Series: The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nóg
"Fire within me! Earth beneath me! Air above me! Water around me! Forest before me!"
The best way to describe this sentai-esque
series that aired in the '90s on Fox Kids
is either Power Rangers meets Celtic Mythology
or Star Wars
in a Medieval European Fantasy
where Darth Vader is a woman. Whatever the match it was Saban's attempt to create a PR series without worrying about sentai footage. All of it, from the costume to the monsters, was created from the ground up.
An island resembling medieval Ireland was divided into two kingdoms: Kells, ruled by King Conchobar; and Temra, ruled by Queen Maeve. Maeve, who believed she was entitled to rule the entire island, made a deal in the first episode with Midar, a dark fairy who speaks in the third-person: she would help him take over the fairy kingdom of Tir Na Nog in exchange for a green crystal
whose sorcery would help her conquer Kells.
What had once been a stalemate between Maeve's Mooks
and Conchobar's red-clad soldiers
now tipped in Maeve's favor. Backed into a corner, Conchobar, at the advice of his court druid, Cathbad, sent Cathbad's apprentice, Rohan, and Rohan's best friend, Angus, to find the legendary warrior, Draganta, who was supposed "to bring peace to Kells for a hundred lifetimes." After meeting up with Ivar, a prince from a distant kingdom pursuing a thief, and realizing Deirdre, Conchobar's daughter, followed them, the four stumbled into the kingdom of Tir Na Nog. After a quick few episodes of secret tests, the four were judged worthy of inheriting the Mystic Weapons and Armor and becoming the Mystic Knights.
After a week of defeating the Threshold Guardians
who guarded their armor, taming Pyre the Dragon of Dare, and learning Rohan was actually the warrior Draganta, the Mystic Knights settled into their routine: Maeve conjures up a Monster of the Week
. The knights fight it with just their weapons. When that doesn't work, they transform
into their armor and destroy the monster with their weapons. They return to the castle to chase out the Temra soldiers Maeve sent in while they were busy.
The first (and only) season ended with a Story Arc
where Maeve demanded something she had apparently been waiting for from a witch, Nemain: a powerful half demon warrior named Lugad, who the Mystic Knights could not defeat. The Warrior Of Temra Arc involved a power up for Rohan called Battle Fury, Garrett's return, the introduction of two not-so-Humongous Mecha
, and a completely unanticipated Reveal
regarding Lugad, Maeve, and Rohan. Maeve was defeated once and for all and exiled, and it seemed that all would live Happily Ever After
. The last minute of footage, however, featured Midar and Nemain teaming up, making unpleasant plans for Kells and Tir Na Nog. Too bad the show was canceled, and they would never get to carry them out...
Now has a character sheet
This show provides examples of:
- The Ace:
- Kells: Garrett; unfortunately, he knew this ("You confuse honesty with being boastful."). This attitude disappeared, of course, when he joined the team.
- Temra: Lugad; a half-human Dumb Muscle. However, being not that bright, he is easily manipulated.
- Achilles in His Tent: The episode when Angus, jealous of Rohan getting all the attention, walked out, only to return when Tyrune, Maeve's three-headed dragon, kidnapped Rohan.
- All Your Colors Combined: The Knights' Finishing Move.
- Artifact of Doom: Ivar's chalice/ Midar's portal
- Artistic License – History: The show never pretends to be historically accurate, sure, but you still got characters living in late middle ages castle despite the show not being set any earlier than 400 AD (See The Middle Ages below). And actually averted with regards to the armor worm by the Kells and Termra soldiers, which rather than the expected plate armor (not invented until the late midle ages/early renaissance) wear the more historically accurate scale mail/leather armor. The plate armor of the mystic knights can he handwaved since they are supposed to be magical.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Apparently the key to defeating a giant eyeball (that has no eyelids) is to attack it while "The eye is open!" And yes, that is a direct quote.
- Badass Cape
- Batman Gambit:
- In the episode "Tyrune," Maeve tricks Rohan into releasing an evil dragon ie Tyrune in a ritual he thinks will reveal the secret about his past and destiny.
- Near the end of the series, in the episode "The Queen Mother," Nemain wants to show Lugad that Maeve has been lying to him. Nemain has him hide in the room seconds before Maeve fights Rohan and almost immediately tells him she's been lying to Lugad.
- Big Bad and The Dragon: Whether Maeve or Midar is the bigger threat or the one actually calling the shots varies.
- Bloodless Carnage: Taken to even more ridiculous levels than Power Rangers. There were several battle sequences throughout the show between Kells and Temra, and not one person seems to use their sword or axe as anything but a club.
- Brainwashed: Happens several times, even to Pyre
- By the Power of Grayskull!:
"Fire within me!"
"Earth beneath me!"
"Air above me!"
"Water around me!"
"Forest before me!"
- Calling Your Attacks: Invoked, but not every single time.
- Catch Phrase: See By the Power of Grayskull! above.
- Cancellation: Main reason for it being that the toys weren't selling. Production of the second series had already started when the order came down. So the remainder of its budget was put towards Power Rangers Lost Galaxy.
- Custom Uniform: The Knights armor.
- Dungeon Master: Fin Varra
- Elemental Powers
- Enemy Mine: One episode had Kells and Temra joining forces to repel an invasion of Horny Vikings which turned out to a ruse created by Maeve. A straight example appeared in a later episode where Midar deposed Maeve and took control of Temra, forcing her to join with Kells for real.
- Ermine Cape Effect: The royal characters complained about spending all day taking ceremonial robes on and off.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Of course the only female Mystic Knight is also the local princess.
- Evil Chancellor: Torc, pre-series
- Expy: Aideen is indistinguishable from Disney's Tinkerbell.
