The new Voltron series has got eight episodes under its belt, and after a slow start, is a fun homage to the original.
The most surprising thing about the show is that it’s not a reboot, and the characters from the original show have not been replaced.
The show takes place in the same time-line and story universe as the original Voltron, but starts years after the end of the original series.
Once Voltron finally defeated the forces of Drule, years hence, a new commander of the Galactic alliance tricked the people into thinking that Voltron was a dangerous force which must be locked away during the time of peace.
Now, the evil Drule king has been resurrected, and the voltron team members are foced to come out of hiding to fight back. They have not only the forces and giant robots of Druul - newly powered by a strange element which resists the ancient powers of the lions - to fight, but the government also hunts them under the direction of the ill-intentioned Sky Marshall Wade.
The team is joined by three young people: Vince, who seems to have some ancient, genetic connection to the lions; Larmina, a member of the Arus royal family, who is an excellent martial artist with little interest in actually piloting the lions; and Daniel, who seems to be a talented pilot, but whos role is otherwise still unclear - more than anything else he’s just a trouble-maker.
The way the team works has been revamped a little also, mostly in the direction of differentiating the characters and their lions.
Each member of the, now eight person team, has a unique ‘volcomm’ device which serves as long-range communicator, weapon, and plot device for various purposes. Each one manifests itself differently for each member giving each one a unique melee and ranged weapon apiece, with the exception of Vance who seems to just get a stronger connection to the lions.
Each lion has been outfitted with a unique tail weapon as well, and with the help of Vance’s abilities, the team has learned that the lions can be reconfigured whit the different lions as the head of Voltron, rather than always the black one.
This uses more of Voltron’s power supply, but gives the fighting robot different powers depending on which one takes the central role.
This kind of stuff deepens the Voltron mythology, and makes it a more interesting setting. They have a great oportunity here to do some exploring into the actual origins and purposes for the existence of Voltron, something the original series never explored - mostly because it was a crazy anime hodgepodge which made very little sense anyway, and while that was charming at the time, I think it’ll be interesting to see where the story goes when it can be truly directed.
That’s all well and good, but how fun is the show to follow? Honestly it started out poorly paced, as the first few episodes were just establishing the reunion of the team and the addition of the new kids which was interesting, but was zoomed through at lightspeed. Once the series had the chance to slow down a bit, and start up with the monster-of-the-week adventures, it got much more entertaining, and at some points even very funny.
Like a lot of newer cartoon shows, the focus seems to be on individual character development and differentiation, rather than pure adventure, which makes it much more compelling, and more accessible to adult viewers in general.
We’ll have to see how it progresses for the remainder of the season, but for now it’s worth checking out the first eight episodes to see what it’s all about, especially if you grew up with the original show and toys. This is not a bastardization, it’s a genuine and fun continuation of the Voltron legacy.
Voltron Force airs Thursdays on Nicktoons.