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Danny Phantom is an American superhero animated television series created by Butch Hartman for Nickelodeon. It was produced by Billionfold Studios and distributed in Canada by Nelvana, a Canadian animation company. The series follows a teenage boy who, after an accident with an unpredictable portal between the human world and the "Ghost Zone", becomes a human-ghost hybrid and takes on the task of saving his town (and the world) from subsequent ghost attacks using an evolving variety of supernatural powers. He is aided in his quest by his two best friends, and later, his older sister, who for most of the series' run are among the only people who know of his double life.
|Genre||Action and Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction|
|Created by||Butch Hartman|
|Developed by||Steve Marmel|
Rickey D'Shon Collins
|Theme music composer||Guy Moon and Butch Hartman|
|Opening theme||"Danny Phantom", performed by Deric Battiste and Guy Moon|
|Ending theme||"Danny Phantom" (instrumental)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||53 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Butch Hartman|
Steve Marmel (season 1-2)
Marty Isenberg (season 1-2)
Kevin Sullivan (season 3)
|Producer(s)||Bob Boyle (season 1)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Billionfold Inc.|
Nickelodeon Animation Studios
|Distributor||Viacom International Inc (International)|
|Picture format||480i (4:3 SDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||April 3, 2004 –|
August 24, 2007
The series premiered on April 3, 2004 at 9:30 p.m. with its first episode airing after the 2004 Kids' Choice Awards, and ended on August 24, 2007, totaling 53 episodes over the course of three seasons. With five Annie Award nominations, Danny Phantom has received critical and audience acclaim, with praise primarily directed at its ensemble cast and comic book-influenced themes and storyline. Hartman himself has noted that the series is arguably his most popular and acclaimed work, despite its relatively short production life compared to The Fairly OddParents. Danny Phantom has spawned video games, home video releases, toys, and various other merchandise. After the show ended, reruns continued to air on Nicktoons until December 25, 2016, and returned to premiere on NickSplat for the first time on January 16, 2019.
Danny Phantom centers on the life and adventures of Daniel "Danny" Fenton, a 14-year-old boy living in the small town of Amity Park. He lives with his ghost-hunting parents, Maddie and Jack, and his overprotective but caring 16-year-old sister, Jasmine ("Jazz" for short). Upon pressure from his two best friends, Samantha "Sam" Manson and Tucker Foley, Danny decides to explore the Ghost Portal created by his parents in their attempt to bridge the real world and the Ghost Zone (the parallel universe in which ghosts reside), that when plugged in, failed to work. Once inside, he inadvertently presses the "On" button (which his parents naively failed to do), thus activating the Portal and infusing his DNA with ectoplasm, transforming him into a half-ghost.
Danny, who calls himself "Danny Phantom" in ghost form, develops the ability to fly, to become invisible, to become intangible, and to "overshadow" (possess and control) people after first learning how to switch back and forth at will between his ghost and human forms. Over time, he develops much stronger abilities, such as his Ghost Ray (a concentrated blast of energy he fires from his hand), his Ghostly Wail (an intensely powerful scream with sonic capabilities that knocks back anything caught in its path), and even cryokinesis. Danny is initially frightened by his new abilities and has little control over them, but he soon learns to use them to protect his town from malevolent ghosts. Danny turns to the life of a superhero, using his powers to rid his hometown from the various ghosts who begin to plague it and are almost always brought into the world thanks to the sporadic activation of the Fentons' Ghost Portal. Sam, Tucker, and Jazz are Danny's primary allies in his ghost-fighting activities, and help him keep his ghost-half a secret.
Danny's ghost form is a polarization of what he looked like when he first entered the Ghost Portal. When he "goes ghost", his black hair turns white, his blue eyes turn green, and the black-and-white jumpsuit he was wearing during the accident appears in negative color, with the originally white areas of the suit appearing black, and vice versa. In the premiere episode of season two, a ghost grants Sam's inadvertent wish that she and Danny had never met; in consequence, Danny loses his ghost powers, as Sam had primarily been the one to persuade Danny to investigate the Portal in the first place, which led to the accident. Sam then persuades the now fully human Danny to regain his powers by re-enacting the accident. This time, before Danny enters the Portal, Sam replaces the logo of his father's face on the jumpsuit, which she also had removed the first time (if she hadn't, it would have been part of Danny's ghost form), with her newly designed "DP" fused-letter logo on the chest so that it appears when he goes ghost from then on.
