You won't believe how many times I hear people yelling; "The show sucks! It's nothing like the games!" And that makes me a little sad, to be honest. Nelvana still did their best and I can see how much attention to detail they paid. The DKC TV show, while by no means perfect, is still enjoyable and the few things that were changed, were changed with reason.
1. K. Rool's cape and tail
In the show, the King himself lacks a tail and has an extremely short cape that bears resemblance to a tiny napkin.
Why is this?
As you can see with Klump here, his tail's as stiff as a plank. This was because back then, it was virtually impossible to animate tails, apparently. Because Klump doesn't lay down very often, it's not that bad. But K. Rool jumps and scurries all over the place, and all his expressive mannerisms and movements would certainly clash with a un-moving tail. For this same reason, Diddy Kong didn't have a moving tail until season 2. Why didn't the others get moving tails too, I hears ya ask? Monkey tails are much easier to animate than fat crocodile tails.
As for his cape, it was impossible to animate flowing cloth or hair back in 1998. That's why it's so crazily short, too.
2. That Wretched Crystal Coconut
In the TV show, K. Rool was after a mystical crystal coconut instead of the prized banana hoard. The thing could fulfill wishes, that's why.
Why is this?
I'm sorry, I don't have a fitting image. So have Diddy who is attempting to imitate a certain Sheldon.
It is virtually impossible for one or three guys to haul a massive pile of bananas from one isle to another in less than a day. If Nelvana hadn't changed the massive hoard to a small but prized bauble, it would surely take a lot of time each episode and really take away any suspense it might've had.
This series had a lot of songs. Twice per episode, at least. The only episode that didn't have them was Message in a Bottle Show.
Why is this?
The writers thought that adventures of a few apes would've been very boring if it was just DK and Diddy get the coconut stolen by K. Rool > DK and Diddy retrieve coconut, to say the least. The songs really add something, it just wouldn't be the same. (and as a fangirl speakin', I think Klump's singing voice is helluva sexy- I mean, awesome, of course! Don't look at me!)
4. Extra characters
The show had a few more characters than the games did. They were Bluster Kong, an annoying, stuck-up, pompous mommy's-boy, Eddie the Mean Ol' Yeti, a (you guessed it) mean old yeti from the mountains, Polly Roger the pirate parrot, and Kap'n Skurvy the awesomely kickass pirate Kremling (who ended up being Klump's brother, d'aww!)
Why is this?
There's a lot of people who seem to ask why they spent time and money to create a lot of new characters instead of spending that money on extra details. Well, I know why.
A lot of shows have character archetypes. Here goes, from the top of my head;
- The main guy. Dependable and trustworthy, but sometimes easily outwitted.
- The second in command. Always around with the main guy, trusts him more than whoever else. Personality is almost always parallel to the main guy.
- The cool dude. He's there to be just plain cool and be different. Often has many fans.
- The girl. Often gets into trouble but is most often the love interest of the main character.
- The similar-looking arch-nemesis. Is there to annoy the main guy, mostly also in love with the girl.
- The other girl. Does not appear as often, but is different from the first girl. Can be tomboyish or girly, depending on what the other is.
- The Big Bad. Frequently attempts taking over the world or steal something special, but fails dramatically and is often the coolest character in the show.
- The bad second in command. Is there to provide witty comments on the big bad's failures and whatever else. Can or cannot have depressive backstories.
- the OTHER Big Bad. Appears not as often, but is possibly just as evil and after the same stuff as the other dude. Contrasts the other and is like a total opposite.
- The pet. Can be any animal, but is mainly there to help either the good guys or the bad guys.
- The henchmen. Appear often and help the bad guys.
5. Lack of wildlife
Apart from the Kongs and Lizards, the series was devoid of animal life, much to the chagrin of the games' fans.
Why is this?
Oh shit, how did this end up here? WRONG IMAGERY! ABANDON SHIP!
Motion capture. (Source; Nelvana's web site.) When I read that, my mind was blown. Motion capture means people in a suit walk around and do stuff, to which that is translated into animation on the computer. Motion capture usage has been made famous by movies such as The Polar Express, James Cameron's Avatar, and Happy Feet. Primitive CGI animation for TV used this technique to save money, because animating it all from scratch would be very tiresome, time-consuming, and expensive. By season 2, they either got more accurate motion capture devices or they went to animating it by hand, seeing as the animation is so different.
Seeing as putting on a motion capture device to a bunch of animals would be hard to do and harmful to the animal, the series had no quadrupedal species, as opposed to the games.
Other 'fun' stuff
The show had influenced Donkey Kong 64 quite a bit on multiple aspects.
- Cranky was now sort of a mad scientist who worked with potions,
- crystal coconuts were made a collectible item,
- Klump returned as a common enemy,
- and Krusha appeared as a playable character in multiplayer.
And of course, I implement quite a bit of the show's elements into my fan art/fiction which are mainly about the games, such as the show's portrayal of the three main villains and Kaptain Skurvy. But that's just it, really.
And I'm DYING to own an action figure set of this show. Just sayin'.