Review: Rescue Heroes (2019)
The first video was released on the day the franchise's return was announced, on Friday, February 15, 2019. On that day, the full theme song was posted to the relaunched Rescue Heroes official website. This was the 4th iteration of the theme, and the first to have additional lyrics besides the words "Rescue Heroes".
Heroes In Our World
On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, three live-action segments were posted to Fisher-Price's video website, highlighting real-life people who try to make a difference.
The first was about a girl who saves food from being wasted, feeding homeless people in the process.
The second was about a boy who works to help dogs find a home.
The third was about a man who assists people and animals in his job as a forest ranger.
Episode 1: Earthquake in Africa
The first animated episode was released on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
The premise is that two veteran team members, Billy Blazes and Rocky Canyon, are training five new cadets both at headquarters and in the field. Hailing from around the globe, they include firefighter Forrest Fuego, doctor Reed Vitals, handyman Carlos Kitbash, diver Sandy O'Shin and flying cop Sky Justice. Speaking of Sky, because she's black, her last name is Justice and she's a cop, a relation to Jake Justice seems only natural. However, it's worth noting that she is a native of South Africa, has an accent, and there's no telling if Jake Justice will ever return to the series.
Billy now has a touch of gray in his hair, and Rocky is no longer the rookie, even calling one of the new cadets "kid". While Norm Spencer's and Joe Motiki's voices are greatly missed, Rocky's new voice does retain some familiar inflections.
The team's headquarters is a huge aircraft carrier. Below water level it has a huge soccer field with a glass window to see underwater.
On seasons two and three, the team used a voice-activated computer simply called "system" that utilized an American female voice. Now, they use a system with a British female voice inexplicably called what sounds like "Erin". Hopefully more light is shed on this in the future.
An enormous floor-to-ceiling hologram shows both their upcoming mission and the team members and their equipment that will be participating.
In Rescue Heroes: The Movie, mid-air projections for communication were introduced, eminating from a circle on their chests. Now, the communications are projected from a device on their wrists.
A new catch-phrase used both in the theme song and in the episode when they get ready for action is "Let's go!", which they say in unison.
On this mission, they travel to a city in Africa to save civilians from a derailed train hanging precariously from a bridge.
They use their small personal vehicles, as well as the new firetruck to save the day.
While the show doesn't end with the previous standard, "Think like a Rescue Hero, think safe", the last scene does recap the moral of the story and is followed by Sky filming "Rescue Heroes Vlog #104", which looks to be a regular segment to end the show.
The entire episode was only about five and a half minutes long, which is cut in half from the eleven minutes from most of seasons two and three, which itself was cut in half from the twenty-two minutes from season one. The TV series was produced by Nelvana, a traditional animation studio from Canada. However this web series is 2D computer animated from a small Bulgarian studio that makes promotional animation and works for hire. While the budget is lower, the sense of style is strong, with some great action sequences and shot design.
Due to a request in the comments section on YouTube, Fisher-Price revealed the main voice cast in a reply. What's worth noting is that the name of the computer has been revealed as "A.R.I.N." although there is still no word on what this stands for.
the voice of Billy Blazes
the voice of Carlos Kitbash
the voice of Reed Vitals
the voice of Sandy O'Shin
the voice of Sky Justice
the voice of A.R.I.N.
Heroes In Our World
The fourth live-action segment from Saturday, April 27, was about a girl who discovered that disposing of batteries improperly was bad for the environment, and was able to start a community-wide effort starting with her own family and school to recycle used batteries in a safe way.
The one after that, from Tuesday, April 30, featured a girl who actively helps butterflies to survive and thrive while under threat of extinction.
Episode 2: Sub Down Under
The second animated episode was released on Thursday, May 2, 2019.
This time, a submarine is stuck on the ocean floor and the crew needs assistance.
New Rescue Heroes water gear and technology is seen such as scuba gear, a jet ski, an inflatable base and a waterproof welder invented by Carlos.
In a scene reminiscent of Star Wars, absent team members Rocky, Sky and Forrest participate in a briefing via life-sized holograms. It ends up being a solo mission for cadets Sandy, Carlos and Reed, with Billy directing them from base.
