The first episode of Mighty Ducks: Game Changers hit Disney+ on Friday morning and it is my great joy and relief to report that it is good.
The show starts with exposition by way of the No. 2 youth hockey podcast in southeastern Minnesota. It's the first practice of the season for the Mighty Ducks, who we will quickly learn are the bad guys now. They jump right into the evils of specialized youth sports and away we go. Parents have special trainers and college counselors for preteens. By season four they'll have Matthew Modine getting them sailing scholarships.
Within minutes Reilly from Letterkenny (who may be the son of Coach Reilly from the original movie) cuts our main kid Evan Marrow and his mom, played by Lauren Graham, and she declares that she will start her own team. While Evan puts together a team made up of 2021 tropes like podcaster, gamer, new kid in town, kid who skateboards into vending machines, etc., mom finds a rink to practice at and could it be? Is that!? It is! That's Gordon Bombay!
As a shameless Millennial, having Bombay explain the world works just feels right. And if getting Emilio Estevez back on screen is the only reason this show exists, that's fine. I will happily watch that man chew scenery and/or cake for however many episodes this lasts.
The show is self-aware and has some good one-liners. I can't imagine how this gang of ragtag underdogs will be able to improve enough to win games in this serious league, let alone be competitive, but that's without considering the Disney-fied Gordon Bombay magic. I'm sure these kids will be passing eggs back and forth on the ice before we know it.
Through one episode, it's just an enjoyable show. In the days or weeks or months leading up to the show actually hitting Disney+, I often (yes, often) wondered who the audience of the show was. Children? Young sports fans? Adults who grew up with the Mighty Ducks? I think the answer might be anyone. There's nostalgia, but you don't need the backstory. They lay it out pretty clearly in the first episode.
Does that mean I'm not looking forward to the reunion later in the series? No. I am completely looking forward to seeing the adult versions of those characters back in my life. Have some of them aged less than Emilio Estevez? Probably, but I am in a good mental state and prepared to deal with that.
Speaking of being a well-adjusted adult, it was also a relief to see that all the episodes did not "drop" at once. I stand no chance at reviewing 10 hours of television in a timely manner. I promise to not whine about how long it's taking between episodes like some Star Wars dork. It's nice to have something to look forward to every week. Even if it's a television show aimed at a preteen audience.