Danny faces threats of many kinds, including vengeful ghost hunter Valerie Gray who, for a short period of time, becomes his love interest, an enemy half-ghost Vlad Masters, an old college friend of his father's and considered to be Danny's true arch-rival, and even his own parents who, as ghost hunters, view Danny Phantom (as they would and do to any ghosts) as a menace to society. In addition, Danny tries to keep his secret safe from his classmates, teachers, and family. Throughout the series, Danny slowly realizes his own potential and purpose, while both worlds slowly begin to accept him as their defender.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||20||April 3, 2004||June 17, 2005|
|2||20||June 24, 2005||June 9, 2006|
|3||13||October 9, 2006||August 24, 2007|
- Daniel "Danny" Fenton / Danny Phantom (voiced by David Kaufman) is the series' titular protagonist. Danny is a 14 (later 15)-year-old boy who gains ghost powers in a lab accident when he steps into and activates his parents' Ghost Portal. Now half-ghost, he chooses to use his powers to fight against malevolent ghosts who have begun to regularly escape the mysterious Ghost Zone and plague his hometown of Amity Park. A rather unpopular student in high school along with his friends, Danny also faces the typical hardships of a teenager, but with the additional challenges of protecting Amity Park from frequent ghost attacks, learning to control his ghost powers, and maintaining his secret identity as "Danny Phantom." An ongoing story arc is his struggle to use his powers for the benefit of others rather than abuse them for his own needs, though he ultimately makes the right decision with the help of his friends. Despite frequently struggling with self-confidence, Danny values his altruism and comes to appreciate his own self-worth.
- Samantha "Sam" Manson (voiced by Grey DeLisle) is Danny's female best friend and eventually girlfriend at the end of the series; she is also responsible for the accident in which Danny gains his powers. She is a self-proclaimed Goth who is also a practitioner of a dramatized form of vegetarianism called "Ultra Recyclo-Vegetarianism" (often generalized as "not eating anything that had a face") and is an amateur activist, often protesting about environmental issues and animal rights. At first, she is Danny's closest friend; however, her feelings for Danny strengthen over time. She eventually falls in love with him but cannot bring herself to tell him for fear of ruining their friendship. Her patience pays off, as Danny secretly falls in love with her as well; they ultimately share their true feelings with each other and become a couple.
- Tucker Foley (voiced by Rickey D'Shon Collins) is Danny's male best friend, a nerd who is obsessed with technology and carries a PDA at all times. When not obsessing over gadgets, he obsesses over girls. Like Sam, he shares in Danny's secret and often helps battle ghosts and send them back into the Ghost Zone. He generally provides comic relief. Tucker's gadgets are sometimes redundant but work well in the Ghost Zone or against ghosts. Tucker and Sam frequently handle the toils and triumphs of aiding Danny, especially when he's "going ghost."
- Jasmine "Jazz" Fenton (voiced by Colleen Villard) is Danny's somewhat overprotective but loving older sister, an intelligent and highly sociable overachiever who considers herself an adult. Jazz views her parents' obsession with ghosts as a sign of needing psychological help. She eventually learns about Danny's powers, but chooses not to reveal her knowledge until he is ready to talk about them with her.
- Jack Fenton (voiced by Rob Paulsen) is Danny and Jazz's father and Maddie's husband. Jack expresses an obsession with destroying ghosts, blindly holding the belief that all ghosts are evil and must be destroyed, including Danny Phantom. He is generally incompetent in nature, but can be an effective fighter when provoked. Jack cares about his family but does not know about Danny's powers. He is almost never seen without his orange jumpsuit.
- Maddie Fenton (voiced by Kath Soucie) is Danny and Jazz's mother and Jack's wife. She is a gifted genius and dedicated hunter of ghosts, though she usually aims to dissect and study them rather than destroy them. A ninth-degree black belt, she is an excellent, competent fighter from whom Danny probably inherited his own talent for combat. Like her husband, she does not know about Danny's powers and is almost never seen without her blue jumpsuit.
- Vlad Plasmius (voiced by Martin Mull) is Danny's nemesis throughout the series. Vlad had attended college at the University of Wisconsin–Madison with Jack and Maddie until Jack's prototype Ghost Portal beamed ecto-acne into Vlad's face, giving Vlad ghost powers and ruining his social life. Half-ghost for 20 years, Vlad has much more experience with his ghost powers than Danny. Vlad serves as the main antagonist throughout the entire series as he always tries to steal Maddie away from Jack and to persuade Danny to join his side and destroy his friends. He first appears in "Bitter Reunions."
The score to Danny Phantom was composed by Guy Moon. Hartman notes,
From the opening notes of the Danny Phantom theme song, you knew that was Danny Phantom. The end credit music is amazing; the music inside the show where Danny's fighting a ghost, or when a relationship gets really tender, and there's a tender moment, the music there is amazing, too. Plus, to top it all off, the amazing song by Ember, "Remember," was a great song. People just love that song and really responded to it really well. So, I think Danny Phantom didn't only have some of the best music in cartoons, but in all of television.
