Danny Phantom, on Nickelodeon
Amazon; CBS All Access; Hulu; IMDb; Nickipedia; Nicktoons; Retro Junk; Shout! Factory; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia
For more links see cartoon links.
So there's this 14-year-old kid named Danny Fenton, whose parents, Jack and Maddie, are these scientists who are obsessed with catching ghosts, but they never have much luck with their inventions (at least early on). Jack is particularly goofy, oblivious, seems kinda dumb, and totally single-minded. But it eventually becomes apparent that his inventions are actually pretty great. Anyway, one day Danny was checking out this Ghost Portal his parents created, which led to the Ghost Zone. An accident in the portal gave him the power to turn into a ghost at will, and he uses his various ghostly powers to detect and fight evil ghosts who come through the portal. He traps them in one of his parents' inventions, the Fenton Thermos, then sends them back to the Ghost Zone. The only ones who share Danny's secret are his friends Tucker Foley (a techno geek) and Samantha Manson (a vegetarian goth), though Danny's older sister Jazz learns the secret about halfway through the first season. She doesn't let him know she knows, however, till a ways into the second season.
The show takes place in a town called Amity Park, and the kids go to Casper High. There's a teacher with whom Danny often gets in trouble, Mr. Lancer. There are also jocks who don't get along with Danny, including Dash (who particularly likes to wail on him) and Kwan. There's also a popular, stuck up girl named Paulina, who Danny has a crush on, though we occasionally see a certain degree of potential chemistry between Danny and Sam. Anyway, Paulina's not interested in him, though she does like Danny Phantom. (Though I should mention that in his ghostly form, people around town call him either Inviso-Bill or simply "the ghost boy" for quite awhile, much to his annoyance.) Another problem is that even though Danny is always protecting Amity Park from ghosts, for some time everyone seemed to think he was a bad guy, including his ghost-hunting parents, who have no idea the ghost boy is really their son. You'd think the name "Danny Phantom" would be close enough to "Danny Fenton" to be a dead giveaway, but whatev. Suspension of disbelief is fun!
There are various recurring ghosts Danny has to fight, such as the Box Ghost, the Lunch Lady, Technus, Skulker, Ember, Desiree, etc. But his arch nemesis is Vlad Masters, an old friend of Jack and Maddie's... who actually can't stand Jack, and has always wanted to have Maddie for himself. Anyway, like 20 years ago, Vlad acquired half-ghost powers like Danny's, so he's had lots of time to learn to use his powers and grow stronger. In his ghost form, he's called Plasmius. He has his own Ghost Portal and various ghost-related inventions.
In one episode, a girl at school named Valerie Gray has some troubles which she believes were caused by ghosts- specifically, Danny Phantom. Then she receives a package containing ghost-hunting technology, which was secretly sent to her by Vlad Masters. So she'll become another great nemesis to Danny. Other humans who will occasionally give Danny trouble are various professional ghost hunters, including members of a secret government organization called the Guys in White; and a Goth circus ringmaster named Freakshow, who controls a few ghosts.
In the first episode of season two, for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, Danny aquires a DP emblem on the suit he wears in his ghost form. I just mention this because I think it's cool, especially how the new design even got worked into the opening theme from then on. Anyway, later in the season, there's a TV movie (actually just an hourlong episode) called Reign Storm. And not long after that, there's another hourlong episode called The Ultimate Enemy. And the season ends with yet another hourlong episode, called Reality Trip. As for season 3, I somehow missed all but two episodes, and both were billed as specials. The first of these was Urban Jungle, which aired in the middle of the season (or it was set in the middle of the season, but aired before it, which was just stupid, since things happened in episodes that aired later that are important to know before seeing that episode). But anyway, as it was only a half hour, I won't include it on my specials page. But it was a pretty cool episode. The other was the hourlong Phantom Planet, which served as the the series finale, at the end of season three. For reviews of all the hourlong specials, see my Danny Phantom specials page. They were all cool, and important stuff happened. But I really wish I'd seen all of season 3, for some of the important story developments it contained. Ah well, maybe someday....
Anyway, what else can I say? It's a reasonably fun and amusing show, and I kinda like the theme song. And I think all the characters are really kinda interesting and stuff. I like to say the show is a mix of intentionally cheesy humor and slightly serious storytelling. And, um, I dunno, I feel like there's more I should say, but I can't think what.