The moral of this story is to clean up after yourself, and Sandy hosts the closing vlog.
Heroes In Our World
The Saturday, May 4 segment was about a boy who endeavors to recycle abandoned waste and keep it from harming the environment.
Chase a Cloud, the Bulgarian animation studio hired for the series, revealed Wednesday, May 8 on social media that this season will consist of twelve episodes.
Episode 3: Fires and Tornadoes a.k.a. Tornado of Fire
Thursday, May 9.
A fire threatens campers and wildlife in the wilderness, before becoming something unexpected: a firenado! All current team members are present except Sandy. The episode's title was changed to the more accurate Tornado of Fire within hours of the original upload.
The episode starts out showing the team training in a huge environmentally accurate training simulator which keeps score.
The fire truck is shown in full action, extending its' ladder even farther, blasting water and using a claw.
What struck me this time was that for a 6 minute show, it was packed with iconic visuals, and bold style and action choices. There were definitely more memorable images than I could show above.
But probably none was more exciting than the command center's unexpected take-off. In years past, the team had a mountain command center for permanent residence, a Hyperjet for worldwide transport and an Aquatic Rescue Command Center for the water. Well, their newest base appears to be a combination of all three!
The closing vlog is hosted by Forrest. The moral of this story is that even those with more experience should value the contributions of others, and that allowing everyone to work as a team leads to better results. This lesson is demonstrated through none other than Rocky Canyon who, although not struggling with being a rookie anymore, is still learning lessons about how to appropriately handle his responsibility and work as a team mentor.
Real Rescue Heroes
Saturday, May 11.
Similar to Heroes In Our World, the segment Real Rescue Heroes focuses on adult professionals instead of children. The title was first used for the YouTube re-release of the park ranger episode, which was one of the first released to Fisher-Price's website under the Heroes In Our World name.
The next episode in this series highlighted a man who works as a heavy equipment operator in the snowy mountains, driving big trucks and snowmobiles.
Tuesday, May 14.
A police officer is highlighted, including her outfit and vehicle.
Episode 4: The Great Big Wave
Thursday, May 16, 2019.
At a mountain base nearby a city, the cadets train in a platform simulator that utilizes holograms and real water.
The team is then called to Sri Lanka to rescue tidal wave survivors, and the cadets learn a lesson about the benefits of a clear chain of command and team cooperation.
Trainer Rocky Canyon hosts the closing vlog.
Real Rescue Heroes
Saturday, May 18, 2019.
A man is interviewed about what goes into his being a cave rescuer.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
A veterinarian explains how he helps animals' healthcare.
Special Episode: Meet the Heroes
Thursday, May 23, 2019.
In this special episode, Sky hosts her vlog for the entire length of the show, taking the viewers around the primary ship which is now revealed to be called M.A.R.C., or Mobile Action Rescue Center.
She goes around to her team members and introduces them, talks about their interests, and shows the team's skills, downtime and uptime.
Real Rescue Heroes
Saturday, May 25, 2019.
In this episode, a man discusses the skills and qualities need for a children's doctor. This episode was mislabeled with the following description:
"Meet a real life Rescue Hero: Kim is a paramedic who is ready to jump in her ambulance and help people when they're in need. Find out how Paramedics help us every day and how you can also be a Real Rescue Hero!"
Tuesday, May 28, 2019.
The next episode fulfilled the aforementioned description, showing the action-packed career of an ambulance driver and paramedic.
The previous episode's description was corrected the following month.
Episode 5: Facing Your Fears
Thursday, May 30, 2019.
Forrest is afraid of the water after a bad undertow experience, but then a disaster in his home country of Columbia forces him to face his fear.
Reed Vitals hosted the closing vlog.
Real Rescue Heroes
Tuesday, June 4, 2019.
A mountain rescue technician showcases her exciting job.
Episode 6: Calm Under Pressure
Thursday, June 6, 2019.
