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Widget, the World Watcher is an animated television series which debuted on September 29, 1990, and ended on June 6, 1994. This show ran in syndication for 65 episodes; reruns continued until 1997.
The show focused on Widget, a 4-foot-tall purple alien from the Horsehead Nebula who could shapeshift. He and three young human friends, Brian, Kevin and Kristine, would go through a number of adventures to protect Earth's natural environment. Widget is frequently accompanied by the Mega Brain, an extremely intelligent but somewhat clumsy being who appears as a floating head (with a transparent cranium) and floating hands.
The show was produced by Calico Creations to teach children about the dangers of pollution. In each episode, Widget contended with a villain wishing to exploit Earth's environment or natural resources, like Dr. Dante, Mega Slank and Widget's evil twin, Ratchet the World Trasher. In this respect, Widget, the World Watcher is very similar to Captain Planet and the Planeteers, both heroes attempting to save the Earth from ecological harm.
Not to be confused with Widget Series. Aside from the premise, it's not quite out-there enough to be one.
This show has examples of the following:
- Achilles Heel - Widget can't shapeshift when being upside down.
- Artistic License Biology - In one of the episodes, red kangaroos are said to be endangered species.
- Big Bad - Widget faces many villains, but the ones that appear the most frequently are Ratchet, Mega Slank and Flim Flam Mc Sham.
- Biological Mashup - Ratchet's minions, the Half-and-Half Mutants
- Broken Aesop - One episode featured Widget and his friends releasing a domesticated whale that had never known the ocean from its tank in a marine park. As the lesson of real-life whale Keiko taught us, this... wouldn't end well...
- Dastardly Whiplash - Although it's more in appearance. Both heads of Flim Flam Mc Sham indeed look like a cross between Dick Dastardly and Snidely Whiplash.
- Evil Twin - Ratchet
- Fairy Companion - Well, more like a Fairy Hero with Human Companions.
- Green Aesop - There are enough other things going on in the show for this not to be totally Anvilicious.
- Handy Remote Control: Some characters carry these around.
- Hammerspace: Megabrain has that.
- Hey, It's That Voice! - Widget is Gonzo from Muppet Babies (Russi Taylor), and Mega Brain is Darkwing Duck (Jim Cummings).
- Hold Your Hippogriffs - Widget likes that with space-based alterations.
- Morphic Resonance - Widget is always purple, and sometimes retains other features, no matter what he otherwise looks like. Except when he isn't... (See below.)
- My Name Is Not Durwood - In almost every episode, Widget gets a message from two of his planet's elders that give him his mission. The male elder almost never gets Widget's name right, and the one time he DOES, Widget can't believe it.
Male Elder: World Watcher Widget...
Widget: At your servi...Jumping Jupiter! You got my name right!!
Male Elder: Huh? Oh...
- Paper-Thin Disguise - See below.
- Rogues Gallery: Recurring villains included the alien bandit Mega Slank, the human poachers Bob and Betty, human Mad Scientist Dr. Dante, the alien circus maestros Flim Flam Mc Sham and Widget's Evil Counterpart Ratchet the World Trasher.
- Talking Animal
- Voluntary Shapeshifting - Widget's special ability, which was also...
- Misapplied Phlebotinum - You know all those Shapeshifting aliens who hang out in human form for no reason (outside of saving a bunch of money on special effects)? Yeah. Well, instead of hanging out in human form, Widget would disguise himself as a human by wearing a goofy disguise. The fact that Widget doesn't change color when he changes shape was probably for the very young viewer's benefit. There is an episode where he changes himself into one of Ratchet's goons. He's still bright purple, but it fools Ratchet.