive?
I mean Binkie Muddlefoot is clearly the original Karen.
|“Adopt-a-Con”||Steve Roberts||November 7, 1991||4308-046|
If you’re shuffling anyway, here’s one more shuffle, which lines up two Tuskernini episodes but fixes a different problem…
#32 – Essential Episode
|“Toys Czar Us”||Ellen Svaco & Colleen Taber||November 11, 1991||4308-043|
…which is that this is a better introduction to Quackerjack than the first episode where we met him originally when these aired.
I’d like to note that Darkwing in this episode tells Launchpad not to “give up his day job” which ….?
Does Launchpad still have a day job? I know the connection between DuckTales and Darkwing Duck was always pretty unclear and it’s implied that they are somehow AUs from each other, rather than Launchpad still working for Scrooge on the side.
Drake Mallard does not seem to have a day job.
Someone in YouTube comments somewhere said it’s implied he’s paid by SHUSH and that’s how he funds this crazy operation. I have no idea!
|“Cleanliness is Next to Badliness”||Steven Hibbert & Gary Sperling||October 15, 1991||4308-039|
Has a few annoying animation errors but otherwise a pretty solid one.
|“Smarter Than a Speeding Bullet”||Doug Langdale||October 17, 1991||4308-045|
|“All’s Fahrenheit in Love and War”||Eric Lewald & Dev Ross||October 21, 1991||4308-027|
Isis doesn’t factor in again, but her off-the-chart thirst is pretty fun.
|“Whiffle While You Work”||Ellen Svaco & Collen Taber||October 23, 1991||4308-023|
It’s … little things, like how Darkwing is playing Whiffleboy in an earlier episode and now this episode features Whiffleboy in a starring role. I remember being delighted as a kid that Whiffleboy seems to be a parody of Megaman, because so few cartoons actually seemed to be in tune in any way with what video games there actually were.
Putting this episode here means it’s the second time you see Quackerjack and it makes sense for that rather than this being the first time.
|“Ghoul of My Dreams”||John Behnke & Rob Humphrey & Jim Peterson||October 31, 1991||4308-041|
It seems like they timed this one to air on Halloween originally which makes sense to me!
#3 – Excellent Episode
|“Night of the Living Spud”||Steve Roberts||September 11, 1991||4308-040|
This episode I personally think is really funny… but it does do some more redneck jokes.
It’s also presented as a flashback like the Bushroot origin episode. So it’s hard to really place it chronologically. It’s semi-early, because the wild take that Bushroot does in this one is in the opening credits. So it feels weird to shuffle it down this far, but not sure where definitively to put it. I’m sticking it in a spot closer to its production code than its air date. If you accidentally watched it earlier I’m sure you didn’t die.
#36 – Essential Episode
|“Dry Hard”||Kevin Campbell & Brian Swenlin||November 20, 1991||4308-026|
Introduces the Liquidator.
This is one weird example of how the air order of the show is definitely off. Originally, Just Us Justice Ducks aired before this, and the Liquidator is a villain in that. So Liquidator’s origin and introduction happened after he showed up elsewhere. This doesn’t make sense… so it’s better to watch this one first.
|“Heavy Mental”||Kevin Campbell & Brian Swenlin||November 21, 1991||4308-020|
First time we meet Sara Bellum, who is kind of Asian-coded? Never noticed that as a kid.
#71 – Essential Episode
|“Tiff of the Titans”||Len Uhley||October 26, 1991||4308-032|
This is the first time Darkwing meets Gizmoduck and has some fun DuckTales crossover moments.
I mean like on some level I’m sorry you had to jump back to the beginning and then jump all the way to the end and then skip an episode and then come back but I’m also not responsible for how messed up this sequencing was in the first place.
|“Film Flam”||Bruce Reid Schaeffer||September 21, 1991||4308-034|
#73 – Fillerish Episode
|“Calm a Chameleon”||Dean Stefan||November 2, 1991||4308-030|
Fine… but filler…ish. This character doesn’t really factor in again.
