16 June 2016 | joshuafagan-64214
A Grand, Delightful Sci-Fi Adventure
Do you remember Saturday morning cartoons? If above a certain age, you do. They were fun, poppy, and enjoyable, although as we got older, we came to realize that they weren't very good.
This is like a Saturday morning cartoon, except it's good.
Aired on Netflix and made by basically the entire Korra team minus Bryke, this is based off the classic 80's show Voltron. That show was all right. This show is great. It's not Avatar-great or Korra-great, but it's great. The animation is top-notch, the writing is solid, the characters are interesting, the pacing is excellent and it's an all-around blast to watch.
This a series that is made for binge-watching. The episodes flow into each other so well that it's like a mix between a TV series and a movie. It's almost a new medium, or at least a new format. This is a very interesting development. It'll be interesting to see where it goes, both in this series and in television in general.
Thankfully, this is a series you will want to binge-watch. It starts you off in that direction by combining the first three episodes into one epic hour-long season premier, but it is the quality and addictiveness of the show that carry you the rest of the way. Honestly, I'd be surprised if anyone didn't binge-watch this. It's not like some of the great adult-skewing TV dramas like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, or even shows like Avatar and Korra, which can tire you out and force you to take a break. These episodes leave you with enough energy that you want to springboard into the next one.
This choice extends to the series as a whole. Without giving too much away, the entire season ends abruptly, leaving us on a cliffhanger. Now, if they were focused on one season at a time, this would not be a good choice for the ending. It's unsatisfying. But when the entire series is completed, it's a brilliant idea. People would finish season 1 and jump immediately into season 2. Despite what you may have heard, it's very possible for later seasons to retroactively improve earlier seasons. This takes that to a whole new level.
None of these characters were particularly interesting in the old 80's show, but under the deft hand of Team Korra, they all have specific and well-defined hopes and fears and desires.
In a lot of shows where a team of heroes must save the day, one member of the team (or that member and his rival) get all the spotlight, while the other heroes are swept to the background. Sure, they may get episodes in the sun, but even then, it's obvious and contrived that they were just trying to get those characters more screen time. Often, those characters don't even have any bearing on the finally. But here, it's different. The team really feels like a team: all five members matter. There is a leader, but he doesn't overshadow the rest of the team, and it feels like he's the leader not because some marketing department declared him to be so, but because he's the most mature and knowledgeable out of all the characters, and would naturally be the leader.
I also love this series' ability to take typical TV-episode plots and make them emotionally and thematically resonant. In the third-to-last episode, the characters' ship gets corrupted. It's funny, yes, but by the end of the episode, an important sacrifice has to be made, and you'll be crying your eyes out. It takes a deft grip on storytelling to be able to pull something like this off.
Now I'm not saying the show's perfect. It can occasionally get bogged down in things we don't care about, and while a significant amount of suspension-of-disbelief is needed for a show like this, it sometimes pushes you too far and feels too contrived. But the weakest part of the show is its villains, none of which are all that interesting. When the villains are on screen, I kind of bide my time and wait for them to switch back to the heroes. But when they do switch back to the heroes, my eyes lock on to the screen. I was not expecting to become so invested in the characters and environment and plot, but Team Korra got me. Great show, guys. I will be waiting for season 2.
(P.S. I love the chemistry between the characters. It's funny and heartfelt. They really do make a good team.) By: Joshua A. Fagan http://jfmillenniumreviews.blogspot.com