Phineas And Ferb – A nice animated series about two brothers that create extraordinary things to keep themselves entertained, simple in concept and with a simple formula this is a good one for background noise or for kids. Although the show is simple enough for young viewers, the relationships between characters makes the show brilliant for adults too. The two brothers have a strong bond with each other even though one of them hardly speaks, there’s the angry sister that loves them deep down, the nice girl from nearby, the bully and his nerd, the secret agent platypus and the evil scientist who has an ex wife and a teenage daughter plus a few less important characters like the band Love Handel or either set of grandparents. Every set of characters is written so well and their interactions and story arcs build them up in different ways over time that make it so sad when the credits roll on the last episode. The episodes themselves are great too with each one being relatively similar and having a song somewhere in it, there are crossovers with Star Wars and Marvel as well as spoofs of other stories and films plus the general idea of there being no real stakes or tension as everything always works out in the end with the platypus/scientist subplot often resolving any issues the boys may have. This is one of the greats, up there with South Park which it even references at one point with mention of a Roshambo.
Take Two – Phineas hosts a chat show with famous guests like Jack Black which sounds like it could be brilliant but at only three minutes and episode it just comes across as stupid rubbish and lacks any of the charm that the actual Phineas And Ferb series had. Not worth watching.
Across The 2nd Dimension – The boys help to create a portal into a dystopian alternative dimension where they meet grittier versions of many characters from the show, learn that their pet is a secret agent, do battle with an army of robots and have an exciting but sweet adventure that fits well with everything else they’ve ever done. It may be a sort of spin off from the usual rules of how the series plays out but it is a good way to spend an hour and a half.
Candice Against The Universe – Candace, the boys’ older sister decides that the whole world is against her because she has driven herself mad trying to get her brothers in trouble. When Vanessa, the evil scientist’s daughter tries to talk some sense into her they get abducted by aliens which results in the boys, their friends, the scientist and the platypus going to save her. It is a return to form for the show in a movie length special which results in an action packed happy ending which was a little more violent than I was expecting as well as some new relationships being played with. It is however hard to work out where this is on the timeline as characters that have met before behave like total strangers. There’re some decent songs in this film and if you like the series then this is definitely worth a watch.
One of the best things about all Phineas And Ferb is how self aware it is, often having running jokes or poking fun at itself. It isn’t political or trying to force an agenda, it’s just a rare and beautiful piece of genuinely nice TV.