Mostly notable for the B-plot where Darkwing tries to make Honker be more assertive so Honker ends up using Darkwing’s book on assertiveness as if it were a PUA training manual. He acts like a badass, but he still has that nasal voice. It’s like when Linkara tries to be an action hero.
#74 – Fillerish Episode
|“The Merchant of Menace”||Peter Hastings||December 7, 1991||4308-035|
|“Days of Blunder”||Jan Strnad||October 1, 1991||4308-044|
Launchpad’s pro wrestling name is “The Hugely Muscled Head Ripper,” which… fair.
#18 – Essential Episode
|“Just Us Justice Ducks: Episode 1”||Kevin Campbell & Brian Swenlin||October 2, 1991||4308-047|
#19- Essential Episode
|“Just Us Justice Ducks: Episode 2”||Kevin Campbell & Brian Swenlin||October 3, 1991||4308-048|
These aired early. But only now should you watch them, as almost all the principle characters involved in the groups have been properly introduced. Really the good guys are kind of mish-mashed compared to how great The Fearsome Five are, but if you wanted an Avengers parody twenty years before the Avengers movie well here you go. I guess it’s more of a Justice League parody but GizmoDuck really is like .5 of an Iron Man and Stegmutt is obviously the Hulk.
|“The Secret Origins of Darkwing Duck”||Jan Strnad||November 13, 1991||4308-055|
I put this where I put it because I feel like it makes more sense to see Negaduck (2) in something like a proper context before you see him in a weird AU context.
|“Up, Up and Awry”||Dev Ross||November 14, 1991||4308-042|
I saw a new-fan on Twitter who had only seen the reboot be like “I don’t get it why doesn’t Darkwing like Gizmoduck” and lol.
#35 – Excellent Episode
|“Life, the Negaverse and Everything”||Kevin Campbell & Brian Swenlin||November 18, 1991||4308-049|
Negaduck’s actual origin episode occurs after the formation of the Fearsome Five, chronologically. It’s weird that Negaduck 2 seems to otherwise appear out of nowhere, but this is really the best you can do.
The little cute AU Gosalyn in this still makes me melt into a human puddle, particularly since her VA passed away far too young.
|“Bad Tidings”||Gary Klein & Dean Stefan||November 16, 1991||4308-038|
At this point I’m jumping forward and grabbing stuff at the end of the lineup. As far as I know and can piece together from the air dates these (76-78) are all Saturday AM episodes which is why they’re pushed to the end of the line on Disney + but aired sooner than that would imply.
|“Going Nowhere Fast”||Gary Sperling||November 23, 1991||4308-057|
#78 – Excellent Episode
|“A Brush with Oblivion”||Mirith Schilder||November 30, 1991||4308-022|
Honestly, if you only watch one episode of the show ever, watch this one. It’s all the way at the end of the first season list on Disney+ so it’s also easy enough to find.
|“Disguise the Limit”||Doug Langdale||November 26, 1991||4308-063|
WOW is Jim Cummings having a field day with this episode. Like I mean how do you match the energy of a fight where Darkwing is disguised as Negaduck doing a Negaduck voice and yet you can still subtly tell them apart??
|“Planet of the Capes”||Ellen Svaco & Colleen Taber||November 27, 1991||4308-061|
|“Darkwing Doubloon”||Bruce Reid Schaeffer||December 16, 1991||4308-051|
I appreciate that they simply couldn’t think of a way to steampunk up Quackerjack’s outfit so they just left it as-is.
|“It’s a Wonderful Leaf”||John Behnke & Rob Humphrey & Jim Peterson||December 23, 1991||4308-060|
Bushroot in this episode is implied to have a whole slew of flower girlfriends, so I suppose he got his groove back after the failed relationship with Posey.
|“Twitching Channels”||John Behnke & Rob Humphrey & Jim Peterson||February 5, 1992||4308-065|
This one really goes an unexpected direction. I do enjoy that the children in this episode ask the questions that I have been asking this entire time so far: eg, “How do you pay your bills?” and “What is the deal with Launchpad?”
