Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dino Squad - The Lost Worldwide Web

Last time Dino Squad beat us over the head with the importance of teamwork. This time, it beats us over the head with the danger of psychopaths on the internet.

Before we go any further yes you need to be careful of online predators, but once again the episode written by Jeffrey Scott, who wrote the entire first season of Captain N, a show notorious for its piss-poor research on electronic entertainment (in fact the research is so bad it's on his resume as Captain Nintendo: The Game Master). So you might want to have a grain of salt ready.

We open on a raptor attacking a jeep only to be interrupted by a styracosaurus that looks just like Rodger, although the lines laid out over everything indicate this is probably a videogame.

This is confirmed when the Rodgersaurus gets a power-up and turns into a flyingtankasaurus and shoots off its horns, caging up the raptor for 10,0000 points. Points?

Kewl kidz don't pwn nOObs.

The game (which Rodger invented) isn’t just a game, it also has “dinosaur research links, email, individual blog pages, and plays your favorite tunes!” Buzz talks about updating his blog but the others warn him against any pictures that might expose their dino selves. The all-knowing Miss Moynihan tells them not to expose even their regular identities on the internet either because of online predators who aren’t even prehistoric supervillains.

Anyway Buzz takes his turn on the game while Moynihan takes the rest of the kids out to play hockey. As dinosaurs. Even ignoring how thick ice would have to be to support ginormous lizards charging across it and how they’re cold-blooded in their dino forms (regardless of whether or not actual dinosaurs were, Rodger specifically says they are), wasn’t the lady who’s taking the kids out to have fun with their dino powers just telling them how important it is to guard your secrecy? Rodger tells Buzz to have fun but stick to “the web rules.”

As soon as they’re out of sight Buzz is telling another player his name, age, interests and discussing the possibility that dinosaurs still exist. Whoops. Oh, and the girl he’s playing against? It’s actually Veloci. Double whoops.

Veloci’s apparently playing this game to see if anyone knows anything about the dinosaurs that always show up and take out the ones he creates. The horrendously rich CEO with the resources at his disposal to turn anything into a monster has to do this himself? Do the writers have any conception of the manpower Veloci should have available? Triple whoops.

Is this the information superhighway all the kids are talking about?

Also, a giant spider that almost manages to trap Buzz in the game suddenly transforms into Veloci’s raptor avatar. What the hey?


...raptors in disguise!

Back at the pond the kids are getting used to skating as dinosaurs but not quite and crash into each other. Moynihan advises them to “stay focused on the task at hand and no hotdogging.” Good advice, but wasn’t this supposed to be fun? Anyway the reason they haven’t gone catatonic from the cold is because they’ve been staying in motion to keep their blood pumping. I’m no biologist but I don’t think it works like that for cold-blooded animals. Unfortunately Rodger was the goalie and falls asleep because his body temperature’s gotten too low, and the others wake him up by breathing on him.

Yes, really.

Buzz, falling deeper into Veloci’s trap, tells his cyber playmate he can see a dinosaur from where he’s sitting and figures it couldn’t hurt to tell this awesome chick what state he lives in. Veloci has the goons who should be doing this for him in the first place load up the truck and they take a road trip to Maine. After all, a claim that a teenager’s seen a real dinosaur is worth checking out because people never say stupid things they don’t really mean online. Especially when gaming. Trust me, I have a friend who fields calls for an MMO.

After the commercial Veloci’s trying to pump Buzz for more information about where he lives but Buzz says he has to stick to internet safety rules. “I’ve got rules to follow too,” says teen fem Veloci, “and in this case the rule is if at first you don’t deceive, get more deceitful,” real Veloci finishes. How does he control what Buzz does and doesn’t hear?

Buzz cyber-splatters Veloci’s character (even though it’s suddenly green instead of red) and they actually play the sound effect of Mario picking up a mushroom. How do you get away with that?

Seemingly realizing Buzz isn’t going to crack, Veloci pretends a raptor is attacking “her.” Buzz asks for her address to help: “51 Turn Circle, at the end of Spruce Point.” Which end of Spruce Point?! Because there appears to actually be a Spruce Point in Maine. Kittery Point, where the kids live, is a real place after all. Buzz leaves to save “her” from this “raptor,” and Veloci gloats “If he won’t lead me to him, I’ll lead him to me.” Thank you, we got it.

The rest of the kids get back from whatever they were doing and realize Buzz is gone. They speed away on their “tyranno-cycles” to find him, because apparently he’s outside some kind of force field the lighthouse has to keep Veloci from noticing any dinosaurs there (whatever). Ya know, if the kids care so much about their secrecy, what are they doing riding such flamboyant vehicles?

What's not stealthy about this?
And where does Moynihan get the money for computers that let her reveal that Veloci isn’t in fact a teenage girl with a few keystrokes? Come to think of it why is she old in human form and not Veloci if they have the same secret origin?

