Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Superhero Media: Voltron - Legendary Defender

Confession time; I never watched any Voltron series growing up. Really, I know it must have been in re-runs, but I guess I just never came across it. When I saw this series come up on Netflix, I though I'd give it a go and see how I felt about it, free from nostalgia or any major preconceptions. It was alright, not amazing, but entertaining enough, certainly better than some of the things I've reviewed here. The space battles, though a bit sparse in the series, look really good and the characters manage to be more than a collection of cliches, though not by much. Perhaps I'm a little spoiled by children's television like Gravity Falls and The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show, but I guess I was hoping for just a little bit more than what I got. If all you need for a good time is giant robots beating the living hell out of each other, then strap in and prepare to assemble Voltron, because this series will deliver. 

The one thing that really knocked my socks off was a character named Pidge, a slight, nerdy, science expert with a secret; he is a she. What is good about this is that Pidge's ruse is done not to avoid misogynistic policies in the military, but as a masquerade because she has already infiltrated them more than once and is seen as a menace. Best of all, when the truth is revealed, Pidge doesn't suddenly change into a different character, she comes out of her shell slightly, because the ruse is no longer necessary, but mostly remains unchanged. The idea that personality is not defined by gender identity or sex is not explored in enough children's entertainment, but hopefully this example sparks others and characters like Pidge become the rule rather than the exception. 

This first series is definitely setting up for the second, the enemy is too big to deal with in the episodes allotted and the team spends a great deal of time learning how to get their Lions working properly. There is potential here, for something perhaps more than a programme about five giant robot lions coming together to form Voltron and smack down alien monsters. Will it get there? Who knows? I'm not even sure if I'll check out the second season myself, but for those who want to see Voltron fly again, with new animation and deeper characters than the '80s sub allowed for, then this may just be the ticket.

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