Title: Voltron: Legendary Defenders
Original Release Date: June 10, 2016
Seasons (as of now): 1
Length of each episode: 20 minutes (except for first ep-69 minutes)
Production Company: Dreamworks Animation, Studio Mir
Starring the voices of: Steven Yeun, Jeremy Shada, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Josh Keaton, Tyler Labine, Kimberley Brooks
I would like to confess that I am having a love affair with Netflix.
Ok, I’m sure Netflix has had mediocre original content distributed before, but when it’s good, it’s good. It all started last year when I watched Aziz Ansari’s Master of None to serious documentaries like Hot Girls Wanted to romantic comedies like Love to one of my personal favorites of last year, Marvel’s Jessica Jones. And now Voltron: Legendary Defenders has made it to this list of glory.
This show is fun in its pure form. I wasn’t initially too interested in this show because it’s a reboot (what is with all these reboots this year???) of a popular ’80s cartoon and ’80’s cartoons are just not my thing. (He-man anyone??) I personally just don’t like the animation style.
But then I read a review and the reviewer mentioned that the executive producers were *gasp* Joaquin Santos and Lauren Montgomery aka the producers of Avatar the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra. So right off the bat, you can probably expect a quality show.
The plot is not really anything original. The evil emperor Zarkon, leader of the Galra Empire has been conquering the universe for 10,000 years. Five Earth teens–more like 4 teens and 1 adult who is 25–discover Voltron, 5 lion robots that form one tall robot (Think Power Rangers meets Transformers) that is rumored to be the only weapon to defeat Zarkon. They are joined in their fight by the Princess Allura and her royal advisor, Coran. A very Star Wars-esque plot now that I’m thinking about it.
The main opening scene follows 3 of our main characters, Lance, Pidge and Hunk in a space flight simulation. Lance is about to attempt a risky landing and in the background Hunk is trying not to throw up, and Pidge is trying to contact Earth which makes for a really amusing scene that immerses me into the show right away.
And immediately, I noticed the animation(in between keeping up with the scene because this show is relentless). It is absolutely fantastic. It’s very reminiscent of the Korra animation style (almost like a sister) but with heavier anime influences. The animation truly shines during the action sequences that are so epic in scope but it also does justice to the character’s nuanced facial expressions that make it more intimate.
The second thing I noticed is the character dynamics. Oh and how I love these characters. When we first meet them, they fill the usual stereotypes that you’ve come to expect in kids’ shows and movies. You know, there always has to be the nerdy one, the ladies’ man, and the comedic side relief. But the thing that makes it different is the fact that when we meet these characters, some of them already have an established history together so there’s an added layer of mystery and you’re kind of a stranger peeling off the layers of their friendship. It also doesn’t hurt that the voice acting is top-notch. Watching these characters banter and play off one another is so entertaining to watch that you can forgive the sometimes predictable and cheesy dialogue. There’s a lot of situational and self-aware type of humor which I love (“I get to be the head next time”). It just gives off such a fun and familiar vibe like going to hang out with your best friends who are a little weird but you love them all the same. And as the characters start to work together as a team, they really start to feel like a real family that you can’t help but love. I also have to admit, once again, that I am lowkey attracted to a fictional character.
Reboots can be a hit or miss in terms of character because sometimes the creators are so wrapped up in nostalgia and tradition that it doesn’t offer anything new to the table. And at first, I thought this was going to be the same thing but I shouldn’t have been worried because as the show went on, it totally impressed me with its character relationships and understated diversity.
But that’s only two things this awesome show has to recommend itself. It is also fast-paced, extremely action-packed and suspenseful show that doesn’t skimp on the heart. There’s also plenty of humor and friendship woven in that will make you smile. The worldbuilding is expansive and steeped with hidden curiosities. It’s been in so many reviews, but it’s true that it will seriously make you feel like a kid again, with that same sense of adventure.
I binged watched this show in 3 days but I could have finished it in a night if I didn’t have other things to do. I actually wanted to wring my face after the cliffhanger of the season finale (it’s a Rick Riordan status cliffhanger) BUT it was revealed just yesterday at SDCC no less that Season 2 will be coming out later this year!! Holy fuck am I excited.