Inspector Gadget focuses on the adventures of the bumbling Inspector Gadget, assisted by his more competent assistant and niece, Penny, and the genius dog Brain. The Inspector primarily seems to exist for the purpose of showing off gadgets that magically appear when he says, “Go-Go Gadget (Fill in the gadget of the day)!” His gullibility and bumbling attempts at foiling the agents of the villainous MAD usually opens the door for Penny and the Brain to save the day.
Inspector Gadget Cartoon
- Inspector Gadget: The bumbling inspector usually manages to get the credit for the work of Penny and the Brain, making him an effective decoy for the agents of MAD. His bionic implants have helped to see him through several adventures. He is voiced by Don Adams.
- Penny: The competent assistant who can download data on a precursor of a laptop called a “computer book.” She is ten years old and Gadget’s niece.
- Brain the Dog: Smarter than your average dog and able to communicate through Penny’s wristwatch or use gestures. Good enough at disguise that he can fool Gadget into thinking he is one of MAD’s henchmen (admittedly no great feat). Between him and Penny, they are able to foil MAD’s plots.
- Doctor Claw: The leader of MAD who is identified by his gauntleted hands and arms. His face is never seen. Can be heard swearing to get Gadget next time after each defeat.
- Chief Quimby: Inspector Gadget’s boss who delivers his missions, disappears in an explosion and reappears at the end of each episode to congratulate Gadget on a job well done.
- Colonel Capeman: A bumbling superhero wannabe best known for his attempts to learn how to fly. It doesn’t help that most of his attempts happen under dire circumstances.
- Assorted Henchmen: Fred, Lenny, Dick, Slick, Pops, Bruce, Squirt and Jarvis. The names are only referred to on their design sheets and in scripts. Of course, they’re all incompetent.
Wasn’t There a Movie?
Yes — two, actually. Released in 1999 and 2003, they were panned by critics and fans alike. While they stayed technically true to the concept of Inspector Gadget, fans disliked (among other things) that the face of Dr. Claw was actually shown and the storytelling was generally awful. Considering that the original cartoon also took criticism for being formulaic, perhaps they were expecting too much in the storytelling department. But if you wanted to see Gadget use that hat helicopter thing to fly one more time, maybe you can stand it.
A Few Episodes