Gadget Boy's Adventures in History: A Gadget Boy Christmas Around the World (1998)
You may be asking yourself, "What the hell is Gadget Boy?" And the answer is, "You don't want to know."
But since I'm a horrible person, I really want to tell you. Gadget Boy is basically a reboot of Inspector Gadget, only instead of being an incompetent adult cyborg inspector who's constantly being saved by a brilliant human child, he's an incompetent child android constantly being saved by a competent adult woman.
In case you were still wondering, he's still voiced by Don Adams.
So, let's review: Inspector Gadget was an animated spin on Get Smart, itself a parody of the spy genre. The Adventures of Gadget Boy and Heather was an attempt to update Inspector Gadget by spinning it off into something more kid friendly. And Gadget Boy's Adventures through time was an attempt to spin that off into something ostensibly educational for the History Channel.
Incidentally, the entirety of Plato's Cave allegory is inscribed in the above paragraph, provided you can unravel its mysteries.
Where were we? Oh, yes: Gadget Boy's Christmas special. How do I describe this? I think it goes without saying that the show's premise sounds abysmal, so let me just say this was worse than it sounds.
The plot it... uh.... actually, that's not entirely clear. There was a six-armed villainess named Spydra who wanted to destroy Christmas for no discernible reason whatsoever. She used a time machine to go back in time to kidnap Saint Nicholas of Myra, so Christmas wouldn't exist, but this had no real effect for no discernible reason whatsoever. She therefore kidnapped a couple other historical figures ostensibly tied to Christmas, also without effect. Gadget Boy tried to stop her with mixed results: he didn't manage to prevent her from kidnapping anyone, but he did manage to annoy her (and us).
While they're in the 16th Century, Santa Claus (from the present day - there's no explanation for how he got there) invites Gadget Boy to come to his workshop, because he needs help with the presents. In addition to Gadget Boy, he also invites Gadget Boy's team, the historical figures who were kidnapped, Spydra, and her goons. For no discernible reason whatsoever.
Shockingly, Spydra betrays them once they're in Santa's workshop. They defeat her with reindeer and Christmas is saved or something.
I do want to be clear about something: if the synopsis I wrote above makes any sort of logical sense or conveys any sense of cohesion, I've failed miserably in describing this episode. Nothing - I mean nothing - added up.
Normally, something this bizarre would be a shoe-in for the "so bad it's good" honor. But, despite having a soft spot in my heart for Inspector Gadget, I couldn't engage with this at all. The lack of continuity was so pervasive, I couldn't even enjoy it as a train wreck. It was just a boring barrage of garbage. The closest thing I could find funny that was even tangentially related to this was the discovery that it was made for the History Channel and was intended to be educational. There was nothing - NOTHING - in this that even remotely had educational value.
You know what? Strike the word "educational" from that last sentence.