5 Reasons You Absolutely Must Watch Voltron: Legendary Defender

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 - 11:09AM
Tuesday, 21 June 2016 - 11:09AM
In case you didn't know, Voltron has made a comeback. In an age where we're bombarded with more and more giant monsters, and robots, one of the very first of its type has been reinvented for a modern audience. It's been a good few years since we got a new Voltron property, and even longer since we got one that was actually worth our time, but in Voltron: Legendary Defender, Dreamworks Animation may just have done the impossible and brought a classic pop culture franchise back from the brink of irrelevance.

Such was the state of the Voltron franchise, much of the show's target audience may not even known its name. Those of us who are now a certain age, however, can tell our kids, cousins, nieces and nephews that there's a great new show for them to enjoy....then we can bore them with tales about how we actually grew up watching it back in the 80's. But, if you're not convinced that Voltron: Legendary Defender is worth adding to your Netflix list, we've compiled a few reasons to the contrary.

1. The Creative Team

One of the keys to Voltron: Legendary Defender's success is the brilliant creative team that Dreamworks Animation managed to assemble for the show. Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery took the lead on the show, bringing with them a record that includes classic animated titles like The Legend Of Korra, Young Justice, and Justice League Unlimited. Such pedigree isn't just found at the top of the production, there's quality all the way through with Tim Hedrick (The Legend of Korra) writing and directors including the likes of Steve Ahn (Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy) and Chris Palmer (Young Justice).

Rounding out the insane level of talent on the show are the voice actors. Rhys Darby (Flight of the Concords) brings many of the chuckles, while Stephen Yeun (The Walking Dead) provides the show's most-recognizable geek culture name. In fact, if you are a fan of The Walking Dead, we suggest you keep an eye out for a guest appearance from Stephen Yeun's fellow 'survivor', Norman Reedus.

2. The Animation

The most striking aspect of this new Voltron property is its beautifully crafted animation. No, seriously, it's quite incredible. Imagine Legend of Korra, but with sci-fi landscapes and design on a much bigger scale. From the ships and uniforms of both the Galaxy Garrison and Zarkon's evil forces to Voltron and his component lions, the world building and set design is far better than you would expect for a show comprising mainly of 23 minute episodes.

A property like Voltron demands slick action sequences, but what we see with Legendary Defender is of such high quality that it wouldn't look out of place on the big screen. Whether in space or on one of the many alien worlds the show visits, the show produces action on a grand and varied scale, something that will appeal to both children, and inner children.

3. Character Development

The show is far from all-out action, though. With just one double feature and 10 regular epsiodes, Legendary Defender covers a lot of ground with its characters. Shiro's quest to understand what happened during his year on Zarkon's ship, all while having to become a leader of the Voltron team, is a fine example of how these characters are asked to do more than simply yell the odd war cry every now and then. However, it's with the diminutive Pidge where the writers really flex their creative muscle. While we won't spoil anything, we can tell you that Pidge's personal journey displays a lot of heart and sensitivity from the writers. Even Allura, who at times seems like a rather disappointingly stereotypical Princess, gets her time to shine and prove that she's so much more.   

The overall plot writing might be clumsy, but at least it doesn't drag its characters down. For every time you roll your eyes at an obvious twist or convenient escape, there will be just as many moments when you feel strongly for these individuals and the team they have formed.

4. Humor

Upon watching the first few minutes of the show, it was pleasantly surprising to see just how much humor had been infused into the writing. The food-loving Hunk and Rhys Darby's Coran provide most of the comic relief, and while it's not always subtle, it's never overplayed, which is refreshing for what is essentially a children's show. There's an enjoyable banter between Voltron's paladins, but that soon grows into something more as each member of the team begins to understand what makes the other one tick. Of course, given the pedigree of Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery's work on the likes of Legend of Korra, such witty writing probably should have been expected.

5. Nostalgia

If smart writing, wonderful animation and a few giggles aren't enough to convince you that Voltron is back in a big way, surely the nostalgia factor will seal the deal? Certainly, if you were a fan of the original Voltron, there's very little chance that you'll be giving this latest effort a miss. However, if you were concerned this new-fangled approach would butcher everything you loved about the original, you needn't worry. Dreamworks Animation have created a show that is both faithful to what fans hold dear about Voltron, but progressive enough to attract a modern audience at the same time.

Seeing Voltron form for the first time (a sight one doesn't have to wait long for) will make you feel like a kid again, and that's a feeling that will likely stay with you throughout your time watching the entire eleven episode run.
Voltron: Legendary Defender is now streaming on Netflix
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