Notice the jump forward in airdates here. We’re in a block now where you can watch the episodes mostly in air date order because we’ve met all the major characters and now they’re just riffing on stuff.
|“Dances with Bigfoot”||Ellen Svaco & Colleen Tabe||February 6, 1992||4308-069|
First time Gosalyn tries to dress up as a hero but not the last, nor the one that sticks.
#44 – Excellent Episode
|“Twin Beaks”||Tad Stones & Jan Strnad||February 10, 1992||4308-067|
I can’t believe that this exists.
The Gen X/Millennial divide is actually determined by what a person thinks is “not what they seem.” Owls? That’s Gen X. Cows? That’s a millennial. If someone doesn’t get the question at all I guess I just feel bad for them.
|“The Incredible Bulk”||Gary Sperling||February 12, 1992||4308-062|
At this point if I were Darkwing Duck I’d always suspect some problem is about to happen any time I saw a tree.
|“My Valentine Ghoul”||Doug Langdale||February 14, 1992||4308-068|
#47 – Excellent Episode
|“Dead Duck”||Carter Crocker||February 17, 1992||4308-058|
Despite the presence of Morgana feel free to get your Drakepad shipping on in this episode.
|“Let’s Get Respectable”||Bruce Reid Schaeffer||February 20, 1992||4308-064|
Oh yeah I forgot that I made you shuffle #48 super far forward because of its early production code but I think it was the right call.
|“In Like Blunt”||Kevin Campbell & Brian Swenlin||February 24, 1992||4308-002|
Another SHUSH focused episode. This episode has a very early production code and probably means to be put early in the order. But this has a much later air date than its production code implies, and we haven’t really seen SHUSH in a while. Since this episode isn’t essential really, it seems OK to watch it when it aired, but that production code 002 throws me off. There’s also some fun DuckTales cameos in this one.
|“Quack of Ages”||Joe Olson||February 26, 1992||4308-059|
#52 – Excellent Episode
|“Time and Punishment”||Dev Ross||February 27, 1992||4308-070|
Ok so we have two time travel episodes in a row, but this one is the more fun one of the two, with the whole Duck Judge Dredd parody.
|“Stressed to Kill”||Doug Langdale||March 3, 1992||4308-066|
Is it Ok to ship Quackerjack and Megavolt in 2020?
Watched in this order this is the second time Darkwing has fallen for the specific ruse of Quackerjack pretending to be a psychologist, which you think would not work a second time, but at least he picks it up quicker this time around.
|“The Darkwing Squad”||Dev Ross||April 1992||4308-071|
There was another jump forward in air dates here, from February to April of 1992, and 1992 episodes in general are less scrambled. So basically except for episodes you’ve already seen there’s no more shuffling to do. From here on production code and air order more or less line up.
|“Inside Binkie’s Brain”||Doug Langdale||April 1992||4308-072|
#56 – Excellent Episode
|“The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain”||Dev Ross||April 29, 1992||4308-073|
New DuckTales had a shoutout to this episode!
Quackerjack and Megavolt are both flying solo again so I guess they broke up in prison.
|“Slime Okay, You’re Okay”||Gordon Bressack||May 1992||4308-074|
This episode kind of rehashes a lot of stuff that other episodes do better, but damn, the end predicted the future in a weird way.
#58 – Excellent Episode but also Filler
|“Whirled History”||Doug Langdale||May 1992||4308-077|
Silly episode that doesn’t really factor into anything, but it’s pretty funny. Truly a pioneer in the art of dunking on Christopher Columbus. It does leave out the part where Drake Columbus commits genocide on the Muddlefoots.
|“U.F. Foe”||Dev Ross||May 1992||4308-076|
That episode where Darkwing refers to Launchpad as “his partner” and gets jealous about his alien princess girlfriend.
