I've been into the All Dogs Go to Heaven fandom for years. When I found out that there was a TV show based on one of my favorite movies, I was psyched. And the first two seasons did not disappoint. (I still have not seen season 3, the "lost" season.) Naturally, there were some episodes that were painful to watch (All Creatures Great and Dinky comes to mind), and others that come down a bit heavy on the educational/moral parts, but others were sheer genius.
Case in point: Episode #25, The Big Fetch. The entire episode is a parody of old film noir movies. Steven Weber does a Humphrey Bogart-ish voice-over as his character, Charlie, plays detective. "Sam Spaniel" was his partner in the detective agency, who mysteriously vanished. Belladonna plays the mysterious lady in need of help with a case. Carface is her boss, and Killer is a hitman (though it is never clear if he is working for Carface or not). Sasha is the mysterious singer at the nightclub who claims to have all the answers. And Itchy does double-duty as the driver and as a local gossip who helps on the case.
"The case" involves a package containing an item known as the Maltese Collar. The location is "San Furcisco", where no cats are allowed. And yet, the Maltese Collar, which everyone wants so badly, is a cat collar.
The episode is expertly written and is filled with references to old movies and their stars which young children would not get. This, then, makes it an enjoyable experience for young and old alike. There are other such episodes, and some very clever songs as well. "Sidekicked," from the episode of the same name, has the same brilliance that's evident in episode #25. And "Party on a UFO" references several popular sci-fi fandoms, including Star Wars and The X-Files.
The characters themselves are still basically the same ones from the first two movies, though Ernest Borgnine's Carface is much more of a humourous interpretation than Vic Tayback's menacing original. But this never bothered me, at least, though I despised how the character was used in the second movie. Charlie, Itchy, Sasha, and Killer are all recognizable. Anabelle is more like her counterpart in the second movie rather than the original "Whippet Angel" character who was unnamed. David, the child character from the second movie, makes occasional appearances, though Anne-Marie was, regretibly, never seen. We also see new, TV-show only characters, such as the cult favorite Belladonna, Anabelle's wicked cousin.
The stories are basic and sometimes typical childrens' show fluff with clever twists: cowardly Itchy is hypnotized to believe that he is a superhero, Charlie tries to help Itchy win over Bess in a parody of Cyrano and ends up making things worse, Charlie pretends to be the perfect dog that Sasha says she wants, and so on. The scripts are written in a fun and original way and it does not matter that they are using many timeworn plot outlines. They find a way to make things unique.
Basically, even though the series is marketed towards children, there is also plenty of material to appeal to older folks as well. And that's the mark of a good TV show.