Thread: 80's and 90's
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Old 2016-10-02, 09:00 PM   #36
Cyberstrike nTo
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Default My review of Voltron: Legendary Defender w/spoilers

I'm a child of the 80s. While I'm still a huge fan of The Transformers, Robotech, Robotix, G. I. Joe: A Real American Hero, and Voltron: Defender of the Universe I also tend to treat Voltron as something I'll get around too, which is something I'm working on. The original Voltron: Defender of the Universe is a pair of Toei Studio anime shows that were re-wrote, re-edited, re-dubbed, remixed, and basically remade by a company called World Events Production (or WEP for short) into the American series Voltron: Defender of the Universe. The series is probably best remembered for being an animated version of Power Rangers and being the other 80s robot show that had Peter Cullen and Neil Ross. The first series basically had 5 space explorers crash landing on Planet Arus, a planet that has been under siege by Planet Doom and it's ruler the evil King Zarkon. The leader of Arus, the beautiful Princess Allura needs help and the five explorers (whose names are Keith, Lance, Pidge, Hunk, and Sven) to find 5 robot lions that form Voltron a powerful robot who can stop Zarkon's evil plans. They do and then each episode basically has Zarkon and later on his son Prince Lotor cook up and evil plan that never works and then they send a robeast, (giant robot monsters that Zarkon's witch Haggard creates), that Voltron ultimately defeats. Eventually Sven gets injured and is sent to another planet to recover (in the Japanese version the character dies) and Allura becomes the pilot of the Blue Lion. The second series is about another group of space explorers trying to find a new planet to colonize due to over-population. It features a Voltron made from 15 different land, sea, and air ships. While the series was extremely popular in the 80s during it's 2 season run, it was so popular that WEP actually went back to Toei and had all-new episodes of the Lion Voltron show made and a crossover special called Voltron: The Fleet of Doom. After that WEP decided to try out some other projects. In the late 90s they made a semi-sequel show called Voltron In the Third Dimension a CGI show that didn't last very long due to poor designs and the CGI looking like crap. WEP tried again with Voltron Force another sequel series that didn't fans and critics didn't like. The rights were sold to Classic Media and then they were bought by DreamWorks Animation who signed a deal to create a bunch of new cartoon shows for Netflix and one of those was Voltron: Legendary Defender which is a reboot series.

Voltron: Legendary Defender takes the basic concept for the Lion Voltron keeps the basics but also makes some real radical changes to the characters. The basic plot is that in the future humanity is exploring the outer planets and on one such mission Commander Holt, his son Matt, and Shiro are captured by the Galan Empire. One year later 3 cadets at Galaxy Garrison (Hunk, Lance, and Pidge) with the help of an ace pilot Keith, who left Galaxy Garrison for mysterious reasons, find out that Shiro has escaped and crashed landed on Earth warning that Zarkon and Galan Empire is coming and they are looking for a weapon called Voltron. They rescue Shiro and then they find the Blue Lion on Earth. The Blue Lion that takes them to Arus and the Castle of Lions where they find Allura and her steward Corran in cryogenic status for 10,000 years, also in Allura's pod is family of space mice that have gained some of her intelligence and/or telepathic link with her. With the blue lion awaken Zarkon's forces are now able to find the other lions and the Castle. So five raw rookies become the new Paladins of Voltron. Allura gives Keith, Lance, Hunk, and Pidge each a device called baynad that becomes a different weapon for each other of them Keith it's a sword, Hunk it's mini-gun, Lance it's a rifle, and Pidge it's a dagger/grapple hook combo. The black baynad is missing and since Shiro has a cybernetic arm he doesn't really need one. They find the other lions and form Voltron just barely and defeat a war fleet. Over the course of the season we learn that Shiro lost his arm in a gladiator match and we learn that Pidge is actually girl and was undercover so she can find out what happened to her father and brother who were on the same mission that Zarkon captured Shiro. We also learn that Zarkon was the original Paladin for the Black Lion and has it's baynad!

There is a lot of universe building in only 11 episodes and strangely Voltron is not in every episode and there are only 2 robeats in this season and that works. Allura looks like Korra from The Legend of Korra if she were elven space princess. While she's not a pilot...yet. She is smart, funny, and has a tragic backstory that her and Corran are the last of their race. They are also not from Arus but another planet that Zarkon destroyed 10,000 years ago. The animation is solid and the new look for Voltron is nice blend of classic with some new features. The voice acting is top notch with Kim Brooks (Ash from Mass Effect video game series) doing a really great turn as Allura.

While I know the series is aimed at a younger audience the jokes tend to be about Hunk getting space sick and throwing up and in the first episode Lance farts in the Blue lion when it's taking them to Arus. Not my kind of humor, but it's not as bad as it could have been. The show also has fun with the lore of the original series in ways that I find amusing and other fans may not.

Keith seems to be only Paladin that doesn't get much characterization since most of it goes to Shiro, Hunk, and Pidge. Lance is still a jerk who thinks he's the best pilot but Keith is the better pilot and everyone knows it. Keith seems only there to be slight less of a jerk than Lance and seems to be there to verbally spar with Lance. There is a sub-plot in the final episodes where he gets drenched with some magical chemical that is the fuel to Zarkon's forces that maybe allows him in the red lion to battle Zarkon to a draw. Shiro seems to be destined to become a villain or die and while season 1 teases both they don't do either.

The biggest problem with Voltron: Legendary Defender season 1 is that it needed more episodes to help flesh it out but that is also a problem with many Netflix shows like Jessica Jones, Orange is the New Black, and Fuller House, but if that is the worst thing I can say than it's doing something right.

Reboots are a dime a dozen now of days and while a lot of them suck, most of them hover at just being average, then there are a very few that actually better than the originals and this is IMHO is one of those, the only other reboot in recent memory that is better than it's original is Battlestar Galactica and now Voltron: Legendary Defender. All 11 episodes are currently streaming on Netflix. I give Voltron: Legendary Defender season 1, a legendary 4.5 out 5. Check it out on Netflix.

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Last edited by Cyberstrike nTo; 2016-10-04 at 01:06 PM. Reason: fixing some minor errors.
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