#60 – Filler Episode
|“A Star is Scorned”||Haskell Barkin & Tad Stones||May 1992||4308-081|
I notice that Wikipedia didn’t mark the exact air dates of some of these later ones. But whatever! At this point the major beats have been introduced and the show is kind of rehashing ideas a lot admittedly. This one rehashes a few ideas in a way that doesn’t make sense nor isn’t as good as the first time in any case but like watch it if you want.
|“The Quiverwing Quack”||Dev Ross||16 May 1992||4308-078|
This isn’t the first time we’ve gone to the “Gosalyn wants a superhero ID” well. But this is the ID that sticks and appears again in Season 2.
#62 – Excellent Episode
|“Jail Bird”||Doug Langdale & Michael Maurer||17 May 1992||4308-080|
This episode has the entire Fearsome Five in it so it’s clearly a later episode, but it’s cute. I feel like if it were somehow the first one you saw, you’d be like, ok, I get this Darkwing Duck show. Negaduck is just at his most Negaduck here.
|“Dirtysomething”||Katie Kuch & Cheryl Scarbrough||18 May 1992||4308-082|
|“Kung Fooled”||Victor Cook & George Johnston||19 May 1992||4308-075|
We spent time on the trampoline as kids trying to perfect the belly bounce.
|“Bad Luck Duck”||Michael Maurer||20 May 1992||4308-079|
I guess this was the last episode to air in the syndication set. If you get to this point, you’ve seen all the other ones that are listed after it so you can move to Season 2.
Season 2 is weird – it has a lot of the best episodes, but also some that I’d definitely not watch again.
Season 2 episodes only aired on Saturday mornings. One of them only aired once ever.
The good news about Season 2 is that you’re out of the woods in terms of weird ordering. Even these didn’t air according to their production codes, because, Darkwing Duck. And they’re not in air order on Disney+, because… Disney+?? But you can still enjoy them in order more or less. The only thing I’d add is like, maybe don’t watch the last one that aired at all, because it’s dumb and bad and a really weird note to end on. But if you’re a completionist, you also will have to track down the missing Halloween episode, which is not on Disney+ or any other service. So, good luck.
|“Steerminator”||Tad Stones & Dev Ross||October 10, 1992||4308-089|
This episode scared me as a kid. Tim Curry on point here.
It’s kind of a bummer that this sets up a cliffhanger that never goes anywhere, but it’s just like that sometimes.
|“Star Crossed Circuits”||Bill Motz & Robert Roth||October 3, 1992||4308-086|
An episode about the dangers of offloading your life to Alexa, but in 1992.
|“The Revenge of the Return of the Brainteasers, Too!”||Charles M. Howell IV||September 26, 1992||4308-083|
#4 – Meh Episode
|“Monsters R Us”||Michael Maurer||September 12, 1992||4308-085|
This is what I mean when I say that Morgana just straight up turns this silly superhero show into the Munsters in Season 2, and meeehhh. It’s not “filler” because these characters show up again, though.
|“Inherit the Wimp”||Gordon Bressack||September 19, 1992||4308-084|
I appreciate that Gosalyn has completely bought into her foster family as her actual family. In theory she could write a family essay about her famous grandfather who invented the big superweapon, but he is forgotten.
This also continues the gag of Launchpad as a huge chad who has incredible adventures on the side that you never see, which the reboot takes to even higher levels and I’m so here for it.
#6 – Essential Episode
|“Clash Reunion”||Bill Motz & Robert Roth||November 14, 1992||4308-094|
Here the show does a flashback origin episode for Megavolt, and it’s a hoot. It never occurred to me as a kid, but Megavolt’s huge afro kind of vaguely codes him as black, making him yet another Black Electrical Guy in a cartoon? Not sure if this is a stretch but it sort of works.
|“Mutantcy on the Bouncy”||Michael Maurer||November 21, 1992||4308-093|
X-Men Parody! Maybe these characters would’ve showed up again if the show had continued on, but it didn’t, so they didn’t.
