Red Panda Adventures

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

An online Radio series from Decoder Ring Theatre, homaging the "mystery man" programs of the 1930s.

The Red Panda is "Canada's greatest Superhero", a mostly non-powered adventurer with a slew of gadgets fighting crime and villainy on the streets of Toronto. His secret identity is "one of the city's wealthiest men", whose chauffeur, Kit Baxter, joins him on his adventures as The Flying Squirrel.

The series can be both silly and serious by turns. It takes place during the Great Depression, and many episodes deal with the poverty of the time, whether it's crimes caused by it, the Red Panda's secret identity trying to use his money to help with it, or Kit's background on the streets growing up with it. It also plays with many Superhero tropes, especially those of The Golden Age of Comic Books. More recent episodes have gotten generally darker, as the series' timeline moves into World War II.

Several years before the modern Red Panda Adventures, a six-episode series was produced with a very different concept, featuring the Red Panda as a member of Canada's "Panda Squadron" during World War II. It was also much sillier, with characters like Baboon McSmoothie, Man of a Thousand Faces, and German von German's Nazi Ninjas. It can currently be found in the Decoder Ring Theater Vault.

Tropes used in Red Panda Adventures include:
  • Absent-Minded Professor: Doctor Chronopolis is one. Played for Drama when Dr. C is put out of action following "The Wild West" by what appears to be Alzheimer's.
  • Action Girl: Kit, despite being both the Sidekick and the Love Interest, is never the Damsel in Distress, and is capable of both making plans and kicking ass.
  • Alien Invasion: Red Panda has to deal with a magical version in "The Gathering Storm."
  • All Your Powers Combined: The titular character in the episode "The Crimson Death".
  • Alternate Continuity: The original "Panda Squadron" series.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Kit is one at the beginning of the series. Whether she still is up for debate.
    • Harry Kelly probably counts as well. As late as "All The King's Men", when he's been working for the Red Panda for years, he still practically squeals with excitement when the Flying Squirrel lets him set off a gas grenade.
  • Badass Grandpa: The Stranger. He's at least in his sixties, but you won't want to face him given the choice.
  • Badass in Distress: Red Panda in "Trial by Terror". He can't escape because the hostages would be killed, so instead he cracks jokes and prolongs the trial by applying to the judge's ego.
  • Badass Normal: Both main characters count. (Kit more so than the Panda, who has some kind of Psychic Powers.)
  • Bank Robbery: This is how the main characters met in "Secret Origins"
  • Battle Couple: The Terrific Twosome.
  • Berserk Button: Threaten one of the Terrific Twosome in front of the other one. It never ends well.
  • Beware the Superman: The reason given behind the Crimson Mask's orgin. But the character himself gave more grey reasons.
    • To be fair, with very few exceptions, being a Big Ham is a prerequisite for being a Red Panda villain.
  • Buffy-Speak:

Kit: Why, this guy's so slippery he's...
Red Panda: a very slippery thing that escapes you at the moment?

