Phineas and Ferb
Empty8-8:15 p.m. Fri., Feb. 1
Here's the skinny on Phineas and Ferb, the stars of Disney Channel's new 2-D animated weekly series: These tween stepbrothers are always in some sort of trouble, out "to conquer boredom and make every day of their 104-day summer vacation count."
They create mischievous projects; emotionally (and otherwise) torture their older sister, Candace; and keep it a secret that their pet, Perry the Platypus, doubles as a secret agent doing battle with the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. This comedy series is pretty mindless in the large scheme of things, but kids of all ages might find a humorous moment in it.
The animation is dizzying, which is exactly what kids want. Slated to run daily until March 1, when it goes to Saturday nights, "Phineas and Ferb" is boisterous and loud. Colors come and go, flashing and flowing incessantly as the stepbrothers Phineas Flynn (voiced by Vincent Martella) and Ferb Fletcher (Thomas Sangster) kick up the dust and create havoc all around them.
Creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh mount an endless array of plot lines, all of which will seem pretty familiar to anyone who has watched kids programming in the past five years or so. But they do keep the action going nonstop. And they can boast a good list of recurring guest stars to voice the series, including Barry Bostwick as Grandpa Clyde, Malcolm McDowell as Grandpa Fletcher, Jane Carr as Grandma Fletcher, Allison Janney as Charlene Doofenshmirtz (nicely connected to our resident evildoer, of course) and John O'Hurley as Roger, whose plot purpose won't be revealed at this time.
The series deals with contemporary family issues without making them too much of a kid-heuristic: the idea of blended families and siblings who make life miserable for one another on the surface but deep down really bond when the time calls for it.
The kid values come wrapped in easy-to-swallow doses and never seem to be the show's focus. Instead, there is a wonderful mix of music and lyrics (with a theme song performed by Bowling for Soup) to head kids off at the pass.
Kids love to watch stories over and over, and before "Phineas" sees its last episode, no doubt these younger viewers will have done just that. Still, the show is fast and furious enough to keep today's sophisticated tween (and older and younger) viewers tuned in.
PHINEAS AND FERB
Walt Disney Television Animation
Creators: Dan Povenmire, Jeff "Swampy" Marsh
Executive producer: Dan Povenmire
Co-executive producer: Jeff "Swampy" Marsh
Directors: Dan Povenmire, Zac Moncrief
Phineas: Vincent Martella
Ferb: Thomas Sangster
Candace: Ashley Tisdale
Mom/Linda: Caroline Rhea
Dad/Lawrence: Richard O'Brien
Perry: Dee Bradley Baker
Dr. Doofenshmirtz: Dan Povenmire