- The Face: Deirdre is the only female of five knights, and also the only one to regularly do more than fighting. When making alliances, who is the local head man going to listen to: The thief, the druid apprentice, the princes from the Land of Never-Heard-Of-It, or the local princess?
- Face-Heel Turn: Torc, pre-series
- Faux Action Girl: Deirdre, though there was much more to her than that.
- Five-Episode Pilot
- Five-Man Band
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Maeve
- Half-Human Hybrid: Lugad
- Hostage for MacGuffin: Deirdre
- Idiot Ball: As noted in I Surrender, Suckers below, the heroes grab this frequently during their interactions with Maeve.
- Invocation: Garrett only carried around one ax. Fin Varra instructed him to bring his hands together a certain way to make the other materialize, but he never did it (except for the first time) without saying, "Twin-timber axes!"
- I Surrender, Suckers: It seems as if every other episode Maeve's plan was to pretend to surrender/want a peace treaty, only to inevitably set up a trap for the heros, who fall for it every single time. You'd think they would have learned after the first couple times...
- Land of Faerie: Tir Na Nog
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Subverted
- Luke, I Am Your Father
Maeve: Yes, Rohan. I am your mother.
This came shortly after Rohan learned from Fin Varra that Lugad was his half-brother by the same mother.
- Make My Monster Grow: Oddly enough, there were very few monsters who spontaneously became giant sized in this Power Rangers-esque series. Most likely because there were so few Humongous Mecha in on the show (not to mention many of the monsters were pretty big to begin with).
- Magic Knight: The Knight's Of Tir Na Nog, naturally.
- Make Way For The New Villains: Part of the Sequel Hook
- Mathematician's Answer: In a Courtroom Episode, Angus was facing trial and, when it seemed he'd be convicted, the truth was revealed. In the end, Angus asked the judge if he'd be acquitted or convicted without the new evidence and the judge said he'd certainly be one of those.
- A Mech by Any Other Name: The two not-exactly Humongous Mecha that appear late in the series.
- Men Of Kells: When the Red Shirt Army is on its game... watch out!
- The Middle Ages: Technically Late Antiquity since it takes place in Pre-Christian Ireland (which puts it sometime before 400 AD) but otherwise it fits all the aesthetics.
- Mid-Season Upgrade: Rohan's Battle Fury Armor. Based on the toys that were released, all the other characters would have gotten upgrades as well had the show not been canceled.
- Mind-Control Eyes: Garrett, whil under Maeve's control.
- Mind Rape: Garrett
- Monster of the Week
- Mouse World: Tir Na Nog
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Justified, as the Knight's are still learning spells from their teacher and allies.
- Noodle Incident: Precisely how the war between Kells and Temra started, or why Maeve is under the impression that she has a rightful claim to Kells is never really elaborated on. This probably wasn't done for the usual reasons, but just because such political complexities would be well beyond the interests of the target audience.
- Our Dragons Are Different
- Our Monsters Are Weird: Including... a giant eyeball?
- Out, Damned Spot!: When Rohan discovers that the Mark of Destiny is a birthmark shared by his half-brother Lugad and his mother Queen Maeve, he furiously tries to scrub the Mark of Destiny off of his arm.
- Real Song Theme Tune: The German broadcast had the Kelly Family's song .
- Red Shirts/Red Shirt Army: No kidding — Kells' army, who are absolutely no help at all in fighting Maeve's army, wear red uniforms. Give us the Faux Action Girl any day.
- Not entirely. There were a few times in which the Red Shirts were at least able to drive back Maeve's Mooks. On at least one occasion we saw the Red Shirts win a battle entirely unaided (they pretended to be dead, and then attacked the Mooks when their guard was down).
- Their uselessness was actually lampshaded in one episode where Rohan and the other knights complained that all they did was get in the way during fighting, and they asked the King to be able to command them directly during battles (presumably so they could tell them to just go home and let them do all the fighting).
- Scenery Porn: Some of it was filmed in Ireland after all.
- Sequel Hook ...which unfortunately never came to be.
- Midar and his minions are quite gifted in this, but no matter how many times they've been tricked before, the other characters always fall for it.
- Nemain travels around by transforming into a raven.
- So Proud of You: Right before being Maeve is exiled in the finale, Rohan asks his mother if there is anything she wants to say to him. Maeve admits that he had been raised well, and that he is a brave and great warrior. Her only regret is that he's fighting for the wrong side.
- Strange Bedfellows: Cathbad and the Knights helped Maeve stop Midar from conquering the island. Midar and Nemain helped the Knights defeat Maeve in the finale.
- Stripperific: Deirdre had what might have been the most sorry excuse for armor this side of Xena. Wrist guards, shin guards, and most of her torso, all right. But that leaves huge swatches of forearm, thigh and everything under her armored skirt exposed (the skirt never stayed in place.) Probably worse was her helmet.◊ While the guys had full face coverings, she had a sorry looking thing that left her throat and the lower half of her face exposed.
- Her regular outfit wasn't all that better either. Her "skirt" was really just several strips of cloth, and given the constant action scenes and apparently windy outdoor sets, this led to many a Panty Shot.
- Synchronization: The Mystic Weapons were apparently linked, not to the Knights, but to Fin Varra. In an episode when he was kidnapped, they completely shut down.
- Team Spirit
- Theme Music Power-Up
- Title Theme Tune
- Transformation Horror: Specifically a Traumatic Transformation, King Fin Varra often threatens and sometimes carries out transforming those who have crossed him into Spriggans: black imp-like animal creatures.
- Token Minority: Ivar.
- Transformation Sequence
- Weapon of Choice
- We Can Rule Together: Hint — tied directly to the Luke, I Am Your Father
- With Friends Like These......: Maeve and Nemain are both evil sorceresses who want the downfall of Kells. However, Nemain makes a deal with Midar in order to betray Maeve.