  • Bullying a Dragon: On one hand, stealing Professor Von Schlitz's machine probably gave the Allied forces of a parallel universe a fighting chance against their Nazi foes. On the other hand...the good doctor swears to make the city pay...dearly...
  • Burning Building Rescue: "Brimstone Alley" opened up with one of these.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Pretty much sums up The Red Panda's relationship with The Flying Squirrel, until "The Field Trip".
    • Also, Kit completely failing to tell the Red Panda that she's pregnant.
  • Catch Phrase: "...will answer to the Red Panda!" "The Red Panda swears it!"
    • "Kit Baxter, Behave Yourself..." "Yes Boss." (As well as "Yes Boss" on it's own)
    • A case might also be made for "Do you think ____________?" "I really do."/"I really don't."
    • Early on it was "Never explain your powers to the bad guys!"
    • "Interesting, you think?"
    • "It's kind of what I do."
    • "An interesting point..." Borders on Verbal Tic for Greg Taylor's characters.
  • Ceiling Cling: The Flying Squirrel loves doing this.
  • Centipede's Dilemma: The Red Panda in season 7, due to a case of amnesia.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Fenwick Industries and how Red Panda was able to convince them to help him out in "I Dream of Genies". Fenwick is his last name and he owns the company.
    • The File that Baboon McSmoothie bribed the Red Panda with in "The World Next Door" is used in "A Dish Best Served Cold".
    • The apparent throw-away gag of doctoring the Home Team personnel files so as to preserve the Terrific Twosome’s secret identities comes back to haunt the Flying Squirrel in “There Will Be Rain Tonight.”
  • Chekhov's Gunman: When Baboon McSmoothie appeared in the new series, the question of there being a Baboon McSmoothie in this universe is asked. In "Nightshade" we learn, due to a Mistaken for Spies moment we that there is a Brian McSweenie. It's only a matter of time before The Terrific Twosome meet him.
    • It finally happened in "Eyes of the Idol". Different name, same voice actor, same accent, same powers, definitely same attitude.
    • Fitzroy in "Sins of the Father" and Wentworth James in "I Dream of Genies"
    • The Red Panda Revenge Squad. First mentioned in "The World Next Door", they show up in "A Dish Best Served Cold"
  • Clear My Name: Red Panda has to worry about this in "Red Panda: Dead or Alive!" He later helps out Tom Tomorrow when he's framed in "Murder Wears A Mask"
  • Clockwork Creature: Captain Clockwork's minions of choice.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: The Red Panda's costume, homaging the many early non-powered heroes who used it. Although he breaks from tradition by wearing his oft-mentioned red gauntlets.
  • Colonel Badass: Colonel Fitzking (from the original universe), because it's gotta be hard to make it in the army in WWII as a large, genetically augmented, talking Golden Retriever. Also, his main-universe counterpart, Colonel Fitzroy, who is among other things the Red Panda's commanding officer, and is fully willing to shoot a nutjob in the head and call him a traitor and a saboteur later just to help the war effort.
  • Comic Book Time: Averted/Inverted. The passage of historical events is actually faster than real time, especially in recent seasons. Example: In the eighteen real-world months between the premieres of the episodes “Nightshade” and “There Will Be Rain Tonight”, we have gone from the Hindenburg disaster (May 6, 1937) to the Dieppe raid (August 19, 1942).
  • The Commissioner Gordon: The Red Panda started off being viewed as a criminal by the police, with Chief O'Mally reluctantly accepting help from him when villains or other weirdness targets the city. By the newest season, O'Mally trusts him more than his own men. They even lampshaded the irony of it.
  • Composite Character: Inverted Some of the characters from the Earth 2 Panda Adventures seem to be combinations of the regular universe ones, or vice versa, e.g. Earth 2's Flying Squirrel = RPA's Flying Squirrel + Harry Kelly.
