Nickelodeon (Fri., May 7, 8 p.m. ET)
Some folks (count me in) can’t get enough of the delightful SpongeBob SquarePants, but Nickelodeon also offers other kid-pleasers. Its second-biggest hit is The Fairly OddParents, a more frenetic series concerning a boy whose goldfish are fairy godparents in disguise. And now Odd-Parents creator Butch Hartman has a lively new entry: Danny Phantom, the story of a high school freshman who develops spectral superpowers after an ill-conceived lab experiment by his mother and father, a pair of inept ghost hunters with no more of a clue than the average cartoon parents.
Though it’s too busy and noisy for my taste—”WHAM!” and “BOOM!” flash onscreen, Batman style, during a couple of the fight scenes—the show finds humor in teen social anxiety as Danny tries to fit in at school while leading his secret life as a ghostbuster. Think of it as a cartoon cousin of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a younger crowd. The May 7 episode, the best so far, introduces archvillain Vlad (voiced by Martin Mull), a Badger State billionaire who hates Danny’s dad and loves the Green Bay Packers.
The May 7 Danny airs at 9 p.m. ET, a half hour later than usual, to accommodate The Jimmy/Timmy Power Hour, a whizbang special in which young Timmy Turner from OddParents trades places with the boy genius from Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron. Suddenly Timmy finds himself in an animated world that looks three-dimensional, while science wizard Jimmy (he of the hair style that looks like a Hershey’s kiss) is transported to Timmy’s flat, very ‘toony town of Dimmsdale. The plot is too complicated for the adult brain to assimilate, but Power Hour is a blast of creativity.