As you've probably noticed for the past six months, I really, really haven't got much time for blogging these days. (Without going into detail, my studies are very intense at the moment, so I've had to temporarily postpone pretty much all plans for this site.) But even so... how could I resist showcasing what I discovered this morning on the home page of DHX Media? The image has actually already been taken down by DHX (perhaps signaling that someone leaked it online a little too early?); but below, you can find picture proof in form of a screenshot from my computer, taken earlier tonight, of DHX's web site. (UPDATE: For more proof of the picture's source, you can also see it on its original image url from DHX Media. I elaborate a little on this at the end of the post.)
So what have we got here? A low-res image that - very briefly - served as the thumbnail for Inspector Gadget in the 'Shows' section of DHX's site. If you clicked on the image (like I tried), you would simply be taken to the standard presentation of the Inspector Gadget series, complete with a video of the 1983 intro... so there's no way to tell for certain that the temporary thumbnail picture was a preview of the new series. But thinking logically, what other reasons could the image have for being there? It looks nothing like the standard, crappily drawn promotional art for the original series - and more to the point, it's not even drawn! My theory: This was a subtly placed teaser for the new Gadget series, as well as the first reveal of the animation technique. Judging by this image, the new series will be CGI.
I'm also half-way wondering if the placing of the thumbail picture on DHX's site was hinting at something more: That the upcoming series will be a revival of the original show, rather than a reimagining. I've mentioned this theory before, and if it's true, it might actually make sense that the thumbnail image simply linked to the basic description of the old series... because this basic description will perhaps also apply to the new series. The image above is certainly giving me a very classic vibe.
In fact, even if I'm not 100% sure how well CGI will work, I think Gadget's design looks pretty charming. (In terms of charm and appeal, it's certainly miles ahead of anything seen in the 2005 horrendous direct-to-video CGI feature, Inspector Gadget's Biggest Caper Ever.) Gadget seems a bit simplified and streamlined compared to his 1983 design - the chin and ears are more rounded, for instance - but overall I love seeing how close this is to the Inspector's vintage appearance. Also, without knowing anything about how this design will move in animation, I'd say he seems fairly elastic and expressive.
Again, though, I have to stress that much of this is speculation on my part. The only thing I know for a fact is that, earlier today, what looks like a CGI-rendered image of Inspector Gadget was being used as a thumbnail in DHX Media's 'Shows' site. Sometimes during the past few hours (yes, really - you'll just have to take my word for that), the image was taken down and replaced with a piece of standard promotional art for the 1983 series. Everything beyond that is open to interpretation...
UPDATE (May 10): Through some creative Googling, I actually managed to find the original image url to the picture! Even though DHX removed it from their 'Shows' thumbnail section, the picture is still located in the same parent directory on dhxmedia.com. So click here for further proof that this image does indeed come directly from DHX Media! The image file is dated March 26, 2013 in DHX's parent directory (scroll down alphabetically to "thumb_inspector_gadget.png" to find it)... though I'm pretty sure it wasn't used as a thumbnail on the 'Shows' site until fairly recently. But it's interesting that this CGI image of Gadget is apparently many weeks old already.