We’re sitting squarely in the Reboot Era. A time when movies and television are dusting off old brands and giving them a new coat of paint with hopes of attracting a new generation. A lot of people are complaining about the lack of original ideas but sometimes…just sometimes…a reboot achieves its goal.
Case in point is the new Voltron: Legendary Defender cartoon series on Netflix. The original Voltron series is a little over 30 years old and that means it was ripe for a reboot. I’m sure a lot classic Voltron fans cried foul, but I’m here to tell you that this Voltron reboot worked.
I was not an original Voltron kid back in the 80s. While some of my friends were defending the universe in their robot lions, my battles were being waged on earth with GI Joes and Transformers. I didn’t watch the Voltron cartoon and the only reason I had a lone Voltron toy is because my mom thought it was a Transformer. So while I have much awareness of Voltron and had seen the original cartoon in pieces here and there, I was not a devote fan.
Yet despite that, I too rolled my eyes when I heard they were rebooting Voltron. But I’ll give any cartoon a chance and lets face it, Voltron is about action, spaceships and giant robots…everything I love, so I figured it couldn’t be that bad, right?
And thankfully it’s not bad at all. In fact, it’s awesome.
Voltron: Legendary Defender
The new Voltron: Legendary Defender is so good that I blew through the entire first season in less than a week. It kept me engaged and watching episode after episode. I actually had to pace myself. The cartoon is a great balance of action and character development while also looking great. It still retains some of that Japanese “weirdness” (or call it, charm) of the original but it’s less so this time around so it didn’t bother me at all. Or maybe I’m just more used to that style now after seeing it all around for 25+ years, as opposed to being 7-years-old and seeing it for the first time. Regardless, it wasn’t enough to turn me off after the first couple episodes.
So that whole theory about reboots bringing in a new generation of viewers is true. The funny thing is I never really consider that the new generations these shows are getting might be older generations rather just younger kids. Very few kids today would have seen the original unless their parents showed it to them, so Voltron: Legendary Defender is something new to them. But there is also a group of us Original Kids that didn’t watch Voltron even when it was new, so in essence, Voltron is new to us too.
The other thing that saves Voltron: Legendary Defender is the fact that is on Netflix. Because it’s streaming, I can watch it when I can, which is usually late night after my kid goes to bed. Had it been on cable I wouldn’t be able to do that. And even if I could, I now hate having to wait a week to see my next episode. I know that’s dumb but this whole on-demand thing has spoiled us. Voltron: Legendary Defender was good enough for me to keep watching over several nights in a row, but I doubt it would have held my attention week-after-week just to see a 25-minute episodic cartoon.
In the end, Voltron has a new fan: me. And I’m very happy that I have a new action cartoon to look forward to, although now I have wait entirely too long for Season 2.