Moon supports his score (and theme song) with a prominent bassline and often explores the funk genre, especially in scene transitions. He typically features electric guitar in more action-packed moments, deep brass instruments in darker moments, and electric piano in more tender moments. His score also sometimes includes a theremin, which serves as a ghostly motif.
There have been two video games released for the series. Danny Phantom: The Ultimate Enemy (for the Game Boy Advance) was made to promote the then upcoming special "The Ultimate Enemy" with the main gameplay consisting of events from the TV movie. It is a 2D platformer and was released September 8, 2005. Danny Phantom: Urban Jungle for both the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS was to promote the Danny Phantom episode "Urban Jungle". It is loosely based on the episode and is strictly a shooter game. It was released September 19, 2006.
Danny is one of the main heroes in the Nicktoons Unite! series, appearing in all four games across multiple platforms, Nicktoons Unite!, Nicktoons: Battle for Volcano Island, Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots, and SpongeBob SquarePants featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom.
Danny Phantom and other characters and locations from the series have also been featured in other Nickelodeon crossover video games including: Nicktoons MLB, Nicktoons: Summer Camp, Nicktoons Basketball (PC), Nicktoons Movin' (PlayStation 2), Nicktoons Winners Cup Racing (PC), Nicktoons Nitro (Arcade), Nicktoons: Freeze Frame Frenzy (Game Boy Advance), Nickelodeon Super Brawl Universe (Android and iOS) and Nicktoons: Android Invasion (LeapFrog Didj).
In October 2005, Scholastic Corporation published a Nick Zone chapter book, Stage Fright, with an original Danny Phantom story written by Erica David and illustrated by Victoria Miller and Harry Moore. Danny Phantom also made several appearances in Nickelodeon Magazine, including original comics "Brat's Entertainment!" (featuring Youngblood) and "Seeing Red" (featuring Undergrowth).
Nick Picks releasesEdit
|DVD name||Release date||Episode||Ref|
|Nick Picks Vol. 1||May 24, 2005||"Bitter Reunions"|||
|Nick Picks Vol. 2||October 18, 2005||"Splitting Images"|||
|Nick Picks Vol. 3||February 7, 2006||"Fright Night"|||
|Nick Picks Vol. 4||June 6, 2006||"Teacher of the Year"|||
|Nick Picks Holiday||September 26, 2006||"The Fright Before Christmas"|||
|Nick Picks Vol. 5||March 13, 2007||"Fanning the Flames"|||
|DVD name||Release date||Discs||Episodes||Ref|
|Season 1||September 16, 2008||4||13 (early copies)
20 (later copies)
|Season 2||September 16, 2008||4||13 (early copies)
17 (later copies)
|Season 3||June 9, 2009||3||12|||
Shout! Factory releasesEdit
|DVD name||Release date||Discs||Episodes||Ref|
|Season 1||September 13, 2011||4||20|||
|Season 2: Part 1||April 3, 2012||2||9|||
|Season 2: Part 2||August 28, 2012||2||12|||
|Ghost Hunter||October 7, 2014||1||5|||
|The Final Season||October 14, 2014||2||12|||
|The Complete Series||January 28, 2014||9||53|||
|DVD name||Release date||Episode(s)||Ref|
|Classic Nickelodeon Halloween Specials||October 1, 2015||"Fright Night"|||
|A Very Nickelodeon Christmas||November 4, 2015||"The Fright Before Christmas"|||
|Out Of The Vault Rewind||April 20, 2018||"My Brother’s Keeper"; "Fanning The Flames"|||
|Keepin’ It Nick||August 28, 2018||"Mystery Meat"; "Parental Bonding"|||
In 2012, a company called Jazwares Toys released a 6-inch tall action figure of Danny Phantom as part of their Nicktoons toy line.
Danny Phantom was well received by both television critics and audiences. The series gathered a cult following. Many audiences have described the series as one of Butch Hartman's best shows, with Hartman acknowledging so as well and even referring to the show as a "cultural touchstone."
Sean Aitchison from CBR said “Danny Phantom might have a few elements that firmly place it in the 2000s, but the storytelling and design still feel fresh and fun in modern day. The show was full of action and humor, and the characters felt real and layered. If you're looking for an old Nickelodeon cartoon to rewatch, Danny Phantom should be on your list.” Eric McInnis writing for Study Breaks Magazine said, “The show offered fun comedy, memorable characters, and fantastic character designs for the enemies Danny had to fight in each episode.” Joly Herman of Common Sense Media wrote more negatively of Danny Phantom, saying that, “This cartoon can be funny, and the characters are unique. But, as is the case with so many contemporary cartoons, the rush to violence overshadows the good aspects of the series. Death threats, torture, knives, and violence against women are commonplace. There's no opportunity to work things out. Danny is either a coward or a hero -- there's no in between. He either fights or perishes, which is a heavy choice for a sensitive guy.”