  • Continuity Snarl: If Harry Kelly is the only junior agent and he was introduced after Officer Parker, who wasn't made an agent until the events of the Crime Cabal novel, which takes place after season 1, then who is the ten year old watching Finger's place in "The Deadliest Game"?
  • Costume Copycat: "Red Panda: Dead or Alive!"
  • Crossover: "The World Next Door", crossing over with the original universe. As well, the Decoder Ring Theater 2008 Christmas Special was set around a fictional crossover between Red Panda Adventures and Black Jack Justice, another Decoder Ring Theater series.
  • Crimefighting with Cash: The Flying Squirrel once pointed this out to The Red Panda and asked if he ever thought about the money he could make from it. He responded that compared to what he already has it doesn't seem worth it.
  • Cute Bruiser: The Flying Squirrel
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The Poet writes beautiful poems that are believed to be the most perfect form in the last hundred years. He uses them to taunt the Red Panda about his next caper.
  • Dating Catwoman: It's been hinted that the Red Panda and Professor Zombie had this kind of relationship before the start of the series.
  • A Day in the Limelight: This is how the listeners met Harry Kelly in "When Darkness Falls"
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Red Panda and the Flying Squirrel are big on this. Dr. Chronopolis even gets into the act in "Merlin's Tomb".
  • Death Is Cheap/ No One Could Survive That: Lost in time, buildings dropped on them, blown up, and other things that this troper can't even remember have happened to Red Panda's Rogues Gallery and they keep coming back. Red Panda enough noted that he's stopped thinking they're dead unless he sees the body.
  • Did Not Do the Research - In "A Midwinter's Murder", the Red Panda smells burnt almonds in the tea and proclaims that there's arsenic in the tea. It's cyanide that smells like burnt almonds. Aside from the fact that the ability to smell cyanide is actually quite rare...
    • Also, The Red Panda's psychic abilities are constantly referred to as "hypnotism". Sorry, but hypnotism does not allow one to cast illusions from a distance or mind-meld. Of course, the terminology here is almost certainly a tribute/homage to the radio version of The Shadow, whose psychic invisibility was similarly defined as a form of hypnotism.
    • In "There Will Be Rain Tonight", it is stated that any Canadian survivors of the Dieppe raid would undoubtedly be in a Gulag. Ah, no. Gulags were Soviet prison camps. Nazi prison camps were called Stalags.
  • Domino Mask: Red Panda wears one.
  • Doomsday Device: "The Endgame"
  • Drives Like Crazy: Never let the Red Panda behind the wheel of a car. They even point out the reason why he can fly so well is because there's nothing in the air to hit.
  • Enemy Mine: The Flying Squirrel has one with Jackrabbit in "Trial by Terror." And The Flying Squirrel and Golden Claw in "The Endgame"
    • Because of how the newest season is going, people are suspecting this is how it will go with the Home Team.
      • It has. With The Genie
  • Evil Laugh: Much like The Shadow who undoubtedly serves as an inspiration, Red Panda has a pretty creepy laugh.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Supervillain The Mad Monkey not only controls them, but acts like one.
  • Faking the Dead: They've done this a few times with the Flying Squirrel.
  • Fanfic: Gregg Taylor has a don't ask don't tell stand on these. You can write them, he just doesn't want to hear about it.
  • Fan Nickname: Most fans call the original Red Panda six part mini-series and everything related to it Earth 2.
  • Freak Lab Accident: Electric Eel's origin.
  • Gadgeteer Genius
  • Genre Blindness: Doc Rocket's reaction to everything is "That's Impossible!"
  • Genre Savvy: The Terrific Twosome, but most character show at least some sign of it.
    • This has even been a plot point or part of a reveal in at least three stories. Warning spoilers ahead:

