Voices: Jason Alexander, Nancy Travis, Gregg Berger, Dweezil Zappa, Dana Hill , E.G. Daily, Pat Musick, Joe Alaskey, Sheryl Bernstein, Linda Gary, Andy Houts, Jeffrey Jones, Walt Reno, Charlie Shaughnessy, Bruce Weitz.
This may be the show that proves TV animation can stay up past most kids’ bedtimes and still find a strong, profitable audience.
“Duckman,” a new latenight series on USA Network, is crude, violent, cynical, antisocial and a little sexist, pretty much the complete list of things the PTA would like to keep away from kids. It may be what many adults don’t want their kids to see, but it’s also what a lot adults would like to see for themselves.
With scripts that approach “Simpsons” quality and a superb cast of voices, “Duckman” is one of TV’s funniest programs right out of the box.
Simpler, clearer, more traditional visuals might better communicate the humor to those who haven’t prerecorded this fast-paced half-hour, but for a lot of alternative-hungry viewers, the dark, muddy, strung-out feel will be half the fun of “Duckman.”
The opening episode explores an identity crisis the title character faces when he acknowledges that nobody notices, cares about or listens to him. Even his coffee mug is labeled “Whoever.”
So it’s naturally a self-image boost when an unknown adversary tries to kill Duckman. Somebody out there really does care if he lives or dies.
But the prime suspect, a celebrity cannibal-murderer named Wolfgang Crackup, turns out to be grateful for his imprisonment. Since his arrest, Wolfgang’s life is filled with book signings and talkshow appearances.
“Duckman” will require some patience from USA — word of mouth will have to spread for the show to build its audience, and repeat viewings will be necessary to catch all the jokes. And its subtle humor will make this a slower build than, say, “Ren & Stimpy.”
But “Duckman” may be funny, different and seditious enough to go just as far, even with most kids in bed before it comes on.