Danny Phantom is an American superhero animated 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.
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.
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, Jazz (short for Jasmine). 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) which, when plugged in, failed to work. Once inside, he inadvertently presses the "On" button (which his parents 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 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.
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 dad'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 (and any other 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|
|Danny Phantom episodes">1||20||April 3, 2004||June 17, 2005|
|Danny Phantom episodes">2||17||June 24, 2005||June 9, 2006|
|Danny Phantom episodes">3||12||October 9, 2006||August 24, 2007|
|DVD name||Release date||Ep#||Title|
|Nick Picks Vol. 1||May 24, 2005||1x07||"Bitter Reunions"|
|Nick Picks Vol. 2||October 18, 2005||1x05||"Splitting Images"|
|Nick Picks Vol. 3||February 7, 2006||1x15||"Fright Night"|
|Nick Picks Vol. 4||June 6, 2006||1x12||"Teacher of the Year"|
|Nick Picks Holiday||September 26, 2006||2x11||"The Fright Before Christmas"|
|Nick Picks Vol. 5||March 13, 2007||1x11||"Fanning the Flames"|
|Nick Picks Vol. 6||N/A||2x02||"Doctor's Disorders"|
Nickelodeon and Amazon.com teamed up to release Danny Phantom and other Nick shows on manufacture-on-demand DVD-R discs available exclusively through Amazon.com's CreateSpace arm. Amazon made the discs, cover art and disc art, and released Danny Phantom Season One and Two on September 16, 2008. Despite its claim, older copies of each set only contains thirteen episodes each, the first set including the first thirteen episodes and the second set continuing with the next thirteen.
The third Danny Phantom DVD was released on June 9, 2009. This set contains the entirety of Season Three, rather than the previous thirteen episode sets, skipping over the rest of Season Two. Later editions of the first two seasons contained the entire first and second seasons of Danny Phantom and were released in November 2009.
|DVD name||Release date||Discs||Danny Phantom episodes">Episodes|
|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|
On March 22, 2011, it was announced that Shout! Factory had secured the home video rights to the series from Nickelodeon. They released Season 1 in a 4-disc set on September 13, 2011. Season 2: Part 1 was released in a 2-disc set on April 3, 2012. Season 2: Part 2 was released on August 28, 2012.
|DVD name||Release date||Discs||Danny Phantom episodes">Episodes|
|Season 1||September 13, 2011||4||20|
|Season 2: Part 1
Season 2: Part 2
|April 3, 2012
August 28, 2012
|Ghost Hunter||October 7, 2014||1||5|
|The Final Season||October 14, 2014||2||12|
|The Complete Series||January 28, 2014||9||53|
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 plays one of the main heroes in the Nicktoons Unite!"> Nicktoons Unite! series, appearing in all four games across multiple platforms, Nicktoons Unite!"> Nicktoons Unite!, Nicktoons: Battle for Volcano Island, Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots, and SpongeBob SquarePants featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom"> SpongeBob SquarePants featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom.
Danny and other characters have also been featured in other Nickelodeon crossover video games: Nicktoons MLB"> Nicktoons MLB, Nicktoons: Summer Camp, Nicktoons Basketball"> Nicktoons Basketball for the PC, and Nicktoons Movin' Eyetoy for the (PlayStation 2). He is a playable character in the kart racer Nicktoons Winners Cup Racing"> Nicktoons Winners Cup Racing (PC) and the latter Nicktoons Nitro"> Nicktoons Nitro developed by Raw Thrills for the arcade. Nicktoons: Freeze Frame Frenzy for the (Game Boy Advance), and Nicktoons: Android Invasion (LeapFrog Didj).
Little official merchandise has been produced for Danny Phantom; however, Viacom licensed a line of Burger King toys for the show in 2005, and an official Nicktoons action figure of Danny Phantom was also licensed. 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"> Nickelodeon Magazine, including original comics "Brat's Entertainment!" (featuring Youngblood) and "Seeing Red" (featuring Undergrowth).
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."
|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|||
As Hartman has noted on YouTube, Danny Phantom was one of the first animated television shows to demonstrate narrative complexity, incorporating elements of both serialized and episodic storytelling, and has inspired writers of later critically-acclaimed animated television shows to do the same. According to Hartman,
...you'd watch one episode of Danny Phantom, no problem; it made sense... but, if you watch all the episodes of Danny Phantom in order, they're all connected in some way. Each episode ties into the next, because we're always constantly building the story, the characters, and the world as the show goes on, and that was unique back then... Danny Phantom really paved the way for a lot more serialized cartoons [such as Avatar: The Last Airbender] to come out after it.
Hartman notes that "Danny Phantom was one of the first [animated] shows ever that told its stories in 22 minutes." This broke from a trend used by many other cartoons at the time (such as Hartman's previous show, The Fairly OddParents), which told two 11-minute stories separated by a commercial break.
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.
The score to Danny Phantom, composed by Guy Moon, has left a lasting legacy. 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.
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 characters over the last 10 years. In May 2017, Hartman released a second video containing more concept art for characters from the show 10 years later. In January 2018, Hartman released a third video containing more concept art for ghost characters from the show 10 years later; in this video, Hartman said that he would be open to buying the Danny Phantom rights back from Nickelodeon. Hartman also stated that if this third video receives over 50,000 likes, then he will make a fourth video.
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.
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"> Nickelodeon Animation Podcast by host Hector Navarro and was met with positive responses from the main cast members.
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.”
When Hartman announced his departure from Nickelodeon, he announced he was working on numerous projects, including an original animated series, Elf Detective. This series could be the aforementioned spiritual successor series to Danny Phantom, though Hartman also announced he was working on a project with Pocket.watch.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Danny Phantom|