In his first appearance the Mad Monkey purposely committed monkey themed thefts because he knew it would draw the Red Panda out.
A puzzle themed villain was revealed to be a Nazi spy using it to mislead the police and government who are used to costume figures.
A king themed villain was really a Nazi spy who was trying to keep the criminal underworld stable and knew that they would be less suspicious of someone who seemed Idiosyncrazy.


"I don't play well with others."
"What about her?"
"She's not 'others'."

    • The Stranger is the only other Superhero that the Red Panda allows to work in his city.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Besides her driving skills this is The Flying Squirrel's biggest asset to the pair. Red Panda has done it a few times, "Deadliest Game" being the best example, but Kit is by far the one that uses this trope the most.
  • Joker Jury: "Trial By Terror"
  • Jumping on Point: The beginning of each season.
  • Kid From the Future: The Red Squirrel
  • Kiss of Death: Nightshade's power.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The Red Panda and the Flying Squirrel do this all the time.
  • Legacy Character: The Red Squirrel, a hero from the future, shows up in "The Red Squirrel". As well, the original series made mention of a legacy of Red Pandas stretching back to the colonization of Canada; this was parodied in "The World Next Door", when the "main universe" Red Panda complains that it's not even a Canadian animal.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Villains try to set this up from time to time between Red Panda and the Flying Squirrel, either with mind control or trying to make Kit a zombie.
  • Mad Scientist: Many recurring villains, including Professor Zombie, the Genie, and Dr. Von Schlitz, but Dr. Chronopolis is a good guy version, and Doc Rocket is at least a Mad Inventor.
  • Magitek: A recurring theme of the series is what happens when modern (well, 1930s) science gets a chance to study the forces that most of the world knows as "magic". The good Dr. Chronopolis and the evil Dr. von Schlitz both specialize in this.
    • The biggest result so far is the anti-magic alloy Dr. C created. It's woven into our heroes' costumes, making them invisible to magical senses. In "The Gathering Storm", it's revealed that they've been making weapons out of it, including brass knuckles and bullets, which they use to fight off a dimensional incursion of snakemen.
  • Mistaken for Spies: In "Nightshade", though it's really more like Mistaken for Different Spies.
  • My Greatest Failure: The World War II Red Panda had the death of his sidekick as this. When Baboon McSmoothie meets our Red Panda, the information on how this happened -- and how to prevent it from happening to Kit -- are what convince him to help.
  • Mythology Gag
  • Noodle Incident: Most episodes have references to cases that happen between episodes, seasons, or before the start of the series.
    • The biggest one might be Tom Tomorrow's sacrifice before the events of "A Nose For News"
    • Or the case that Red Panda was on when Kit revealed to him that she knew who he was. All we know right now is that he was tied to a chair and Kit had to drive the limo through a wall.
  • No Name Given: The Red Panda; see Only Known by Their Nickname.
    • Also Fitzroy's second-in-command, who is only referred to as the Captain. Until she's promoted following Fitzroy's death and becomes the Major.
  • Oblivious to Love: For a master detective, the Red Panda couldn't pick up on any of Kit's hints of romance.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: At no point does anyone refer to the Red Panda by his real name. His secret identity's rich acquaintances tend towards "old friend" and "dear boy", Kit only calls him "Boss", and (before The Reveal noted below) the narration simply referred to him as "one of the city's wealthiest men". This may be tied in with his Secret Identity Identity, below.
    • The creators said that there was only one situation in which his name would be revealed, and in "Operation: Cold Feet", it happened. As he and Kit get married, his name is revealed as August Fenwick.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Red Panda and the Flying Squirrel do this in "The Callaghan Mob".
  • Pregnant Badass: She might be dealing with crippling Morning Sickness, but the Flying Squirrel still manages to garotte a man while suspended from the ceiling.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Subverted with von Schlitz and the Nazis (where superscience has led to such innovations as dinosaur cavalry, magically augmented shock troops, alien dimension warping tech, and magitek ray guns. The Allies, on the other hand, seem to be on about the same technology level that they actually were during WWII. The James Rocket Pack doesn't seem to have made it into the hands of the common soldier, and Fenwick Industries seems to be the only company actually preparing for having to fight superscience. Their President and CEO being a superhero might have something to do with that. That being said, with all the Red Panda and Dr. Chronopolis' inventions (not to mention the aforementioned gear of Doc Rocket), Canada isn't getting much benefit from its gadgeteer heroes.
  • Retired Badass: The Stranger, though he has been more active lately (offscreen).
  • Rich Idiot With No Day Job: The Red Panda's secret identity.
  • Rogues Gallery: The Red Panda has a pretty big one. We have yet to meet all of them.
    • Greg seems to be fixing this in the newer seasons. So far we've seen a reformed Bumblebee, and a story with Captain Clockwork.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money: People keep trying to pull this with the Red Panda. It never ends well for them.
  • Secret Identity Identity: The Red Panda is scornful of the man he once was, a playboy who was so bored he picked up superheroing for a lark... and realized how empty his life had been.
  • Secret Keeper: The Red Panda's first chauffeur tried to blackmail his way into being one. He forgot that his boss was a master hypnotist.
    • There's hints that the Fenwicks' butler, Weston, might know more than he lets on; at the very least, he's noted his employers' interest in certain headlines as of "Murder Wears a Mask". This is confirmed in "City of the Dead." He finds Kit Baxter passed out in the mansion, still wearing her Flying Squirrel costume. Oops.
    • And of course Fenwick's commanding officer: Fitzroy.
  • Shout-Out: "Merlin's Tomb" includes the line "Your powers are weak, old man!"
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: The Red Panda does this to Kit in "The Field Trip"; she quickly returns the favor.
    • Andy Parker does this to his soon to be girlfriend/now wife in "The Boy in Blue."

