The Fourth Season of the Red Panda Adventures moves forward from the finale of Season Three. The Red Panda (Gregg Taylor) and his sidekick/driver the Flying Squirrel/Kit Baxter (Clarissa Der Nederlanden Taylor) finally admit their feelings for each other.
The series dealt with it well. I liked that the characters moved immediately from hero/sidekick to engaged rather than giving us an extra season or two of romantic tension. Given how much they ‘ve been through and how much they know each other already, it makes sense to get on with it. The series tone remains light and fun but acknowledges the challenges they face in this transition of their relationship.
The stories remain fun, with a lot of great action and adventure. The influence of pulp magazines, old time radio shows, and comics is clear. The influence of Batman: The Animated series can be seen in the episode, “Trial by Terror” where the Red Panda is held and tried by the criminals he ‘s put in prison. However, despite the obvious inspirations, Taylor manages to put his own unique spin on the story and on each story in the season.
Some of my favorite episodes from Season 4 included, “Murder in the Castle” in which impossible murders are committed at a castle. It had a strong Shadowesque feel. “The Boy in Blue” was good as one of the Red Panda’s most trusted operatives appears to have gone bad, and it’s interesting to see how he responds. “Jungle of Terror” finds the Red Panda and Kit flying to South America to respond to a call for help from one of the Red Panda’s allies and ends up in an adventure involving monsters and a trip to another dimension. The season finale, “Operation Cold Feet” finds a villain planning to strike as the wedding day approaches. Kit’s not sure about the planned month-long honeymoon and there have been sightings of the Red Panda and Flying Squirrel that Kit knows nothing about. It’s a good story with a nice payoff, including the reveal of the Red Panda’s true name, a twist spoiled by Wikipedia. Thanks, Internet.
Beyond that, the series’ ongoing plotlines continued to recur and involved supernatural incursions and fascist plans to gain a foothold in the City. The series has a good way of handling them. If you’d never heard these stories before, you won’t get lost listening to them. If you’ve been listening since the start, you’ll have a sense this is all heading somewhere big as the scale of these stories escalates from season to season.
If I had one nitpick, it’s that there’s two different stories in Season 4 that have our heroes teaming up with a mad, evil supervillain to stop another mad, evil supervillain. That’s a bit much for the number of episodes, but that’s also pretty minor, all things considered.
Overall, this is a solid season that manages to build upon the foundation of previous seasons, have fun, and not get lost in its own continuity.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
The Red Panda Adventures Season 4 is available for download for free.
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