Aug 28, 2017

[TV] Voltron: Legendary Defender - Season 2 Review

So I was a little underwhelmed by the first season of Voltron: Legendary Defender as it had a somewhat meandering plot, inconsistent character moments and a weird mix of homages and deviations from the original 80's cartoon. But with the show pushing for additional seasons, there's more than enough room to really set a distinct tone for the show.

And this season season represents a time when we finally have a proper Voltron team that generally knows how to work together and can actually form Voltron. The fact that it took them so long to figure out how that would happen was one of my pain points, but let's move forward.

This second season quickly left the episodic format of storytelling and went on to focus on a longer term meta-plot with team trying to focus on dealing with Zarkon and his forces. And thankfully a lot of the somewhat one-shot races the team met in their Season 1 journey eventually had some value in this season. But I may be getting a little ahead of myself.

Synopsis: Voltron: Legendary Defender is an animated television series produced by DreamWorks Animation and World Events Productions. This second season ran for 13 episodes with a third season already completed as of the time of this blog post.

At the end of the last season, the Witch Haggar (Cree Summer) managed to cast magical lightning that disrupted the escape of the Castle-ship and the Voltron lions. Thus the season begins with the lions exiting the wormhole from random locations and yet the Castle-ship remained trapped in some sort of time loop within it. It'll take a lot of ingenuity and perhaps luck to get the Voltron force back together.

Thus the season focuses on the team getting back together and strengthening their bonds with their lions, thereby allowing them to unlock new abilities. But at the same time Zarkon isn't sitting idly by waiting for the team to come for him. Through unknown means he manages to track the Voltron team directly. Thus Zarkon (Neil Kaplan) directs his Galra forces to continually harass the team and secure the lions for himself.

What I Liked: This second season had a lot more focus to it and characters that weren't as annoying lost as they were in the last season. Now it's no longer a question of whether or not they deserve to be Paladins or what that's supposed to mean. They are a more solid team with a good grasp of what their lions can do and doors opening to discover new abilities that had remained undiscovered. So it's all about a better, stronger Voltron team.

And the larger narrative and the implied backstory got a lot more complicated in this season but for the better. There's a richer history beyond our current knowledge and the show writers have been working steadily to reveal more of that. And this includes some interesting aspects about Zarkon, Hagar and his connection to the Voltron lions.

What Could Have Been Better: All that said, the big final plan to deal with Zarkon was a somewhat odd one that had way too many moving parts to keep tabs on. It's nice how everyone had to come together to get it down but at times it felt like a silly reason just to have them separate again to deal with their respective missions and fight different opponents left and right. It was like a soft episodic enemy approach but still relying on the larger story direction.

And I'm not sure why separating the team was such an important part of the story in this season. They start separated by the wormhole accident then get together only to separate again. It's like the writers were almost allergic to having the team being, well, Voltron a lot. We had a lot of lion-driven adventures and a few in-person espionage-style missions but not quite as much Voltron as I would have preferred to see on screen.

TL;DR: Voltron: Legendary Defender is a whole new take on the Voltron story and one that has really begun to find its own voice in this season. While I naturally wanted even more Voltron moments, the show still delivers on a rather epic story as a whole. Thus the season gets 3.5 new Voltron lion powers out of a possible 5.

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