Andy: Ellen, it's hard for me to kiss you when your mouth won't stop moving.

  • Soldiers At the Rear: The Red Panda's millionaire playboy alter ego was officially given one of these jobs when he enlisted, to cover for the Red Panda's real mission: fighting Nazi agents on Canadian soil.
  • Something Only They Would Say: When another hypnotist convinces the Squirrel that the Red Panda is the bad guy, the Panda uses the phrase "Kit Baxter, behave yourself!" to prove his identity.
  • Split Personality: The Electric Eel
  • Split Personality Takeover: The Electric Eel
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Antonia Zombanistro aka Professor Zombie is a villain version of this. Also Arthur Maestro aka The Maestro.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Almost everything in the original series. In the new one, Dr. von Schlitz, of so-far-pre-WWII Nazi Germany, creates inventions that are fusions of science and magic. As well, the Stranger and his magical colleagues often speak of the occult forces stirring in Europe...
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: The Electric Eel from "Duality" onward.
  • Super Registration Act: Interestingly, this seems to be being done by the heroes themselves; specifically, New York's Justice Union, who have tried to strongarm the Red Panda into joining before.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Nightshade apparently mistakes the Red Panda for this world's version of Baboon McSmoothie.
  • That Man Is Dead: The Electric Eel believes this about his alter ego in "Trial By Terror" He was wrong.
  • The Cowl: Red Panda
  • Thememobile: The Panda Mobile
  • There Is Only One Bed: Red Panda and Kit have to worry about this when they pose as newlyweds in "Curse of Beaton Hall." Much to Kit's delight and the Panda's discomfort.
  • Time Skip: Between the end of Season 5 and the start of season 6.
  • Title Drop: In "Murder Wears A Mask" one of the headlines Kit reads is the aforementioned title.
  • Tomato Surprise: John at the end of "Just Like Clockwork." But most Genre Savvy listeners most likely guessed by the first commercial break.
  • Too Clever by Half: Wentworth James is a brillant inventor, but he is a Horrible Judge of Character and "solves" problems with When All You Have Is a Hammer, that makes it clear he's Too Dumb to Live.
  • Translator Microbes: In season 7, the Red Panda can apparently do this subconsciously. He has no idea how it works.
  • Unexplained Recovery: The Electric Eel, Kid Chaos
  • Unholy Matrimony: As of "The Terrible Two", Mad Monkey and Jack Rabbit. How quickly they hook up leads poor Kit rather flummoxed.
  • The Un-Reveal: Who and what the Syndicate really was.
  • Villain Team-Up: "The Terrible Two"
    • Also "Trial By Terror"
    • And The Red Panda Revenge Squad in "A Dish Best Served Cold"
    • And Kid Chaos and Professor Zombie with what's left of the mob in "The Crime Cabal" novel.
  • Wall Crawl: The heroes do it with static shoes.
  • Wedding Smashers: Kid Chaos and a Mook try this at Kit and The Red Panda's wedding, in "Operation: Cold Feet"
  • Wham! Episode: The Sixth Season closer "There Will Be Rain Tonight", big time. It begins with the Red Panda being informed that most of his former operatives have vanished behind enemy lines and are either dead or captured. No sooner has our hero flown off with Doc Rocket on a recon/rescue mission than Colonel Fitzroy and almost every other Home Team superhero are assassinated. We have just enough time to recover from that before the plane RP and Doc are on blows up in midair in a cliffhanger that won’t be resolved for another five flipping months! Damn you for being so good, Gregg Taylor!
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The Mad Monkey, with the power to command baboons. Eventually, however, he discovers that his power is actually a form of mind control that can be used against humans as well.
  • Will They or Won't They?: The Red Panda and The Flying Squirrel, until "The Field Trip."
  • Write Who You Know/I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine: Kinda. Creator/writer Gregg Taylor and Clarissa Der Nederlanden, voice of the Panda and Squirrel, are married.