By Ed Sum
Skipper has a secret, and it involves some kind of covert operation that has him in trouble with Danish authorities. Throughout the series, references to this mysterious past of the leader of the Penguins has been made. He was declared Public Enemy Number One in Denmark. This tease is not the only reason to keep viewers coming back for more, but instead, its their crazy slapstick antics that keeps this series fresh. This style of storytelling has managed to keep this Nickelodeon series going for three seasons, and as for whether or not a fourth will happen, that may be stalled whilst a theatrical movie is being developed by Dreamworks Animation.
Hopefully the big screen treatment that’s tentatively scheduled for a 2015 release will not be a mirror of the television series. Sometimes,the humour wears itself thin because the shorts are more in league to an Animaniacs moment. But when the world of the penguins is expanded to include the lemurs from the animated movies, the diversity is great. That managed to carry the Madagascar films until it got worn thin. Alex the Lion’s journey is over and someone (most likely Marty the Zebra) has to take his place.
But if the order of events is important, the next film in this franchise has to be with the Penguins. The question of just what happened in Denmark might get addressed and that can make for a fantastic tie-in with the television series. The episode “Skipper Makes Perfect” did address Skipper destroying evidence stored at the Danish embassy, but nobody, not even Private knows what had happened even though he had a chance to look at the file before it got destroyed.
Or perhaps some further character development will happen for Private. “Mr. Tux” and “Showdown on Fairway 18” provides some necessary character development for the merry low ranking penguin. He’s a champion mini-golfer, and to see this series have an established continuity is great. To have a series with perceived antagonists is funny, and even that gets played up when Skipper gets zapped by one of Kowalski’s crazy inventions. In “Best Foes” all his friends are his enemies and his enemies are his friends. That leads to some hilarious moments with Hans, a puffin. Apparently, both these two have quite the history together, and it ties in to Skipper’s sordid history with Danish authorities.
Hopefully this background will get addressed as a film. In a wonderful series like Penguins of Madagascar, this motley crew of soldiers have come a long way since wanting to return to the home they once sought in the first Madagascar movie. After finding nothing, they decided to make the most out of life than to be stuck in a cage. That’s ironic when considering they are holed up in a zoo, but as far as they are concerned, the reason why they stay is by their terms than the zoo’s. The animal shelter is a convenient ruse to base their operations. Usually that means saving the occasional zoo animal or furthering space exploration for all of penguin-kind. Interestingly enough, this concept has been explored with “Launchtime,” “Lemur See, Lemur Do” and “Operation: Swap-panzee.”
As for what’s next, maybe the series has run its course. No new episodes have aired in the 2013 season and that’s a shame for fans hoping for more hijinks.
In the past years, the March/April months was when the first lot of episodes would get aired. This year, these months have come and gone. If the show is going to evolve, it may well have to go the route of being part James Bond and part Expendables than all slapstick ala the Marx Brothers.