I’ll forever remember the joy I felt when I saw ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ for the first time. It was such a warm-hearted, wise, nuanced show with a great range of characters, that I was thoroughly charmed.
Years after the fact, I got to see ‘The Dragon Prince’ by one of the creators. This new show, while completely different in setting and animation style has many similar themes, and as before, is really well executed. The thing that makes it stand out above other shows geared at children is that it does not talk down to them. While set in a fantasy setting, it explores mature topics such as the death of loved ones, responsibilities, the right path vs. the easy one, and even issues such as divorce. The show is made even more enjoyable by its diverse representation. Not only are there many characters representing people of colour, but there are characters representing the LGBT+ community, as well as characters representing members of the deaf community. As such, it feels that the show really welcomes everyone no matter their background, so long as they care about building a kind, good-hearted world.
Aside from its excellent representation, and nuanced exploration of themes, the show also has the most adorable animals that instantly warm you to the story. The rest of the animation style does leave something to be desired, though having no expertise in animation, I can’t say what that is.
Two seasons in, the show is in a good space in that it is interesting, with enough gripping conflicts to keep you vested. It did have a slow start but I think after about two episodes, it caught a good rhythm. 9 episodes, 20mins each, per season are just enough to keep you wanting more.
Addendum: The third season is perhaps the weakest in that it tries to move the plot forward but also seems to waste time just maneuvering characters around the chessboard while struggling to justify their reasoning.
It also explores character arcs that feel all too familiar with Avatar. While I am a fan of the show and I am glad to see more work from the creators, it feels that they’re retreading the same ground which does feel tired to a fan like me.