Carlos invents a drivable robot named M.A.N.N.I.E. (Mechanically Automated Naturally Noisy Indestructible Exoskeleton) similar in structure and function to U.R.V. (the Ultimate Robotic Vehicle), except having less of a slick appearance in keeping with Carlos' kitbashing style.
When a sinkhole in London causes dangerous situations, Carlos realizes it's a good opportunity for M.A.N.N.I.E. to help, so he hitches a ride on the firetruck which in turn is carried to the site by four drones. In the action, Carlos learns to keep cool when unexpected problems arise and to get up and try again to solve problems.
Both Reed and Carlos hosted the closing vlog.
Real Rescue Heroes
Saturday, June 8, 2019.
A man explains what it takes to be a firefighter.
The episode's thumbnail originally inexplicably featured a white fireman, although after a YouTube comment this was changed three days later.
Tuesday, June 11, 2019.
The exciting life of a lifeguard.
You Can Be A Rescue Hero!
Thursday, June 13, 2019.
Several episodes of Heroes In Our World are edited together into one ten minute compilation.
Save Our World
Tuesday, June 18, 2019.
Several episodes of Real Rescue Heroes are edited together into one five and a half minute compilation.
Episode 7: Lava on the Loose!
Friday, June 21, 2019.
This is the first episode since the first episode to not be released on a Thursday.
When a Central American volcano is on the brink of overflowing, the team has to figure out how to save the town below it.
A new hovering buggy vehicle is introduced.
When Carlos invents a new self repair arm for his M.A.N.N.I.E., and Sky's actions lead to it being broken, Sky learns a lesson about irresponsible pranks, and Carlos learns one about forgiveness and working together.
These two end up hosting the closing vlog.
Best Rescue Moments
Tuesday, June 25, 2019.
Scenes from seven animated episodes are edited together into one ten minute compilation.
Full Episode Compilation
Thursday, June 27, 2019.
The complete first six animated episodes, not counting the special episode, are combined into a half hour video.
Starting on Friday, June 28, Fisher-Price's other YouTube channels began to release episodes dubbed into other languages, in this case Portuguese and Spanish.
On Thursday, July 4th, 2019, a nine and a half hour loop of episodes was streamed using YouTube's "live" feature.
Episode 8: Tornado Alley
Friday, July 5th, 2019.
When a tornado strikes in the United States, Sandy questions the team's standard of utilizing all team members regardless of specialty. But soon she learns that her experience can be useful in more ways than one.
New equipment seen is Sandy's belt buckle activated claw and a wide shot of the garage from which all vehicles leave from.
This episode is among the best of the series, not only with better writing but also with much iconic and memorable imagery and cinematography.
Billy Blazes hosts the closing vlog, and due to being the senior member is unfamiliar with how to operate the camera, until Sky helps him.
This is the only episode to be available in only up to 720p HD, as all others come in 1080p Full HD.
Thursday, July 11, 2019.
A five minute compilation of clips featuring Billy Blazes from previous episodes was called Billys Best Bits!, then retitled Best of Billy Blazes!.
Sandy's Best Rescues! followed on Thursday, July 18.
Rocky Canyon Rescues! came out on Thursday, August 1.
Sky Justice Rescues! was on Tuesday, August 13.
Forrest Fuego's Best Rescues came on Tuesday, August 20.
Episode 9: The Iceberg and Oil Spill
After a hiatus, a new episode premiered on Thursday, July 25, 2019.
This episode started differently, with some brief clips and the announcement "coming up on Rescue Heroes!"
When an oil tanker collides with an iceberg, the team must put out the fires, repair the damage, save the crew and clean the animals. Meanwhile, Forrest learns a lesson about why rules exist, safety and teamwork.
Sandy hosts the closing vlog.
As someone who appreciates the ageless appeal of the original series and its' child friendly yet sophisticated storylines, it is getting kind of tiring to see pandering to the toddler demographic by resorting to highlighting cute animals in multiple episodes now. I have nothing against animals or things that appeal to children, this is a kids show after all, but it feels lazy to do this too often, and a little disrespectful to small kids who can understand more than given credit for. Forrest's failings were also too obviously demonstrated, and would be believable for a child but not a trained, professional adult.