#8- Excellent Episode
|“Paint Misbehavin’ ”||Matt Uitz||October 24, 1992||4308-090|
This isn’t as good as the first Splatter Phoenix episode, but few things in this world are. It’s still pretty solid, because Splatter Phoenix is so great. Second appearance of Quiverwing Quack also here.
Look I almost didn’t mark this one as excellent, but then the Frankie Ferret part happens.
|“Hot Spells”||John Behnke & Rob Humphrey & Jim Peterson||October 31, 1992||4308-092|
Shoved into this sequence based on air date. This is the missing episode, so you can’t watch it. The hook for this one involves Gosalyn selling Darkwing’s soul to the Literal Devil and I guess parents complained. Yes, I saw it in 1992 when it aired, but I’ve never seen it again after that, and neither will you, probably, unless piracy.
#10 – Excellent Episode
|“The Frequency Fiends”||Bill Motz & Robert Roth||October 17, 1992||4308-091|
This one is so cute and totally cracks me up. Yeah, it’s another “weird thing happens to Gosalyn” episode but it is a fun version of this bit. This season has a high ratio of Megavolt to other villains, but, who’s complaining?
|“Fraudcast News”||Bill Motz & Robert Roth||November 7, 1992||4308-095|
As a kid I wondered if Bianca Beakley on this episode was related to Ms. Beakley on DuckTales? IDK, two ducks can’t just have the same last name! I like her villain laugh and then when Gosalyn mimics the villain laugh.
#12 – Ugggghh episode
|“Extinct Possibility”||Tad Stones & Dev Ross||December 12, 1992||4308-096|
I don’t really like this one. I mean, like, dinosaur biker gang? OK. Not really an awesome tone for the show to go out on but it was the last episode to air. Soooo, there you go! But it’s not the last one on D+ for some reason…
|“Malice’s Restaurant”||Matt Uitz||December 5, 1992||4308-097|
Kind of on the fence about this one – I can do without the Groovy Ghoulies stuff but on the other hand the Cute Little Lost Bunnies coming back is pretty good and you got Negaduck doing Negaduck things. Also I find myself taking Morgana’s side on Darkwing trying to ruin her ambiance. Why even have a Goth GF if you aren’t into the whole Goth GF thing? Just stick to Launchpad is what I’m saying.
Doing this little project has caused me to discover that Darkwing Duck has a pretty enthusiastic modern fandom that still watches the old show and gets giddy about seeing our boy in the rebooted DuckTales version.
A few final thoughts I have upon watching the whole series again as an adult:
One thing that really stands out that I simply didn’t notice as a kid is how… queer, the setup is. Drake and Launchpad simply live together in a suburban neighborhood with an adopted daughter and everyone seems perfectly comfortable with their arrangement here. Even the conservative Muddlefoots are simply chill with it.
Darkwing’s design, with the floppy hat and puffy cheeks, is iconic, expressive, appealing… and kind of weird? I really wonder how they arrived at it, because in a vacuum, no other cartoon duck looks like this.
Darkwing isn’t a good person a lot of the time. Maybe it was bad, in some way, that my childhood hero was driven so often by envy, spite, and greed rather than the more valiant and respectable qualities that might drive a superhero. What Darkwing craves the most in this world is fame, and… well, that obviously had no impact on me at all… please retweet me and like and spread my blog post.
Darkwing of course has positive qualities or he wouldn’t be a hero. He is clever (most of the time), and brave. He knows when to plan ahead and when to improvise. But most importantly and most consistently: he loves that little girl so much. If there is ever a choice between Gosalyn’s wellbeing, and his baser impulses, he chooses her every time. That’s baked into the story and it’s so sweet it hurts.
The reboot has taken a lot of qualities from the old Darkwing/DuckTales characters and just boosted them. When they add Gosalyn, I’m probably just going to cry.
If you made it all the way down to the bottom, or just wanted to hear my final thoughts, let me plug that MomoCon is going to have a panel online tomorrow night celebrating 25 Years of Darkwing Duck. I really wish I could meet some of the people who worked on this show in person some day as it was such a huge childhood obsession of mine, so perhaps someday I will.