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2004||BMI Film/TV Awards||BMI Cable Award||Butch Hartman
|2006||Annie Awards||Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production for "Identity Crisis"||Ben Balistreri||Nominated|||
|2007||Annie Awards||Character Design in an Animated Television Production for "King Tuck"||Ben Balistreri||Nominated|||
|Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production for "Urban Jungle"||Ben Balistreri||Nominated|||
|Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production for "Reality Trip"||Shaunt Nigoghossian||Nominated|||
|2008||Annie Awards||Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production for "Torrent of Terror"||Ben Balistreri||Nominated|||
Appeal to older audiencesEdit
Danny Phantom features a teenage protagonist and his experiences in high school, a setting rarely explored in previous animated television shows. As a result, the show has appealed to a wide demographic, attracting young children curious about the high school experience, teenagers who know it all too well, and even adults who watch the show with fond (or sometimes not-so-fond) memories of their own adolescence. Hartman notes,
A lot of shows centered around kids in elementary school, kids in preschool, but not a lot centered around a high school, and I think a lot of kids in their teenage years, when they first encountered Danny Phantom, really responded to it really well, because Danny was going through the same things that they were going through: dealing with girls, dealing with boys, the high school dance, bullies... I think that's really why Danny Phantom resonated with a lot of kids and why it still resonates with a lot of teenagers today.
Older audiences have also praised the show for addressing "more mature themes" in a manner appropriate and impactful for younger viewers.
New content and possible revivalEdit
"10 Years Later" and "College Years" concept artEdit
For years following the series' end, Hartman has teased fans of Danny Phantom of a possible sequel or reboot of the franchise. In August 2016, on YouTube, Hartman released concept artwork for a potential revival while alluding to ideas about what has happened to the main characters in the last 10 years. Two more 10 Years Later videos were also published. Hartman also created concept art for Danny Phantom: The College Years, which showed concept art for Danny and his friends in college.
"The Fairly Odd Phantom"Edit
On February 21, 2017, Nickelodeon released an online animated Danny Phantom short, "The Fairly Odd Phantom," a crossover featuring characters from The Fairly OddParents, T.U.F.F. Puppy, and Bunsen Is a Beast. The short was well received by audiences and amassed over 1 million views on YouTube alone within a week of its release. Following the success of the short, Hartman released an exclusive crossover comic, "Fairly Odd Phantom," based on the short at San Diego Comic-Con 2017.
Possible live-action film or new animated seriesEdit
On May 10, 2018, on his Speech Bubble podcast with David Kaufman and Colleen O'Shaughnessey, Hartman confirmed that although a Danny Phantom live-action film script (with no confirmation regarding its production status) has been written for Nickelodeon, fans have continued to express greater enthusiasm for a new animated series. It's unknown if it'll be for a Nickelodeon TV movie or Nickelodeon Movies.
We really want to do more Danny Phantom, obviously. We even wrote a Nickelodeon live-action script, and we were gonna do a movie... but people really want to see a new animated series, they really do. And I've been really wanting to do one for a long time, and I think it'd be a lot of fun, wouldn't it? The thing is, Nickelodeon owns the rights.
Love for the series has also sparked a social media campaign, "#GoGhostAgain," dedicated to bringing back the series after its ten-year cancellation. In May 2016, Nickelodeon Animation uploaded the Danny Phantom theme song to YouTube and dedicated the song to this campaign via Twitter. In February 2017, this campaign was mentioned on the Nickelodeon Animation Podcast by host Hector Navarro and was well received by the main cast members.
Spiritual successor seriesEdit
On July 20, 2017, Butch Hartman announced that he was working on a Danny Phantom-like show for YouTube. The release date for this series, which will serve as a spiritual successor to Danny Phantom, remains unknown. Hartman stated, "I'm working on a series right now that will only be available on YouTube." Hartman also revealed, "It’s going to be a little bit of anime, a little bit in the Danny Phantom range. It won’t be Danny Phantom, of course, but it will be a show like that. It’s still a ways away and we’re putting the pieces together, but the Butch Hartman channel is going to be where I’m bringing more of my series."
On February 26, 2018, Rob Orpilla, also known as the Kurotheartist, who collaborated with Hartman on numerous occasions as an animator, announced and confirmed that the successor is entitled ImagiNathan, which holds the same title of an unrelated pilot Hartman created for The Noog Network. Orpilla will serve as a designer and animator for both ImagiNathan and Elf Detective. While the fate of the latter as either a pitch or a web-based project remains undetermined, Butch Hartman confirms that ImagiNathan will be web-based made specifically for Oaxis Entertainment.
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