Buzz realizes he’s been played when he finds an empty house, and realizes he’s in trouble when Veloci and some goons approach. When he tries to fly away they just pile into their helicopter and catch the lame brain, fortunately (?) with the rest of the Dino Squad in hot pursuit.

Moynihan turns the tables by pretending to be one of his security people who’ve spotted more dinosaurs nearby to get his location (why would security call him about that?). The guy driving the truck is surprised for some reason when they run into four more dinos in the road even though they were hoping to go home with an even bigger haul. Veloci goes dino to stop them from saving Buzz but only shows how horribly unbalanced the show is when Max casually tosses the archvillain aside. With his nose. They save Buzz, and Veloci’s truck sinks into a lake, leaving him to hike miles to the nearest pay phone or spend hours in the cold waiting for another ride to show up. Because he wasn’t humiliated enough just now.

Size discrepancy recognition fail.

Back at the Dinocave Buzz says maybe he deserved that, but Moynihan tells him he’s not dumb, he just needs to remember the rules. It doesn’t get into what exactly the correct response is to “Help! A raptor’s attacking me!” Especially if it actually is your job to stop attacking raptors.

To close out this disaster Caruso “comically” almost falls for a phising scam promising instant riches. Not that he was in too much danger because his social security card is yellow.

At least Caruso tosses out a quip that's kind of funny: “Oh, right. They’ll want my father’s maiden name too.”

But of course they had to go ruin it with more preachiness over the end credits. “You don’t have to be a Dino Squad hero to help save the earth. Be cool. Reduce, reuse, recycle.” It’s almost like they were trying to make sure the network didn’t jam the credits into a corner to promote another of their shows.


  1. Long time reader, first time commenter and all that. I have to say, every time I read your DinoSquad reviews I got a good laugh because yeah, the show sucked. BIG TIME.

    I just have to ask, after so many years of doing this, are you going to continue doing series reviews of the show. If I recall correctly, DS only lasted a season...or two right? I just love the way you do your analysis of the show that it would be a shame that so many of the other terrible episodes missed the treatment that the previous ones have gotten. As far as I know, the entire series is up on Youtube or on some other sites on teh interwebz.

    As far as this episode goes I missed this one as from what I can remember I watched about half of the entire series but none of them being of the ones you reviewed (save for the first episode) but it just smells of the typical overly preachy web safty episode that was being spewed out on every E/I show at the time. The only thing that makes it more painful is that DS was the one devlievering that message. Not trying to bust on shows that 'teach' kids but holy crap, DS was NOT the show to do it. And the sad thing is that this show was handled by the same people who had a hand in a lot of my childhood favorites growing up but even by 80s preachy cartoon standards, even THOSE shows didn't reach the level of mind-blowing STUPID as this.

    Perhaps its nostalgia glasses or it really is a case of shows trying to damn hard but I will say from the bottom or my heart that DS is worse than any 80s cheese, edutatinment show that I have seen growing up in the really late 80s and 90s. I just can't explain it but maybe its because being in my mid-teens when the show came out I could spot all the mistakes and phoniness a mile away as if I were younger, I would not have seen it but still...the show is just painful to watch even compared to the shclock I grew up with.

    Is it because they were trying so hard to be 'safe' and forgot to have fun or is it because it doesn't have the 80s/90s silliness and fun that even the lamest educational show had? The more I think about it, the more I feel that the entire point of this show wasn't to education but to fill a quota and hope for a cash-in with some toys that were never there. If it were trying to educate, they would have done their freaking homework on so many things because you really can't excuse the show's lack of insight on prehistoric, well, history as being 'imaginative' and taking chances. No, this show waste not a second shoving 'educational' crap down kids throats so it has no excuse for all the mistakes it made. This show was pitched as a learning tool but they just didn't care. If the show was trying to be tongue-n-cheek and wasn't weighed down by some board-meeting and check list marketing crap, then all the random mutations and things would have been passed off as the show trying to be as weird as possible but in the end.....


    TL;DR- I love this blog and I love the reviews. If you do any more Dino Squad reviews, that would be excellent but hey, I'll come by and read regardless. Keep up the good work.

    1. I haven't done a Dino Squad article in a while, but it is one of the ripest targets I've taken on. I haven't looked for episodes for a while, but if I could find them for free (I'm not buying them from Amazon), I'd think about it for sure. I'd probably start with "Mole Lotta Trouble" where Fiona goes on a woodsy retreat with her very stupid family and they help catch mutants.

    2. I know that a few full episodes are up on Youtube but there are only nine out of the entire series, two of them I believe you have already reviewed, is another place you'll want to check out for episodes as the playlist on the side seems to contain the entire series as well, with episodes that haven't been posted to Youtube.