The Raccoons is a curious little series from the 1980’s. At the time cartoons with moral examples had started to become popular at the time, focusing on teaching kids to share and be nice while also hoping to spin off a toy range on the characters. This series didn’t have much of a merchandising range itself but is still fondly remembered by many.
The series started in 1980, as a Christmas Special called “The Christmas Raccoons”. Things were somewhat different in the first special, the Raccoons themselves almost secondary characters though the basic idea was there. When the 1981 special “Raccoons On Ice” rolled round the focus had shifted to the Raccoons and their friends and they were given an added boost of personality. They would return 2 years later with the feature length special “Raccoons and the Lost Star”, which took the odd direction of having all the forest characters living on a different planet. The storyline for this special is more action-packed and the last of the cast is introduced. One more special was produced before the series called “Raccoons: Let’s Dance!”, though this was more of a clip show, set as music videos to the songs from the specials.
The series began in 1985 and finally set down firm rules about who the characters were. The Raccoons home was now a Tree formed as a house, rather than just a tree that happened to have homely objects inside. Ralph and Melissa were now the voices of reason with the odd flight of fancy and Cedric and Bert had become best friends and now had a good balance of young and old attitudes to make their actions believable. The 3 pigs from Lost Star became Cyril’s henchmen and general comic relief.
Amazingly the character that evolved most in the series run is Cyril Sneer. From the early episodes of the series, he’s still a tycoon with malicious intent. Trying to claim land for several things and generally not bothered about anyone’s feelings on that matter. During the series this is toned down, he becomes more of a competitive business man with the occasional nice moment between grumbles. It’s also established that, despite Cyril’s domineering attitude that he does try to be a good father to Cedric. Even the pigs have likeable moments at times despite their scheming and bumbling. In this respect “The Raccoons” is a series that, instead of making the designated villain a bad person who hates the very idea of being good, makes the villains believable human characters
All in all the Raccoons is a nice slice of life series that while never too thrilling is a nice feel good show to watch. With added nostalgia factor due to its 80’s new wave soundtrack.