The Powerpuff Girls (2016)
Starring the voices of Tom Kenny, Tom Kane, Amanda Leighton, Kristen Lee, and Natalie Palamides
Developed by Nick Jennings and Bob Boyle (Based on characters created by Craig McCracken)
Network: Cartoon Network (check your local cable or satellite listings)
My Rating: ***½:5
This past April, “The Powerpuff Girls” saw a revival after being absent from the airwaves since 2005 and as a TV special for the 15th anniversary in 2014. While the new series may not be in the same league as the original version, it still manages to be a fun take on the premise of “saving the world before bedtime.”
Even though there are some changes such as a redesigned art style and a new voice cast as the titular heroines, the overall concept and character types are familiar to those who saw the original version of the show. The characterization has also been expanded among the girls, though their original personalities remain intact. Blossom, commander and the leader is a dedicated student and a bit of a control freak. Bubbles, joy and the laughter still adores cute things such as her favorite toy Octi, but also now has an affinity for internet memes. Buttercup, the toughest fighter is every bit as abrasive as her counterpart from the 1990s, but still cares very deeply for her sisters underneath her rough-and-tumble persona.
The new show also blends its action-comedy premise with large amounts of pop culture references of this time period. The first episode involves Blossom and Buttercup vying to attend a pop concert with Bubbles amid fighting giant monsters, while another episode is a G-rated parody of “The Hangover” movies. The girls’ hotline is now a smartphone app and the girls have phone cases that are color coded for your convenience.
Some admitted flaws include the fact that the original voice cast are largely absent from the series, to the point of some of the original actresses voicing their displeasure on Twitter. Also, while many of the classic villains such as Mojo Jojo and the Amoeba Boys make reappearances, the new villains are a mixed bag at best. For each creative new villain like Silico, a cybernetic entity bent on the girls’ destruction, there are ones like Pack Rat, a rodent of unusual size that lives in the Townsville Dump. Still, both old favorites and new faces alike are great for a dose of colorful action and silly jokes, and the voice acting itself is at least serviceable.
While not on the same order of magnitude as its namesake, or even other recent Cartoon Network series such as “Adventure Time” and “Regular Show,” the new version of “The Powerpuff Girls” is still a decent take on an old favorite. Even with all the online ruckus about the reboot, it’s still worth checking out.
Review by Steven Pryor