Episode 10: Billy Blazes Gets Sick
Thursday, August 8, 2019.
When an earthquake strikes at the Great Wall of China, the team needs to get the tourists to safety amid aftershocks and crumbling, ancient masonry.
Meanwhile, Billy has the flu and won't step down for the good of the mission. The execution of this subplot seemed clumsy, especially considering this lesson had been taught on previous episodes and even the movie, except with grace and nuance.
The episode picks up in the second half though, with the team working together quickly to solve a problem, as well as a tense, last second escape.
Forrest hosts the closing vlog . . . As well as an unfortunate surprise for Reed.
Episode 11: The Maze!
Thursday, August 22, 2019.
When a group of explorers needs to be extracted from a booby trap laden temple, Sky must overcome her phobia of tight spaces to assist.
Sandy and Sky host the closing vlog.
While the lesson of the episode is a pretty standard one that can't be covered in a short form series like this, and while the mechanics in the temple do strain the limits of believability, even cartoon believability, this episode does contain some vibrant and mesmerizing imagery.
Where There's Smoke
Thursday, August 29, 2019.
Moving on from standard flash animation, the first stop motion animated episode ran about 2 minutes, contained no dialogue and was narrated by a child.
Real Rescue Heroes toys were incorporated with models and limited animation.
For a couple of shots the toys' faces were augmented by animation.
The civilians are portrayed by what appear to be repurposed Rescue Heroes prototype elements.
When an apartment building catches fire, the team must save them . . . as well as their cute pet animals. Naturally.
Episode 12: Rescue In The Desert
The last 2D animated episode of the season premiered on Thursday, September 5, 2019.
The team travels to the desert to save a group of extreme sportsmen. The flying teal truck seen in previous episodes is referred to as the QRV, a name used in the early days of the franchise back in 1998, that stood for Quick Response Vehicle. A newly revealed feature is the ability to detach the wings for use as a glider.
Reed hosted the closing vlog. While this episode featured some cool concepts and visuals, and while the moral was a good and realistic one, (encouraging quiet ones to speak up and contribute), the execution was ad nauseum and not fitting the situations, again insulting even some young viewers' understanding.
The very next day, Friday, September 6, 2019, came the second stop motion animated episode.
In it, Sky, Reed and Rocky must save a hiker who's been trapped by a rock.
Tuesday, September 10, 2019.
Rocky, Forrest and Sky rescue a stranded skier amidst an avalanche waiting to happen.
Race to the Oasis
Wednesday, September 18, 2019.
When two people get stranded in the desert, Rocky and Sandy borrow Forrest's ATV to get them to safety.
One civilian's head mold was repurposed from Billy Blazes, sans mustache.
The Leaning Tower!
Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
When an earthquake causes a building to fall to one side, the heroes must stabilize it and extract the inhabitants.
Tuesday, October 1, 2019.
A couple gets, well . . . shipwrecked.
Under the Sea!
Tuesday, October 8, 2019.
While on a routine underwater patrol, Sandy must enlist the help of Carlos to free a dolphin's trapped baby.
Tuesday, October 15, 2019.
While on holiday at the beach, Reed and Sandy take time to free an entangled sea turtle, after which the other vacationers are inspired to help them clean up the beach.
Tuesday, October 22, 2019.
Rocky and Carlos help an isolated village by installing solar panels to give them electricity.
In a commercial for the toys, the animated versions of the characters are also shown in a new snippet of animation.
Oil Clean Up
Tuesday, October 29, 2019.
Carlos invents an oil absorbing product just in time to help wildlife affected by an oil leak.
This apparently takes place some time before episode 9, The Iceberg and Oil Spill.
Dangling in Danger
Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
When Rocky and Sky need to save two stranded window washers, Sky learns the importance of knowing multiple skills, and one of the men learns that maybe he needs a different career.
There were definite high points this year, but a new downgrading influence had begun to creep in, which would become even more obvious in the episodes to come. The review for the next season can be found at the link below: