The Dragon Prince (Animation From Head Writer of Avatar TLA)

This just dropped on Netflix and I’m surprised there is not a thread. It looks… AWESOME! :)
Here’s hoping it’s as good as it looks…

I hadn’t seen this at all. Bookmarking for my youngest immediately.

I just watched the trailer for this (the one that plays when you let it sit on The Dragon Prince pic on Netflx). There’s a great line that made me think of Avatar: The Last Airbender immediately, even before I read your thread title. Roughly paraphrasing:

“Unstoppable is just another kind of stoppable! I’m going to stop them.”
“No. That’s not right.”

Will it be as good as Voltron?

I watched the first two episodes. I’m slightly disappointed so far - mostly because the animation is extremely stilted, and it makes my brain hurt. I’m hoping I get used to it, or it may be unwatchable long term.

The actual artwork is very pretty, and the story seems a bit interesting. There have been some solid attempts at humor so far, but some of the elvish accents are baad.

Watched the short first season. Not bad, although not as enchanting as Last Airbender. The elvish accent was an interesting choice. I get why, just that it’s unexpected. If it was more even among the voice actors, it would have been better.

I’m only three episodes in, but holy cow. The art is something else. I’ve paused a couple of times to take in a particularly arresting backdrop.

Post-season review, blurred for spoilage:

I thought the back half of the season was weaker than the front half. The first few episodes set up a world with characters with complicated motivations and few outright bad-guy bad guys, and the later ones removed any ambiguity.

Still, though, it’s a solid piece of work, and I’m looking forward to season 2.

The frame rate of the animation is killing me. Some of the action scenes look like a rotoscope. Such a contrast to Voltron, which is smooth as butter. I do like the art style itself, and as others have noted, some of the imagery is gorgeous.

I am a bit confused about the moon elves being deemed “unstoppable” under the full moon. That didn’t seem to be the case.

Overall, I thought it was good first season.

Per an interview summarized here, they’re looking at ways to make the animation feel more fluid for the next season, which would be a welcome change. I don’t think I noticed it as much as most people, but there were still moments when it was distracting.

Re: the elves, I think it was mostly the humans saying so. The elves themselves seemed a bit concerned about their mission given the strength they were going into it with, and the result seemed to bear out their concerns.

It’s interesting that most of the pre-release reviews (which had the first three episodes to go on) remarked on the complexity of character motivations and the generic nature of the setting, while the rest of the season seemed to me to simplify a lot of the characters and make the setting significantly less Generic Fantasy No. 7.

The second “season” of episodes dropped (9 episode seasons), and I watched what’s out now. I was worried that it would be kind of terrible from the previews that I saw which seemed a little too self-serious epic-fantasy. Fortunately, it wasn’t that. It was very good! Not as good as the best bits of Avatar, but better than the worst bits of Korra.

The release schedule is probably notable. They’re doing 6-7 seasons of 9 episodes each, which will probably come out every 6 months or so? So, it probably won’t be done until 2021-ish.

One of my main metrics for a show like this is how often it surprises me by avoiding tedious genre tropes. This has managed that a couple of times, where characters have generally acted in ways that are more consistent with their character than with the generation of cheap drama, so it gets an overall thumbs up there.

Some miscellaneous impressions:

  • The choppy animation is only slightly distracting. Action scenes are animated more fluidly, and I didn’t really see it after an episode or two.
  • The overall comedy aesthetic can probably be described as dad-joke. There’s a lot of terrible puns, and then people reacting waaay too much to those puns, but deliberately so, so it’s kind of charming.
  • The characters are very charming in general, and have lots of dimension, within the bounds of YA-TV show writing.
  • It does a very good and deliberate job of not really having “villains”. Even the main villain who is occasionally mustache twirling-ly evil is given some sympathetic back story, and is painted to half-believe his own rhetoric about how his quest for power is an “ends justify means” situation to save his kingdom.
  • The other “villains” (really, antagonists) are just kids who want to impress their evil dad, and they behave appropriately in that regard.
  • The show seems to be competing in a woke-ness Olympics where nobody else even qualified. It features:
    – Some explicit Human/Elf -> Racism is bad messages
    – A black king (of a generally mixed-race kingdom), in a mixed race relationship
    – Another kingdom led by two queens
    – A deaf major character who speaks purely in sign language (You’d think this would be a detriment on the battlefield, but, whatever, suspension of disbelief)
    – An episode about disability acceptance
  • You may have heard about the accents. Yes, Rayla’s accent is kinda terrible and also comes and goes at random. Just try not to think about it.

My biggest complaint is that I think the show has a serious problem with a sense of place and especially time. I have no idea how far apart anything is from anything else, or how long getting there is supposed to take. Also, occasionally it just seems to move very slowly. There are a couple of episodes in the second season that I felt like I could have watched at 1.5 speed. But, it is ultimately a children’s show, and maybe the re-statement and belaboring of themes and characterizations works better for kids.

Boring spoiler / nitpicks below.

Some Spoilers inside

I have no idea how far the castle is from the border, or how long that journey takes. The entire first season is started to take, like a week I think, before Rayla’s binding is cut off. The council explicitly calls out that they don’t give the normal week to mourn the king, but have a funeral the next day, which puts a cap on the time that passes.

Shortly after that, Amaya returns from the Breach, and ultimately returns there, so it appears to be a little over a day’s ride each way? (Harrow sends for Amaya to fight off the assassins, and they mention that she won’t get there by sunset, but it seems like it’s a matter of hours, not days). The Banther Lodge appears to be, like, an hour or two away from the castle (they planned to leave “before sunset”, and it seems unlikely that they would have traveled overnight). Given the distances involved, It just seems kind of unlikely that they wouldn’t have been able to find three people walking at a child’s pace away from the castle, when they knew more or less the direction they were going. And there’s a bay in between them? Where is this body of water? Did Amaya have to cross the bay?

The issue with timing extends to the bonding between the Princes and Rayla. They bond very quickly in the week that they travel. It just feels like we’re supposed to feel like more time has passed than has passed in the show. Callum’s petulance at being unable to learn magic after, like a couple weeks, seems very unearned. We get speeches about how this is the only thing he’s ever been good at, but we don’t feel his struggle (compare to, say, Sokka where we got multiple full seasons before he got his payoff). We also come close to a declaration of love from Rayla to Callum during his fever dreams, after what is generously, a couple weeks of traveling together. It’s not hard to hand-wave this stuff away, but it rings a little false.

It’s true that the audience has spent more time with the characters than the characters have in world (multiple months between seasons), but in general, the timelines seem very sloppy.

Also, the little girl who rides the wolf apparently just disappeared from her house for like 5 days. I guess her parents decided she can take care of herself?

Overall, it’s quite good. If you liked Avatar or Korra, it’s worth watching, just be aware that it won’t be done for a couple of years.

*To prisoner* “How are you always so cheerful?”
“I figure, why be chained DOWN, when I can be chained UP?”

I noticed this too. I saw what looked like a bunch of classic narrative tropes that didn’t so much defy the trope as, it just played out like real people would have the conversation, so nothing super dramatic happened as a result. Probably my favorite thing about the series!

I got a good chuckle out of that. Being a dad, I appreciate the dad humor and the responses to it.

I quite like it, not as much as Avatar, but maybe it’ll get there.

My kids love Rayla’s accent. Gotta admit I love it too. People spend way too much umbrage on silly things.

I actually kind like the accent, or at least the overall performance. I think it’s a good call to make her noticeably different from the human characters. The real problem is that it seems to be very inconsistent.

It seems the actress might actually be Scottish? I wonder if there was a deliberate choice, or if she subconsciously dials her accent based on the people she’s speaking to, which is a thing I’ve seen with some people who speak accented English in the past.

When I think about it, I keep thinking about Deanna Troi, where Sirtis made up that weird Betazoid accent, and then Majel Barret showed up to play her mom, and was like “Yeah, I’m not doing that”, and then they kind of quietly dropped it. The other elves we meet don’t really have similar accents.

Per Paula Burrows’ bio on the show’s website, she’s Scottish-born but was raised in Canada.

My son is on this 2nd watch through of this series, he loves it.

The third season released, after a long, long delay. I’m four episodes in and enjoying it immensely—the best of the three so far.

Nine-episode seasons are a killer, though. I hope they get more.

Enjoyed the third season a ton. I’m not sure they’ll revisit the world with the same characters, but I hope it’s not the last we’ve seen of it.