Review: The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers Season 1

When I was growing up, The Mighty Ducks was one of my favourite films and all I ever wanted was a Mighty Ducks jersey of my very own. I held the original movie in the same regard as something like Return of the Jedi so when The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers was officially announced with Emilio Estevez returning, to say I was excited would be a little bit of an understatement.

The show follows a newly formed hockey team called the Don’t Bothers coached by Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls) as a way to give her son a way to play the sport he loves after he was dropped from The Mighty Ducks. Oh yes, the Mighty Ducks are the bad guys now… Along the way, the Don’t Bothers bond to become a formidable force in the hockey league and with the help of the original coach of the Ducks, Gordon Bombay, the stage is set for an epic confrontation that’s bound to reshape the entire hockey division going forward.

On paper that sounds amazing, in practice a little less so. Now, while I loved this show from the opening shot I can admit some flaws within. In particular with the slightly rushed feel you get in the last episode and I really think extending the seasons run to just one more episode could have done it the world of good.

Like the original film and it’s sequels though, despite the terrific performances by Emilio Estevez and Lauren Graham, a lot of the weight of this show falls on the shoulders of the young actors who make up the Don’t Bother team. To my surprise, every single one of them does a really good job and I didn’t hate any them and coming from someone who normally despises children (not just on my TV screen) I found this to be an absolute win for the show.

In particular I’d like to highlight the work from Brady Noon and Swayam Bhatia who do an amazing job throughout however I feel a special mention has to go to the work of Maxwell Simkins who absolutely steals every scene that he’s in. The kid’s timing and delivery are amazing and I think that The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers may have unwittingly given birth to a future comedy genius. On more that one occasion, this kid’s delivery had me laughing my ass off on my couch. I get the feeling that Maxwell Simkins has a bright future ahead of him.

Much like Cobra Kai before it, Game Changers honours the source material while breathing new life into a long forgotten franchise and while I think Cobra Kai is one of the greatest TV shows ever made, I got everything I could have ever wanted from Game Changers with the exception of one little thing. In the 6th episode of the season, we’re reintroduced to some of the original Mighty Ducks and it was an amazing way to pay homage to that original team, the absence of Joshua Jackson as Charlie Conway was definitely noticed. Hopefully we’ll get to see the original Ducks back again next season with Charlie.

Put simply, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changes is a well made, well written and well acted sequel to the original trilogy of films. It has the same feelgood, underdog spirit that helped make those original films such iconic pieces of 90’s pop culture. The show is a beautiful love letter to those who came before it and is bound to open the door for an entire generation to fall in love with what I did over 25 years ago. I think we can safely say, the Quack Attack is back.

by Edward Laing